Worldview: Dhaka

Click image to launch Worldview: Dhaka.

Worldview: Perspectives on Architecture and Urbanism from Around the Globe is a web-based project of the Architectural League that looks at the world’s cities through the eyes of young architects who live and work in them. The project was inaugurated in late 2002 with a report on Caracas, Venezuela, and continues with several new reports each year, concentrating on cities often overlooked by the mainstream architectural press.

Each Worldview report is conceived and assembled by an individual or pair of local architects, with contributions from other members of the city’s architecture community. Each report features an interview with the reporting architects, maps and statistical information, and a richly illustrated timeline of the city’s architectural history. Pressing issues in the city’s development are analyzed in illustrated essays and interviews with local architects and planners. Each report also presents a snapshot of the work of ten to fifteen young architecture firms, providing a compelling overview of the issues and ideas that are inspiring young architects around the world.

Although 75% of Bangladesh’s population is rural, the architectural profession is heavily urban-oriented: most practices are located in Dhaka, as are four of the five architecture schools, and the city is the principal source of private and public commissions.

Architecture’s presence in Dhaka ebbs and flows. The vibrancy of Louis Kahn’s work and Muzharul Islam’s monumental contribution to a regional Modernism are still unsurpassed. However, because architecture is considered an elite activity, the profession’s socio-cultural and political impact is still limited.

The practitioners featured in this report, which range from pragmatic endeavors to critical engagements, make it clear that there is a generation of young architects in Dhaka who are eager to engage in an internal and transnational dialogue about the future.

Worldview has been made possible by grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the J. Clawson Mills Fund of the Architectural League, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.