New York-based Sundaram Tagore’s film Louis Kahn’s Tiger City takes its name from the ‘mini city’ in which the complex sits—Sher-e-Bangla Nagar.
New York-based art historian and gallerist Sundaram Tagore’s film Louis Kahn’s Tiger City takes its name from the ‘mini city’ in which the complex sits — Sher-e-Bangla Nagar. If one can spot a tiger by its stripes, the world-renowned capital complex is considered to be one of Kahn’s most significant work.
Tagore took six years to make the film, with a diverse international crew, spread across 13 countries. Fabricated out of concrete with inlaid white marble, the monumental assembly building has a man-made lake around it, while its geometric façade patterns make for interesting spatial and lighting experiences. Louis Kahn’s Tiger City will be screened in Delhi next month at the India Arc Dialogue at gallery 1AQ.
What drew you to Dhaka’s Assembly Building?
My research began in the mid-1980s when I was given a travel grant in college to study the buildings of Louis Kahn in Bangladesh and India. I was awestruck by these incredible forms. It felt like modern and ancient worlds colliding.
At the parliamentary complex in Dhaka, flights of stairs crisscross the space in a manner you could only imagine in a painting. Kahn not only had great admiration for Roman and Greek architecture but his association with architect Balkrishna Doshi allowed him to understand the importance of ancient Indian architecture. Doshi brought Kahn to India and gave him architectural tours. He also toured Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
This enabled him to deconstruct some ancient Indian forms that can be seen later in his sub-continental designs. His use of water inspired by Gujarat’s step-well forms, along with forms from Jaipur’s Jantar Mantar are perfect examples.