Muzharul Islam

For the writer, see Mazhar ul Islam.
Muzharul Islam
Born (1923-12-25)25 December 1923
Murshidabad, British Raj
Died 15 July 2012(2012-07-15) (aged 88)[1]
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Nationality Bangladeshi
Alma mater University of Oregon
Yale University
AA School of Architecture
Occupation Architect
Parent(s) Professor Omdatul Islam
Mrs.Zakia Khatoon
Awards Grand Master Award, South Asian Architecture Award Ceremony
Independence Day Award
Buildings Faculty of Fine Arts
Jahangirnagar University Master Plan and designs
Chittagong University master plan and designs
Bangladesh National Archive

Muzharul Islam (Bengali: মাজহারুল ইসলাম; 25 December 1923 – 15 July 2012) was a Bangladeshi architect, urban planner, educator and activist. He is considered as the Grand Master of regional modernism in South Asia. Islam is the pioneer of modern architecture in Bangladesh and the father of Bengali modernism.[2] Islam's style and influence dominated the architectural scene in the country during the 1960s and 70s, along with major US architects he brought to work in Dhaka.

As a teacher, architect, social and political activist, Islam set the course of architectural practice in the country not only through his own many varied works but also through being instrumental in inviting architects like Louis Kahn, Richard Neutra, Stanley Tigerman, Paul Rudolph, Robert Boughey and Konstantinos Doxiadis to work in Bangladesh.

Early life

Muzharul Islam was born on 25 December 1923 in Murshidabad. He went to the United States in 1950 where he received his bachelor's degree in Architecture from University of Oregon. In 1956, he received a scholarship to study tropical architecture at the AA School of Architecture, London.[3] In 1961, he completed his post-graduation under Paul Rudolph from Yale University.[4] At Yale Stanley Tigerman was one of his classmates, and there he came in touch of Louis I Kahn.[5] Muzharul Islam began his career by designing two buildings in the Shahbag area in 1955 – Dhaka University Library and College of Arts and Crafts.[6] Between 1958 and 1964, Islam was the Senior Architect of the Government of East Pakistan.[4]


Site Plan for Sher-e-Bangla Nagar

His most important work was born when the Governor's Conference of Pakistan decided in 1959, under the leadership of President Ayub Khan, that Dhaka will be second capital of Pakistan.[5] The government decided to build a capital complex at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka. Muzharul Islam was given to design Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban (National Assembly Building of Bangladesh). But, he brought his teacher Louis Kahn into the project to do a significant work for future generation. Islam worked closely with him from 1965 to Kahn's death in 1973.

Along with Kahn, he also brought Paul Rudolph and Stanley Tigerman to work in Bangladesh, and three of them came to be known as the American Trio. Apart from the Trio, it was Islam's monumental style that dominated Bangladesh architecture from the 1950s onwards.[5]

His major works include – Jahangirnagar University, Chittagong University, Central Public Library, Charukala Institute, the Azimpur Estate, Rangmati township, and a number of Polytechnic Institutes.[4] Islam designed the master plan of Dhaka City. He also created the logo for the government of Bangladesh.[7]


A documentary film on Mazharul Islam named Tini(The Architect) was released by Institute of Architects Bangladesh in 2000, which was directed by Enamul Karim Nirjhar.

Notable works

Year Project Image Location Comments
1953–54 College of Arts and Crafts Shahbag, Dhaka
Dhaka University Library University of Dhaka
Bangladesh National Archives and Library Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka
1962 Housing for class IV Employees Azimpur Estate, Dhaka
1963–64 Railway Rehabilitation Zone Khilgaon, Dhaka Plan for the project
Rangamati Town Rangamati, CHT Plan for the project
1963–65 BCSIR Laboratory Buildings Dhanmondi, Dhaka
1964 National Institute of Public Administration Building Shahbag, Dhaka
1965–71 Headquarters Building, Agricultural Development Corporation Motijheel, Dhaka 14 storied
5 polytechnic institutes Rangpur, Bogra, Pabna, Sylhet and Barisal In collaboration with Arch. Stanley Tigerman
EFU Building (Jiban Bima Bhaban) Project Motijheel, Dhaka 27 storied
Road Research Laboratories Dhaka, Bangladesh
1968–71 Chittagong University master plan and designs Chittagong University, Chittagong Designs for students' hostel, humanities building, science building, administrative building, readers' quarters, VC's quarters, professors' quarters, storage and godowns
Housing for Ruppur Atomic Energy Complex Savar, Dhaka
Jahangirnagar University Master Plan and designs Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka Designs for students' hostel, readers quarters and class IV employees' quarters
1980–84 Jaipurhat Limestone and cement Project Jaipurhat, Bangladesh Master plan, housing for 200 officers, housing for 1700 employees, clinic and hospital, clinic and hospital, bazaar and mosque
National Library Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka
1987 Office Building for the World Bank Dhaka, Bangladesh
1995 Garden City Project Dhaka, Bangladesh 20 storied


Muzharul Islam died on 15 July 2012 at 12.06 am in Dhaka, Bangladesh.[9] He was aged 88.


Some publication featured Muzharul Islam:


See also



  1. "The passing of Muzharul Islam". The Daily Star. 19 July 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  2. Syed Abrar (21 October 2005). "A Modern Bangali Architect". Star Weekend Magazine. The Daily Star.
  3. 1 2 Muzharul Islam Archive
  4. 1 2 3 4 Mainul Hassan (27 December 2009). "Architect Mazharul Islam turns eighty-six". The Daily Star.
  5. 1 2 3 Kazi Khaleed Ashraf, "Mazharul Islam, Kahn and Architecture in Bangladesh", MIMAR 31: Architecture in Development, page 57, Aga Khan Trust for Culture, 1989
  6. Shivangi Ambani Gandhi, "Poetry in Architecture", Bangladeshi Architects in Australia}
  7. "Government of the people's republic of Bangladesh". Brands of the World. Archived from the original on 27 June 2006.
  8. Farhana Urmee (24 December 2010). "The Journey of a Dreamer". Star Weekend Magazine. The Daily Star.
  9. "Mazharul Islam passes away". The Daily Star. 15 July 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2012.

Further reading

External links

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