List of Bangladeshi Architects



(Architect and Educator)


Muzharul Islam was a famous architect from Bangladesh. He was known as the “Grand Master of regional modernism in South Asia” and is considered the father of modern architecture in Bangladesh. He was very influential in the 1960s and 1970s and also brought other famous architects from the United States to work in Bangladesh. He was also a teacher, social and political activist, and helped shape the direction of architecture in the country through his own work and by bringing in other architects to work in Bangladesh.


Born: 25 December 1923

Age: 88

Birthplace:  Murshidabad, British Raj

Nationality: Bangladeshi


● Shibpur Bengal Engineering College

● Bachelor of Engineering, University of Calcutta, British Raj

● Bachelor of Architecture, University of Oregon, United States

● Masters in Architecture, Yale University, USA




Father: Omdatul Islam

Mother: Zakia Khatoon

Wife: Husne Ara Islam


● Rafique Muzhar Islam

● Tanveer Muzhar Islam

● Dalia Nausheen


● Faculty of Fine Arts, Shahbag

● Bangladesh National Archives and LibraryNational Institute of Public Administration Building, Shahbag

● Jahangirnagar University Master Plan and Designs

● Joypurhat Limestone and cement Project

● World Bank Building


● Independence Day Award, the highest state award of Bangladesh

● Institute of Architects Bangladesh Gold Medal

Death: 15 July 2012

Early Life

Muzharul Islam was born in 1923 in Murshidabad, British India. He was born in Sundarpur village, Krishnanagar, West Bengal, India, in his maternal grandfather’s home. He comes from an educated and wealthy family. His mother Zakia Khatoon belongs to a Zamindari background. And his father, Professor Omdatul Islam, and uncles working in Dhaka and Kolkata. His father was a math professor and frequently changed states for work, resulting in most of Muzharul Islam’s childhood and school life being spent in Rajshahi, Chittagong, and Krishnanagar. The family’s main residence was in Kuepara village of Chittagong, where they owned a large amount of land which was a source of income for them.


Muzharul Islam began his schooling in Krishnanagar College School. There he studied up to Class Five. However, in 1932 his father Professor Omdatul Isam was transferred from Krishnanagar to Rajshahi Government College. Thus Muzharul Islam moved to Rajshahi Government High School. He was admitted into Class Five and in 1938 completed S.S.C. from there.


Later he passed his Intermediate in Science (ISC) from the Rajshahi Government College where his father was a professor. While studying for Physics with Honors at the College, Muzharul Islam applied for Shibpur Bengal Engineering College (at present Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology or IIEST, Shibpur) and was successfully admitted. He completed the degree in 1942.


Later he studied for a Bachelor of Engineering, University of Calcutta, British Raj in 1946. And then went to the United States in 1950 to study architecture and got his bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon. He then went to London to study tropical architecture on a scholarship. In 1961, he finished his post-graduation studies under Paul Rudolph at Yale University. He met Louis I Kahn and Stanley Tigerman at Yale.


He began his career by designing two buildings in the Shahbag area in 1955, including the Dhaka University Library and the College of Arts and Crafts. He worked as an architect for the government in East Pakistan from 1958 to 1964.


In 1959, under the leadership of President Ayub Khan, the Governor’s Conference of Pakistan decided that Dhaka would be the second capital of Pakistan. As a result, the government decided to construct a capital complex in the Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area of Dhaka. Muzharul Islam was chosen to design the Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban (National Assembly Building of Bangladesh), but he also brought in his mentor, Louis Kahn, to contribute to the project. The two worked closely together from 1965 until Kahn’s death in 1973.

In addition to Kahn, Islam also recruited Paul Rudolph and Stanley Tigerman to work in Bangladesh, leading the three of them to be known as the American Trio. Alongside the Trio, Islam’s architectural style greatly influenced the architecture of Bangladesh from the 1950s onward.

Some of Islam’s notable works include the Jahangirnagar University, Chittagong University, Central Public Library, Charukala Institute, the Azimpur Estate, Rangmati township, and several Polytechnic Institutes. He also designed the master plan for Dhaka City and created the logo for the government of Bangladesh.

Personal Life

At the age of 22, Mazharul Islam married his maternal cousin Husne Ara Islam in 1946. The wedding took place the very next day after Mazharul Islam had finished his exam in Civil Engineering from Shibpur Bengal Engineering College. The couple had a long and happy marriage. They were proud parents of three children – Rafique Mazhar Islam, Tanveer Mazhar Islam, and Dalia Nausheen.

Notable Works

● College of Arts and Crafts, Shahbag, Dhaka (1953–54).
● Dhaka University Library, University of Dhaka (1953–54).
● Bangladesh National Archives and Library, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka (1953–54).
● Housing for class IV Employees, Azimpur Estate, Dhaka (1962).
● Plan for the project of Railway Rehabilitation Zone, Khilgaon, Dhaka (1963–64).
● Plan for the project of Rangamati Town, Rangamati, CHT (1963–64).
● BCSIR Laboratory Buildings, Dhanmondi, Dhaka (1963–65).
● National Institute of Public Administration Building, Shahbag, Dhaka (1964).
● Headquarters Building, Agricultural Development Corporation Motijheel, Dhaka (1965–71)
● 5 polytechnic institutes, Rangpur, Bogra, Pabna, Sylhet and Barisal In collaboration with Arch. Stanley Tigerman (1965–71).
● EFU Building (Jiban Bima Bhaban) Project, Motijheel, Dhaka (1965–71).
● Road Research Laboratories , Dhaka, Bangladesh (1965–71).
● 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 (1968–71).
● Housing for Ruppur Atomic Energy Complex, Savar, Dhaka (1968–71).
● Jahangirnagar University Master Plan and designs, Designs for students’ hostel, readers quarters and class IV employees’ quarters (1968–71).
● 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 (1980–84).
● National Library, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka (1980–84).
● Office Building for the World Bank, Dhaka, Bangladesh (1987).
● Garden City Project, Dhaka, Bangladesh (1995).
● Mausoleum of Kazi Nazrul Islam, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2008)


● Architect Muzharul Islam and Chicago Architect Stanly Tigerman did the elaborate study on typology and tectonics, ecology, climate and materials. Their study resulted in a major report, which was featured in the September 1968 issue of “Architectural Record”.
● Encyclopedia Britannica Volume 22, 15th Editions 1986, page- 99.
● Environments, Volume 19, Number 2, 1988, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, Page-55 to 60.
● Architectural Review, London, April 1960, Page-155.
● Architecture + Design, New Delhi, India, May–June 1988, page- 26 to 32 & 36.
● Daily Bhorer Kagoj, Dhaka, 24 December 1993, Page-9.
● The Sangbad, Dhaka, 23 December 1993, Page-12.
● Weekly Holiday, Dhaka, 31 December 1993, Page-6.
● Daily Bhorer Kagoj, Dhaka, 7 March 1994, Page-12.
● Lecturer, Exhibition of Architecture in Bangladesh, “Pundranagar” to Sher-e-Bangla Nagar (350 B.C. to present time), 1997
● Lecturer, Exhibition of Works of Four Architects of the Indian Sub-Continent; New York, Ph ladelphia, 1997.
● The India International Centre Quarter: Monsoon 1997, Volume- 24, Number 2–3
● Daily Star, Dhaka, August 2000.
● An Architecture of Independence : The Making of Modern South Asia, 1997, University of Pennsylvania.
● Vastukatha: Selected Sayings of Architect Muzharul Islam | বাস্তুকথা: স্থপতি মাজহারুল ইসলামের নির্বাচিত উক্তি, Edited by Kazi Khaleed Ashraf and Saif Ul Haque, Published by BI Books -Bengal Publications
● স্থপতি মাজহারুল ইসলাম, সম্পাদনা – আবুল হাসনাত
● Muzharul Islam Architect, Edited by Fuad H Mallick, Zainab Faruqui Ali


● “Symbol for what? Symbol of what? Symbol of whom?… The hesitation in my mind has deep roots. I feel that human society has been kept in darkness for thousands of years by the use of symbols. I revolt against it. By raising the issue of symbols, in the name of symbols, my perspective has been kept limited.”

● “The artistic qualities are essence of architecture. The practical aspects of architecture are measurable – such as, the practical requirements, climatic judgements, the advantages and limitations of the site etc. – but the humanistic aspects are not measurable. This depends on the talent, sensitivity and creativity of the architect. Only some bookish knowledge is not a sufficient tool in this regard. One has to be creative. One has to love his own land, its people and its culture and think profoundly about these. The love of one’s own land is the eternal source of creative power, which in turn, makes a proper architect.”

● “Cities should provide the environment for civilized life within the context of our own culture… The city can develop only as a part of the physical environment of the country- with the ultimate aim of abolishing all differences between the city and the rural areas. The traditional relationship with nature (still existing to a certain extent in the village of Bangladesh) should be continued in the cities.”

● “You have to be a world man and a Bengali. It’s impossible otherwise… When I mention standing on one’s own soil… it is to find oneself, but not to find oneself and become stagnant. What I am seeking is to stand on one’s own feet and then to proceed forward. If for that reason I have to take two steps backward to go one step forward. I have no problem with that. I think that there is no other way of moving forward.”

Awards And Honors

● He was an honorable member of the Master Jury of the First Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Geneva, 1980.
● Institute of Architects, Bangladesh Gold Medal, 1993.
● He was awarded the Honorable Fellowship, American Institute of Architects at the National convention of the Institute at Dallas, Texas in 1999.
● He was awarded the Independence Day Award in 1999, the highest state award of Bangladesh.
● Islam has been a jury member for several national and international design competitions and awards including:
● The Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
● Headquarters building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building at Riyadh, which won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
● Design contest for Faisal Mosque competition in Islamabad.
● Design contests for the headquarters building of the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah.
● 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.


On 15 July 2012 at 12.06 am Muzharul Islam died in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He was 88.


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