Realizing that professions focused on the built environment can be catalytic agents for effective social and environmental change, the Bengal Institute takes a longer view of the architectural task. In a time of dynamic and anxious social transformations triggered by a globalized economy, the architectural process needs to go beyond problem solving and form creation. The architectural agenda should extend its sights to the intellectual, ethical and critical issues surrounding the futures of human settlements.
An urgency for a new kind of unity and cooperation is upon us. In the embattled theater of the economy and the environment, those involved in buildings, cities and landscapes today face new imperatives for increased ecological sustainability,
food, and energy security, and better resiliency to the impacts of climate change. Addressing these issues require an integration of professional disciplines, more intense cross-disciplinary conversations, informed public policies, and a new ethos of private actions.
No single discipline or profession can address environmental challenges, especially when that involves the consequences of emerging urbanisms, rapid technological shifts, and radical economic and sociological transformations. A new “architectural intelligence” is needed that is more about the understanding, arrangement and production of “place-form,” and its sociological and ecological consequences.The question of systemic and integrated “landscapes,”whether as habitats or place-forms, agricultural fabrics,
or natural wetlands, should be at the center of new investigations and imaginations, and form the theoretical core of this new design intelligence.
Bangladesh is the locus of the Institute’s programs and initiatives. With its deltaic formation, the organization of land, water and settlements take on an urgency that is particular to Bangladesh. The delta formation brings to the foreground the intimate relationship among architecture, habitation, landscape, and sustenance. At the same time, the Institute considersDhaka as acriticalsite for new architectural and urban design thinking. In the interlinked and embattled scenario of Dhaka and the delta, of the need to conceive alternative urban and settlement models, research and design investigations are
necessary for better socio-ecological outcomes of the city.The Institute will also address the future of smaller towns and settlements as they too form a vital frontier in the rearrangement of the landscape. Programs of the institute will engage architects, planners, engineers, geographers, and other environmental professionals, as well as public and private decision makers. In order to advance a critical awareness of the environment, the Institute will organize public events, including lectures, exhibitions, seminars and discussions, and publish in in local media, professional journals and specially prepared reports and texts.