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Mazharul Islam

Muzharul Islam as a juror of the first Aga Khan Award, Genova (1980).
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Muzharul Islam as a juror of the first Aga Khan Award, Genova (1980).

Muzharul Islam (25 December 1923 – 15 July 2012) was a Bangladeshi architect, urban planner, educator and activist. Islam is the pioneer of modern architecture in Bangladesh and the father of Bengali modernism. Islam's style and influence dominated the architectural scene in the country during the 1960s and 70s, along with major US architects he brought to work in Dhaka.

As a teacher, architect, social and political activist, Islam set the course of architectural practice in the country not only through his own many varied works but also through being instrumental in inviting architects like Louis I Kahn, Richard Neutra, Stanley Tigerman, Paul Rudolph, Robert Boughey and Konstantinos Doxiadis to work in Bangladesh.

Education and influences

Muzharul Islam was born on 25 December 1923 in Murshidabad. He went to the United States in 1950 where he received his bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of Oregon. In 1956, he received a scholarship to study tropical architecture at the AA School of Architecture, London. In 1961, he completed his post-graduation under Paul Rudolph from Yale University. At Yale Stanley Tigerman was one of his classmates, and there he came in touch with Louis I Kahn too. Muzharul Islam began his career by designing two buildings in the Shahbag area in 1955 – Dhaka University Library and College of Arts and Crafts. Between 1958 and 1964, Islam was an architect in C&B Dept of the Government of East Pakistan.

Zahara, September 1st, 2020