Unveiling New Contextualism 2.0: Shaping the Future of Architecture and Urban Design

Unveiling New Contextualism 2.0: Shaping the Future of Architecture and Urban Design

The Department of Architecture at BRAC University recently hosted an enriching workshop titled “Exploring New Contextualism 2.0: An Approach to Architecture and Urban Design.” Held on February 17th, 2024, the workshop convened students, faculty, professionals, and enthusiasts to delve into the evolving concept of New Contextualism and its profound impact on shaping the future of built environments.

Commencing with an illuminating introductory session led by Dr. Mohammad Habib Reza, Associate Professor at the Department of Architecture, BRAC University, and a pioneering figure in New Contextualism, participants were provided with a comprehensive overview of the movement’s core principles. Dr. Reza emphasized the significance of sensitively responding to a project’s specific social, cultural, and environmental contexts, underscoring the importance of considering intangible elements such as history, community values, ecological factors, and physical characteristics in design processes.

Following the introductory session, participants delved deeper into the subject matter through engaging lectures and presentations. Tanjina Khan, PhD scholar at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UK, and Assistant Professor of Architecture at BRAC University, elucidated how contemporary architecture and urban design integrate core elements of New Contextual design principles. Through illustrative examples, she underscored the necessity for designers to profoundly understand contemporary contexts for sustainable solutions and their practical implementation.

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S M Kaikobad, PhD Researcher at MIT Architecture, USA, and Senior Lecturer at the Department of Architecture, BRAC University, presented insightful case studies showcasing successful New Contextual projects worldwide. These case studies demonstrated diverse principles applications, ranging from the sensitive restoration of historical buildings to the design of sustainable and culturally responsive communities.

Subsequently, Mohammad Zillur Rahman, Lecturer of Architecture at BRAC University, elaborated on the methodology of implementing New Contextual theory into architectural and urban projects, drawing from previous student projects and real-world examples. Md Samiur Rahman Bhuiyan, also a Lecturer of Architecture at BRAC University, addressed the challenges and prospects of this approach, highlighting its alignment with international agendas such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), suggesting that the new contextual approach could be termed SDG+ (Sustainable Development Goal Plus).

The workshop facilitated active engagement through hands-on exercises led by the presenters and ten accomplished alumni mentors working in reputable firms. These exercises provided practical opportunities to apply theoretical concepts to real-world scenarios, fostering critical thinking, collaboration, and the exchange of diverse perspectives among participants.

Under the leadership of Prof Zainab Faruqui Ali, Chairperson of the Department of Architecture at BRAC University, the workshop exemplified the department’s commitment to fostering innovative discourse on contemporary architectural practices. Special recognition is due to Upama das Nitu, Golam Ahammad Sunny, and Sanjida Akter Rumki for their instrumental roles in the workshop’s implementation.

The successful conclusion of the “Exploring New Contextualism 2.0” workshop signifies a significant advancement in promoting informed and responsible design practices sensitive to specific contexts. The workshop has undoubtedly contributed meaningfully to the future of architecture and urban design by fostering a deeper understanding of New Contextualism and its potential applications.

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