Soane Medal Lecture 2021: Marina Tabassum

Product image 1Soane Medal Lecture 2021: Marina Tabassum
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A published edition of the lecture delivered by Marina Tabassum on the occasion of being awarded the Soane Medal, 16 November 2021.

In her medal lecture, distinguished Bangladeshi architect Marina Tabassum reflects on her childhood, training, and the ways in which growing up in newly independent Bangladesh has had a profound influence on her work. From her Bait ur Rouf Mosque to Dhaka’s Independence Monument, Tabassum has created buildings which bring communities together and foster a distinct sense of place. Her research into dwelling in the Ganges Delta and Bengali courtyards suggest alternative models of building, habitation, and ownership which have the potential to inform architectural practice more widely.  All her work is underpinned by a focus on sustainability and Tabassum is truly leading the conversation about the ways in which architecture, people and planet interact. Here, she outlines the her approach to creating an ‘architecture of relevance’, resisting the temptations of the commercial in order to create buildings which improve the lives of those who use them. Tabassum’s accounts of her most significant projects give readers an intimate glimpse of the path she followed in becoming an internationally celebrated architect. 

About Marina Tabassum

Marina Tabassum, was born, lives and works in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She is Founder and Principal Architect of Marina Tabassum Architects MTA in Dhaka and is a pioneer of what she describes as ‘the architecture of relevance’.

Her practice focuses on designing buildings in tune with their natural environments (in particular, working with local materials and communities) while also embracing the design challenges of sustainability, environment, and our collective impact on the planet. She is currently working in the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, in south-east Bangladesh, and designing mobile modular houses for ultra-low-income people in the country’s coastal areas.

Her notable buildings include the minimal, sun-dappled Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, opened in 2012, the Independence Monument of Bangladesh and the Museum of Independence. She was winner of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2016. In 2018, she took part in Freespace, the main exhibition of the Venice Biennale for Architecture, where she explored the Bengali courtyard.

She is Visiting Professor at the BRAC University in Dhaka. She runs undergraduate studios at the University of Asia Pacific, and has given lectures and presentations at a number of other educational institutions and conferences having been the Director of Academic Program at Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscapes and Settlements since 2015.


  • Paperback Edition
  • Page Count: 39
  • Dimensions: 130 x 215mm
  • Language: English
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