November 30, 2017 - S AM Swiss Architecture Museum - Bengal Stream
e-flux Architecture
November 30, 2017
November 30, 2017

S AM Swiss Architecture Museum

Courtesy S AM Exhibition.

Bengal Stream
The Vibrant Architecture Scene of Bangladesh
December 2, 2017–May 6, 2018

Opening: December 1, 7pm, with a welcoming greeting by Elisabeth Ackermann (Basel-Stadt) and Abul Khair, Chairman Bengal Foundation 

S AM Swiss Architecture Museum
Steinenberg 7
4051 Basel

T 0041 61 261 14 13

From December 2, 2017 to May 6, 2018, the S AM Swiss Architecture Museum is presenting the exhibition Bengal Stream: The Vibrant Architecture Scene of Bangladesh, curated by Niklaus Graber, Andreas Ruby and Viviane Ehrensberger.

Produced in collaboration with the Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscapes and Settlements, Dhaka.

With Bengal Stream S AM is the first museum worldwide to present an exhibition on Bangladesh’s architecture. In a chequered historical sequence of events, various trends have expressed themselves in different architectural ways, according to religious or socio-cultural developments. Nevertheless, many underlying motifs have held their ground in a typological sense for centuries and even represent a valid foundation for today's architectural trends. Modernism also used these as a basis on which to build, whereby the most important local protagonist was Muzharul Islam. It was also in keeping with his personal identity, situated between localism and internationalism, to bring international protagonists like Paul Rudolph, Stanley Tigerman and ultimately Louis I. Kahn to Bangladesh for important construction projects. In Bengal Stream, original drawings by Muzharul Islam are exhibited for the first time outside of his native Bangladesh.

The main focus of this exhibition is on contemporary positions. Many of today's protagonists were students, assistants or companions of Muzharul Islam and in recent decades they have formed an independent architecture scene that carries the societal and architectural concerns of their predecessors forwards in a contemporary way. Again and again, it is this loose group who, despite dynamic global pressure to develop, collectively stand up for architectural values and for an awareness of Bengali culture. The exhibition Bengal Stream brings together over 60 projects by established and emerging architects in Bangladesh. One of the most internationally prominent architectural photographers, Iwan Baan, was brought in to document the projects.

When the exhibition opens, a Christoph Merian Verlag publication with the same title will also be released. This catalogue covers all the presented projects and looks at the exhibition's themes in greater depth, with essays by the curators, as well as by local experts Kazi Khaleed Ashraf, Saif Ul Haque and Manzoorul Islam. 

S AM Swiss Architecture Museum graciously acknowledges the support from Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.


Symposium: When the Jamuna meets the Rhine
December 2, 9:30am–5pm
This symposium brings leading architects and thinkers from Bangladesh together with respondents from Switzerland
Alte Universität Basel, Rheinsprung 9/11, 4051 Basel 

Lecture: "The Modernist Muzharul Islam"
February 15, 7pm, Nurur Rahman Khan 
Ackermannshof, St. Johanns-Vorstadt 21, 4056 Basel 

Lecture: "The poor cannot afford poor solutions"
March 15, 7pm, Runa Khan 
Ackermannshof, St. Johanns-Vorstadt 21, 4056 Basel 

Lecture: "Co-creating space"
April 12, 7pm, Khondaker Hasibul Kobir 
Ackermannshof, St. Johanns-Vorstadt 21, 4056 Basel 

Films from Bangladesh at Stadtkino Basel
March 2018, programme from February 22 at 
Stadtkino Basel 

S AM Swiss Architecture Museum
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