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Bangladesh: Architect Marina becomes first South Asian to win Lisbon Triennale Lifetime Achievement Award

Renowned Bangladeshi architect, researcher and educator Marina Tabassum became the first person from the global south and first south Asian to win the prestigious Lisbon Triennale Millennium bcp Lifetime Achievement Award.

Announcing the award, the Lisbon Architecture Triennale jury praised Marina Tabassum for presenting an inspiring example of work with local communities that can have a positive impact across the globe even under the most adverse conditions.

The International Jury for the award said that Marina Tabssum’s unique practice touches on the spiritual fundamentals of architecture.

Driven by specific cultural and geographical context, her works address pressing contemporary issues, said the jury in their citation for the award. Her work shows how architects can challenge the climate crisis and bring about social change in an experimental, respectful and inspiring manner.

She will receive an original artwork by the Portuguese artist and sculptor Carlos Nogueira as award during the Lisbon Triennale which begins on 29 September in Lisbon, Portugal.

Marina Tabassum is known for her architectural designs that break away from commercialism and deeply embed environmental concerns. The Bait Ur Rouf mosque in Dhaka is one of her many celebrated works.

The mosque is ‘distinguished by its lack of popular mosque iconography, its emphasis on materials, space, and light, and its capacity to function not only as a place of worship but also as a centre for its under-served community on Dhaka’s periphery.’

She has also designed bamboo houses at the Rohingya refugee camps, at Ukhiya near Cox’s Bazar which are ‘low impact, mobile housing which can be delivered at the lowest cost possible.

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