INTBAU International Conference – Earth & Heritage Calling

From the 15th to 17th November, the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture and Urbanism (INTBAU) held a conference titled “Earth and Heritage Calling: A Case of Makli and Karachi.” The aim of the conference was to discuss sustainable green architecture and Malaysia’s colonial architecture, while also displaying Karachi’s historic architecture.

INTBAU is a global network founded by the Prince of Wales, dedicated to improve housing infrastructure through traditional building, architecture, and urbanism. Established in 2001, INTBAU has 32 chapters and over 6,000 members worldwide. Partners of the INTBAU-Pakistan are the Heritage Foundation, INTBAU Int., Commonwealth Habitat Forum, World Habitat, Sindh Government Department of Culture and Tourism, Chief of Secretary Sindh, Commissioners of Karachi and Hyderabad. The Conference was supported by the sponsors: Nippon Paint, Lucky Cement, Coca Cola, Iceberg Industries, PCI, Envicrete, Beach Luxury Hotel, S.Abdulla, and Interface.

The first two days of the conference took place in Makli, concluding on the final day in Karachi. In Makli, the venue of the conference was the Zero Carbon Center. The Master of Ceremonies was Shanaz Ramzi, Joint Secretary, INTBAU Pakistan. The day began with Robert Adam and Harriet Wennberg, ofUK, giving a brief overview of INTBAU int’l. Representatives of various chapters of INTBAU introduced the work of their respective chapters, including Hamdan Majeed and Duncan Cave, Malaysia; Asad Khan, Pakistan; Tomasz Jelenski, Poland; Telma Ribeiro, Portugal; Alejandro Garcia Hermida, Spain; and Christine Franck, USA. Following which Dr. Laura Tedesco, US Ambassador Fund for Cultural Heritage, spoke on heritage management in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The first session began with Laura Jones and Vernon Rapley of Y and A Museum, presenting on the project “Culture in Crisis”. Shaneen Fantin, University of Queensland, Australia, spoke on the importance of recognizing indigenous architecture in Australia – both contemporary and traditional. Dr. Louise Cooke, York University, gave a presentation titled “Introduction to Earth Building.” Followed by Samie Iqbal’s presentation on the University of Liverpool’s Center for the study of Architecture and Cultural Heritage of Insia, Arabia, and the Maghreb (ARCHIAM), in specific their case study of Oman.

Kamran Lashari introduced the Walled City Project in his capacity of Director General. Jeremy Cross of the Prince’s Foundation and Ar. Fauzia Qureshi of ICOMOS Pakistan concluded the first session.

The second session began with the welcome address from Yasmeen Lari, CEO of Heritage Foundation and founding chair of INTBAU Pakistan. Following which Honorary Secretary INTBAU Pakistan, Murad Jamil, introduced Pakistan’s chapter of INTBAU.

Next, Harriet Wennberg, Executive Director INTBAU introduced INTBAU as an international entity. Robert Adam, Chair INTBAU, introduced a video message sent by His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales before it was played.

After the video, David Ireland, Executive Driector, World Habitat Awards, spoke on the importance of the Awards that are used to highlight outstanding and revolutionary housing projects across the globe. He then presented the 2018 Award to Yasmeen Lari and The Chulah Entrepreneurs, Champa, Kanji and Naheem Shah, for the Chulah Project. The entrepreneurs were trained in provided guidance for Chulah making, which resulted in 60,000 self-built, earthen platform stoves. These traditional stoves are re-designed using lime mortar and incorporate chimneys, which reduces the harm that smoke emissions cause to women and young children.

This was followed by the inauguration of the Training and Resource Center by the President of Pakistan, Arif Alvi. Addressing the conference, he called on the nations of the world to take action and counter the risks and effects climate change poses to humanity. This concluded the second day.

Speakers of the second day included James Green of Richard Griffiths Architects who spoke about Zero Carbon ateliers. – spoke about glazed ceramics and terracotta ateliers, while Celeste Sangster of World Habitat briefed delegates about the Pakistan Chulah. Dr. Gwynn Jenkins from Malaysia spoke of the importance of safeguarding heritage, and Sadia Fazli added on the importance of engagement of student in such activities.

The hours after were spent in workshops and demonstrations by artisans, allowing the participants to witness a glimpse of the techniques being adopted by residents of the village. This included kashi work, bamboo and earth techniques, traditional kiln firing, prefabricated panel making, and the processes of restoration work at the 17th century tomb of Munir Maghfoori.

The fourth session began with the discussion between Nayyar Ali Dada and Dr. Noman Ahmed on Architecture in Pakistan. Followed by presentations by the artisans who facilitated the earlier workshops. Ending a major portion of the Conference, Ar. Yawar Jilani presented his closing remarks and commented on how one could move forward from here.

After refreshments, the conversation moved into the a collaborative stage between Institute of Architects, Pakistan (IAP), Pakistan Council for Architects and Town Planners (PCATP), and INTBAU. Speaking on sustainable architecture and the role of architects in a country’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs.)

Next, the Chief Minister of the Government of Sindh helped present certificates and awards to the local communities and people of Makli. After refreshments, delegates took a tour of Zero Carbon Campus and of the Makli World Heritage site. Some delegates left for Karachi while those who stayed were invited to dinner by the Minister for Culture at Keenjhar Lake.

On the third day, the conference moved into Karachi, where heritage was more keenly discussed in terms of colonial architecture, in Pakistan and Malaysia. A discussion panel and introduction to the Commonwealth Heritage Forum was included featuring Ameena Saiyid, Muneeza Shamsie, Iftikhar Shallwani, Tapu Javeri, Sharmeen Chinoy, Nighat Mir.

Following the concluding remarks of the conference, INTBAU held their College of Chapters meeting, and commenced a tour of Karachi.

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