Name Your Favorite Building(s) in Pakistan

Posted on October 6, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Architecture
70 Comments
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Adil Najam

We have had some fascinating discussions about on ATP about buildings and architecture. A few days ago Pervaiz Munir Alvi took us through a tour of Pakistan’s architectural history (here). His concern about architectural neglect was not unsimilar to that expressed by Raza Rumi (here) and SAJ Shirazi (here) earlier. Earlier we have looked in detail at the architectural legacies of various cities, including Lahore (also here), Karachi (also here), Multan and, of course, had spirited discussions about the new ‘7-star’ hotel – The Centaurus – being built in Islamabad (here and here).




The discussion has been rich and many have already identified what their favorite buildings in Pakistan are. Maybe we should invite others to also join the discussion identify structures that ‘do it’ for them.
What are your architectural preferences? Which buildings in Pakistan do you find aesthetically pleasing? Which would you consider most emblematic of Pakistan and ‘Pakistaniat’? In short, what is/are your favorite buildings in Pakistan? And, always, why?



We don’t need any rules, but a few guidelines; if I may.

  • You can name any building that you want, as long as it is in Pakistan and that actually exists (sorry, Centaurus does not count; not yet!).
  • It does not matter if it was built before or after 1947, as long as it still exists.
  • I expect that a lot of the entries will be commemorative structures (mousuleums, monuments, etc.). That is to be expected. I woudl love to also hear about which functional buildings (hotels, office towers, bridges, etc.) you find most fascinating.
  • Do please also tell us why you like a particualr building (that is much more interesting than you telling us why you do not like someone else’s choice!). If you have any interesting information about the building, do please share.
  • We hope to eventually turn this into a running list of “ATP Reader’s Choice,” so please do ask your friends who are interested in such issues to also come and post their choices here.
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70 responses to “Name Your Favorite Building(s) in Pakistan”

  1. Adil Najam says:

    Thanks, MQ, for the info of the pictures… here is some more, including one correction.

    Top cluster:
    1) Islamia College, Pashawar (A great institution and a great building).
    2) Wapda House, Lahore (over the years I have grown familiar, and somehwat fond of it as a Lahore icon; but still prefer Alhamra next ddoor better).
    3) The Aga Khan University Hospital complex, Karachi (to me this is representative of the red brick-revival that is now seen in both Lahore and Karachi).
    4) Jinnah’s mazaar (I think recent improvments and maintainance of the grounds have added to its characcter greatly).

    Bottom cluster:
    1) Lahore Fort (not necessarily the most appealing, but the most dominant of the Mughal structures in Lahore).
    2) Ranjit Singhs samadhi, Lahore (next to the Badshahi Masjid; a fine speciment of the Sikh architectural influence).
    3) Ziarat Residency (its historical significance is more than its architectural significancce but is also a great specimen of ‘functional’ colonial architecture, particcularly ‘hill-station’ architecture).
    4) Frere Hall, Karachi (love this photograph; great building, both for historical and aesthetic reasons).

  2. MQ says:

    [quote comment=”4231″]”I need time to think about my response, but could someone identify the 8 buildings in the pictures used here. I think I know most, but not all.” [/quote]

    Daktar saab,

    The first building on top left is Islamia College, Peshawar. It is also one my favorite buildings. The building on top right is Wapda House, Lahore, which I don’t particularly like.

    In the second row, to the left, some new building in Lahore. Possibly Lums? To the right, of course, is the Quaid’s mazar.

    In the third row, to the left, is Shahi Qila, Lahore. To the left is Ranjit Singh’s mazar, Lahore.

    In the bottom row, to the left, is what looks like Ziarat rest house and to the right is Frere Hall Karachi.

  3. Suleman says:

    I’d say the badshahi mosque is one of my favorites, it is a grand and great symbol of Mughal architecture as well. Red sandstone, the arches, marble tombs, and use of enclosed space such as used in most Islamic architecture. I couldn’t forsee Lahore without it.

  4. Naveed says:

    Mohatta Palace Museum, Clifton Baradari & facade of Jehangir Kothari Parade, my alma mater DJ Science College, Shah Latif’s mazar Bhit Shah, Landsdown Bridge Sukkur, Shahi Qila Lahore

  5. Yahya says:

    Come to think of it, its really difficult to choose one (or two) from the older/existing buildings. Many are colonial/pre-Pakistan and much as we appreciate the architecture these are not us! Then there are modern buildings that do not have any particular character, built to serve some commercial or government purpose and that is it.

    Can we select one from the under construction list? How about Centaurus? It has character as well as being modern. Fresh posh look.

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