High Court Building (Old) a colonial building in Dhaka
situated on Qazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, opposite the
picturesque curzon hall, and skirting the Ramna Green.
This imposing two-storeyed edifice was originally
designed as the official residence of the governor of
the newly created province of East Bengal and Assam in
the wake of the partition of bengal (1905). On
completion of the building, the consulting architect of
the government of India considered it unbefitting a
governor's residence and therefore it remained vacant.
Later it housed the Dhaka Intermediate College and still
later, in erstwhile East Pakistan, it was converted into
the High Court. With the construction of a building
nearby (opposite the Foreign Office, which now houses
the Supreme Court of Bangladesh) the High Court was
shifted to the new building (1967). The old building now
houses various offices of the government.
It occupies a vast quadrangular enclosure with a series
of apartments of various dimensions, aligned on four
symmetrically laid out wings, which overlook an
extensive inner court. A monumental triple-arched
gateway to the south provides access to the imposing
Its facade, rising in three receding stages, is in a
typical European renaissance style with a prominent
porch under a triangular pediment, supported on
Corinthian columns. A graceful dome, carried on slender
columns and piers in a ring, crowns the building.
A broad staircase, flagged with white marble, rises from
the square entrance foyer beyond the porch and leads to
the upper storey. Another staircase, built in the middle
of the northern wing, also provides access to the upper
floor besides the two subsidiary spiral stairs located
at the two inner corners of the quadrangle. The four
arms of the oblong palace accommodate over 50 apartments
of different sizes in two storeyes including drawing
rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, dressing and toilet
alcoves, lamp-room, store, service pantry etc. Long
covered verandah in front of the apartments run along
the entire length of the wings. There is a circular
projection in the centre of each wing. In the east wing
there is a ballroom (18.30mx16.76m) facing a verandah.
The floors of the entire ground floor are flagged with
white marble, except for the ballroom in the east, which
was laid out with polished teak planks.