Excerpt: Refurbishment at Noakhali designed by Two Fold Studio creates a colorful Indoor space and Outdoor terraced restaurant. Creating nature-dominant architecture for a restaurant is new to local people of tropical landscape. Through this project, Two Fold Studio attempted to break the stereotypical image of restaurant projects in Bangladesh.
[Text as submitted by architect] Initially, the building was a residence abandoned by its owner in 1980. The future owners of the place wanted to convert the land into a commercial platform which is a restaurant. The house is surrounded by a beautiful landscape that seems like nature has seized everything containing waterbodies, age-old trees, and plants everywhere. But with time the infrastructure decayed within itself.
The dining area is divided into two parts – indoor and outdoor areas. We proposed outdoor dining at the roof level and indoor dining at the ground level. Unfortunately, the building did not have an existing staircase so we started designing and placing the stair first. The idea was to design the stair in a way it becomes the main feature of the project. As the building did not have any identical facade typically known for restaurant culture, the stair makes it identic.
A Shade, primarily a perforated metal skeleton is introduced at the roof level. It gives a three-dimensional entity of the roof area. The whole skeleton was supported from ground level and no additional weight was provided except for the furniture and finish materials.
Color is a prime section of the whole project. As we learned local people are very fond of using color in their buildings, we decided to use basic colors in the project technically. Also, our vision was to sustain the existing natural impact of the site. Therefore every aged tree was protected from being harmed during construction and a huge number of plantations took place in a designed way. The plantation process was done carefully keeping in mind that it blooms in every season. Thus local plants were potted and nurtured to create the space green and colorful. A mini ecosystem was initiated as these plants were home to butterflies and little birds.
Several stocked materials were reused in the project for cost efficiency, Such as old barrels being redesigned for tables, Metal boxes being used in the Shade’s structure, and pipes in tables.
A cozy space was designed in the interior area to use in the summer, comparatively during the hotter season. Local materials, colors, and Brick blocks are used in the interior with traditional furniture. Existing window walls were demolished and bigger glass windows were introduced to allow more natural light and also to open up to the beautiful landscape.
Another challenge of the project was to communicate with local smiths. As we could not find any experienced metal workers on the rural site, the owner advised us to take his workers who are mainly engaged in making metal parts for buses. The owner runs his own bus company which is why using his workers will be efficient in a way but teaching them the language of architecture and then finishing work had become a huge agenda.
The front courtyard is left to be filled with grass to bring a more natural ambiance to the Bengali court. Soft paver and footlights are placed with a minimum number to pass through. This court is always filled with fallen leafs so leaf marks have been placed on the paver that carries the tales of fallen leaves. Old Trees are focused with ideal lighting to glow at night.
The ponds are revived with freshwater, locally available plants, and a viewing deck above it to enjoy the waterbody from e closer distance. The main entry starts from a green Archway that provides an idea of the whole landscape. It is controlled by a single walkway that allows customers to find directions naturally. We kept the track of naturally created pathways rather than designing new ones.
Creating nature-dominant architecture for a restaurant is new to local people of tropical landscape. Through this project, we attempted to break the stereotypical image of restaurant projects in Bangladesh.