Architecture combines engineering and fine arts to bring about comfort and ease in designing space, the finance minister told the inaugural ceremony of an international architecture symposium in Dhaka yesterday.
Architect Muzharul Islam, who pioneered the study of architecture in Bangladesh since the fifties, had once said sometimes architecture might be expensive but it pays back in other ways, said AMA Muhith.
He said Muzharul Islam left some lasting impressions of good architectural works, and now, 50 years later, one did not have to preach the virtues of architecture in Bangladesh.
“Our craving for beauty emanates from the cultural core…we did not lose our love for aesthetics despite poverty,” said Muhith.
The Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscape, and Settlements in association with Bengal Foundation organised the three-day symposium on "Architecture Now/ Next" at Krishibid Institution Bangladesh.
Presently, over 30 percent of Bangladesh's population live in the urban area, and the population is projected to be 200 million in the next 35 years, of which half will live in the urban area, said Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, who is on the advisory board of Bengal Institute.
So the agenda of the symposium is to discuss how to optimise space for a meaningful life, he said.
The symposium aims at understanding new directions in architecture and city building along with the kind of work that should be recognised as exemplary.
The invited speakers and moderators included globally acclaimed professionals, academics, writers, critics and thinkers.
Some are architect Peter Stutchbury from Australia, Peter Buchanan from the UK, Prof Adele Santos, Prof Timmy Aziz and historian Naeem Mohaiemen from the US, architect Alberto Kalach from Mexico, architect Suha Ozkan from Turkey, architect Byoung Soo Cho from South Korea, architect Vo Trong Nghia from Vietnam, Prof Syed Manzoorul Islam from Bangladesh, and architect Nikalus Graber from Switzerland.
Kazi Khaleed Ashraf, director general of Bengal Institute, and Abul Khair, chairman of Bengal Foundation, also spoke, while Fazle Hasan Abed chaired and Luva Nahid Choudhury, director general of Bengal Foundation, conducted the inaugural session.
Last year, Bengal Foundation organised a similar conference of renowned architects from home and abroad titled "Engage Dhaka", and it was dedicated to Muzharul Islam, considered the father of modern architecture in Bangladesh.