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Dhaka: Memories or Lost
Published by Scheidegger und Spiess AG Verlag
A very personal view of one of the world's largest metropolises from Kashef Chowdhury, who is one of the most recognised architects from South Asia and features previously unpublished material.
Upon setting foot in Dhaka, with its beautifully landscaped gardens adorning ancient mosques and monuments, it becomes clear that this is a city steeped in history. One of the oldest settlements in Bangladesh, it is today among the largest cities in the world, and rapid, often unplanned, urbanisation has vastly outpaced sustainability, threatening the historic buildings and communities that make up the city's cultural soul. But, despite bursting at the seams, Dhaka's six centuries of history are still visible if we look carefully in the shadows of the tall buildings, in the spaces between the speeding cars. Dhaka-based architect Kashef Chowdhury's camera captures a record of the capital city of the local character that may soon be lost due to urban development. In Chowdhury's photographs, a woman hangs sheets of polythene to dry and resell, a blind man sings mystic love songs. Other photographs reflect Dhaka's state of social and cultural flux, like an image of weary night-shift workers returning from a wholesale market in the late morning or of the barely visible lights of a pick-up truck concealed to prevent theft. Chowdhury is one of South Asia's most renowned architects, and Dhaka: Memories or Lost constitutes his deeply personal tribute to the city.
Kashef Chowdhury founded his Dhaka-based firm URBANA in 1995. He has twice been finalist for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and has won various other prizes for his work, including the Architectural Review's 2012 Emerging Architecture Award. Philip Ursprung is a Professor of Histroy of Art and Architecture at ETH Zurich.
Reviewer: Paul Doolan
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