Since the beginning of its journey in spring 2002, the Department of Architecture at Brac University (Arch@BRACU) has endeavored to produce future professionals with multidisciplinary knowledge and skills. The intention is to create a curriculum that focuses on complete aesthetic, technological, socioeconomic, and global understanding to meet environmental and developmental challenges. The department began with 15 students and 3 faculty members and has now grown to over 350 students with 20 full-time and 10 part-time faculty members.
The department, currently chaired by Professor Zainab Faruqui Ali is guided by the following mission statement:
The Department of Architecture prepares tomorrow’s professionals and critical thinkers driven by the development ethos of responsive, resilient, and inclusive built environment. With this mission, the Department pursues multidisciplinary knowledge and skills aimed at cultivating comprehensive aesthetic, technological, socioeconomic, and global understanding to meet environmental and developmental challenges. Its pedagogy aspires to empower students to realize their full potential for serving local and global communities in need of improved conditions.
In the past six months, the department has launched a number of new initiatives to support its mission to inculcate a global consciousness in its pedagogy and research activities. As part of this mission, the department has partnered with the Embassy of Spain in fall 2017 to organize a Spanish Architectural Lecture Series, bringing renowned Spanish architects to Bangladesh. Student internship programmes, previously limited to India, have now expanded to Europe, America, and South East Asia, transforming our students into global citizens.
At Arch@BRACU, our faculty combine their teaching with professional practice, research, publication, and exhibitions. The newly minted Centre for Inclusive Architecture and Urbanism undertakes professional design and action-based research consultancy on critical architecture and urban issues. The Centre's current consultancy work includes the design of six Brac Regional Offices and the interior design work for Brac Institute of Education Development (BIED) head office at Niketon, Dhaka.
A platform for discussing the strategic planning of the department, Town Hall Meetings for faculty and students are organized twice every semester. The department’s committee organization has also been restructured recently engaging student members.
The Department of Architecture offers a variety of outreach programs. ARCH.KIDs organizes workshops for children, aged between 8 and 12, to build their awareness of the natural and built environment. A newly proposed School Outreach Program is also underway to raise environmental awareness amongst school and college students. The newly founded Fabrication lab is the first of its kind in the country, offering faculty, students, and staff access to digital fabrication.
The department emphasizes multidisciplinarity in its curriculum. Courses, such as painting, sculpture, and photography and music appreciation, are offered as electives. To augment experiential knowledge of the students, several study tours are organized each semester: such as the North Bengal tour and India tour. These tours help students understand and experience the heritage architecture and environment of different regions. Annual awards, such as Noman Award of Excellence in Design and Rafiq Azam Travel Bursary are given to outstanding students to advance their understanding of the world. The department exhibits student design work both on campus and outside to showcase their work to the general public. Organized a few times during the academic year, the cultural forum Moitree strengthens the social life of the department. Angan lecture series invites local and international speakers as a forum for knowledge sharing.
The department’s a flagship graduate program in Disaster Management prepares professionals with practice-oriented knowledge and skills to tackle global humanitarian and environmental challenges that arise in the wake of a natural or man-made disaster.