A Beacon of Women Empowerment in Architecture: Marina Tabassum on Time’s 100 Most Influential List

Marina Tabassum, the celebrated Bangladeshi architect renowned for her environmentally sustainable designs, has been recognised on Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people. With her innovative approach to architecture, Ms. Tabassum stands out not just for her groundbreaking designs but also as a symbol of women empowerment in a field dominated by men.

Ms. Tabassum’s recognition by Time magazine highlights her significant contributions to architecture that prioritises community needs and environmental sustainability. Her work, such as the award-winning Bait Ur Rouf Mosque in Dhaka, showcases her commitment to socially responsible architecture. The Times describes her approach as “modelling architecture not as an individual signature but as a collective Esperanto.”

Her designs go beyond aesthetics; they address pressing contemporary issues, including climate change and social inclusion. The Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, which won the prestigious Aga Khan Award, is a testament to her innovative use of local materials and design principles. The mosque, with its natural ventilation, raised plinth to prevent flooding, and communal spaces, serves as a sanctuary for the community while also being environmentally friendly.

Ms. Tabassum’s inclusion in Time’s list is not just a recognition of her architectural prowess but also a nod to her role as a trailblazer for women in the field. In Bangladesh, mosques are rarely designed by professional architects, let alone by women. Yet Ms. Tabassum defied these norms by designing a mosque that has become a community hub and a symbol of inclusivity.

“Marina Tabassum’s unique practice touches on the spiritual fundamentals of architecture, without losing sight of its responsibilities and potential impact,” the jury statement reads. Her work demonstrates “a deep sense of commitment to the social and cultural role of architecture,” emphasising the collective sense of belonging in each project.

Ms. Tabassum’s accolades extend beyond Time magazine’s list. She was recently named the winner of the Millennium Lifetime Achievement Award at the Lisbon Architecture Triennale 2022. This prestigious award further solidifies her position as a leading figure in architecture and a beacon of women empowerment.

As the academic director of the Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscapes and Settlements; Ms. Tabassum continues to inspire the next generation of architects. Her teachings at institutions like Harvard GSD and the University of Texas at Austin reflect her dedication to nurturing talent and fostering innovation.

In a world where architecture often prioritises commercialism over community, Ms. Tabassum’s work serves as a reminder of the power of design to create meaningful spaces that enrich people’s lives. Her focus on socially responsible architecture resonates with the growing emphasis on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and promoting inclusive & equitable development.

Marina Tabassum’s recognition on Time’s 100 most influential people list and her Millennium Lifetime Achievement Award are not just honors for her remarkable career but also milestones for women in architecture. Through her innovative designs and commitment to social responsibility, Ms. Tabassum continues to break barriers and inspire change, proving that architecture can be a powerful tool for empowerment and community development.

Source: The Daily Star

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