Text | Shanze Farooq
Visuals | As Mentioned
In Civil Lines, Karachi stands house 12/CL-6, more popularly known as Claremont House. Constructed in August of 1863, the property has just celebrated its 156th year. In the past, it was a private bungalow in the iconic former railroad colony neighbourhood, where such properties were once a symbol of high status and rank. Today, it serves as the headquarters for National Foods.
The project to turn Claremont House into a suitable working space while still preserving its story and style was undertaken by the Najmi Bilgrami Collaborative (Pvt.) Ltd. (NBCL), a collaboration of two firms which are architecture heavyweights in Karachi. Established in 2006, NBCL is the coming together of Misbah Najmi & Associates with Bilgrami & Faruque. The restoration of the original house was undertaken by heritage conservationist, Marvi Mazhar, who brought the limestone surface of the house back to its original condition. What this represents is a new turn in architectural practices in Pakistan: rather than one team leading a whole project, teams with different focuses and specializations that truly benefits the project of heritage and adaptive reuse.
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