In this chapter a description of select monuments, built during the period of the British rule and after independence since 1947 is attempted so as to give an idea of the new architectural developments that took place in Dhaka. In the religious buildings, like mosques and tombs, we do not find any significant change in the style, though new building materials facilitated in the evolution of simple flat roof and gave a new sky line to the monuments. The first of its kind is seen in Farrukh Siyar’s mosque and Husaini Dalan, where we notice the flat roof resting directly on long girders (iron or wooden).
This system was introduced in the very first building erected by the British – the Nimtali Gate in the present Dhaka Museum compound [Asiatic Society’s compound], but this did not affect the Mughal style of gate except that the old grace and charm are not seen in the new building. This system of roofing has been used vary widely in the expansion of the old mosques. The newly added verandahs in almost all the old mosques follow this system. But completely European types of buildings are first seen in the churches now existing in Dhaka, and gradually the secular buildings came under their influence.
The Dutch Kothis (residential house) introduced here a new type of private house. It consists of a central big hail with a verandah in the front and back and two or three rooms on the sides, the front rooms, which occupy a part of the verandah, are a development from a semi-octagonal or round tower. A few such buildings’ are still standing in Wiseghat locality of Dhaka. Another type of building can be seen in the rounded corners of the State Bank Building with its tall Doric columns. Still more important are the new elements seen in almost all the houses of the 19th century, like the semi-circular arch, pillars with Corinthian capitals, and other foliaged designs in plaster. Of the typical buildings in the European style mention may be made of the Ahsan Manzil, (lie old Government House (modern High Court Building), Greek memorial, and an insignificant monument (apparently double— storied but actually single-storied) in front of Shahbagh Hotel on the main Avenue.[Now it is not there.] The purpose of this building is not known.
Towards the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th came a period of revival, when under the patronage of the British, especially Lord Curzon, a new hybrid style developed, which sought to take inspiration from the old Muslim architecture but at the same time giving all the amenities of the new buildings. The first building in this style is the Northbrook Hall, and then followed a series, like the Curzon Hall, Fazlul Huq Hall, Dhaka Hall [now Shahidullah Hall], Dhaka Medical College, Salimullah Hall and others.
A new era of construction has dawned in Dhaka after the establishment of Pakistan. So far the buildings erected are all of utilitarian type, and none of them shows the grandeur or magnificence which is a tribute to a monument. In all these buildings attempt is made to provide as much space as possible with minimum expense. The use of re-enforced concrete has enabled the architects to plan for multi-storied buildings, and at least in two cases – the Institute of Arts building and the Public Library [now the main Library of the University of Dhaka].This idea is stretched further in making the concrete pillars the main props of the entire superstructure. Again it is in this Library as well as in the East Pakistan Regional Laboratory [now popularly known as the Science Laboratory] building at Dhanmandi [now, in fact, on the New Elephant Road] that a wind screen, consisting of circlets, has been provided to enhance the beauty. Another remarkable feature in the modern buildings is the tall vertical rests that cut the frontage and support insignificant eves over the windows or doors. Apart from these utilitarian buildings and private houses we have two mosques built in the Cantonment area – one follows the old Mughal style of domed structure and another is in the new style of a fiat roof The new mosque of Al-Baitul Mukarram, which is now under construction near Stadium, is well placed just facing Jinnah Avenue [now Bangabandhu Avenue] and further ahead Nawabpur Road. Its magnitude suggests that the mosque may prove to be a lasting glory to Pakistan.
Armenian Church Ahsan Manzil Victoria Park Anglican Church Baptist Mission in Dhaka Northbrook Hall Baldha Museum & Garden Dhaka Museum and Nimtali Gate Curzon Hall Fazlul Huq Muslim Hall Dhaka Hall Jagannath Hall Salimullah Muslim Hall Iqbal Hall and Womens’ Hall Dhaka Medical College High Court Building Greek Memorial Government Institute of Arts and the Library Building Shahbagh Hotel Motijheel Buildings New Market