Winner of the Jane Drew Prize 2020: Humanitarian architect, Yasmeen Lari

Yasmeen Lari, 79, is Pakistan’s first female architect and the recipient of this year’s Jane Drew Prize for Architecture of the W Awards, organized by the publications The Architectural Review and Architect’s Journal. Lari is awarded this accolade for her work as an architect, for design excellence, as well as the impact her humanitarian architecture has had on the lives and areas she has touched.“I am touched and humbled to be included among the galaxy of architects who have received this prize,” she told the organizers.

Lari studied Architecture from the Oxford School of Architecture in 1941 and designed many of Karachi’s landmark buildings but in 2000, she closed down her practice and directed her efforts to humanitarian work. Her work has included the rehabilitation of areas affected by earthquakes and floods, and rural areas in need of basic infrastructure. Lari uses local building materials like lime, bamboo, and mud, advocating for sustainable building techniques.

She has dedicated her work to bringing dignity, independence, and pride to the women she works with. Alongside her team, she and women from Makli, Sindh designed a sustainable, environment-friendly stove; countering the health issues that the women and children dealing with the traditional stove faced. For this, her organization, the Heritage Foundation, has also won the World Habitat Award in 2018.

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