Niklaus Graber – Faraway, yet so close

7. October 2019, 18:30
Archizoom, SG building, EPFL

Lecture ‘Faraway, yet so close. Recent architectural developments in Bangladesh’

Friendship Centre Gaibandha/Bangladesh © Niklaus Graber

Not too many of us are likely to be familiar with current architectural developments in Bangladesh’s tropical delta region. This area, blessed with cultural and scenic riches has so far barely been present in the global architectural debate but that is about to change, due to excellent works emerging from a vibrant architecture movement.

Buildings designed by architects like Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA for example are not just of a high interest in a spatial and architectural sense, they also bears witness to the high societal relevance of architecture as a discipline. It is an architecture that thoughtfully and inventively addresses urgent issues such as climate change, water regime, migration or the re-activation of rural areas. Via local action, carefully developed from the country’s specific history and geography, current trends in Bangladesh are taking on global significance that moves us closer to many themes which were once thought to be faraway.

Portait Niklaus Graber @ Catharina Strebel

Niklaus Graber is architect and co-curator of the exhibition ‘Faraway So Close – Kashef Chowdhury‘.

Niklaus Graber studied architecture at the ETH Zürich and at the GSAPP at the Columbia University, New York. He is a co-founder of Graber & Steiger Architects based in Lucerne, Switzerland. The buildings and projects by Graber & Steiger have been awarded and published internationally. Graber thaught at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in the BA and the MA courses between 2008 and 2015. He currently serves there as a juror of the Master thesis projects.

Since 2012 Niklaus Graber has been maintaining a steady exchange with the architecture scene in Bangladesh and explored the country and its architecture on numerous and extensive research trips. In 2014 he initiated a semester project on Dhaka in the Master course at the Lucerne University. In 2016 he was invited to be a visiting faculty member at the Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscapes and Settlements in Dhaka.

Niklaus Graber is the curator in chief of the exhibition ‘Bengal Stream – The Vibrant Architecture Scene of Bangladesh’ and a co-curator of the exhibition ‘Faraway So Close – Kashef Chowdhury’.

He has been publishing and lecturing on the architecture of Bangladesh internationally. He is co-editor of the book ‘Bengal Stream – The Vibrant Architecture Scene of Bangladesh’, the first comprehensive compilation of contemporary Bangladeshi architecture. He also edited and published the book ‘Faraway So Close, Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA’.

Essays by Graber were published among others in the «Architectural Revue», «Werk, Bauen und Wohnen» and «Baumeister».

To mention a few, talks were delivered at Bengal Institute, the BRAC University and the North South University in Dhaka, the University of Basel, the Swiss Architecture Museum, the German Architecture Museum Frankfurt and the Making Lewes Festival in Lewes/UK.

In 2016 he founded with Mostafizur Rahman Jewel in Dhaka the platform ARCHITECTourBGD to operate professional architecture tours throughout Bangladesh.