Pakistan’s First Certified Female Architect Rebuilds Homes After Devastating Floods

Pakistan's First Certified Female Architect Rebuilds Homes After Devastating Floods

As Pakistan grapples with the aftermath of the catastrophic floods of 2022, a pioneering solution to the nation’s rebuilding challenge is gaining traction.

Architect Yasmeen Lari, Pakistan’s first certified female architect, has spearheaded an innovative movement toward sustainable and flood-resistant housing.

The traditional approach of relying on concrete structures is being challenged by Lari’s cost-effective and environmentally conscious designs that emphasize disaster resilience.

The Heritage Foundation of Pakistan

Lari’s brainchild, the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan (HFP), has empowered flood-affected villagers in southeastern Pakistan’s Sindh province to construct water-resistant homes using locally sourced materials.

This groundbreaking initiative, supported by low-carbon elements such as bamboo, lime, and mud, has resulted in the construction of more than a thousand homes to date.

These structures offer a practical alternative to vulnerable traditional mud huts and high-cost, high-carbon concrete buildings.

Building 5000 Homes

Since September 2022, the HFP has helped build more than 5,000 chauhras. Lari is urging villagers to help each other, and once a person’s home is built, he should help rebuild other homes.

A testament to the effectiveness of Lari’s approach can be found in Kewal Kohli, a village in Sindh province, where villagers like Rano Kewal, a former schoolteacher, have benefited. Kewal’s original mud hut was washed away by the floods, leaving him and his family homeless.

The intervention by HFP provided them with the necessary tools and training to construct a new home, showcasing the potential of sustainable, disaster-resistant designs.

However, Lari’s vision extends beyond mere housing construction; it encompasses a holistic approach to community resilience. The cornerstone of this approach lies in HFP’s training centers, where certified artisans instruct laborers in the construction of bamboo-reinforced structures on raised platforms.

Constructing 1 Million Homes by 2024

These innovations, informed by traditional architectural wisdom, are engineered to withstand floods. Equipping villagers with the skills to expand their homes and train others fosters a self-sustaining and community-driven model of resilience.

Despite the promise of these innovative designs, skepticism remains. Organizations such as the World Bank and the Sindh People’s Housing Foundation continue to favor concrete structures, citing their perceived resilience.

Nonetheless, Lari remains steadfast in her mission, working to persuade more entities to support her model. Her ambitious goal is to construct one million homes by 2024, steering Pakistan’s reconstruction toward a more sustainable, environmentally conscious, and community-centric direction.

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