Living close to nature | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 03, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Living close to nature

Living close to nature

Rafiq Azam's book launch and Colloquium at Bangla Academy

Guests at the book launch. Photo: Ridwan Adid Rupon
Guests at the book launch. Photo: Ridwan Adid Rupon

Bengal Foundation and Milan-based international publication house Skira jointly published a book “Rafiq Azam: Architecture for Green Living”. The book was launched at Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad auditorium of Bangla Academy on May 1, along with a daylong International Seminar titled “Green Architecture in Bangladesh: A Global Perspective”. Vice Chancellor of BRAC University Dr. Ainun Nishat unveiled the book as chief guest while US Ambassador to Dhaka, Dan Mozena; President, Institute of Architects Bangladesh, Abu Sayeed M. Ahmed and International Commissions Editor of Skira, Rosa Maria Falvo spoke as special guests at the event.
Rafiq Azam is an internationally acclaimed Bangladeshi Architect. His architecture is a fusion of tradition, nature and mysticism. The use of plants and gardens, concrete and brick with simple expressions are the distinctive features of his designs. Rafiq's skillful use of light and shadow, water and air is influenced by the mysticism cited by Lalon and Tagore.
Chairman of Bengal Foundation Abul Khair delivered welcome address at the event that was emceed by Luva Nahid Chowdhury.
“It would not be possible to speak of architecture in the context of Bangladesh without mentioning Muzharul Islam. He had realised very early on the scope and value of a Bangladeshi vision of architecture and invited architects likes Louis I Kahn, Stanley Tigerman, Paul Rudolph, Robert Boughey and Constantinos Doxiadis to work on projects in Bangladesh. Many young Bangladeshi architects, including Azam, have all been influenced by Islam. Rafiq Azam's body of work is considerable and his innovative creations have earned him international acclaim,” said Abul Khair.
“Rafiq Azam's architecture is Bengali. He's not just some architect borrowing things from the West or somewhere else. He has brought Bengali culture into his architecture, and that is what makes Rafiq's works so special,” said Dan Mozena.
At the seminar, Rafiq Azam presented his journey as an architect. Dr. Ainun Nishat presented the keynote paper at the seminar while Aroop Chatterjee, Country Head of Asian Paints Limited also spoke at the programme.
Architect, architectural historian and critic Kazi Khaleed Ashraf (USA) moderated the discussion taken part by architects Peter Stutchbury (Australia), Christopher Benninger (India), Philip J. Goad (Australia) and Shamsul Wares (Bangladesh), Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam (Bangladesh) and Rosa Maria Falvo (Italy).  
Christopher Benninger and Peter Stutchbury also presented speeches at the seminar. Screening of a documentary featuring Azam's architecture and interview, followed. Bengal foundation and Shatotto jointly organised the event, sponsored by Asian Paints Bangladesh Limited.
An exhibition titled “Water in Light”, featuring an exposition of Azam's works, also opened yesterday at Bengal Art Lounge.

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