Samdani Art Foundation
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MUSEUM OF SIMPLE TECHNOLOGY | 1982/2018

 
 

Franco-Hungarian architect and theorist Yona Friedman was first invited to South Asia by UNESCO in the 1980s to research techniques of vernacular architecture. Friedman worked with existing craft practices within communities, to develop what would eventually become the Museum of Simple Technology (1982) in Madras (Chennai).

2-10 February 2018  |  yona friedman  |  Dhaka Art Summit

 
 
 
 
 

The post-independence moment saw the invitation of many pioneering architectural thinkers to the region, such as that of Le Corbusier to design the city of Chandigarh in 1950 and Muzharul Islam bringing his mentor Louis Kahn to Bangladesh to plan the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban in 1962.  Franco-Hungarian architect and theorist Yona Friedman was first invited to South Asia by UNESCO in the 1980s to research into techniques of vernacular architecture, which could be used to respond to situations of emergency where resources were limited. Friedman worked with existing craft practices within communities, such as basket-making and the use of bamboo scaffolding, to develop what would eventually become the Museum of Simple Technology (1982) in Madras (Chennai) which was awarded the Scroll of Honour for Habitat from the United Nations. Friedman was equally interested in the modes of transmission of architectural knowledge: he devised instead a sequential visual language to produce scores for the creation of his improvisatory architecture. The Museum of Simple Technology, rebuilt in 2017 in Bangladesh on the occasion of the Dhaka Art Summit 2018, spoke to the spirit of self-reliance, flexibility, and freedom that allowed Friedman’s manifestos for mobile architecture to exist into perpetuity, infinitely translatable.

Courtesy of the artist. Presented at DAS 2018 with additional support from Institut Français.