Architect of collapsed Dhaka factory says, 'I designed a shopping centre'
Building was never intended to be filled with industrial machinery
The architect of the Dhaka garment factory that collapsed killing more than 700 people said he was hired to design a shopping centre.
The building was never meant to support the weight of industrial machinery and generators, said Masood Reza, who works for Bangladesh’s Vastukalpa Consultants.
He spoke of his anguish after seeing the disaster on television. An estimated 3,000 people were working in the Rana Plaza, sewing clothes for western brands, when the floors pancaked, killing and trapping hundreds.
Reza accused the building’s owner, Mohammed Sohel Rana, of ignoring simple structural engineering. Rana is facing charges of causing death by negligence and violating construction laws.
“When we designed the building, the owner and the developer never told us that the floors will house garment factories,” said Reza.
“Had they told us, the structure and design would have been different and stronger.
“We designed a six-storey building with a semi-basement, shopping malls in the first three floors and the rest for offices. There was no way the building was designed to be extended to nine or 10 floors.”
When cracks appeared in the structure a day before the collapse, it should have been sealed off, he said.
“In our architectural language, we say every structure has a life and the cracks were a desperate message from the building that ‘I can’t take it any more’,” he said.