Yasmeen Lari: The First Pakistani Female Architect to Receive the Royal Gold Medal 

Yasmeen Lari
Photo Credit: heritagefoundationpk/Instagram

Pakistan’s architectural history is adorned with the contributions of numerous architects, but the name that stands out among all is that of Yasmeen Lari. She has been honored by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) with the prestigious Royal Gold Medal, becoming the first-ever Pakistani to achieve this feat. Lari’s work has had a significant impact on the field of architecture and has transformed the lives of many people. 

This prestigious award is a testament to her extraordinary work in the field of architecture, as well as her dedication to humanitarian efforts. Yasmeen Lari was born on 3rd July 1941 in Dera Ghazi Khan, Pakistan. She graduated from the Oxford School of Architecture in 1964 and became the first woman architect in Pakistan. She founded the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan in 1980 and has worked to restore and conserve historic buildings and landmarks across the country. She is a pioneer of sustainable and humanitarian architecture in Pakistan. 

King Charles’s Royal Gold Medal is one of the most prestigious awards in the field of architecture. It is awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to recognize the contribution of architects to the field of architecture. The medal is named after King Charles II, who was a patron of the arts and architecture. The first medal was awarded in 1848 to Sir Charles Barry, the architect of the Houses of Parliament in London. Since then, the medal has been awarded to some of the most renowned architects in the world, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, and Zaha Hadid. 

The award is a well-deserved recognition of her lifelong commitment to sustainable architecture and humanitarian efforts, both in Pakistan and abroad. Her work focuses on using local and eco-friendly materials to build affordable and accessible homes for the underprivileged in Pakistan. She has designed disaster-resistant shelters, schools, and hospitals that have provided relief to thousands of people affected by natural disasters.

She is also known for her work in the restoration and conservation of historic buildings and landmarks across the country. Her contribution to the field of architecture has been recognized both nationally and internationally. 

The medal given to an individual or organization who has significantly contributed to the growth of architecture is approved personally by the king. Prof. Lari, according to the institute, has had an “immeasurable impact on the development of architecture and humanitarian work in the country” and is a “revolutionary force.” In addition, Prof. Lari is credited with creating the Chulah Cookstove, of which there are already over 80,000. It greatly lowers emissions compared to a typical stove, addressing the harmful environmental and health effects of open-flame cooking.