Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban
জাতীয় সংসদ ভবন
Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka, Bangladesh — June 26, 2004
The National Assembly Building, or Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban জাতীয় সংসদ ভবন, was designed by the world-famous architect Louis I. Kahn. The building is constructed entirely of brick and poured-in-place concrete masonry. White marble lines the interior walls of the complex. The miracle of this post-modernistic masterpiece is that it was built with the limited resources that existed in Bangladesh during the tumultuous years of its creation. The construction began in 1961 with an estimated cost of $15 million. The complex, with all services and facilities, was completed 21 years later in 1982 with a revised cost of $32 million. During this time, Bangladesh endured a bitter civlwar with Pakistan that ultimately granted independence to the country. The building resides on 208 acres and is surrounded by massive pools and endless grass lawns. Beyond the iron fences that protect the compound is the seemingly nonstop bustle of Dhaka. The public is not permitted to enter the grounds, but two Portuguese architects that I was with this day convinced security (after a two-hour pleading session) that we should be able to visit. Eventually the guards succumbed and gave us a wonderful two-hour tour of the grounds. I have to say that I initially didn’t find beauty in this building because I did not understand the dynamics involved. After some Internet research, however, I now understand what a feat and marvel it is that this building materialized in this impoverished yet hopeful country. The weather was so overcast on the day I shot these photos, that I desaturated several. Let’s see if you can tell the difference…
The Assembly Chamber, a 300-seat, 30-meters high, domed amphitheater
The blonde Portuguese architect (in the middle) and his girlfriend (taking the picture) somehow managed (after two days of negotiating) to get us a private tour of this secure and otherwise off-limits building.