Kawran Bazar City Centre - A New Urban Fabric for Dhaka

A Concept Plan prepared by Bengal Institute / BAU Design Ltd for Dhaka North City Corporation, 2021

Already at the geographic epicenter of the city, Kawran Bazar can be a “global center” for Dhaka. The emerging economic clout of Dhaka requires a global hub. The freshly imagined Kawran Bazar Civic Centre can be a new place of high urbanity but also a model of environmental principles. The proposed complex will be an integrated development of diverse activities and experiences, incorporating some of the current market activities, presenting an example of what a dynamic urban fabric may look like for Dhaka.

Bengal Institute / BAU Design Ltd was invited in 2021 by the Dhaka North City Corporation to help develop a concept plan for the Kawran Bazar area. Owned by the city corporation, the area currently houses wholesale markets and other commercial spaces that are to be relocated opening up the opportunity to rethink Kawran Bazar as a city center befitting a new Dhaka.

Revitalizing the older commercial core, and providing a mixed-use hub with global facilities, the new center will create a dynamic civic and commercial downtown for Dhaka. In that integrated campus, generous public spaces and walkways will link all facilities and provide a wonderful experience for all users.

A group of “green” towers will present an urban icon for Dhaka. The towers will be an attractive example of tropical architecture and sustainable principles. Wide canopies and terraces, and special envelopes, will reduce heat gain. Terraces will also provide gardens in the sky. With micro wind turbines and solar panels at the top, the towers will contribute to both energy reduction and energy production. Rainwater will be retained and reused; water permeability will be ensured.

Kawran Bazar Centre will be a pedestrian campus. A tree-shaded open-air mall acts as a spine. Commercial arcades flank both sides of that spine. The main civic plaza will be the jewel in the pedestrian campus. The space can host special gatherings, open air concerts, and art and flower shows. The exhibition hall is located right under the plaza, and rooftop gardens overlook the plaza space. An elevated auditorium with conference halls marks the southern side of the complex. A transit pavilion can link the Centre with areas on the other side of a rail-line that now divides the city.

The new Kawran Bazar will be an exemplary green campus. The campus and most buildings will be forested or gardened contributing to a cleaner and cooler air quality for a larger part of the city. The historic Mughal period mosque will be restored, and the spaces around it rearranged as courtyards and public spaces linking with the campus.

Team: Kazi Khaleed Ashraf (lead), Nusrat Sumaiya, and Samira Marzia