Modernist architecture is traditionally understood to be utilitarian, sleek, and most of all without context, such that it can be placed in any context and still stay true to aesthetic principles and its functional requirements. However, Louis Kahn’s National Assembly Building of Bangladesh in Dhaka is an extraordinary example of modern architecture being transcribed as a part of Bangali vernacular architecture. The National Assembly building, completed in 1982, stands as one of Kahn’s most prominent works, but also as a symbolic monument to the government of Bangladesh. The National Assembly Building was conceptually conceived in 1959 by the government of Pakistan as an extension to their parliamentary headquarters. It wasn’t until 1962 that Louis Kahn was commissioned to design the governmental headquarters. However, in March of 1971 construction was halted as Bangladesh had declared independence from Pakistan. Originally, Kahn had intended to make a building of monumental presence, but after Bangladesh had officially broke from Pakistani rule in December of 1971 the project became much more of a symbol of democracy and pride for the Bangali people. The building was finally completed in 1982 at more than double the initial estimated cost for completion at $32 million.
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