Raowa Complex at DOHS Mohakhali, Dhaka.

Technical Data
Building Type: Institution
Plot Area:1.28 Acre.
Floor Area:3,58,000 sft.
No. of Floors: 15 story + 3 level basement.
Project Cost:BDT 6.70 Crore
Construction completed: 2001
Service Provided: Architectural Design.
Client:Retired Arm forces Officer’s Welfare Association (RAOWA) DOHS Mohakhali, Dhaka.
Architects:Ar. Minhasur Rahman, Architekton (Pvt.) Ltd. Bangladesh

The complexity of the project is expressed in very simple terms by a number of imposing volumes. Structural expression is at play articulating the various parts. The complex houses club functions, guest house and a commercial building topped with a revolving restaurant. Although such a complex would do better with a longer site, optimization is achieved by layering the functions. Car parking in the basement, swimming pool at the ground level and tennis court above it.thus allowing some green space for the leisure of the club members.
The main road has been used to act as the front for both the club and the commercial building so that they have equal importance in physical disposition. The entrance to each building is separate. The club building has the corner location so that there is access to it from both roads. This is necessary since access to the guest house block and a secondary entry to the games block is from the side road. Locating the tall block south western side of the site also ensures its shadow on the open area of the club during the hot afternoon hours, thereby keeping it cool.
The notion of a club such as this one is necessarily associated with open space for outdoor activities and games. Given the constraint of land this problem has been tackled by locating the main club functions in one six storied block on the south and adding four stories to the existing two storied block at the rear to be used as a guest house. The space in between acts as the open space and is the quietest part of the site. To optimise its use the tennis courts have been placed on an elevated platform above the swimming pool , the space thus saved is now an open lawn. A two storied block housing the squash courts and the health club along the eastern boundary of side acts as a buffer from the secondary road.
The distribution of functions in the club building is through a hierarchy of layering them in various levels. The most accessible spaces (including those where outsiders may be allowed) are at the lower levels to allow privacy of the club functions above. The auditorium in on the top floor mainly for structural reasons i.e. to achieve a column free large space. Public access to it from the club building is via elevator and a preferable access is from a bridge connection with the fifth floor of the commercial building.
The utilisation of the existing building is best served by locating the guest house there. Since this is to be rented out on a commercial basis and needs to have access independent of the club, four more floors are added to it and is approachable from the secondary road on the eastern edge of the site.
The commercial building has been designed keeping in mind all the needs of a modern office. To optimise the angle at the corner part of the building projects out along the site profile till the fifth floor. The novelty of this building is the introduction of a revolving restaurant on the top floor which projects beyond the floors below. The fifth floor of this floor has rentable seminar rooms and connects with the auditorium of the club block thereby extending the commercial potential of both. The core is at the center of the commercial floor thus making divisions of space easy. This is advantageous considering that the building is not to be centrally air conditioned and there will be scope for natural light and ventilation in all offices. There is provision for providing individual toilets in various locations of the office space.
Since the number of parking spaces to be provided is large and they are accommodated in two basements.
Whole complex is designed as RCC frame structure except the roof of the auditorium which is made of steel truss to reduce dead load and achieve large column free span. RCC frame structure is economic, a familiar construction technique and allows renovation, alteration and additions easy. Also gives a contemporary look. The choice of grid is based on economy functional requirement convenience of basement parking. Using a raft foundation may eliminate the need for piling and also provide a structural basis for the parking function.