Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA: Critical Response

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

June 28, 2022
7:00 p.m.

Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA | Friendship Hospital Satkhira, Shyamnagar Upazila, Bangladesh, 2018. Image credit: Asif Salman

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.

Kashef Chowdhury cofounded the Dhaka-based firm URBANA in 1995 and has led the practice as solo principal since 2004. The firm’s projects span various typologies and methodologies, from climate-action initiatives to cultural, educational, sports, health, industrial, religious, and residential facilities. In its own words, the practice aims to cultivate “a contextually and socially responsible…architectural and planning response” to the twin crises of climate change and migration in Bangladesh.

Recent projects include:

  • Friendship Hospital Satkhira, a brick hospital in a rural fishing community in Bangladesh oriented around a rainwater-collecting canal;
  • Ukhia Schools, a prototype school in a Rohingya refugee camp constructed entirely of bamboo;
  • Kuakata Cyclone Shelter, an exposed concrete cyclone shelter that doubles as a school and community clinic in rural Bangladesh.

Kashef Chowdhury studied architecture at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). He received an ar+d Award for Emerging Architecture from The Architectural Review in 2012, an Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2016, and the RIBA International Prize in 2021. URBANA received first prize in the national competition for the Independence Monument and the Museum of Bangladesh in 1997. 

The lecture will be followed by a conversation and Q&A with Paul Lewis. Lewis is a principal at LTL Architects and a professor and former associate dean at Princeton University School of Architecture. He is the president of The Architectural League.


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

The event is co-sponsored by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union.