The shipwreck above Dhaka By Miguel Arias & Paola Silva

The shipwreck above Dhaka

​By Miguel Arias & Paola Silva


Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh according to official statistics, is the fifteenth most populous urban conglomeration in the world, surpassed only by mega Chinese, Japanese and Indian cities. Bangladesh for the extension of its territory with respect to its population is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, and Dhaka with an area of approximately 815.85 square kilometers and a total population in the metropolitan area of more than 25 million population, resulting in a population density of 9,581.1 inhabitants per square kilometer, which makes it not only one of the most populated metropolis but also one of the densest in the world.

Dhaka is a contrast city, on one hand has an emerging economy, Bangladesh is profiled as a new economic power, but on the other hand most of the population is mired in absolute poverty, so then as Bangladesh has one of the higher rates of poverty in the world, and its geographical location make this a whipped city constantly by bad weather large such quantities as monsoons and cyclones, their high rates of corruption and serious environmental problems and pollution adding to this its overpopulation and density make Dhaka be considered by many expert opinions as one of the worst cities in the world to live.

Bangladesh, because of its context and political, economic and social status has become the "naval dumpster" of the developed countries, as this involves a high income from dismantling and sale of steel parts, however, this practice causes a huge environmental impact and high risk in workers who die each day and receiving 1 U.S. dollar for 16 hours of work a day, which leads to inhumane practice that resemble slavery in the XXI century, while some are enriched with this exploitation, others die off the coast of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh currently owns the ship graveyard world's largest, "the port of Chittagong" and in Dhaka, beside the river Buruganga is the district Charkaliganj which has one of the cemeteries biggest intraurban ships in the world engendering further more deplorable living conditions of the inhabitants of one of the most depressed areas of Dhaka, and further contributing to the Buruganga river and the city itself may be one of the most polluted places on the planet. 

The big dumps boats in Bangladesh represent a now serious problem, however, behind this tragedy there is a great potential, the possibility of re-use and recycle these large structures abandoned to re-densify the already oversaturated city of Dhaka and offer new housing units, productive and communal areas for thousands of people living in absolute poverty.

Large vessels are sectioned and placed on existing buildings using an arcaded economic structure, light and local woods. A system that reminds us of what we have, what we do and what we will become. It is a way of understanding that what own is the raw material to create a new layer city, "the city above the city" 

Every place deserves to be lived in the best way, deserves respect, dignity, deserves to be loved as much for the same space as those who live it. Our lands are the real reflection of our steps, and this city walks through dry grass. We all have opportunities, they have opportunities, Dhaka has opportunities to be a city for citizens, to be a city that is built from its history and uses to be stronger, a city reborn from darkness and fears, and that is what opens the way to create a new becoming. Dhaka is a city above the city.​

City Above the City architecture competition

Plan B : City Above the City architecture competition 

Metsä Wood challenged architects and students around the world to push the boundaries of modern wood building design in the urban environment. Entrants from 40 countries created their Plan B to urbanisation using wood (Kerto® LVL – laminated veneer lumber) as the main material. The task was to design a wooden extension to an existing urban building. The entries were designed to 69 cities worldwide.

Explore the designs