Jane Drew Prize for Oxford Brookes Alumni, Yasmeen Lari

Monday, 02 March 2020

TDE Jane Drew Prize

Pakistan’s first-ever female architect, School of Architecture alumni Yasmeen Lari, has been awarded the Jane Drew Prize 2020 for her contribution to raising the profile of women in architecture and design. Lari, 79, joins the ranks of Zaha Hadid, Amanda Levete, Elizabeth Diller and Denise Scott Brown – who have all previously received the prize.

Lari is known for landmark buildings in Karachi, where she set up her practice after graduating from Oxford Brookes’ architecture school in 1964. Her buildings include the Finance and Trade Centre (1983-89) and Pakistan State Oil House (1985-91). Before these, she had designed the Anguri Bagh housing project in Lahore in 1973 and Lines Area Resettlement in 1980 – a complex of self-built housing for residents of a sprawling settlement covering more than 80ha of Karachi.

Lari designed the Finance and Trade Centre in Karachi.

Lari later turned to ‘barefoot’ architecture, which aimed to tread lightly upon the plan and provide environmentally sustainable and participative solutions to lift up marginalised communities.

She started working in bamboo in 2007, providing community kitchens to refugees of the conflict in Swat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and, later, building community centres on stilts after floods hit the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces.

Commenting on her latest award, Lari said: ‘I am touched and humbled to be included among the galaxy of architects who have received this prize.’

The prize is named after Jane Drew, an advocate for women in a male-dominated profession.

Caption for image: Bamboo centre for women by Lari, in Sindh Province