100+1 Pakistani Architects And Their Own Houses

 
9789698559007: 100+1 Pakistani Architects And Their Own Houses
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This colourful and attractive book is about houses Pakistani architects have designed for themselves. It profiles the designs of over one hundred architects, established professionals as well as young practitioners from all over the country. Presented chronologically, these houses reflect the personality, design philosophy and lifestyle of each architect. It is based on the premise that architects, while designing their own houses, are able to express themselves more effectively and without compromise to external factors. Such houses are therefore likely to be the truest possible expressions of the owner-architects abilities and attitudes.
Collectively these houses and home interiors also represent an evolving social history of urban living in Pakistan. With photos, plans and a number of short essays reflecting on the architecture scene in Pakistan, the book will be of interest for personal collection, as a gift, for libraries, and for scholars of Pakistani and South Asian architectural theory and criticism. The book's foreword is written by Arif Hasan.
Mukhtar Husain, the author, is a well-known professional practicing in Pakistan since 1973. Besides his involvement with building and planning projects, he has been teaching and writing for over thirty years.

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About the Author:

Mukhtar Husain has been practicing architecture in Pakistan since 1973. He was Chief Architect of the Jinnah Terminal complex at Karachi Airport from its concept stage in 1985 upto its completion in 1992. He was later the Executive Director at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi. He has also been associated with the Aga Khan Award for Architecture as a Technical Reviewer for two cycles. In 1997, he set up FNMH Architecture, his own architectural practice in Karachi, and has been involved with a variety of projects within Pakistan and abroad.
Besides his involvement with building and planning projects, he has been teaching and writing for over thirty years. His writing and work has been frequently published in local and foreign professional journals, magazines, and newspapers, and he is frequently sought after as a commentator on architecture in Pakistan for television as well as the print media. He spent almost five years working on this book, personally visiting houses throughout the country, and meeting the architects featured.
Mukhtar Husain received a Bachelor's degree in architecture from the Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey) in 1971, and a Master's degree in 1972. He also holds a Certificate in Housing in Islamic Cultures from Harvard / MIT.

Review:

Where Designers Dwell
The book is an output of a sizable effort and labour undertaken by Mukhtar Husain, a very well known architect famous for his scholarly pursuits and inclinations. The topic was pertinent to be explored in respect to the chronological transformations that have taken place in the post independence architectural scene in the country. While it may appear that access to the information and resources related to architects' own houses may have been a smooth sailing, it seems to have been simply otherwise. The author had to undertake continuous liaison with the architects included in the volume (or their near and dear ones), coordination to update the information and finally transform the documentation work into a book format. At each stage, the effort had to be guided by the daunting precaution not to miss out any image, reference or detail that may have been necessary to provide the desirable picture to the readers. Undoubtedly the outcome is a useful product reflecting the skills, efforts and precaution contributed in the inputs.
The author has adopted a very simple narrative style in the opening essays. This makes the book worthy of capturing a wide readership including art critics, journalists, engineers, planners, sociologists or even common house wives! The documentation is presented in a neutral manner giving due coverage to the ideas and aspirations of the designers themselves. The book shows that the choices were made without any selective restraint applied to the examples. Thus a non controversial sample has evolved due to this open-ended approach. Peer review by two eminent architects namely (late) Prof. Kausar Bashir Ahmad and Prof. Arif Hasan has added further value to the noteworthy effort.
Since the author belongs to the same profession, his statements and depiction remains politically correct without being judgmental or critical at any instance. The interpretations in this respect are left open for the readers, reviewers and critics to dwell around the examples contained in the volume. Design of the book is undertaken in a populist manner which, at times, is not necessarily architectural in its bearing. Colour compositions, paper sizing, icons and quality of graphics are all done across the same theme. More serious architectural researchers may find the lack of detailed technical information as a handicap.
The book has uneveiled a broad agenda of exploration, inviting the architectural researchers to further extrapolate this spine of knowledge. The author has presented a set of tables about the educational background and short biographical references. Interesting correlations can be drawn from this information and the design of their houses. Stylistic criticism, derivation of local variables in architectural interpretations, attempts to derive certain local principles of design and construction are other related areas that invite the attention of serious architectural researchers. Scaling the commercial success of architects viz a viz the strength of design ideas may form a subsidiary trajectory of exploration. One must also not forget to investigate the cases of such architects "who could not make their own houses!" 
A missing dimension in the book is the information about the contextual setting of each unit presented. Probably the insertion of a key location map or street photograph may have greatly enriched the visual evidences in the contents of the book.
A missing dimension in the book is the information about the contextual setting of each unit presented. Probably the insertion of a key location map or street photograph may have greatly enriched the visual evidences in the contents of the book.
Dr. Noman Ahmed is the Chairman of the Department of Architecture, NED University, Karachi. This review appeared in Architimes, --Dr. Noman Ahmed, Architimes (Pakistan), December 2006

Designers' Dwellings
He who pays the piper calls the tune, which is what some architects would tell you, and not wrongly, if you point out a discrepancy or a discordant note in their work. They would say that they often have to accept the dictates of their clients. Others may not be frank enough to own their limitation. But if you have to see the architects true worth then have a detailed look at the houses that they design and build for their own selves. They don t have to please anyone except their wives (which is not always very easy) in so far as the functionality of the design is concerned.
A noted architect and interior designer, Mukhtar Husain did something unusual cataloguing and presenting the houses architects have designed for their own living. The pictorial volume shows the personality, design philosophy and lifestyle of each architect. But he has a slightly looser definition of an architect in the context of this book for he has also included interior designer Danish Azar Zuby and civil engineer Saleem Thariani in his splendid coffee table book 100 +1 Pakistani Architects and their own houses. The one point common to Zuby and Thariani is that they don t have a degree in architecture but they are much in demand for their architectural skills.
While one may thank FOMMA (Foundation of Museum for Modern Art) for cataloguing works of artists in the form of monographs, no association or organisation of architects has moved in the same direction, which is why the importance of Mukhtar Husain s labour of love can be termed a pioneering work in this country. The Karachi-based author has not confined his efforts to his own city which is Karachi, he has included architects from Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Quetta and Mirpurkhas.
The book s title 100 + 1 (1 stands for his own house) is slightly misleading because he has included 109 houses, which is because the author also takes into account the houses that the architects had once designed and made for their own use but later moved to a new house. Husain gives pictures and floor plans of both the residences. Not all the houses have been built from grassroots level. For instance, Habib Fida Ali got a villa which was built in the late 19th century but was lying in a state of disrepair. He restored it and furnished it in keeping with the architectural nuances of the house.
Likewise, Arif Hasan s house is a series of add-ons above the house his father bought in 1969 . Mukhtar Husain gives the floor plans of the house before and after Hasan made modifications.
Parvezulhaq Ansari springs a surprise when he includes a covered swimming pool on the ground floor of his 410 sq yards house. The exterior and the interior both look gorgeous. Ansari says, I give particular attention to environmental and cultural issues, as they relate to design and planning in the developing world. The thought content is reminiscent of Ayesha Noorani s views, who blends her ethnically charming house with the cultural and geographical setting. She maintains, Today I would stress more on sustainability and on using materials that can be re-used, landscaping which can bring down energy costs and recycling waste matter.
Well before these two architects, the elder statesman of architecture the late Mohammad Abdul Ahed built a house of the stone that was available from the nearby hillock. I could take as much as I needed. It only cost me the transportation of the material, said the late Mr Ahed, whose son Ejaz is a distinguished architect in his own right. He too features in the book.
Among the younger lot, Faiz Kidwai s exterior looks neat and Ayla and Asim Raza s façade has a distrinct Spanish-Moorish character. The railings of their staircase are also exquisite. The houses featured range from 170 to 2400 sq yards.
--Asif Noorani, Dawn Gallery (Pakistan), December 2006

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