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Dhaka Tribune

Towards holistic development

Hopefully, this win works as an inspiration

Update : 24 Sep 2022, 01:19 AM

Congratulations to the two Bangladeshi projects that have won the prestigious 2022 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.


The Urban River Spaces project in Jhenaidah created by Khondakar Hasibul Kabir and Suhailey Farzana, and the Community Spaces of the Rohingya Refugee Response program by architects Rizvi Hassan, Khwaja Fatmi, and Saad Ben Mostafa, will, together with four other winning projects, share the $1 million award, one of the largest in architecture.


However, while we must celebrate this achievement, it also gives us reason to pause, and look at our nation's overall infrastructure and development.


As the country becomes more developed, it is a requirement that all other industries progress in tandem. This is especially notable given the fact that with development, the need for better infrastructure will grow. 


To say that infrastructural planning of Bangladesh has been messy will be an understatement. This is especially noticeable when it comes to Dhaka -- a city that suffers from bad traffic, lack of greenery, and lack of a habitable atmosphere. For example, at least a third of a city should be covered in greenery. To put things into perspective, this ratio -- when applied to Dhaka -- is below 7%.


All of this could have been fixed through proper infrastructural development and urban planning -- all of which invariably needs input from architects in tandem with urban planners.


There is also the issue of brain drain that sees the country lose hundreds of brilliant minds who leave in search of better futures. To that end, our win of such an important award in the field of architecture will surely go a long way. What remains is to learn our lessons from this achievement and apply it to other sectors. 


There needs to be a revamping of our curricula and training institutions. As FDI and domestic investment grows, it has to be shared holistically for the development of industries. Specialized schools need to be updated with the times, and a studio approach has to be taken where students have both the opportunity to learn and practice their craft. 


At the end of the day, we have to both develop and retain talent. Without a stable ecosystem, the hope to have long-lasting industries will be misplaced.


Make no mistake, the future of Bangladesh will be decided based on how holistically we can develop all our industries. Hopefully, this win works as an inspiration for that. 

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