Editorial Volume 15, Issue 1, January 2015

  • Dr. Shayer Ghafur Professor, Department of Architecture, BUET


Protibesh is an intriguing Bangla concept coined decades ago to name an ambitious, a vanguard Journal of the Department of Architecture, BUET. An immediate understanding of Protibesh in English denotes as much as connoting the concept of environment. Yet Protibesh extends further to refer to the built/unbuilt environment. At a time when our built and unbuilt—reserved green within cities as much as fields-wetlands-forests in villages—environment is subjected to rapid transformation, Protibesh provides us a scholarly platform: we explore its further, deeper and wider meaning and significance to enrich its contribution to our lives, to living itself. Here we began to take notice of the human subjects, living their everyday lives within a built environment, albeit in intimate relation to an unspoilt, unbuilt environment, that we call nature. However, giving priority to the physicality, materiality, and functionality of the built environment around us, is rather a confining, limiting and myopic appreciation of the idea of Protibesh. While these conventional dimensions are necessary, they need to be considered in relation to their broader, among others, socio-cultural, historical and environmental contexts.

The inherent subjective and creative imagination, along with objective, methodological inquiry. so indispensable for contributing to the built environment, is not merely premised in its production, but is also undeniable in its appropriation and conservation, in their wider sense of the term. Two important issues become relevant – the ways in which human subjects are situated in the production, appropriation and conservation of the built environment, and how we—human subjects—are held responsible for our actions and interventions within the built environment. Protibesh, thus, acquires a material ground as much as an ethical one, for engaging critically in the multi-disciplinary built environment discourse.

Protibesh is back into circulation, after a couple of years' pause, due to unforeseen administrative and management grounds. We had taken this pause, as an opportunity to reflect on Protibesh, for keeping pace with the changing, emerging foci of multi-faceted research fields and interests. We are pleased to mention two significant updates on our Editorial policy: assigning an Editor, along with a four-member Editorial Board, for four issues (two volumes), and including an external Editorial Board member, outside the immediate field of architecture, to strengthen Protibesh’s claim as a multi-disciplinary journal. Our position, stated at the outset, underpins these updates, and is reflected in the sequence that the five original articles are published in this issue. Our intention is to mainstream, hitherto marginalized, social and environmental topics. The first article looks at the responsiveness of the urban space design for physically challenged people, with special needs in Dhaka. The second article identifies the necessity of recycling rainwater and greywater in mosques, in an Old Dhaka locality, amidst the growing scarcity of water. The third article is premised on rural housing that discusses home-based enterprises as income generation activities in Sirajganj, for understanding their role in housing transformation. The fourth paper critically looks at our colonial past, to interrogate the present publicness of public spaces, taking the example of a colonial enclave in Khulna, to argue for opening up guarded urban spaces for urban dwellers. And the last and final article examines the evolving nature and extent of shop-houses in the Tanti Bazar area, in Old Dhaka, by explicating the morphological character of the settlement.

We do not set our operational expectations at a level that would be difficult to achieve, under the present reality. We are grateful to our predecessors for setting a high standard before us. Our aim is not only to maintain, but also to extend to a higher level, where possible. The task, then, is an immense responsibility. If we can progressively reduce the time lag between the four issues for which we have been assigned, we would consider our mission accomplished! In our endeavor to produce scholarly output—contribution to knowledge—we would like to thank, in advance, all prospective authors, reviewers, readers, and all members involved in the publication of Protibesh.

Author Biography

Dr. Shayer Ghafur, Professor, Department of Architecture, BUET