All the other buildings I have covered of Kahn’s have been located in the United States, but the Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban, located in present day Dhaka, Bangladesh, is perhaps one of his biggest and most complex commissions. The building of what is also known as the National Parliament House of Bangladesh began in 1961, when the country was still a part of Pakistan. As a part of his efforts to keep East Pakistan from seceding from West Pakistan, Kahn designed this building with the hopes that it could serve as a secondary capital for the country. The government originally brought in activist Muzharul Islam for the job, and he proceeded to recruit Kahn for help. Before the building could be completed, the Bangladesh Liberation War occurred and delayed construction starting in 1971 for ten years. Kahn died before it could be finished, but the job was overseen by one of Kahn’s employees.
This parliament house covers over two-hundred acres of building, parks, lakes, and residency for members of parliament. The complex itself looks simple, but is an intricate weaving of geometric shapes that make up windows and other openings breaking the plain facade. The main complex consisting of three plazas is surrounded on three sides by one of the many lakes on the grounds. Kahn designed it this way so it could represent the “riverine” beauty that can be seen throughout the country. He tried to adequately represent the heritage and culture of other aspects of the building design as well. Louis Kahn designed this building, just as he designed all the others, to utilize natural lighting with the porticoes on the outside of the building and columns within. I have never been to Bangladesh, but the intricacy yet simplicity that can be seen from photos is phenomenal, and I hope that someday I can visit it and the country it is meant to represent.