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Making It Happen

Posted by on June 21st, 2012

Workers preparing the thatch roof

With construction well on its way, the resort is taking shape. It’s an exciting time to see how the plans and designs on paper are now transformed into physical buildings. The foundations have been poured and structural elements are in place. We’re also experimenting on finishes and materials on prototype buildings to enhance the feel of the resort. It takes time, but it’s a process that we know will achieve amazing results. There are over 200 workers from the local area working to make this resort a retreat in paradise. For more photos, visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/panigram.

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Buying Land in Bangladesh

Posted by on April 17th, 2010

Dozens of villagers crowded into the candlelit land registration office to put their fingerprints on the document that would mean a significant amount of income for them and a gorgeous piece of land in southern Bangladesh for me.

An employee at the land registration office working by candle light.

An employee at the land registration office working by candle light.

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Live from Panigram Resort!

Posted by on September 7th, 2009

I am writing this blog from the Panigram Pavilion. All I have to say is that I have the greatest life! I think the photos speak for themselves!

view-from-pavilion

View from the Panigram Pavilion

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August 14th – A Day of Trauma and Triumph

Posted by on August 29th, 2009

The Panigram Pavilion on the river at Panigram Resort.

The Panigram Pavilion on the river at Panigram Resort.

Koli and I sped down the road on his motorcycle in a torrential downpour. He had left our motorcycle helmets at the project site, so I held my hand over his eyes like a visor to block out as much of the monsoon rains as I could so that he could see well enough to keep us on the road. The van, holding three of my interns, two large blocks of ice, all of the cooking utensils from my kitchen, two gas stoves, and several pounds of food followed us. We got to the edge of town and saw that the road was completely blocked for repairs. While the motorcycle might have been able to squeak around the barricade, the van would never make it; fortunately Koli knew an alternate route out of the city. We were already an hour late: the van was delayed, our landlord had padlocked us in the building (it took us 20 minutes to find him and have him come open the door), and we had to stop at the bazaar to get ice. Read the rest of this entry »

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Panigram Resort Hosts Its First Guests

Posted by on August 29th, 2009
Lighting up the pavilion at night.

Lighting up the pavilion at night.

“Can we stay TONIGHT?” Chi Chi kept nagging me. For the past week she and the interns have been begging me to allow them to spend a night at the Pavilion. I was inclined to capitulate since they have worked really hard for the past several weeks to build it. It still amazes me how much they were able to accomplish in just three weeks!

Koli had some doubts. He insisted that we get permission from the local police before spending the night. We went down to the police station together. The Chief of Police was very friendly, but tried to convince me not to spend the night.  My interns worked hard, however, and I wanted to reward them, so I stuck to my guns and told the police officer that we really want to stay and that the interns were going back to America in a few days and would not have another chance. He agreed on the condition that he be allowed to send us four police escorts.

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A River Cruise with Jonathon: Exploring Haunted Trees and Ancient Ruins

Posted by on August 9th, 2009
Brian and Jon on the boat

Brian and Jon explore the local river

The river is central to village life near the Panigram site. Its waters flood rice paddies, provide fish to eat, and assist in the important jute harvest. This year, however, the river reached it lowest point in decades. Normally 90 feet wide, the longer than usual hot season reduced the river to a meager 15 feet across. Now, the monsoon started, but the extra six weeks of dry season caused a floating aquatic plant locally known as port to flourish. Port is always part of the river ecosystem, but this year port stretches the width of the river preventing nearly all boat traffic. This floating plant strains the local economy and could ruin Jon’s hard work as Panigram’s tour program intern.

This summer, Jon explored the area around the site, researched the origins of local ruins, and compiled a database of the local plants and their uses. For our upcoming investor meeting, Jon has planned an hour-long boat and rickshaw tour through the local area. The tour will start at the pavilion where boatmen will take our guests two kilometers up the river to a nearby village; there our guests will take rickshaws along a scenic route back to the pavilion. The tour will end with a striking view of the pavilion at the bridge overlooking the proposed Panigram site.

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Taking Tea with Chi Chi: How to Motivate People and Win Friends in Bangladesh

Posted by on August 3rd, 2009
Chi Chi Stands with her capentry team

Chi Chi stands with her carpentry team

No construction project every progresses according to plan; Bangladesh is no exception. Workers show up hours late, materials arrive of the wrong specifications, and the weather doesn’t always cooperate. As the architecture intern for Panigram, Chi Chi knows first hand the difficulties that arise during construction projects in Bangladesh.

Rising every morning at six A.M., Chi Chi faced the challenge of working with unfamiliar building materials, supervising her first construction project, and leading a construction team as a female in a male-dominated culture. Last night, I had the opportunity to sit down with Chi Chi and discuss the details of her pavilion project. We talked about her design, her team, and how she managed to overcome the many difficulties that arose while building the pavilion.

BRIAN: This is your first project, Chi Chi. Can you describe the challenges that you faced as a young architect working with an international crew?

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