Skip to main content

Dr Federico Wulff and Dr Mamuna Iqbal lead Heritage for Development to develop and reactivate heritage sites for deprived communities in Pakistan

3 April 2023

Visiting the Walled City of Lahore, Dr Federico Wulff applied Architectural and Urban Design-Research methods to develop urban and architectural reactivation projects, including at UNESCO world heritage sites in the region.

Lahore has been previously known as the "Gardens of the Mughals" or "City of Gardens" due to its Mughal heritage, serving as a vital part of the Mughal Empire (1524 to 1752). Once a fortified city, Lahore has a concentration of monuments and buildings that reflect cultural diversity in architecture, retaining much of its historic urban form. A population of about 300,000 live within the Walled City today.

The Heritage for Development joint unit has integrated the skills of Dr Wulff, Director of the Masters of Architectural Design (MA AD) programme at the Welsh School of Architecture (WSA) and Dr Mamuna Iqbal, Assistant Professor of the Department of Architecture of the University of Engineering and Technology (DoA UET) of Lahore, the capital city of Punjab region in Pakistan, since 2020. In 2023, Dr Wulff undertook a 12-day field trip to Lahore, organised jointly with Dr Iqbal, with the logistical support of the Institute of Architects of Pakistan- Lahore Chapter (IAPLC) and especially its Chairman, Jawad Ahmed Tahir, under the framework of the ‘Walled City of Lahore Project’.

The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) is a public institution dependent on the Punjab regional government of Pakistan in charge of the heritage preservation and management of the Walled City of Lahore, including its two UNESCO world heritage sites. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Aga Khan Cultural Service-Pakistan / (AKDN / AKCS-Pakistan) is a worldwide renowned organisation supporting social engagement and capability training in heritage preservation, with a special focus on Muslim countries. The joint H>D Unit has the institutional support of the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) and the Aga Khan Cultural Service of Pakistan (AKCS-P).

The Walled City of Lahore Project included an opening ceremony held at the historic UNESCO Fort of Lahore, with a keynote lecture by Dr Federico Wulff focusing on 3 projects of his practice, W+G Architects, about contemporary architectural design interventions in heritage contexts of the Alhambra (Spain), Ethiopia and Morocco. Dr Wulff’s previous work in the Alhambra, restoring the Oratory of the Partal palace (a 14thC. mosque), garnered him the Grand Prix Europa Nostra Award, the most prestigious European award in heritage preservation. The opening ceremony was attended by the Director of The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA), Dr Kamran Lashari, who also participated in the concluding panel discussion with Dr Wulff.

Both Dr Wulff and Dr Iqbal subsequently led a three-day workshop at the Barood Khana heritage site of the UNESCO Fort of Lahore to actively develop strategies for public spaces’ reactivation of the Walled City of Lahore, leading to positive outcomes. As well as developing professional approaches, the workshop included student participants from 9 schools of architecture within Lahore, coordinated by their tutors, together with the MA AD-DoA H>D Unit students.

Alongside the students’ development, the joint research in Architectural Design pedagogies was also expanded, with a pedagogic symposium on architectural design education with the architectural design tutors of the referred 9 schools of architecture participating in earnest, where Dr Wulff also took the opportunity to promote the WSA’s Postgraduate courses and Doctoral programme.

Finally, a concluding ceremony organised by IAPLC was held in the Barood Khana heritage site of Lahore Fort, with the presence of the Director of the WCLA, the Head of the IAP, the Chair of the IAPLC and the Director of AKCS-P. Dr Iqbal and Dr Wulff presented the workshop’s results to the institutional audience and discussed a long-term institutional collaboration between all parties involved.

Dr Wulff and Dr Sarwar, UET Vice-Chancellor, also discussed exploring the possibilities for joint projects on sustainable heritage preservation and contemporary architectural design by the two departments, with the objective of applying for research funding and promoting international teaching collaboration between WSA and the University of Engineering and Technology in Pakistan.

The institutional collaboration between the Welsh School of Architecture, the DoA UET Lahore, the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) and the Institute of Architects of Pakistan Lahore Chapter (IAPLC) aims to develop stable and long-standing research funded collaboration in contemporary architectural design in heritage contexts, in Architectural Design Research methods and pedagogies, and in heritage preservation.

Share this story