Cultural Background of Pakistan
Officially known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Pakistan is a multi-ethnic country in South Asia. Being the world’s fifth most populous country, it has a diverse culture with references from India, Persia, Afghan, and Western Asia. Pakistan has four provinces, each having a different dialect, culture, tradition, food, and art. With over 15 major ethnic groups in Pakistan, it is no surprise that there is an influence of the diversity seen in the ancient elements of architecture.
Architectural Styles of Pakistan
Pakistan is home to thousands of cultural legacies, including those from the Neolithic era and the first civilisations that coexisted at the same time as ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. There are numerous UNESCO sites like Mohenjodaro, Mehrgarh, and Harappa. The Indo-Saracenic and Mughal structures of Pakistan are well known. While it has a lengthy history of traditional structures, it also offers numerous examples of more modern and contemporary architectural styles.
The Pakistan Monument
The Pakistan Monument is a petal-shaped national monument in Islamabad. Located in the western Shakarparian Hills, it is one of the best places to visit in Islamabad because of its gorgeous setting and distinctive architecture. The majestic Monument was built to symbolise the nationalism and unity of Pakistanis. Additionally, it pays tribute to the martyrs who gave their lives in defence of their nation and its citizens.
Due to the location’s elevation, it can be seen from the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. As a result, it acts as a window into Pakistan’s fascinating past. This impressive monument’s architectural design honours Pakistan’s legacy, history, and culture.
Overall, it is evident that the monument’s design was influenced by Mughal architecture. A few elements of this style can be observed in the dome-shaped structure, marble and granite, and detailed carvings. Built on a land of 2.8 hectares, it consists of two buildings – the memorial and the museum. But one can witness a beautiful adaption of this architectural style in a contemporary form. It proves itself a landmark of traditional art and architecture meeting technology.
Bahria Icon Tower
Creating history with the first mega-structure in Pakistan, Bahria Icon Tower is 62 storeys of imagination aided with technology. After its completion, it will have 40 service apartments, ten floors for corporate offices, restaurants, malls, and many more features. It also includes constructing a flyover and two underground subways to improve accessibility. With such a large-scale construction, it was required to develop solutions for a new drainage system.
Shah Faisal Masjid
The magnificent Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, once regarded as the largest mosque in the world, is a beautiful rendition of Vedat Dalokay’s design for the mosque. It combines elements from the Turkish and Arabian cultures.
The magnificent Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, once regarded as the largest mosque in the world, is a beautiful rendition of Vedat Dalokay’s design for the mosque. It combines elements from the Turkish and Arabian cultures. Unlike most other mosques, Faisal Mosque is designed without the traditional design elements – domes and arches. This exceptional but unconventional and artistic design is a revolutionary one that changed the perspective of a mosque from a traditional one to a traditional one with a modern approach.
The design of the Mosque resembles a desert Bedouin tent. The structure can be described as a truncated pyramid with four giant minarets. The lower part of the pitched roof has gables inspired by Greek architecture. Made of white marble, the interiors are decorated with chandeliers and mosaics on the walls. This iconic structure has become synonymous with Pakistani’s faith and aspirations.
Centaurus is a mixed-use development comprising offices, hotels, luxury apartments, and retail designed in four independent buildings. It involves new technology to create energy-efficient systems like rainwater harvesting, lighting, and external glazing.
The concept of the project was to reflect the Margala Hills that are faintly seen in its backdrop. This was realised in physical form by creating a wavy roof connecting the project’s different components. This roof extends from the shopping mall over an external public plaza to become the roof of the tallest five-star hotel in Pakistan.
345 Telenor Campus
Designed by ARCOP in 2014, this project creates a new workplace paradigm with a deep-rooted belief in sustainability, a neighbouring context to curate a wholesome experience for people. Rammed earth is used for construction – it is a symbol of the natural colours and hues of the local soil.
Since time immemorial, courtyards have been integral to every household, institution, and public space. Telenor Campus is a modern play on how traditional courtyards are perceived. They are used as central focal points of the office campus. Additionally, the campus is planned around stepwells (inspired by baolis), inter-connected by pathways that stagger around the complex. These socialising hubs encourage people to eat, converse and work together in a new environment that is free from the traditional hierarchy of corporate spaces. The interiors adopted an open plan with co-working spaces and shared desks that reflect the company’s pledge to elevate its socio-economic presence in the country.
This delve into Pakistan’s architecture is a testament to the inevitable change. Just like every other aspect of life, architecture is also ever-changing. With advances in technology, creativity, and the passion of new architects, Pakistan has a bright future in creating many more iconic structures.
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Bahria town icon – Bahria Town Karachi (2022) Bahria Town. Available at: https://bahriatown.com/bahria-town-icon/ (Accessed: January 22, 2023).
Faisal Mosque: National treasure in Pakistan designed by a Turk (2022) Daily Sabah. Daily Sabah. Available at: https://www.dailysabah.com/arts/faisal-mosque-national-treasure-in-pakistan-designed-by-a-turk/news (Accessed: January 22, 2023).
Centaurus, Islamabad, WKK. Available at: https://wkkarchitects.com/acentaurus-islamabad (Accessed: January 22, 2023).
345 telenor campus / arcop (pvt) ltd.. (2018) ArchDaily. ArchDaily. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/897638/345-telenor-campus-arcop-pvt-ltd (Accessed: January 22, 2023).