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Breathing Hydrological Infrastructure

Amit Imtiaz
Dochori Bazar Ghat, Alikadam, Bandarban, Bangladesh

© Amit Imtiaz


Thesis by Amit Imtiaz Graduation Project Name: Breathing Hydrological Infrastructure Type of Project: Infrastructure, Utilitarian architecture, opportunity centre, habitat Location: Dochori Bazar Ghat, Alikadam, Bandarban, Bangladesh Designer: Amit Imtiaz Architecture School: Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh Studio Mentor: Dr. Mohammed Zakiul Islam, Najmul Latif, Shajib Paul Project Year: 2016 Client: Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral, Bangladesh Quick Link:

Project Title: Breathing Hydrological Infrastructure

Initial Information:
Area: 34 acre, Built area 4 acre Client: Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral, Bangladesh Site: Dochori Bazar ghat, Alikadam,Bandarban, Bangladesh Hydro plant - Impoundment type Generation Capacity - 5MW
Program: 1.Women's Opportunity centre 2. Health Care Facility 3. Housing 4.Power station 5.Youth Shelter

[Architecture + Infrastructure] An infrastructure unit that serves in a global scale


My project site is situated near ALI CAVE. Pathway to Ali Cave is a narrow 60' deep way. And space inside ali cave is way too mysterious. Entry towards the cave is a very narrow hole alongside the hill and then all of a sudden cave space become wider and after few step the cave become open to sky! So this essence of the cave is a major influence in my design. Spaces and entry of the complex have the essence of the cave.

It is evident that in near future we will be short of power sources. No furnace oil, no gas to produce electricity. Essential Sources of power our planet is decreasing very fast. We have to draw a plan how we will continue our journey with existing resources that we have in our hand. What if we can integrate numerous functions in a centralized infrastructure. What if architectural solutions come forward to eliminate the barriers?
In response to power crisis and water crisis in south east part of our country Bangladesh, we need to find alternative ways. A number of feasibility studies made in the 1980s and in 2014 which have the potential for setting mini-small hydropower stations of 10 kW to 30MW capacity.
What if these hydrological structures could be integrated with the society and nature, what if they would be inhabitable and act like one small unit, one breathing hydrological infrastructure? My proposal is that a prototypical hydrological infrastructure which not only generates power but also connected with society. A dam that holds the society. Current models of dam comprise several problems such as dislocation, segregation and over imposition into its context, and single-mindedness of aesthetic and function.
For these reasons, my proposal of searching for a Breathing Dam is towards a new typology of hydrological infrastructure - away from the image of hydrological infrastructures, and towards a model which is not only connected but also integrated with society, to create archology which may help alter the public perception of the essential infrastructures and reduce many of the negative consequences associated with infrastructure management. Also eliminate the flash flood and water crisis of the hill tracts of Bandarban, Bangladesh.

This dam will provide the locality with the scope for better agriculture and water management system. And the power will help them to make a self-sufficient village. Together, with the integration of ecology, society and infrastructure, the breathing Dam will become a prototype of a modern 'hydraulic empire'.¬¬¬¬¬¬¬

Around the world flat plate buttress dams are used as a cost effective, high capacity and durable structure system to hold hydrological structures. It can reach a height above 640′. So for this, the project of 170′ inhabitable infrastructure would do easily in our context. This type of dams are very efficient where the ground soil is not that strong. For this project Flat plate buttress dam is selected for its construction efficiency and cost efficiency.

Preliminary study models were made to explore the structure pattern and how the infrastructure is going to integrate with the terrain. In order to understand the complexity of the project there is a need of understanding the structure & zoning of programs integrated with the whole structure; connected by multiple layers of circulation.

Program generating for the breathing infrastructure came from solving the existing problem and limitations. Women’s are proactive in their society though they are deprived of numerous facilities. Health care facility almost rare in the context. There is no scope for ethnic craft showcasing. Electricity here is expensive due to remote. From the above problems and situation, I have concluded to 4 major program. 1. Women’s opportunity Centre 2. Health care facility 3. Power station 4. Residential facility.