This Pakistani Fuses Tradition & Architecture to Create Disaster-Relief Shelters

Yasmeen Lari, a Pakistani architect, has been providing disaster-relief shelters to villagers using traditional building techniques.

Regarded as one of the most successful disaster-relief shelter provider in the world, Yasmeen has built around 36,000 shelters in Pakistan alone for flood and earthquake victims since 2010.

Low Carbon Emissions

She uses local and traditional materials such as lime and bamboo to put together her vernacular structures. The structures are easy to build – easy enough for the people to build themselves – and keep the environment in check with almost zero carbon emissions.

This is a great demonstration of how architecture can be used for humanitarian purposes and has a significant importance in this field. Yasmeen says,


I often tell my colleagues, let us not treat disaster-affected households as destitute, needing handouts … but with dignity.


Yasmeen Lari has also made a high-end building built with steel and concrete for a top-tier client, the Pakistan State Oil company. The earthquake in 2005 lead her to resort to traditional methods to design disaster-proof houses for people residing in rural areas.

She has an NGO named Heritage Foundation Pakistan – recognized by the UN – which is currently working on providing disaster-relief shelters as well as the conversion of historical buildings in the rural areas of Pakistan.

Other Projects

Her other architectural work includes the Naval Officers Housing in Karachi, Angoori bagh Housing (ABH 1978), Taj Mahal Hotel in Karachi, Finance and Trade Center (FTC building) in Karachi, and lastly the Pakistan State Oil House (PSO House) in Karachi as well.

via Al-Jazeera