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Join Soane Medal 2021 Laureate Marina Tabassum and architectural writer and historian Shumi Bose for the first of two in-depth workshops. This session will investigate light as an element of architecture.

This half-day workshop will convene around the elements of light and shadow in architecture, and the long history of using light as an element of building, producing profound and dramatic impact in spaces of worship around the world. The work of MTA has gained international prominence for its formal beauty, material intelligence and social impact. The sunlit and poetically earthy Bait Ur Rouf Mosque (pictured) in Dhaka, Bangladesh is perhaps known for its transcendental beauty as much as it is celebrated as a contemporary example of carefully – and communally – built Islamic architecture. 

Marina Tabassum will give a special presentation live from Bangladesh, discussing the Bait Ur Rouf mosque project (pictured) as well as sharing her influences and experiences in considering light as a fundamental building element.

Participants will engage with the rich environment of Soane Museum as a site of exploration, developing critical discussions, visual responses and experimental projects exploring spaces of worship and reflection. 

You will look at:

  • Use of light and shade, drama and theatricality in the building.
  • Evidence of the ‘sacred’ in works around the building.
  • Experience of (or need for) transcendental examples of light and shadow.

Activities will include:

  • Photography 
  • Sketches 
  • Critical discussions
  • Proposals and fragments

Participants may work in small groups to propose sites for, or reflections on, similar architectural interventions.

Learn more about the second workshop in this series, Climate and Community.

About Marina and Shumi

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.

Shumi Bose is an architectural historian, curator and teacher. She is a Senior Lecturer in Architecture at Central Saint Martins, and teaches Critical and Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art.

Shumi has worked as curator at the Royal Institute of British Architects, at the Venice Biennale in 2012, and as co-curator of the 2016 British Pavilion, also in Venice. She works as an editor and writer, contributing to publications including PIN UP, Log and Metropolis. Recent publications include Spatial Practices: Modes of Action and Engagement with the City (ed. Mel Dodd, Routledge, 2019), Home Economics (The Spaces, 2016) and Real Estates (with Fulcrum, Bedford Press, 2014). 

Event Info

19 May 2022

10am - 2pm


Sir John Soane's Museum