Principal Architect, URBANA
Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury graduated in architecture from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) in 1995 and, after working with architect Uttam Kumar Saha, he established the practice URBANA in partnership in 1995 and, from 2004, has continued as the sole principal of the firm. Kashef Chowdhury has a studio-based practice whose works find root in history with a strong emphasis on climate, materials and context – both natural and human. Projects in the studio are given extended time for research so as to reach a level of innovation and original expression. Works range from the conversion of a ship and low-cost raised settlements in “chars” to a training centre, mosque, art gallery, museum, residences and multi-family housing, as well as corporate head offices. Chowdhury has been a visiting faculty member at the North South University and BRAC University, both in Bangladesh. In 2006, he attended a Glenn Murcutt masterclass in Sydney, Australia. He has twice been a finalist in the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and won first prize in Architectural Review’s AR+D Emerging Architecture Award 2012.
Chowdhury takes an active interest in art and in 2004 presented a lecture series Aspects of Contemporary Art in Germany at the Goethe Institut, Dhaka. He has worked as a professional photographer and has held seven solo exhibitions. He has designed and published three books: Around Dhaka, 2004; Plot Number Fifty Six, 2009 and The Night of Fifteen November, 2011 – a photographic and recorded account of some survivors of the cyclone SIDR in the coastal areas of Bangladesh.