The Institute of Architects in Bangladesh (IAB), established the year after the country’s independence in 1972, held an international seminar on bamboo and vernacular architecture on 30 June 2018. The gathering of more than 250 local and international architects in Dhaka under the theme ‘Architecture with Bamboo: Inspirations from Vernacular’ was very interactive and highly relevant. The topic that was first discussed by two distinguished speakers from Indonesia: Dr. Andry Widoyowijatinoko, architect and researcher of Building Technology Research Group, and Effan Adhiwira, principal of EFF Studio and BambooNotion, was not completely unknown to the architects in the audience. Vernacular architecture is a style that incorporates local needs, availability of construction material, and local traditions. Over time, the concept was integrated into traditional architectural styles and adopted by formally-trained architects. Frank Lloyd Wright talked about vernacular: ‘folk building growing in response to actual needs, fitted into the environment by people who knew no better to fit than with native feeling’. Internationally known Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi also frequently mentions the style. The two speakers focused their presentations and talks on bamboo as a fast-growing renewable resource that produces no carbon emission if grown locally. They took the audience on a journey of how bamboo emerged from the vernacular to one of the innovative materials of today’s construction industry. Similar to Simon Velez’s Green Steel idea that we learned about at the India Design ID 2018, the IAB event speakers that also included local architects Nahas Ahmed Khalil and Bashirul Haq on the panel discussed the pros and cons of the organic material and opened up the floor for questions and discussions. Architecture in Bangladesh has a very long tradition and dates back around 2,500 years. Today traces of terracotta Bengal architecture, late medieval Hindu temple architecture and Saracenic Revival Architecture are still testaments to times long gone. In fact, the thatched roof bungalow using natural materials for its construction is traced back to Bengali vernacular architecture. The architecture field does not rest on its laurels and continues to create buildings adopting new and evolved styles. The industry is thriving. IBA has over 3,000 followers at different membership levels who regularly convene for meetings and networking events to promote the profession of architecture and develop architecture in Bangladesh. As a program sponsor, we had the opportunity to present our latest and most innovative products to the seminar delegates. At the IAB Center, a display with Derring and Purist faucet, Antilia with Beitou, Briolette with Avid, Veil Intelligent toilet, and ModernLife wall-hung toilet drew the seminar guests’ attention from the stage.
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