Although Muzharul Islam (1923–2012) is already regarded as an important pioneer of tropical Modernity, his work is hardly known internationally outside the context of its development in today’s Bangladesh. This first internationally published monograph presents Islam’s career, approach and a series of exceptional buildings and projects to a wider audience.
Many themes that shape current global architectural debate are already addressed in the groundbreaking ideas and buildings of Muzharul Islam: climate-sensitive architecture, overcoming colonial mindsets, social engagement and self-sufficiency are aspects that Islam unceasingly investigated from the beginning of his career in the early 1950s.
His ideas are no less relevant today than those of Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi and Charles Correa, translating the often abstract conceptual construct of Modern building into a sensorial, approachable and contextual architecture that naturally integrates its users’ way of life.
Islam, who studied in the USA and England in the 1950s and 1960s, called for Modern architecture that was compatible with the local climate and culture, without lapsing into provincialism or unthinking internationalism. In keeping with his ideal of intercultural dialogue, he managed to attract international protagonists such as his teacher Paul Rudolph, his fellow student Stanley Tigerman and ultimately Louis I. Kahn to carry out important building tasks in his homeland.
Numerous contemporary photographs, plans and reproductions of Islam’s masterful original drawings take the readership on a voyage of discovery. Essays by former companions and the editors present multifaceted perspectives on Islam’s work, placing him within a historical context and current global interconnections.
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