Pioneering architect Yasmeen Lari to deliver IDS Annual Lecture 2022

Published on 29 September 2022

Pakistan architect Yasmeen Lari will discuss her self-build, zero carbon, affordable structures, which are now providing emergency shelter after the devastating Pakistan floods.

Yesmeen Lari sits on a stone bench in front of a wooden building.
Photo: Heritage Foundation of Pakistan

The Institute of Development Studies is proud to announce that Yasmeen Lari, Pakistan’s first female architect and passionate advocate of women’s empowerment and sustainability, will deliver this year’s IDS Annual Lecture on Tuesday 15 November.

In Pakistan, where more than 1 in 5 live below the national poverty line, this summer’s floods have caused devastation on an unprecedented scale, leaving one third of the country under water and 33 million people displaced.  Yasmeen Lari’s lecture, entitled ‘The Pakistan floods – re-building though women’s empowerment and sustainable design’ will discuss the role that co-building and sustainable architecture are playing in the response to this catastrophic crisis, and in longer-term development.

Yasmeen will share the recent experiences of her work to scale up training for villagers displaced by the floods to build prefabricated sustainable shelters, which are easily dismantled and can be re-used in their villages when they return home.

Winner of the prestigious Jane Drew architecture prize in 2020 and founder of the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, Yasmeen Lari started the Barefoot Social Architecture initiative. The initiative supports the pursuit of zero poverty through a rights-based, climate-smart approach, with a focus on the empowerment of women and the poorest households.

As well as the important role of architectural design within humanitarian crises, Yasmeen will share how design can play a critical role in international development, with lessons learnt from her low-tech, low-impact, low-cost methodologies employed through Barefoot Social Architecture. With a focus on providing agency to women, the initiative supports the right to safe housing, toilet facilities and clay cooking stoves in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malawi. The structures built from local materials are designed to withstand extreme events such as flooding or earthquakes or be erected within days in crisis response.

The event will be chaired by Melissa Leach, Director of the Institute of Development Studies, who said:

“At IDS we believe in interdisciplinary research – bringing together the knowledges, perspectives and methods from different science disciplines, lived experiences, arts and humanities, to address the big development challenges of our time.  That is why we are delighted to be welcoming Yasmeen Lari to IDS.  Following her recent experience of responding to the truly devastating floods across Pakistan, we look forward to learning from her perspective on the critical intersecting issues of poverty, climate change and disaster response and preparedness.”

Recent IDS research collaborations with architects include the Wellbeing, Housing and Infrastructure in Turkey (WHIT) project finding durable housing solutions in areas affected by large scale displacement and rapid urbanisation. The Displacement, Placemaking and Wellbeing in the City (DWELL) project also worked across the social sciences and humanities, urban planning, architecture and design to better understand the integration of displaced peoples within European and Indian cities.

The IDS Annual Lecture convenes the most exciting thinkers on international development, contributing to the most pressing global challenges of our time, from artists to politicians. Past speakers have included the President of Costa Rica, Malawi-born artist Samson Kambalu and renowned authority on AIDS and Ebola Sir Peter Piot.

Register to attend the lecture in person or online at 4pm (UK time) on Tuesday 15 November on the IDS Annual Lecture 2022 event page.

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