Centralised Distribution Center (CDC) Tongi, Gazipur.

Technical Data
Building Type: Industrial
Floor Area:58,000 sft.
Project Cost:BDT 1.69 Crore
Construction completed: 1998
Service Provided: Architectural, Structural, MEP, Landscape, Interior Design and Top Supervision.
Client:Bata Shoe Company Ltd., Tongi, Gazipur.
Architects:Ar. Minhasur Rahman, Dr. Fuad Mallick
Structural Engineer: Engr. Mostafizur Rahman
Contractor: Project Builders Ltd. Dhaka.

The program requirement was for a 58,000 sft of single storage space for finished footwear manufactured in an adjacent factory. The products are to be received from the factory in individual packages and stored in open racks. Before distribution, they are packed in larger boxes and shipped out. The entire process of handling the goods is done manually. Besides storage, the building also houses some office spaces related to its functions. Building construction cost and running cost were to be kept at a minimum. Since the building will not have any artificial environmental control, special considerations for low energy consumption for lighting and ventilation were needed.
The program requirement was for a 58,000 sft. of single storage space for finished footwear manufactured in an adjacent factory. The products are to be received from the factory in individual packages and stored in open racks. Before distribution, they are packed in larger boxes and shipped out. The entire process of handling the goods is done manually. Besides storage, the building also houses some office spaces related to its functions, ie. Sales Department, Distribution and Shipping Department, Training facilities etc. Building construction cost and running cost were to be kept at a minimum. Since the building will not have any artificial environmental control, special considerations for low energy consumption for lighting and ventilation were needed.
The structure is of reinforced concrete columns which support steel trusses for the roof and surrounding walls of brick masonry, exposed on the outside that ‘breathe” to allow natural air flow inside. The walls have openings at low level and there is a gap between it and the roof. The roof consists of a central vault shape (below which is the main circulation of the warehouse floor) which rises above the sloped portions on either side with the gap in between. These features allow convective airflow through the internal spaces. The lower openings are necessarily small so that pilferage of goods may not occur. Because heavy rains occur in Bangladesh during the monsoons the roof extends significantly beyond the walls and has three layers of drop walls hanging from it to protect from rain water that may be driven in by winds that often accompany such rains. The roof also projects in the front part of the building to allow loading and unloading of trucks during rains.
Lighting is another major concern of this project. Translucent fibreglass sheets are used in the mid portion and the sides of the roof along its entire length. This provide good lighting conditions indoors and represents significant savings in energy costs (about 25 – 30%) has there been no such lighting if the building was only artificially lit (as such warehouses usually are).
The exposed brickwork is detailed to have layering of bricks obliquely every 8th course to create a patterns that takes advantage of the changing light to create different shadow patterns at different times of the day.
The building is located within a complex that has a large factory and a number of supporting buildings on one side. On the other side is a large open ground, where once a year a large congregation of Muslim’s occurs (the “Biswa Istema”, 2nd largest of gatherings of Muslim’s after the Hajj). The locality as a whole has various types of buildings of no architectural signification. The building blends with other buildings within the complex by virtue of its volume and the surrounding open green spaces with its exposed brick surface. Heavy rain during the monsoon resulted in the wide overhang on all sides, which gives the building its character in profile. The opening along the lower part of the lower walls, act in unison with the openings on the roof and between the walls to allow convective airflow for ventilation and removal of heat. The use of translucent fiberglass roof in certain sections allows plenty of daylight resulting in savings in lighting cost. The brick used in the building is produced within a few kilometres of the site and its use adds to the local flavour.
The two main constraints in the design were, reducing construction cost and ensuring low running costs. The first was overcome by optimising local technology and resources. The use of 3D steel trusses fabricated on site saved on buying prefabricated imported components. Locally available brick were used for the walls without any rendering further saved costs. Running costs could be reduced by optimising daylight through the use of the partially translucent roof and the length and width ratio. Heat loss from the inside is facilitated by the natural ventilation process, which allows air changes to occur to counteract the effect of heat gain from the metal roof.
The buildings demonstrates how a warehouse, a seemingly common and uninteresting building type, can be made interesting. It uses natural means of ventilation and light, thus optimizing on nature. The use of exposed brickwork in plain and decorative terms arouses visual interest.