Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban

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This may be the most important building of the 20th century.  Louis Kahn was an American architect who immigrated from Russia.  Most of his works were influenced by monumental antiquities and the relationships of materials, light and the sites where he was to build.  Kahn’s most iconic project is arguably Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban, the National Assembly of Bangladesh, located in the capital of Dhaka.  JSB was completed in 1982, twenty one years after construction began.  Beyond it’s awe inspiring scale and beauty, Kahn was able to design a lot of light and volume into this structure by leveraging his understanding of spatial relationships and ability to harness indirect nautral light.  The fortress-like building with a strong geometrical facade meets a man-made lake on three sides.  It’s a reminder that this low lying country has struggled with flooding and fights an uncertain future of rising sea levels.

Louis Kahn is one of America’s greatest architects of all time and remains one of the most mysterious.  In true fashion of the estranged artist genius he had three families with three different women.  Kahn died of a heart attack in a men’s restroom in Pennsylvania Station in New York just after returning from Bangladesh in 1974.  He was never able to see the completion of his most iconic building.


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