It “possesses a monumentality unlike anything to come before it in the history of architecture,” enthused Robert Mc Carter, a professor at Washington University in St. In Bangladesh, which became independent of Pakistan in 1971, the complex remains a source of immense national pride and appears on the 1,000 rupee note.
Its plaza, which gets a cameo in functions as a kind of national town square.
During a leisurely afternoon conversation at his Chestnut Hill apartment, Wilcots just shrugged when asked how he felt about the obligation that fell on his shoulders after Kahn’s death.
He never intended to take a job with Kahn in the first place.
“When you’re down there in the hole, no one gives you any trouble,” he observed. The year-long ordeal taught him skills that would come in handy in both life and architecture.
It also enabled him to study at the University of Colorado on the GI Bill.
“I’m basically a Midwesterner.” But life, as it often does, took him on a series of detours. Because the military was strictly segregated, Wilcots was not allowed to train at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.“If it hadn’t been for Henry, goodness knows how the project would have been finished following Lou’s death,” marveled Nicholas Gianopulos, the structural engineer who helped Kahn with the parliament building — that is, until Kahn stopped paying his firm, Keast & Hood.Wilcots’ story is especially remarkable because black architects are almost invisible in the profession, making up less than 2 percent of the total nationally.Because he had brown skin and spoke a little Urdu, people assumed he was from the country. When Kahn began working on the new capital, they asked Wilcots whether he would sit in on the meetings with “the Professor.” It would be the decisive moment in Wilcots’ life.By saying yes, he ended up devoting more than 20 years to helping Kahn build the new capital, a massive complex that sprawled across a thousand acres and included a man-made lake.