Architect Bashirul Haq (1942-2020): Life, Death and Tears

Source:  Facebook page of Architect Bashirul Haq
Source: Facebook page of Architect Bashirul Haq

On April 4, many architects, including me couldn’t hold back tears after the heart-breaking news of Architect Bashirul Haq’s demise. It’s during a time like this when many people stop to reflect on life and the realization that at any moment it could be your last day to spend time with a loved one or family member.

Architect Bashirul Haq, the country’s one of the pioneers of profession, was an inspiring personality and beloved mentor of many. His death has devasted architect community and sparked grief in social media. Community leaders, institutes and individuals have published condolence notes in their respective official pages and websites.

বাংলাদেশ স্থপতি ইনস্টিটিউট গভীর শোকের সাথে জানাচ্ছে যে বাস্থই ফেলোবাংলাদেশের স্থাপত্য চর্চার অন্যতম পথিকৃৎস্থপতি বশিরুল হক (H-008) .. ঢাকার গণস্বাস্থ্য নগর হাসপাতালে চিকিৎসাধীন অবস্থায় মৃত্যু বরণ করেছেন (ইন্নালিল্লাহি…… রাজিউন) তাঁর মৃত্যুতে এদেশের স্থাপত্য চর্চা  শিক্ষাক্ষেত্রে অপূরণীয় শূন্যতার সৃষ্টি হলো। বাংলাদেশ স্থপতি ইনস্টিটিউট এই কালজয়ী স্থপতির প্রতি শ্রদ্ধা নিবেদন করছে এবং তাঁর শোকাহত পরিবারের প্রতি আন্তরিক সমবেদনা জ্ঞাপন করছে। -Institute of Architects Bangladesh

We deeply mourn the passing of Bashirul Haq, one of the most respected architects of Bangladesh, and a beloved mentor to many..Our condolences to his family, friends, and everyone who drew inspiration from his remarkable works and teachings- Bengal Institute

Architect Bashirul Haq’s self-interest was subordinate to his patriotic affection. Moved by his ardent attachment, he declined the offer from the world’s leading architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) in his early career and flew back to Bangladesh and established Bashirul Haq & Associates in 1977.

In his lifetime Bashirul Haq designed many architectural marvels including some of the most notable buildings of post-independent Bangladesh. His works are well documented and published widely. He has left his mark in diverse fields of architecture ranging from urban apartment housing to emergency shelter in disaster risk areas. The cyclone shelters designed by him in the coastal regions of Bangladesh received global acclamation and documented in the book Battling the Storm – Study on Cyclone Resistant Housing, published by the German Red Cross.

A recently published monograph of his works and philosophy, has also documented architect’s selected works. The editors noted, “Bashirul Haq is undoubtedly is one of the most critically acclaimed contemporary architects of South Asia. His most significant contribution to Bangladeshi architecture is establishing a deep-rooted connection with the local context with a rich blend of tradition and modernity, finding a language that is contemporary yet responsive to local culture and climate, creating contextual forms.”

[ Interested readers can find his works on the Facebook page: Architect. BASHIRUL HAQ  ]

Bashirul Haq Architect- a monograph of his works and philosophy published in 2018 | Courtesy: Ar. Mohaimeen Islam Badhon
Bashirul Haq Architect- a monograph of his works and philosophy published in 2018 | Courtesy: Ar. Mohaimeen Islam Badhon

We all know death is a part of life, but that doesn’t prevent us from experiencing the emotions that come into our lives when the loss hits. The death of Architect Bashirul Haq will be followed by an extended period of grieving and sadness. He will be missed but not forgotten and his architectural legacy will remain forever as an unbound source of inspiration for many young architects. Rest in peace my architect, our architect!

Architect Bashirul Haq in his home studio | Source: Ar. Shafique Rahman
Architect Bashirul Haq in his home studio | Source: Ar. Shafique Rahman

Biographical timeline of Architect Bashirul Haq

1942– born 24 June in Brahmanbaria

1964– completed his Bachelor of Architecture from National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan

1971– received John Heinrich Tuition, Scholarship and Teaching Assistantship at the University of New Mexico, USA

1975- completed his masters in architecture from the University of New Mexico, USA

1977- established Bashirul Haq & Associates

1989- visited Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as an invited design critic.

1999- co-authored the book Battling the Storm – Study on Cyclone Resistant Housing

2018 –Bashirul Haq Architect, a monograph of his works and philosophy was published.

2020-  took his last breath on 4 April.

Early Works

[Source: Bashirul Haq architect, Editor: Iftekhar Ahmad & Sheikh Rubaiya Sultana]

1978-82   Chowdhury residence

1979-81   Architect’s family home and studio

1983-87   BCIC Head Office building

1989   Bhatshala House

1989-92   Kalindi Apartment complex

1991-92  Shabuj Shona centre

1992-94 Community development centre and Cyclone Shelter

1994-97 Dhansiri apartment complex

1995 Gulshan pride apartment complex

1998-99 Cyclone shelter / School for DASCOH

Later works 

[Source: Bashirul Haq architect, Editor: Iftekhar Ahmad & Sheikh Rubaiya Sultana]

2000-03 ASRA apartments

2003 Traning centre for Nijera Kori

2004-06 Chhayanaut Bhaban

2006-07 Sunbeam school

2009-12 East West University

2010-15  A K Khan Ain  Bhaban, Chittagong University

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