Yasmeen Lari Exhibition: Architecture for the Future

Please join us in celebrating Yasmeen Lari & the opening of the first monographic exhibition on her work!


Opening: Wed 08.03.2023


Exhibition: Thu 09.03.2023 – Wed 16.08.2023


Architekturzentrum Wien – Vienna, Austria




Yasmeen Lari is a towering figure in global architecture & the first female architect in Pakistan. She is responsible for iconic modernist buildings across the country, such as the Taj Mahal Hotel in Karachi (1981), the Finance and Trade Center (1989), and the Pakistan State Oil House in Karachi (1991).


The modern architecture movement was predicated upon the notion that it was possible to build a better future. This future would be achieved through “functional” design, through minimal ornamentation, through concrete, steel, and glass. Today we live with the consequences: extreme weather events, fossil fuel dependence, and destruction on a planetary scale.


“We need to do away with the prevalent colonial mindset and the desire to create imposing megastructures.”


Following a catastrophic earthquake in Pakistan in 2005, Yasmeen’s identity & legacy as a modernist starchitect came to end. However, it did not disturb her belief that design could save people and perhaps even our world.


“The disadvantaged and those that live on the margins need more, not less, design to achieve a better quality of life.” 


So she founded a new architecture movement which she calls ‘Barefoot Social Architecture’, which she implemented with her organisation The Heritage Foundation of Pakistan. It is a women-centered, carbon-neutral approach to housing that emphasizes co-creation and the use of sustainable materials like bamboo, lime, and mud. It fosters rights-based community development by providing shelter, sanitation, clean food and water at one-quarter of the usual cost through a process of self-building and co-creation. Her foundation has helped build over 40,000 carbon-neutral structures across Pakistan.


“We have to rethink everything, and we have to do it now.” 


The aim of the exhibition Yasmeen Lari. Architecture for the Future is to contribute to a different understanding of architecture that cares for people and nature. In our moment, architecture is being challenged to become co-responsible in working towards ecological justice. The impact of the man-made climate catastrophe around the world is dramatic and Pakistan, in particular, is disproportionately hard-hit.


Yasmeen Lari’s credo for an architecture for the future: “We must tread lightly on the planet.”


“With this exhibition, the Architekturzentrum Wien wants to make an active contribution to ensuring that we don’t give up the possibility of the future,” says Az W Director Angelika Fitz.




Yasmeen Lari was awarded the 2022 AFIELD Fellowship for the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, an organization working to conserve historic art and architecture while providing large-scale humanitarian aid to local communities across Pakistan.