Form Follows...Religious NationalismPost-Coloniality, National Image, and the development of a 20th century Islamic Architecture in Pakistan

Rashdi, Ali Salman, Architectural History - School of Architecture, University of Virginia
Crane, Sheila, AR-Arch History Dept, University of Virginia
Li, Shiqiao, AR-Arch Dept, University of Virginia
Huang, Yunsheng, AR-Arch History Dept, University of Virginia

This thesis is an inquiry into how post-colonial architectural practice in Pakistan has engendered a project of national identity influenced by aspects of nationalism and religion simultaneously. Starting off with a brief study of some pertinent themes from post-colonial theory, especially works of Homi Bhabha, Bill Ashcroft and Dipesh Chakrabarty, this thesis explores how this method of identity formation in Pakistan in a post-colonial context has developed over the years and where it stands today.
The architectural historical narrative in this thesis starts in chapter 1 with a look at architectural works in Pakistan that started a decade after independence in order to understand how this religious nationalist project was being reflected in architecture in the first few years and then, in chapters 2 and 3 respectively, introduces to this discourse an analysis of two public buildings built from 1975 to 1992 that incorporate nationalist and religious influences in an attempt to reflect national identity. The first is the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi in the Sindh province, built in 1985 by Payette Associates, and the second is the Alhamra Cultural Complex in the city of Lahore in the southern part of the Punjab province, completed in 1992 by Nayyer Ali Dada. Analyses of the two projects focus on themes such as local design inferences that informed the formal and spatial qualities, religious ideals that informed the designs, historic inferences that made their way into the architecture, symbolic/iconographic representations from traditional influences and political and institutional actors that influenced this religious nationalist project. Through this both of these works of architecture can be understood in the complexity of each of these layers that were together meant to achieve the goal of representing the combination of national and religious ideologies in the architectural image of Pakistan.

MARH (Master of Architectural History)
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