The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Saturday, July 20, 2019


Bangladeshi mosque architect smashes glass ceiling
This photograph taken on October 1, 2016, shows a general view of the exterior of a mosque designed by Bangladesh architect Marina Tabassum in Dhaka. As one of the only female architects in a country where women rarely even enter mosques, Marina Tabassum was an unconventional choice to design Bangladesh's new Baitur Rouf Mosque, which has just won a prestigious international prize. Rehman Sobhan / AFP.

by Shafiqul Alam


DHAKA (AFP).- As one of the only female architects in a country where women rarely even enter mosques, Marina Tabassum was an unconventional choice to design Bangladesh's new Baitur Rouf Mosque, which has just won a prestigious international prize.

But there is little of the conventional about the 45-year-old Tabassum or her design, which eschews traditional minarets and domes in favour of a single-storey terracotta brick structure that is suffused with light and remains cool even in the scorching summer months.

Like most women in deeply conservative Bangladesh, Tabassum had barely set foot in a mosque when she was commissioned to design the building in 2005 after her grandmother donated a piece of land.

Few of Bangladesh's mosques have dedicated sections for female worshippers, and most women pray at home.

But Tabassum visited over 100 before setting pen to paper for the Baitur Rouf Mosque in north Dhaka, focusing on creating a haven of peace in a poor neighbourhood of one of the world's most congested cities.

"We may not have a tradition of women going into mosques to pray in the Indian subcontinent, but I have experienced some really beautiful spiritual spaces. That has always been a great inspiration to me," she told AFP in a recent interview.

"The whole idea of spirituality as an element in design has always been something very intriguing and I like working with spiritual spaces."

The 45-year-old, who emerged as one of Bangladesh's top architects after designing Dhaka's Museum of Independence, says her sex has not constrained her career.

"I think of myself as a professional. This whole notion of me being a woman really does not exist in my mind. It just does not exist," she said.

'Natural air conditioning'
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is handed out every three years and rewards excellence in architecture serving Muslim communities. This year the $1 million prize was shared between six projects around the world.

The jury said the Dhaka mosque "challenges the status quo", praising its "robust simplicity that allows for deep reflection and contemplation in prayer".

Officially secular but mainly Muslim Bangladesh has a rich history of mosque building, dating back to the Turkish invasion of the 13th century.

The earliest combined their own designs with elements found in local traditions, such as the use of brick and small domes that span the roof, creating a unique style.

Tabassum said she tried to fuse those "glorious lost traditions" of mosque design with contemporary architectural practices.

Since it was completed in 2012, the Baitur Rouf Mosque has attracted visitors from around the country -- to the obvious delight of the imam, Deen Islam.

"Unlike other mosques in the country, it does not have a minaret, or a dome, or a platform to deliver Friday prayers. Yet to these visitors it is one of the most beautiful mosques of the country," the 38-year-old imam told AFP on a recent visit.

"The mild light that enters the mosque is very soothing. Even during a hot summer day, the temperature inside remains mild. You feel like you're in natural air conditioning."

Dozens of tiny windows in the roof and walls create a soft light that changes through the day as the sun passes over the building, while the traditional terracotta bricks keep the interior cool.

Tabassum also teaches architecture students and says she is highly selective about the projects she takes on, and every one must have some social value.

"We are a very young nation and an architect's responsibility goes beyond just designing beautiful buildings," she said.

"We can design buildings like the ones designed by Frank Gehry. But I would question whether that would be the right thing to do in a country like Bangladesh, whose economy is still not developed.

"In the Bangladesh context, that would be an ugly thing to do."



© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse





Today's News

October 5, 2016

First exhibition dedicated to the artworks of Picasso and Giacometti opens in Paris

4 new world records at comics sale by Artcurial in Hong Kong

The Leslie Waddington Collection sells 100% by Lot and 100% by value

David Gill Gallery exhibits Zaha Hadid's final collection of furniture

Bangladeshi mosque architect smashes glass ceiling

Photographic masterpieces offered at Swann Galleries

Prince's Paisley Park to open, but only for some

Pinakothek der Moderne inaugurates an exhibition series on fine-art photography in the digital age

Design by Nature: Freeman's announces October 16 Design Auction

Osborne Samuel Gallery showcases the early works of photographer Erwin Blumenfeld

Shannon Te Ao wins Walters Prize 2016

Street art graduates to Paris gallery

In Miami, warehouse district becomes art haven

Phillips names Terry Chu to lead Jewellery Department; Anellie Manolas joins as Jewellery Specialist

The Elgiz Museum exhibits works from its collection on the Greek Island of Lesbos

The Canada Gallery presents "Floe Edge: Contemporary Art and Collaborations from Nunavut"

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen exhibits Chinese fashion talent of the future

Robilant+Voena exhibits works by Emilio Scanavino

Street art's stars and the cities that nurture them

Eskenazi exhibits recent paintings by Zeng Xiaojun

Griffin Gallery's new exhibition: From bullet hole sculptures to taxidermied bees

New Director of Collections and Exhibitions for Chatsworth

Sovereign Films announces renewed sponsorship for the annual London Lecture of the Ruskin Foundation

MPavilion 2016 designed by Indian architect Bijoy Jain launches

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Original 'Star Wars' creators lift lid on special effects challenges

2.- Lost '$170 million Caravaggio' snapped up before French auction

3.- Mansell's 'Red Five' on pole for Bonhams sale

4.- Impressionism's 'forgotten woman' shines in new Paris show

5.- Sotheby's to auction the best-surviving NASA videotape recordings of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

6.- Exhibition explores Dutch and Spanish painting of the 16th and 17th centuries

7.- Cyprus discovers 'first undisturbed Roman shipwreck'

8.- Sotheby's unveils 'Treasures from Chatsworth' with Leonardo Da Vinci drawing, Lucian Freud portraits, and more

9.- Infamous botched art restoration in Spain gets makeover

10.- 1958 Gibson Flying V Korina played by Dave Davies to grab center stage in Heritage Auctions' sale



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez


Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful