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Lari, Yasmeenlocked

(b Karachi, June 28, 1942).
  • John Musgrove

Pakistani architect. She graduated at Oxford Polytechnic (Dip. Arch. 1964) and worked in Britain and Germany before setting up practice in Karachi (1965). Of three early houses, her own and those for Commodore Haq (1967) and Naser ud-deen Khan (1969), all in Karachi, the latter is perhaps most characteristic in amalgamating the simplicity of vernacular dry-climate houses with a sophisticated interpretation of European modernism. In these buildings the two principal aspects of Lari’s work are already evident: the development of an appropriate modern style and a major interest in the socio-cultural aspects of housing, using appropriate technologies and self-help methods. The Anguri Bagh housing (1978) at Lahore, for example, was built mainly by unskilled labour and has shady streets, shared open spaces and screened balconies to supplement the limited enclosed areas. Similar patterns are maintained in other work such as the mud-brick barracks (1981) at Bahawalpur and the Gulistan Colony (1991) at Wah, Rawalpindi. Her work in housing gave Lari an international reputation but she also designed several large modern buildings in Pakistan. The Taj Mahal Hotel (1981), the Finance and Trade Centre (1989) and the headquarters of the Pakistan State Oil Company (1991) in Karachi, and the Al Shifa Eye Hospital (1990), Rawalpindi, all present local interpretations of the International Style. From 1980 to 1983 Lari was President of the Institute of Architects of Pakistan, and she helped form the Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners, becoming its first chairman (1983–6). She later initiated the Heritage Foundation in Karachi with the aim of documenting the historic architecture of Pakistan.


  • Traditional Architecture of Thatta (Karachi, 1989)
  • with M. S. Lari: The Dual City: Karachi During the Raj (Oxford, 1996)
  • with A. F. Baillie: Kurrachee: Past, Present and Future (Oxford, 1998)
  • with S. Z. Lari: Karachi: Illustrated City Guide (Oxford, 2001)


  • H.-U. Khan: ‘Yasmeen Lari’, Mimar: Archit. Dev., 2 (1981), pp. 45–54
  • ‘From Mosque to Bauhaus?’, Asiaweek (3 Sept 1982), pp. 28–32
  • ArchNet: (accessed June 11, 2008)