Deemed a masterpiece by many, the building’s construction started in 1961, but it couldn’t be completed until nine years after the architect’s death in 1983. The interruption came from the liberation war of Bangali people, which effected Kahn’s vision tremendously.
The war inspired him towards a new vision and the design went from an imposing government office to a symbol of democracy and pride for the Bangali people.
We've gathered 5 interesting facts about Louis Kahn's masterpiece.
1. A New Page for the Bengalis
The building is located in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh and all institutions of the country’s parliamentary system are included.
Its structure is made up of 8 volumes located around the main assembly hall: this symbolizes the importance of democracy and is an indication of Kahn’s functional attitude.
2. One of a Kind Design
Hotels, restaurants and ancillary spaces such as office spaces are placed around the center to create a functional spatial structure.
Design-wise, it is safe to say that the building carries its own with clarity in form and composition, and powerful in scale and siting. Kahn has accumulated both the vernacular and monumental archetypes of the region and transformed it into its purest form: the core of architecture.
At the heart of the design, there is the assembly chamber: a place of unity for the people of democracy. It is a 30-meters high domed amphitheater and a giant library that has 300 seats.
3. Genius Use of Geometry
The identity of the design comes from the geometric shapes that adorn the façade of the building. Kahn’s intention was to produce an ideal expression for the new democracy by using geometric shapes such as circle, half-circle, square, and triangle. These shapes of a dramatic atmosphere are forms inspired by the Bangladeshi culture.
These cut parts strengthen the light and building relationship by fully accepting the light in.
The different openings in the shape of triangles, circles, and rectangles differentiate it from the typical monumental structures and avoid the addition of windows.
The building is surrounded by a large artificial lake and all 9 blocks around the octagonal main hall stand alone. Each of these 9-story blocks connects to each other at only three elevations. The complex transport network of different types of elevators enables the transfer from one to the other to happen easily.
4. Perfect Fit for the Climate
It is also built with concrete inlaid with white marble, which is crucial for resistance since the Bengali desert climate tends to go to extremes. This also protects the interior from the sun and heavy rain while allowing the air to circulate freely.
The building resembles a large mass of concrete that has dug and sculpted itself in order to achieve a perfectly practical entity.
5. Critically Acclaimed
Kahn’s masterpiece has been acclaimed by publications all around the world and has also been awarded the prized Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
Moreover, The High Court of Bangladesh has recently passed an act to secure the preservation of Kahn’s original vision from any future alterations.