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Urbana: The Latest Architecture and News

Building Bangladesh: A New Wave of Cultural Projects

Bangladesh has built a new wave of cultural architecture over the last decade. Tied to design influences from across the Bengal region and the broader Indian subcontinent, the country's modern buildings stand alongside monuments dating back thousands of years. With an architecture rooted in religion, history and culture, contemporary projects build upon the past to imagine a new future for Bangladesh and its cities.

© Mike Kelley, Will Scott© Hélène Binet© Asif Salman© Kurt Hoerbst+ 23


With this first comprehensive European exhibition the Aedes Architecture Forum presents the work of Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA from Bangladesh, who received the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2016 for the Friendship Centre on the flood plains of Gaibandha in northern Bangladesh. With further projects such as the Gulshan Society Mosque in Dhaka and the Cyclone Shelter in Kuakata, he gained widespread international acclaim. Careful arrangement of structures in areas marked by extreme climatic conditions, combined with local building techniques and materials, Kashef Chowdhury’s buildings are exemplary of an architecture that serves society with radical simplicity and poetry. With an

Hélène Binet Captures Kashef Chowdhury's Aga-Khan-Winning Friendship Centre in Bangladesh

Simplicity is the intent, monastic is the feel.
– Kashef Chowdhury

Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury/URBANA’s Friendship Centre in Gaibandha, Bangladesh, seems like a project that is not so much built up in the landscape, but carved out of it. A labyrinth of arches, courtyards, pavilions, and pools, all carefully crafted from handmade bricks, define the space of a facility for a charitable organization—Friendship NGO—who work with remote communities with limited opportunities.

© Hélène Binet© Hélène Binet© Hélène Binet© Hélène Binet+ 26

2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture Winners Announced

Six exemplary projects have been announced as winners of the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Presented once every three years, the award was established by the Aga Khan in 1977 to “identify and encourage building concepts that successfully addressed the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence.” To be considered for the award, projects must exhibit not only architectural excellence, but also the ability to improve users overall quality of life.

Selected from a shortlist of 19 candidates, the five winning projects will receive a $1 million dollar prize as they join an acclaimed list of previous winners, which includes buildings from Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Charles Correa, Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel and Hassan Fathy.

To Live Is To Be Slowly Born: Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA's Contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale

As part of ArchDaily's coverage of the 2016 Venice Biennale, we are presenting a series of articles written by the curators of the exhibitions and installations on show.

The title relates to the processes of architecture, which can be slow to come to fruition and therefore one also refers to architecture and patience, and to the meaningful sustained existence of buildings in their fragile environments.

The installation is a glass labyrinth, which one crosses to reach an internal landscape. The glass is clear – therefore it is an alternate take on the architectural manifestation of the 'labyrinth': an age-old space of intrigue and discovery. It refers to the idea that although one is sure of one’s intentions - has a clear vision - the path to achieving that may not be straightforward but rather quite 'labyrinthine', in the economies and climatic zones that the architect operates in. That is, one can see clearly but cannot progress easily.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu© Laurian Ghinitoiu© Laurian Ghinitoiu© Laurian Ghinitoiu+ 14

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering / SmithGroup

© Liam Fredrick© Liam Fredrick© Liam Fredrick© Liam Fredrick+ 21

Complexity Via Simplicity: Urbana's Parking Structure Facade

Asked to design an interactive facade for an existing parking structure at the new Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, Urbana principle Rob Ley had a conundrum to deal with: "With Indianapolis’ really extreme weather patterns, we gave a lot of thought to: how can we make something that’s interactive but won’t be broken in a year?” he told the Architect's Newspaper. “Unfortunately, the history of kinetic facades teaches us that that they can become a maintenance nightmare."

His solution came from turning the question on its head - how could they design and fabricate a static facade that appears to change when the viewer moves? The resulting design appears highly complex, while in fact using aluminum fins bent at just three different angles. Find out more about the challenges of fabricating this facade, and inserting it into an existing structure, through the video above or at the Architect's Newspaper Fabrikator blog.