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     Volume 4 Issue 41 | April 8, 2005 |

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An Architectural Soul
in Harmony

Morshed Ali Khan

Architecture is a social phenomenon that demands total accountability. The triangular relationship among the architect, the client and the society is complex but the ultimate challenge of the architect is to remove the complexity and bring in a harmony among the three, says Rafiq Azam, an architect who has been making waves both at home and abroad.

Azam has been awarded with some of the most prestigious national and international awards for his projects in Dhaka. The young architect who graduated from BUET in 1989 won the Cityscape Architectural Review Commenda-tion Award 2004" for the project Khazedewan apartment building in the old part of Dhaka. Azam became the first ever Bangladeshi to win such an award in an international design competition jointly administered by the London based Architectural Review and Cityscape 2004, Dubai. In the same year Azam was one of the 23 finalists in the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, one of the highest architectural awards in the world.

Azam explains that the triangular harmony generates a place, which can influence shaping a healthy social behavioral pattern. Every object, including a tree, a pavement, a car, a structure, a boundary wall represents dialogues that reflects upon the mind of a passerby. For instance, a high boundary wall is an instant symbol of rejection, distrust and disrespect, which eventually ends up forming a fragile society."

"We would always need buildings but the designs must help develop a friendship between the people and environment. From a friendly environment children, the future generations could learn to respect."

Azam's talents in the field of architecture was put beyond question when he won the "South Asian Architecture Commendation Award in 1997", "Focus Countries' Young Architect's Award in 1999, and Focus Countries' Commendation Award" in 2003. These awards were instituted by J K Cement, India. No Bangladeshi architect had ever won J K Cement awards thrice before. Azam also won Institute of Architect Bangladesh Design Award 1996 when the institute started the award for the first time.

The professional feat of Azam started back in 1987, when he fetched the first award in an Architectural competition organised by the M.I.T Harvard University, USA and CHETNA, Dhaka.

A born artist, Azam as a child and a young man between the years 1975 and 1989 won three international awards for his artworks, including the Jawharlal Nehru Memorial Gold Medal from Shankar's International Children's Competition in India. Nationally, his artworks won six prestigious awards.

For Azam there was no better news when in 2004 he heard from Architect Glenn Murcutt, a world famous Pritzker award winner (considered Noble Prize for Architecture) to attend "Glenn Murcutt Master Class" in Australia. Azam was one of the thirty globally selected architects to attend the class conducted by Glenn Murcutt himself.

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