The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has decided to give its Gold Medal to the Pakistani architect Yasmeen Lari, in recognition of the humanitarian work she has undertaken since her retirement in 2000, as the announcement states. Known as ’the architect for the poorest of the poor’ and a defender of the rights of women, Lari and her husband founded the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, the Barefoot Social Architecture (BASA) program of which pursues principles of social and ecological justice for the empowerment of society’s marginalized sectors, using methodologies grounded on tradition and heritage preservation.
Born in 1941 in Dera Ghazi Khan (Pakistan), Yasmeen Lari moved to the United Kingdom with her family when she was 15. She graduated from Oxford Polytechnic, currently Oxford Brookes University, in 1963. At 23 she set up her practice in Pakistan. She was elected a RIBA member in 1969 and named president of the Institute of Architects of Pakistan in 1978. She figured on a list of 60 women who have much contributed to furthering UNESCO’s objectives.
On view through 16 August at the Architekturzentrum in Vienna is the exhibition ‘Yasmeen Lari. Architecture for the Future’.