Exhibition

  • Bengal Stream: The Vibrant Architecture Scene of Bangladesh
    Niklaus Graber, Andreas Ruby, and Viviane Ehrensberger
    Curators
    S AM Swiss Architecture Museum, Basel
    Dec 01, 2017 to Jun 06, 2018
  • GRANTEE
    S AM Swiss Architecture Museum
    GRANT YEAR
    2017

Marina Tabassum, Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, 2005-12, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo: Niklaus Graber.

Richly illustrated, this exhibition investigates the architectural history of Bangladesh. It aims to provide an understanding of the cultural origins of the local architecture with a focus on its contemporary architecture scene, which is strongly influenced by Muzharul Islam and Louis I. Kahn. Conceived as a "learning from" experience, it is an invitation to contemplate and discuss architecture, and to encourage a cultural exchange.

Niklaus Graber is a Swiss architect and curator. He was born in Lucerne and studied architecture at ETH Zurich, as well as the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University. In 1995, he co-founded (with Christoph Steiger) the architectural office Graber & Steiger Architekten. Their works have been published internationally and have also received numerous awards. In 2007, Graber & Steiger were represented in the Swiss contribution to the 7th Architecture Biennale in São Paulo, Brazil. In addition to his work as a practicing architect, Graber taught at the Lucerne School of Engineering and Architecture from 2008 to 2011, as part of the bachelor's degree program, and from 2013 to 2015, as part of the master's degree program. He has been a guest lecturer at the Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscapes, and Settlements (BIALS) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, since 2016.

Andreas Ruby is an architectural publicist, curator, book publisher, and director of the S AM Swiss Architecture Museum in Basel. He was born in Dresden and studied art history at the University of Cologne. After spending time in Paris and New York as a researcher, he worked as an editor and correspondent for the architecture journals Daidalosand Werk, bauen + wohnen. In 2001, he and Ilka Ruby co-founded Textbild, an agency for architectural communication, with which he realized numerous discursive architectural projects, curated exhibitions, and organized several lecture series. Together, in 2008,  they co-founded the architectural publishing company Ruby Press, where he has helped realized over 20 award-winning book projects as an editor and publisher. In parallel, Ruby has taught architectural theory at institutions such as Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; the University of Technology in Graz; and ENSAPM in Paris.

Viviane Ehrensberger has been an assistant curator at the S AM Swiss Architecture Museum since June 2016. She was previously a curatorial coordinator at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, Canada; assistant at the Zurich University of the Arts, (ZHdK); and editor of the architectural journal, trans. She presented the exhibition Impressions Montréal at Maison de l'Architecture du Québec and her texts have been published in the architectural journals Architheseand trans. Ehrensberger studied architecture at ETH Zurich and has worked in various architectural offices.

The Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscapes, and Settlements is a unique, transdisciplinary forum for the study and design of the environment. As a place for advancing the understanding of the lived environment, the Bengal Institute will present a platform for developing ideas and programs to improve the qualities of architecture, landscapes, and settlements. In generating a critical, creative, and humanistic dialogue, the Institute proposes an integrated approach to the arrangement and rearrangement of the environment. Innovative cross-disciplinary programs of the Institute will integrate architectural and design research, investigation of cities and settlements, and the study of larger regions and landscapes.

Dutch photographer Iwan Baan is known primarily for images that narrate the life and interactions that occur within architecture. Iwan grew up outside Amsterdam, studied at the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague, and worked in publishing and documentary photography in New York and Europe. He is one of the most widely published photographers in the world. Baan has won the Julius Shulman Photography Award (2010); the Venice Architecture Biennale’s Golden Lion Award (2012); and the AIA New York's Stephen A. Kliment Oculus Award (2016).

The S AM Swiss Architecture Museum is the leading institution in the mediation of contemporary architecture in Switzerland. It was founded in 1984 on a private initiative as a foundation, and opened in the same year with an exhibition by Christo and Jeanne Claude. From the very start, the goal was to make architectural issues accessible to a wider public and to prioritize the mediation of contemporary architecture through exhibitions, guided tours, discussions, lectures, and publications. Centrally located in the city of Basel, right on the border with Germany and France, S AM invigorates and shapes Switzerland's architectural discourse with its program, and seeks to bridge the gap between professional discourse and the wider public. As a location for lively exchange and a network platform, S AM has since become a popular meeting place—in the physical as well as the digital realm.