Dhaka being ruined in the name of urban dev
Dhaka is definitely being ruined in the name of urban development, said the state minister for power, energy and mineral resources at the inauguration of a three-day international conference on architecture in the capital yesterday.
Private housing schemes are being developed massively filling rivers and water bodies with earth and some architects or others are designing those, added Nasrul Hamid, himself a real estate developer.
Blaming policymakers will be of no use, it is the responsibility of professionals to sensitise policymakers. “We want to save Dhaka but we cannot even save the Buriganga river,” he said without elaborating why.
Nasrul said he started off drawing pictures in his childhood and finally ended up as “a real estate businessman”.
Bengal Foundation in association with the Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB) is hosting the conference fashioned Engage Dhaka 2015 with the participation of 14 globally-acclaimed historians, theorists, teachers and practitioners of architecture from home and abroad.
Addressing the event, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said, “We need development in harmony with nature with the help of climate-resilient and modern architecture that nurtures the age-old local history and heritage.”
“Architecture is like a painting and one does not have to be an architect to appreciate it,” said chief guest Finance Minister AMA Muhith.
The conference Director Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury said Dhaka carries the legacy of master architects like Muzharul Islam, Louis I Kahn, Paul Rudolph and Stanly Tigerman.
The conference opened paying deep tributes to legendary master architect Muzharul, regarded as the pioneer of Bangalee modernism in architecture.
Noted architect Shamsul Wares of Bangladesh, who worked under Louis and Muzharul, said Muzharul was a thinker and philosopher who with a deep understanding of Banglaee society, culture, economy and climate founded the grounds for the future generation of architects.
Muzharul advocated that an architect must remain loyal to local history and culture while performing contemporary architecture, he said.
He broke away from the rigidness and static expression of colonial and Islamic architectural style for liberalism, openness and transparency in architectural work, as manifested in his landmark work, the fine arts institute building of Dhaka University.
The conference would help inspire and enrich the practice and thought of architecture in the country, said IAB President Abu Sayeed M Ahmed.
Bengal Foundation Chairman Abul Khair Litu said the foundation would start an Institute for Architecture, Landscapes and Settlements in August which would be directed by Kazi Khaleed Ashraf, currently teaching architecture at Hawaii University in the US.
Renowned British historian and critic of architecture William JR Curtis from France also spoke at the inaugural session.
Apart from Bashirul Haq and Saif Ul Haque from Bangladesh, other world famous architects taking part in the conference include Fumihiko Maki from Japan, Kenneth Frampton, Farooq Ameen and Rahul Mehrotra from the USA, Ken Yeang from Malaysia, Han Tümertekin from Turkey, Kongjian Yu from China, Anupama Kundoo from India, Palinda Kannangara from Sri Lanka and Héctor Fernández Elorza from Spain.
Receiving an overwhelming response with nearly 9,000 participants registering online, the conference ends tomorrow.