Pakistan's first female architect Yasmeen Lari wins prestigious award

The prize is named after Jane Drew who advocated for female inclusion in a male-dominated profession

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Pakistan’s first female architect Yasmeen Lari was named as the winner of the prestigious Jane Drew Prize 2020 for her contribution to raising the profile of women in design and architecture, The News reported.

The prize is named after Jane Drew who advocated for female inclusion in a male-dominated profession. It is part of the Architects' Journal and Architectural Record's W Awards, formerly known as the Women in Architecture Awards.

Other previous winners of the award include Odile Decq, Grafton Architects’ founders Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, Kathryn Findlay of Ushida Findlay and Eva Jiiná.

The 79-year-old is now among the ranks of other famous architects such as Amanda Levete, Zaha Hadid, Denise Scott Brown and Elizabeth Diller.

Yasmeen Lari, a Karachi-based architect is known for creating the city's many landmark buildings. 

Lari set up her own practice after graduating from Oxford Brookes’ architecture school in 1964. Her buildings include the Finance and Trade Centre (1983-89) and Pakistan State Oil House (1985-91).

Before these, she had designed the Anguri Bagh housing project in Lahore in 1973 and Lines Area Resettlement in 1980 – a complex of self-built housing for residents of a sprawling settlement covering more than 80ha of Karachi. 

She later turned to ‘barefoot’ architecture, which aimed to tread lightly upon the plan and provide environmentally sustainable and participative solutions to uplift marginalized communities.

She started working with bamboo in 2007, providing community kitchens to refugees of the conflict in Swat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and, later, building community centers on stilts after floods hit KP and Sindh.

Originally published in The News