A traditional future. Rebel Architecture Series. [I]

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Yasmeen Lari

Yasmeen Lari. Born in Dera Ghazi Khan in Pakistan, Yasmeen Lari spent some years in Lahore before moving to London with her family at the age of 15. She studied at Oxford Brookes School of Architecture, graduating in 1964 and moving back to Pakistan to open her practice in Karachi. She designed the Anguri Bagh housing project in Lahore in 1973 and Lines Area Resettlement in 1980, a complex of self-built, incremental housing for the residents of the largest informal settlement spread over more than 200 acres in Karachi.

Lari made her name in the 1980s with landmark buildings in Karachi, including the Finance and Trade Centre (1983-89), developed in consultation with the Canadian architect Eva Vecsei, and Pakistan State Oil House (1985-91). She formally retired in 2000, becoming UNESCO’s national adviser for World Heritage Lahore Fort in 2003, but when an earthquake hit the Northern Areas of Pakistan in 2005, Lari turned to strategies of rehabilitation, instituting self-financing models that helped survivors rebuild without government assistance.

Lari started working in bamboo in 2007, providing community kitchens to refugees of the conflict in Swat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, continuing in 2010 when floods hit the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces, to build community centres on stilts that allowed flood waters to flow underneath. ‘Barefoot architecture’ – architecture that treads lightly upon the planet – is the basis of this work, aiming to provide environmentally sustainable and participative solutions to lift up marginalised communities.



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