The process of industrialization and urbanization in the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in the 1950s led to hectic development which suffered from lack of technological support. In view of the challenging situation, the Department of Architecture was established alongside the existing engineering education. The founding of the Department in 1962 helped in the transformation of the then Ahsanullah Engineering College to a full-fledged University.
From its inception till 1990, the Department was the only institution of its kind imparting architectural education in the country. At present the Faculty of Architecture and Planning has three Departments: Architecture, Urban & Regional Planning and Humanities.
With the support of the Texas A&M University, the Department had a humble beginning with only one expatriate teacher, Professor Richard E. Vrooman, and six students. By the year 1965 there were four American teachers and 68 students at five levels. The year 1966 is a landmark in the history of Architectural education in this country. It was the year when the first five students graduated in Architecture after the completion of the 5-year programme. In the same year six Bangalees, on obtaining their degrees in Architecture from the USA returned to bolster the teaching staff. In 1968 all the expatriates left, entrusting the programme entirely with the local staff. Shah Alam Zahiruddin took over as the first Dean of the School.
Tragedy hit the programme with the death of Ahsanur Rahman, a dedicated teacher of the faculty on June 27, 1967. In fond memory of the late teacher, the Ahsanur Rahman Award was instituted in 1968 to support postgraduate studies at the time. The award has since then been presented to students who achieve a high level of design and scholastic excellence in Architecture.
With the independence of Bangladesh in 1971 the building industry gained a new lease of life. The pressure of students intending to study architecture increased continually. Initially, the yearly intake of students at the first year level was 25. In 1973, the number was raised to 30, in 1977 to 35 and again to 50 in 1980. In later period, enrolment was increased to 55 students per batch.
Consequently the number of teachers has also increased. At present, the Department has a total of 43 teachers, with specializations in Housing, Environment, Urban Design, Health Facilities, Educational Facilities and so on. In 1979, as the demand for higher education increased, a programme offering the Master of Architecture (M.Arch) degree was introduced. From 1993-94 the department is offering Ph.D programme. The Department celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 1986 and completed 50 years in 2012.