The works and activities of Bengal Institute are currently on exhibit at Nogornama – The Future of Our Habitats. The exhibition opened yesterday at Bengal Shilpalay in Dhanmondi. Advisor of the Prime Minister, Private Industry and Investment, Salman F Rahman, MP, was the chief guest at the opening ceremony. The Mayor of Naryanganj, Dr Selina Hayat Ivy, and noted architect and educator Professor Shamsul Wares, were present as special guests. The programme started with an opening speech by Kazi Khaleed Ashraf, Director-General of Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscapes and Settlements. Abul Khair, Chairman of Bengal Foundation and Jalal Ahmed, President of IAB were also present at the event.
The Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscapes and Settlements was established in 2015 to present ideas for a new urbanism based on an ecological and humane approach, one which superseded the conflict between nature and progress. As a place for advancing the understanding of the environment, Bengal Institute presents a platform for developing ideas and programmes to improve the qualities of architecture, landscapes and settlements. Taking on the challenge of the largescale, innovative transdisciplinary programmes, the institute integrates architectural and design research, investigation of cities and settlements and the study of larger regions and landscapes.
Bangladesh is symptomatic of the gravest environmental challenges. It is in the neighbourhood of such pronouncements that we find necessary to rethink the scope of environmental design, and its pedagogy and practices.
With its aquatic-geological formation – in flux – and projected consequences of environmental changes, the organisation of land, water and settlements takes on an urgency that is unique to Bangladesh. Settlements patterns, architectural types, and socio-economic life that are dynamically interconnected, confront new conditions raised by accelerated economic, environmental and social transformations.
In such anxious times, the architectural agenda needs to go beyond problem solving and form creation. Bengal Institute believes that the architectural task should extend its sights to the intellectual, ethical and creative issues facing the futures of human habitats. In this regard, a new “architectural intelligence” is needed that is more about place-form, rather than spectacular objects. The question of systemic and integrated landscapes, whether as habitats, place-forms, agricultural fabrics, or natural wetlands, should be at the core of this new approach. Developing this design intelligence requires a new kind of knowledge base, training and orientation that will uncover the original intimacy between architecture, habitation and landscape.
The exhibition presents the four-fold activities of Bengal Institute: to bring about a comprehensive knowledge of the past and future of our environment, to conduct deep research and analytical investigation in an integrated way, to generate new visions for the future of our habitats and to present the findings and propositions to a larger audience. It will conclude on November 30.