Azam began his journey as an architect from belly of the old city, having grown up there, living its streets, and receiving his first commission with his mother's house in Lalbagh (1988). The renovated bulding, situated in a dense part of Lalbagh and succumbing to over-building and increasing density, involves a new plan that is quite modest but foreshadows a few things essential to Azam's architectural language. While Rafiq Azam may eulogise the mystique of delta, and try to capture its enigmatic essence in his watercolors, his architecture draws not so much from the vernacular idioms of rural Bangladesh but from the gritty realities of old Dhaka. The raucous, pell-mell fabricof this old city, with its aggregate collage of buildings, impromptu compositions of naked brick walls and plastered surfaces, inviting terraces, sudden green patches on a roof, be they cultivated garden pots or wild plants snaking through walls, provides a veritable platter for new architecture. As an archive of forms and motifs, the old cityis a canvas of assemblages from where Azam has quarried architectural ideas and languages.