The seminar “Housing the Urban Invisibles” will bring together architects, researchers and alumni of BK-TU Delft that have been working on the topic of housing in different geopolitical contexts (Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Middle East). This seminar is organised under the auspices of the visiting professorship of Prof. Marina Tabassum and will include paper presentations, screening of documentaries, and a lecture by Salauddin Ahmed with the title "Dhaka’s ‘Micro Urbanists’: A Million Stories". 

The seminar will conclude with a visit to the exhibition “Housing the Urban Invisibles”, held in the Oost Serre (Orange Hall), and a public lecture given in the Orange Hall by Niklaus Graber with the title "Bengal Stream: A Journey to the Vibrant Architecture Scene of Bangladesh.”

The seminar will conclude with a visit to the exhibition “Housing the Urban Invisibles”, held in the Oost Serre (Orange Hall), showing work developed by students of TU Delft’s “Global Housing” studios organised in Dhaka (Bangladesh), Tema (Ghana) and Mumbai (India).

Morning Program: 

09:00 _ Opening: Dick van Gameren, Dean of BK-TU Delft

09:30 _ Housing the Urban Invisibles: A Challenge for Architectural Education: Marina Tabassum, Bengal Institute and principal of MTA (Dhaka)

10:00 _ Screening of the documentary “Dhaka” by Antonio Paoletti

10:45 _ Global Housing Presentations I : Architectural Projects: Robyne Somé, Gonzalo Zylberman, Federico Ortiz, Ramona Scheffer.

The morning session will discuss which methods and approaches can be used in architectural education to tackle the global housing crisis. The discussion will be supported by projects developed by students for such diverse contexts as Ougadougou (Burkina Faso) or Dhaka (Bangladesh). The debate will be moderated by a panel including Marina Tabassum, Salauddin Ahmed and Niklaus Graber.

Dhaka’s ‘Micro Urbanists’: A Million Stories: 
Salauddin Ahmed, Bengal Institute and principal of Atelier Robin Architects (Dhaka)

This lecture will present a new perspective of the everyday life of the 20 million inhabitants of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh.

Often invisible but clearly vital, these life-stories spread out across the city weaving in and out of the “fixed” morphologies, along the railway tracks, between buildings, on the sidewalks, and the flood dams, eked out by fresh migrants, vagrants, poets, and generally by people at the periphery of official planning. 

The conference show new aways of mapping this vagabond landscape – the impromptu commons, interstitial situations, illicit junctions, invisible knots, and unscripted applications – which penetrates and perforates the planned city, the city of codes and by-laws, and builds alternative modes of practice that self-organizes into a “collective of the invisible.” The lecture brings about the protagonists of these stories – the micro-urbanists – as those who in their small-scaled gestures and practices produce this dynamic city. 

Afternoon Program: 

14:00 _ Global Housing Presentations II: Research Topics: Yonas Alemayehu Soressa, Afua Wilcox, Rohan Varma

16:00 _ Homeland: Book Presentation: Yael Allweil, Technion

16:30 _ Housing after the Neoliberal Turn: Presentation of Footprint 24: Nelson Mota, Yael Allweil and Dirk van den Heuvel

The afternoon session will address housing as a research topic in architectural scholarship. It will bring together current research on case studies located in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, as well as historical and theoretical explorations of housing as a key element in the  intimate relationship between architecture and politics. The debate will be moderated by Nelson Mota and Marja Elsinga. 

Evening Program: 

17:00 _ Guided visit to the Exhibition “Housing the Urban Invisibles” 

The exhibition “Housing the Urban Invisibles” brings together the work of the students that participated in the Global Housing studios (chair of Architecture & Dwelling, TU Delft) during the academic year 2018/19. 

This exhibition is organised under the auspices of the visiting professorship of Marina Tabassum and includes housing projects for Mumbai (India), Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Tema (Ghana).

Bengal Stream: A Journey to the Vibrant Architecture Scene of Bangladesh, 
Niklaus Graber, principal at Graber and Steiger Architekten and curator of “Bengal Stream”

Swiss Architect Niklaus Graber is the curator in chief of the exhibition «Bengal Stream. The Vibrant Architecture Scene of Bangladesh». Over the past years Graber has undertaken extensive researches on the contemporary architecture of Bangladesh and has been lecturing and publishing on the subject internationally. 

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. The output of this ‘Bengal Stream’ is not just of a high interest in a spatial and architectural sense, it also bears witness to the high societal relevance of architecture as a discipline. Via local action, carefully developed from the country’s specific history and geography, current trends in Bangladesh are taking on global significance.  

In his talk Niklaus Graber will not only give insight into the remarkable works of the contemporary architecture scene of Bangladesh but also into his research on the subject and into the making of the Bengal Stream exhibition. 

The participation in the seminar is free and open to the public.