The changing design and culture of Kalasha Dur

Mehreen Mustafa, Assistant Prof. in School of Architecture, Design and Urbanism (SADU). 2019 ongoing

Familiarity, comfort and shelter usually define one’s feeling of being at “home”. A sense of belonging and ownership is always attached with the space we identify as our abode. This space is also sought at times to overcome one’s insecurities and to reinforce one’s identity by being with the people we “know” and encounter behaviors and practices we are familiar with. The “home” therefore is more than just a physical fabric but rather a heterogeneous spatial behavior i.e. representation of personalized as well as communal performances, dictated by diverse social and cultural influences such as belief systems, ethics, practices etc. The evolution of intangible cultural practices can thus also be traced by analyzing the way people design, built and use their home. The “Home” also does not only project societal advancement in terms of construction and disaster resilient techniques, innovative structural concepts and material applications but also narrates the story of its inhabitants/ residents, their way of living , their culture and their aspirations.  Keeping the above mentioned narrative in mind , one can safely assume that the form , function and design of “Home” in its physical representation in terms of tangible edifice is heavily governed by the social believes, economical impressions and psychological needs of its user/s . These factors not only affect the way people live but also how they design, built and behave in those spaces. By examining the concept and reality of Home (traditional and contemporary) in the context of Kalasha community, the research will introspect the evolution and transformation of Kalasha Home i.e. Dur, in terms of its design , service and culture. The comparative analysis will also identify the key factors and activities responsible for the introduction of contemporary design elements and elimination of traditional artifacts and practices. The research will also establish a nexus between the social life and built heritage of Kalasha community by tracing and investigating the impact of major social changes responsible for shaping, altering and informing the built practices, design and function of Kalasha Dur(home).

Investigation and Regeneration of Public Space

Mehreen Mustafa, Assistant Prof. in School of Architecture, Design and Urbanism (SADU). 2017-2018

Public spaces are projections of communal expressions and are shared, accessed and preserved distinctly and differently in the personal and collective memory of the people. The translucentality of the public spaces allow the exposition of such personal and collective experiences, associations and interactions to dwell under a single shade. Drawing on the statement sketched above, one can safely assume that public spaces are also capable of absorbing and generating manifold abstractions of a single reality. The nature of extensions and the reactions communicated by and to the user imparts fluidity to a public space making it a cocktail of various and varied human expressions of individual and communal concern. The participation and active agency of the concerned user/s or community thus become vital if understanding and investigating the state of a public space in need of desperate regeneration is the objective.

Also, where on one hand the lack of, inadequate use of and surveillance legitimization of a public space can shackle the liberty of a society. On the other hand the regeneration of and the provision of equal rights (in terms of access and participation) to public spaces can strengthen communal ties and avoid violent conflicts. The project therefore is an attempt to understand the otherwise hidden dynamics and dichotomy of a low income housing community with the help of public installation as a social experiment. The collaboration and understanding achieved through the public installation will aid and facilitate the regeneration process of the identified inactive public space/s located in Sher Shah Colony.

Decolonization of modernism: post mass migration

Mehwish Abid, Assistant Prof. in School of Architecture, Design and Urbanism (SADU). 2017-2018

Mehwish Abid, Assistant Prof. in School of Architecture, Design and Urbanism (SADU) presented a research paper titled “Decolonization of modernism: post mass migration” on the platform of 2nd Urbanism at Borders conference 23-25 October, 2019, with the theme of Borders within Border: Fragmentation, Disposition and Connection. This conference was held at the School of Architecture at University of Malaga in Spain. The conference dealt with digital and economic divides that are transmuting our understanding of the relationship between socio-economic orders and challenge the existence of the territoriality. The conference raised concerns of the hidden relations of this territoriality that comprises thresholds, and are ‘places’ in themselves, overwhelmed with changing meanings, configurations and positions in very rapid periods of time; occasionally losing their inherent meaning. The identity of boundaries between social, cultural and ethnic groups are dynamic, momentary and offer a different kind of borders inside built environment were analysed in the three day event. A book of abstracts has been published and later next year her research paper will be published in a book compilation by Springer.