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Fall 2016 Course Description

Fall 2016 Sequence



“Theory?” August Session is organized as a special seminar on “Theories of Architecture and Urbanism”. As an in-depth discussion on key architectural ideas shaping the architectural and urban landscape today, the seminar will cover evolution of key themes in architectural design, and critical topics in contemporary landscape, human settlements, and urbanism. Through insightful discussions, the seminar will help in understanding why theory is necessary in orienting design attitudes and standpoints.

Topics to be covered include: concepts of body and building in design; ideas of nature, landscape, and site; language of architecture; analysis of Modernist ideologies, post- and late-modern, and contemporary conditions; tropical topics; conceptions of community identity and regionalism; themes of consumerist culture and populism; and, challenges of the contemporary city.

The Session will be conducted by Kazi Khaleed Ashraf, Director General of Bengal Institute, with invited guest faculties.

Kazi Ashraf is an architect, urbanist, and architectural historian. He has taught at the University of Hawaii, the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University and Pratt Institute in the US. He is the author of numerous publications including An Architect in Bangladesh: Conversations with Muzharul Islam (2014), The Hermit’s Hut: Architecture and Asceticism in India (2013), Designing Dhaka: A Manifesto for a Better City (2012), and the Architectural Design volume “Made in India” (2007). His essays and articles have appeared in the Architectural Review, Architectural Design, Topos, Economic and Political Weekly, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, The Daily Star, and other periodicals.


Architecture is a situated event, which means a built work is intimately tied to the dynamics of site, landscape, topography, and meteorology. In Bangladesh, such a dynamic is both a challenge and provocation for responding in uniquely creative ways. In our obligation to the “what” of architecture, we often overlook the fact that “where is architecture” is a far more critical issue for the design and production of architecture. In order to develop a philosophical, ethical and productive basis for making architecture in the landscapes of Bangladesh, and to conceptualize the landscape dynamics of Bangladesh, we invited leading architects and landscape architects to present their position on the theme through lectures, discussions and public forums.

Jalal Ahmad, architect, Dhaka.

Salauddin Ahmed, architect, Dhaka.

Rafiq Azam, architect, Dhaka.

Saif Ul Haque, architect, Dhaka.

Khandaker Hasibul Kabir, architect, Dhaka.

Nahas Khalil, architect, Dhaka.

Ehsan Khan, architect, Dhaka.  

Marina Tabassum, architect, Dhaka.  

Vitti Architects, Dhaka.

Kazi Khaleed Ashraf, architect and urbanist, BI



The scope of architecture now encompasses more than just creating buildings. In its extended sense, architecture now involves the design of towns and cities, the rearrangement of landscapes and the provision of well-being of communities. Architecture involves the pragmatic and the technical, the innovative and the aesthetic, as well as, perhaps more, the civic, the psychological and the spiritual. How to think about all these in our times of commodified culture?
We are delighted to announce that BI brings to the October-November Session a fantastic group of faculty and speakers who will illustrate for us the deep task of architecture. Renowned and much admired Finnish architect and theorist Juhani Pallasmaa will conduct a special seminar. The master Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi will be present for special events and meetings. The influential urban thinker and architectural critic Peter Buchanan will conduct an extended workshop. Other faculty includes Syed Manzoorul Islam, Atiqur Rahman, Towfique Utpal, Saif Ul Haque and Kazi Khaleed Ashraf. A special public symposium is also planned for the visits of Balkrishna Doshi and Juhani Pallasmaa. Registration for all events will be required.