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Yasmeen Lari: Barefoot Social Architecture Benefitting People and the Planet
This fall and early winter, Current Work spotlights influential and innovative design practices that bring widely varying perspectives to contemporary housing challenges.

Yasmeen Lari is the cofounder and CEO of the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, an organization working to conserve the nation’s historic art and architecture while providing large-scale humanitarian aid to local communities. Since the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, she has refocused her career on traditional materials, technologies, and architectures in a process she describes as “unlearning.” Positing a sustainable, grassroots model for the development of Pakistan’s built environment, she advocates for “barefoot social architecture,” a women-centered, carbon-neutral approach to housing that emphasizes co-creation and the use of sustainable materials like bamboo, lime, and mud. Under Lari’s leadership, the Heritage Foundation has helped build over 40,000 carbon-neutral structures across Pakistan.

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Dec 7, 2021 11:30 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Yasmeen Lari
Cofounder and CEO @Heritage Foundation of Pakistan
Yasmeen Lari graduated from the Oxford School of Architecture (now Oxford Brookes University) in 1964 and was elected to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1969. She was elected president of the Institute of Architects Pakistan in 1978 and was the first chairperson of Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners (PCATP) in 1983. She retired from architectural practice in 2000 after designing several landmark projects in Pakistan, including the Taj Mahal Hotel in Karachi and the Pakistan State Oil House. For both her architectural and humanitarian work, Lari has been awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz (The Star of Distinction), Hilal-i-Imtiaz (The Crescent of Distinction), the Fukuoka Prize for Asian Art and Culture, and the Jane Drew Prize. She is the author and co-author of several books and has lectured extensively at home and abroad.
Cassim Shepard
The program will be moderated by urbanist, filmmaker, and writer Cassim Shepard. He teaches in the urban design program at Columbia GSAPP and consults for mission-driven organizations on editorial and media strategy, public engagement, and urban planning projects. Shepard was the founding editor of Urban Omnibus.