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In memory of Architect Munin Choudhrey

In memory of Architect Munin Choudhrey

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  18 Feb 2019 4:31 AM GMT

Architect Munin Choudhrey, our Pintu khura passed away from cardiac arrest in Kyoto, Japan at 1:48 am local time on February 8 at the age of 81. He was on a holiday trip to Assam and Japan, accompanied by his only child, Sanjay. His trip to Assam was perhaps destined to be his farewell trip to his homeland.

Munin Choudhrey lost his father late Jatindra Mohan Choudhury of Tezpur quite early in life and henceforth finished his schooling under the care of his eldest cousin – his ‘kokaidew’ - late Abani Mohan Choudhury. During his teen years he used to keenly watch his kokaidew’s work on the design of Kaziranga Forest Lodge, and this eventually motivated him to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the then prestigious Sir JJ College of Art & Architecture in Bombay as one of the earliest from the Northeast. He did well in his graduation in 1962 and managed to secure admission for Masters in Science and Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the USA, and an unthinkable task for a young Assamese youth of that period. He endured a lot of hardship during his initial years in the USA, having to survive on meagre resources while also harbouring the fear of deportation. Finally, through a lot of struggle – including an incident with the CIA – he was able to fulfill his desires and live permanently in the USA.

After his Masters he was fortunate enough to be able to do his apprentice with one of the five great masters of Architecture, Ludwig Miesvan der Rohe. He was also able to interact professionally with other famous Architects such as George Danforth, Gene Summers,Thomas Beebay, Helmut Jahn, and firms such as C.F.Murphy Associates, where he was supposed to be the first non-white designer (1966-75). Later he joined the then largest architectural firm Skidmore Owings and Merrill as a Senior Designer (1975-1986). Finally, he joined Urban Design Group in 1986 as Senior Principal Director. His professional works encompass over 70 million sq.ft. of designed space, spread over thirty states of the USA and twelve countries across four continents; a feat achieved by very few. A design book on his work has been published under Urban Design Group by the Master Architecture Series of Australia. He focused his professional interest on design excellence and in creating intelligently executed buildings of extraordinary details.

Apart from his professional passion, he was also developing his book, “The Life and Times of Architect Munin.” The book includes his memories of mentor George Danforth and internship with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. He was also interested in history and was an ardent traveler, having traveled to 60 countries in his lifetime. The trip to Japan was the last trip he took. He lived a meaningful, accomplished and impactful life. Although his rigid thinking made him somewhat difficult to deal with at times, he was overall an outstanding person. The architects fraternity of the Northeast and the family shall all miss you, Pintu khura. Goodbye!

Architect Arijit Choudhury,

(Nephew)

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