Globally, the consequences of the climate catastrophe are being felt. Pakistan, one of the world’s most vulnerable nations, has suffered excessively. In the summer of 2022, when a third of the nation was flooded Yasmeen Lari, who is over 80 years old, worked nonstop to provide for architectural disaster relief. According to Lari, architecture has to reconcile human survival and dignity with the preservation of the environment. “It’s about bringing the most cost-effective, safest, and ecological method into implementation on a mass scale,” she says. In light of the ongoing destruction of the earth, architecture must share responsibility. Lari created her system of zero-carbon architecture for this reason over the past 20 years. It is founded on regional economies, the revival of historical building traditions, the use of climate-neutral building materials like lime, clay, and bamboo, as well as instruction in self-building and women’s-centred processes. Lari has built tens of thousands of homes that are earthquake- and flood-resistant, as well as sanitation systems, smoke-free cooking appliances, and community amenities with landless people and refugees from climate change.
The Architekturzentrum Wien is currently hosting the first exhibition on the dedicated architect in the world under the title “Yasmeen Lari – Architecture for the Future” through August 16. The show traces Lari’s remarkable journey from international modernism to CO2-free building using previously unpublished images, drawings, and documents from her archive. Lari, an English-trained architect, started her business in Karachi in the 1960s and went on to become the leading builder in Pakistan. She built homes for the new urban middle class lifestyle, iconic large-scale buildings, but also social housing as a pioneer of brutalism. She established the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan with her spouse Suhail Zaheer Lari to research and protect the architectural heritage of her nation, including the Makli and Lahore World Heritage Sites as well as regular buildings.
To complement the exhibition, MIT Press published “Yasmeen Lari. Architecture for the Future,” with contributions from Angelika Fitz, Elke Krasny, Marvi Mazhar, Chris Moffat, Helen Thomas, Anila Naeem, Abira Ashfaq, Raquel Rolnik, Anne Karpf, Runa Khan, Cassandra Cozza, and Rafia Zakaria.
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