Oxford Brookes Architecture alumna Yasmeen Lari wins prestigious prize

Thursday, 05 March 2020

Yasmeen Lari news 2

Oxford Brookes alumna and Pakistan’s first-ever female architect, Yasmeen Lari, has been awarded the Jane Drew Prize 2020 for her steadfast work in highlighting the role of women in architecture and design.

Yasmeen joins an esteemed group including Zaha Hadid, Amanda Levete and Elizabeth Diller, who were previous recipients of the prize.

I am thrilled that our alumna Yasmeen Lari has won the Jane Drew Prize 2020. Yasmeen has been an exemplar for women in architecture throughout her career and has been ahead of her time in terms of sustainability and finding solutions to improve the lives of people in the face of natural disasters. She is an inspiration for our students now and in the future.

Matt Gaskin, Head of the School of Architecture at Oxford Brookes

The Jane Drew Prize presented by the Architects Journal, recognises an architectural designer who, through their work and commitment to design excellence, has raised the profile of women in architecture. The award is named after the modernist architect, Jane Drew, who was an outstanding voice for women in the male-dominated field of architecture in the 20th century.

Yasmeen Lari is renowned for her distinctive buildings in Karachi and she is considered among the pioneers of Brutalistic Architecture. She set up her practice in the city after graduating from the Oxford School of Architecture (later Oxford Brookes) in 1964. Her designs include large scale projects, such as the Finance and Trade Centre (1983-89) and Pakistan State Oil House (1985-91). Also the Anguri Bagh housing project in Lahore in 1973 and the expansive self-built Lines Area Resettlement in 1980.

She has retired from architectural practice and has since concentrated on humanitarian work, founding the non-profit humanitarian organisation Heritage Foundation of Pakistan with her husband in 1980.

Yasmin Lari is remarkable for creating ‘barefoot’ architecture, which aimed to ‘tread lightly’ in terms of planning and to provide environmentally sustainable buildings. She also worked with marginalised communities in a collaborative fashion, affording them the same degree of respect normally reserved for corporate clients. After an earthquake in 2005, Yasmeen devised a bamboo shelter system which was affordable and had a low carbon foot-print.

In 2007, she provided community kitchens to refugees of the conflict in Swat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and, later built community centres on stilts as a result of floods in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces.

Commenting on her latest award, Yasmeen said: “I am touched and humbled to be included among the galaxy of architects who have received this prize.”Matt Gaskin, Head of the School of Architecture at Oxford Brookes commented:

“I am thrilled that our alumna Yasmeen Lari has won the Jane Drew Prize 2020. Yasmeen has been an exemplar for women in architecture throughout her career and has been ahead of her time in terms of sustainability and finding solutions to improve the lives of people in the face of natural disasters. She is an inspiration for our students now and in the future.”

You can find out more about architecture courses at the Oxford Brookes School of Architecture