Kamil Khan Mumtaz is a famous Pakistani architect, artist and writer based in Lahore, where he was born and bought up. He received training in 1957 at the Architectural Association in London, and in 1966 he returned to Pakistan to practice and train more. His name is synonymous with architecture and tradition, and he is well renowned for supporting environmental protection and heritage preservation. From 1966 to 1975, Kamil Khan Mumtaz was president of the National College of Arts in Lahore.
Kamil Khan Mumtaz Background
Kamil Khan Mumtaz was born in 1939, eight years before Independence and the partition of India and Pakistan (August 1947). Kamil Khan Mumtaz’s father worked as a civil engineer. His mother was an artist, painter and independent woman who operated her own little business, and was a supporter of the Communist Party of India (CPI). Kamil Khan Mumtaz’s primary education was at the Muree Convent in the hill station of Muree. His interest in architecture began when he was in his early twenties, and he became fascinated with the idea of preserving the traditional architecture of Pakistan. In Aitchison College in Lahore, he finished his Advanced Levels, after which he continued to the Architectural Association (AA) in London. Babar Mumtaz, his younger brother, first studied in Turkey at the Middle Eastern Technical University before moving on to England. His wife, Khawar Mumtaz, participated in social responsibility problems. She taught at Punjab University after earning her master’s degree in international relations. Later, she founded “Shirkatgah,” an organisation that promotes the empowerment of underprivileged women. She is, a writer, activist and member of the Women’s Action Forum (WAF).
Kamil Khan Mumtaz was taught the concepts of the contemporary movement while he was a student at the Architectural Association in London from 1957 to 1966. One of his professors was Otto Koenigsberger, who influenced him the most because of the relevance of his ideas to the circumstances back home. Lahore is known as the “cultural heart of Pakistan” due to its architecture. He had his greatest direct and indirect impact on the architectural education of an entire generation of architects as a professor and head of the architecture department at the National College of Arts in Lahore from 1966 to 1980.
Kamil Khan Mumtaz’s ideology is rooted in his belief that the traditional architecture of Pakistan is a valuable resource that needs to be preserved and promoted. He believes that traditional architecture represents a nation’s cultural heritage and identity and is an essential part of its history. As an artist and designer, Kamil Khan Mumtaz’s work is influenced by his deep understanding of the cultural traditions of Pakistan. He often incorporates traditional motifs and designs into his work, creating a sense of continuity between the past and the present. His work is characterised by its simplicity and elegance, reflecting his belief in the importance of harmony and balance. He is a vocal advocate for using traditional building techniques and materials, such as brick, wood, and stone, in modern architecture, and he has helped promote these ideas to architects, builders, and policymakers in Pakistan.
Kamil Khan Mumtaz’s philosophy is based on the idea that architecture is not just about building structures but also about creating a sense of place and identity. He believes architecture should reflect the cultural and social values of the space’s inhabitants. Kamil Khan Mumtaz also believes that architecture should be sustainable and environmentally friendly. His work as an architect and designer reflects these values, and he has been instrumental in promoting sustainable architecture in Pakistan. He has tried to synthesise both pragmatic and philosophical aspects of architecture.
A home for the family of Kamil Khan Mumtaz is on a corner lot. The plan’s focal point is the double-height atrium in the middle. The layout makes room for traditional crafts like woodwork, floor tiles, stucco relief work, Sindhi glazed tiles, and Kankar Lime plaster. A front lawn and a back walled garden separate the outdoor areas.
Key Achievements | Kamil Khan Mumtaz
Kamil Khan Mumtaz has given papers on indigenous architecture and appropriate technology worldwide, highlighting the importance of finding a local voice and an identity rooted in tradition. He is a Founder member of the Lahore Conservation Society. He led the consultants’ team in preparing Lahore Urban Development & Traffic Study: including long and short-term planning frameworks for the metropolitan area of Lahore and upgrading Walled City. He served on the Aga Khan Award for Architecture’s steering committee (1981-84). In 1993, Kamil Khan Mumtaz received the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz, also known as the President’s Pride of Performance Medal. In 1966, Kamil Khan Mumtaz re-established 5-year course in architecture at the National College of Arts, Lahore. He is the author of prominent books “Architecture in Pakistan” and “Modernity and Tradition”.
His work has recently started to gain popularity, and he is receiving more commissions as his ideas connect with the general public rather than just a handful of intellectuals.
- Kamil Khan Mumtaz. (2018). Profile. [online] Available at: https://kkmarchitects.wordpress.com/profile/ [Accessed 17 Mar. 2023].
- Ezdi, R. (2016). I need this train like I need a hole in my head: Mumtaz. [online] Herald Magazine. Available at: http://herald.dawn.com/news/1153599/i-need-this-train-like-i-need-a-hole-in-my-head-mumtaz [Accessed 17 Mar. 2023].
- banjaiga.com. (n.d.). | Building Happiness. [online] Available at: https://banjaiga.com/mega-database/Projects/View/Zaman-Residence/MTQ2MQ== [Accessed 17 Mar. 2023].
- Ansari, Z. (1997). A Contemporary Architectural Quest and Synthesis: Kamil Khan Mumtaz in Pakistan. p.106.