Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA: Critical Response

The Bangladesh-based architect confronts the twin crises of climate change and migration.

July 26, 2022

Recorded on June 28, 2022.

Current Work is a lecture series featuring leading figures in the worlds of architecture, urbanism, design, and art.

The spring 2022 Current Work series focuses on architectural practices designing museums, schools, and cultural centers that contend with the complex legacies of place.

In this video, Kashef Chowdhury, co-founder and director of Bangladesh-based firm URBANA, presents five of the studio’s completed humanitarian projects including Plinth Raising, a design to raise settlements in the Jamuna Brahmaputra river network region, to protect them against seasonal flooding; Ukhia Schools, a prototype school in a Rohingya refugee camp constructed entirely of bamboo; and Kuakata Cyclone Shelter, an exposed concrete cyclone shelter for which part of the work was finding a client to fund the building. The projects Chowdhury shares display his commitment to solving complex climate and migration challenges in resourceful ways, foregrounding what Chowdjury deems necessary to architectural practice today: an aesthetic of responsibility. 

The lecture is followed by a conversation with Paul Lewis that touches on ideas of ruralism, how Chowdhury’s previous career in photography informs his work, and how architecture must be inspired rather than taught.


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