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.

70 responses to “Name Your Favorite Building(s) in Pakistan”

  1. Kabir says:

    My favorite is definitely coming soon, The Centourus in Isloo. I hope that we will see more such projects. However! I feel that Pakistan desperately needs a downtown type area in Lahore, Karachi and Gwadar (but not in Isloo). The II-Chundrigarh road is a joke including the MCB building that has absolutely no aesthetics, design breaks, creative value or elevation rational. I would say the same about most high-rises in blue area Isloo too. Who is approving these eye sours? crazy amount of money is spent anyways (good or bad architecture) at least use it to build something nice.

  2. BhindiGosht says:

    Hindu gymkhana in Karachi, Mohatta palace, Masjid Wazir Khan, and the small mosque in the F-10 Markaz in Islamabad… sure beats the Faisal mosque hands down.

  3. Fawad says:

    One of my favourite buildings is Masjid Wazir Khan
    inside Delhi gate in Lahore’s walled city. It shows some signs of its age (built in the 17th century by the then Governor of Lahore, Wazir Khan, in Shahjehan’s reign) but is a delightful structure and an oasis of peace and quiet inside the hustle and bustle of “androon shehr”.

    Adil: Even though Ranjit Singh’s samadhi is part of this building in the 2nd picture on the bottom cluster, this photograph is actually of the Gurdwara Dera Sahib complex. This is holy to the Sikhs because the fifth Guru, Guru Arjun Dev, was martyred here. Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s two sons Kharak Singh and Naunehal Singh’s smadhs are also here. For many excellent historic details about this building see the following article from The News by Arslan Rafiq Bhatti (here)

  4. samdani says:

    Since you asked for ‘functional’ buildings, let me give you one. The Sarena hotel in Quetta. I stayed there and it is the exact opposite of this monstrosity planned in Islamabad. It fits in its surroundings. It is modern, comfortable, elegant and thoroughly Pakistani. Architecturally, the best part was how every room looks into a garden and the gardens are planned like orchards. I am told the Faisalabad Sarena is equally well designed to represent the best of its surroundings. But I have never been there myself.

  5. Adil Najam says:

    Yahya, its your list so you can put whatever you want and as many as you wish.

    My issue with putting in a building that is not even there is conceptual. I am unclear how one can like something that does not even exist yet. Maybe it is the ‘idea’ of the building which people fall for?

    I would persoanlly find it odd to ‘like’ a building I have not myself seen and ‘felt’. There are many reasons why people like buildings… what it stands for, the memories we associate with it, sheer aesthetic appeal, its symbolism, historical significance, just becasue someone (media, textbooks, etc.) told us that we are ‘supposed’ to like it! Often it is a combination of all of the above.

    Speaking of structures I like, and taking Pervaiz Alvi’s clue about bridges… one (amongst many) of my favorite structures in Pakistan is the Old Train Bridge on the Ravi, just outside Lahore.

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