Glass Labyrinth in Venice

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Over the past several years, Dhaka-based architect Kashef Chowdhury has become widely known for a body of work that responds with great sensitivity to places, local circumstances, and the demands of a building’s users. At the 2016 International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, Chowdhury presented four recent projects that his firm URBANA has realized in Bangladesh in a fascinating exhibition.

For that installation, Chowdhury deployed a labyrinth—but he challenged spatial perceptions through a simple trick: the labyrinth, which is designed to hide and block, was instead suddenly made transparent. The installation was conceived not merely as a hyper-maze but rather as an expression of the anxiety that the artist experiences in his work due to a myriad of uncertainties. Chowdhury’s Glass Labyrinth in Venice serves as a reminder that, while an architect may have a clear vision of what he wants to do, the path to success in a challenging environment can be complicated by previously unseen barriers. This book explores and documents the installation through beautiful photographs by Eric Chenal and an illuminating text by Robert McCarter.