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In his office Urbana, Bangladesh, Kashef Chowdhury designs architecture that is rooted in the history and nature of the location. Nature in this sense not only consists of vegetation, plants and forests, but also the spiritual and cultural context of a specific environment and landscape. The range of his works includes the transformation of ships, the development of housing and the construction of mosques, museums and corporate headquarters. All of his projects have the common feature that they are based on comprehensive research work, aimed at applying an awareness of a specific location and its nature to achieve a high degree of innovation and original expression. This combination of traditional building styles and contemporary architecture often has an inspirational effect. The Consciousness of Place is Chowdhury’s philosophical engagement with his own understanding of architecture, based on his research and lectures. It focuses on the significance of architecture, which is able to connect us to nature and liberate us from hectic urban life. Buildings and workplaces should be transformed into oases of peace and relaxation in order to benefit from nature’s regenerative and relaxing qualities. Chowdhury stresses the need to listen to nature and appreciate its beauty. Accordingly, he prefers natural materials in his projects, while also using the interplay of light and shadow as a key element to create spaces that inspire us to pause and think. This publication is a manifesto of a form of architecture that harmonises with the respective location, reflecting the identity of its culture and people. Chowdhury regards his task not so much as work and more as an activity stemming from his love of an art form that serves the people – which he believes is the nature of architecture. In recent years, Chowdhury’s constructed works have attracted international attention and have been awarded prizes such as the 2022 RIBA International Prize and the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
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