IAPEX 2017 by IAP Karachi Chapter

IAPEX 2017 – The [UN]Built

14th – 16th April, 2017, Expo Centre, Karachi

By Mariyam Nizam

The Institute of Architects Pakistan (IAP) established in 1957, aims to promote and advance the art and science of the profession of architecture in Pakistan and look after the interests of persons engaged in or about to engage into the profession. IAP also endeavors to connect Pakistani professionals to other national and international professional bodies of architects through seminars, meetings, conferences and other activities.

The Institute of Architects Pakistan initiated the IAP Expo in 1984, which was innovated into an Annual 3-day IAPEX Building Materials Exhibition and Conference in 2004. IAPEX is a unique platform to connect and interact with all stakeholders associated with the profession. This year the exhibition and conference following the theme The [UN]Built was held between the 14th and 16th of April, 2017 at the Expo Center in Karachi. Various activities were organized over the two days including a building materials exhibition, The [UN]Built themed conference spread over four technical sessions, an exhibition of BAE-IAP Photography Competition, a students design charette, a students awards night and a gala night.


Over 300 vendors, suppliers and manufacturers from building and construction industry participated in the exhibition this year. In addition architecture schools had displayed students work, while various food and beverage stalls with lounges were interspaced amongst the displays.

The inauguration commenced at 9:00 am on the 14th of April 2017 with Mr. Arif Habib as the Chief Guest. A ribbon cutting ceremony was followed by a visit to the exhibition area. A short inaugural session was held where Mr. Habib applauded the efforts of the institute and spoke in detail about various economic concerns that guide and form the city and the built environment. He also spoke about the importance of the involvement of architects and town planners with the government to create public spaces and inclusive environments around the city. He presented the importance of investment in the building industry, specifically the residential sector to ensure affordable housing for the people of the country.

The President of the Institute of Architects, Pakistan, Ar. Ali Zafar Qazi also graced the inaugural session. Mr. Qazi spoke about the thematic concerns of the conference and the overwhelming efforts of the various exhibitors present at the center. Addresses from the Chairman of Karachi Chapter, Ar. Arif Changezi and Convener of IAPEX, Ar. Faisal Bilwany followed as they thanked their teams and the efforts of the exhibitors and the audience for their participation.

Over the following two days, architects, town planners, interior designers, homeowners, corporate officials and enthusiasts visited stalls and discussed various products. The hustle bustle at the Expo center during the event was an indicator of the success of the event.


Architecture and Building go hand in hand. There is, however, a greater discourse that architecture addresses – a vision of the past, the present and the future. It dreams of an alternate world, where the possibilities are endless. While the Built represents the reality of our world, the [UN]Built signifies the intangible; the mysterious; the unknown; the hidden; the unrepresented genius of humankind.

Architectural history is dictated by the built environment around us, but there are monuments and developments which rest in treasure troves at most architectural offices. These projects remain shelved due to the lack of technological advancement at the time of inception; dominant political agendas; changing public tastes; financial constraints; or winning contenders. Yet, they define and predict the future of architecture, speak of excellence and significance of design achievements and the ability of an architect’s vision for an alternate future.

Projects proposed by architects that explain and promote an unrestrained conceptual process, or display unexecuted commissioned works, enable us to understand the potential of architecture in modifying the built environment and cultural context of our world.

The theme of the IAPex 2017 was envisioned as a blank canvas for the drawings of architects, unfettered from realization. The [UN]Built can hold multiple layers of meaning – ranging from projects that remain unrealized to buildings that create dialogues with their intangible surroundings; from the future of cities to the rights of those that occupy them; from the intricacies of the practice to the prospects of architectural academia; from new dimensions in design to prophecies for the architectural industry. It was envisioned that the conference would provide a platform for various professionals to share their ideas, visions and reality. It was proposed as a dialogue of the dream vs. the reality.

This year, the Institute of Architects Pakistan – Karachi Chapter received numerous abstracts after an open call for papers was published. A four member blind review panel was inducted to assess the papers received and selected authors were notified. Additionally, to broaden the scope of the discussion, several international speakers were invited to participate. Overwhelmingly, papers received were divided into four broad categories – The Future of Cities; Dialogues between the Built and the Unbuilt; Unrealized Projects; and Realizing an Architect’s Vision. The sessions were organized to build upon these broader categories and it was hoped that the thematic range would give the participants various ideas and notions to generate meaningful discussions.

Technical Session A – 14th April 2017

Technical Session A was also envisioned at the inaugural session for the Conference. The session began with a short introduction to the conference theme by Convener Conference, Ar. Mariyam Nizam. This was followed by an address from the Chief Guest, Dr. Ishrat Hussain. Dr. Hussain spoke eloquently with regard to a majority stakeholder in the Pakistani population – the youth, and the importance of including them in the process of development and empowerment.  He also spoke about the importance of architecture in shaping the future of our cities and the importance of innovation in the face of altering landscapes and world economy and politics.

The Keynote Speaker Mr. Nayyar Ali Dada followed the address of the Chief Guest. His paper summarized the modern utopia that has been expedited by the progress and human advancement through breakthroughs in technology and information.  Through various examples of his own work accompanied with sitar music, he was able to captivate the audience with his charisma.

Ar. Imrana Tiwana’s presentation titled ‘MAPPING THE CITY – Dystopia & The UnBuilt: The city as a ‘Canvas’ of Conflicting Narratives’ was a dialogue on the mapping of the city in the perspective of overlapping social, economic and historical relationships.  Her paper was a passionate presentation on the current state of human ecology and the consequence of climate change and global warming. Her ideas on neo-liberal shifts in the urban landscape and resulting exclusions brought to light a fascinating dialogue on ecological and social equity, democracy and human rights.

An interesting panel discussion ensued when Moderator Fariha Ubaid showed some interesting pictures of a proposal for the Quaid’s Museum and the realized project under construction.

Technical Session B – 15th April 2017

Technical Session B began in the morning with the Dr. Sabeen Qureshi presenting her paper titled ‘Towards Sustainable Communities to Combat Climate Change – The Case Study of Putrajaya’. She presented her analysis of the proposal of Putrajaya, Malaysia’s attempt at developing the city of the future – Sustainable and Intelligent. Her own primary research was focused on neighbourhood mapping and pedestrianization. Through this rigorous study and mapping, the paper highlighted the current walking distances and lack of pedestrians in the city, and proposed a more optimal number based on climatic, economic and social conditions.

Ar. Thomas Daniell, the Head of Department of Architecture at the University of Saint Joseph, Macau was the second speaker of the day.  His paper titled ‘Unbuilt Macau’ followed the evolution of the city from the 16th century till present day along with some exciting projects on the city undertaken by the students at his university. The presentation was illustrated with detailed maps of the evolution of Macau.  He also showcased the various proposals put forward through history with their subsequent execution and alteration leading up to the current city skyline.

The third speaker of the morning session was a Dubai based Swiss architect, Andre C. Meyerhans. He presented his new works in a paper titled ‘Realizing Visions – Creating a Feasible Path to Realize the Utopian Dream’. The presentation followed three case studies from the initial sketch till their realization. He provided a very personal insight into various intangible concepts and ideas that were embedded within the design briefs and his firm’s journey to turn them into tangible realities.

The Panel discussion was moderated by Ar. Sajjad Kausar who was able to raise a dialogue on the evolution of cities, urban planning and the role of the architect in altering the skyline of the city. The discussion also addressed the importance of a dialogue between the designer and the design brief.

Technical Session C – 15th April 2017

The afternoon session was divided into two segments. The first segment included a presentation followed by a discussion on ‘The Ingenuity of Habib Fida Ali’. The presentation by Ar. Adil Kerai showcased several realized and proposed projects by the maestro. He spoke of the various ideas that drove the projects and the constraints and obstacles that were encountered. The presentation was followed by a discussion between Kerai and moderator Arshad Faruqi, who also requested various members of the audience to share their own interactions and experiences with Ar. Habib Fida Ali, who passed away earlier this year.

Students’ Design Charette

The second segment of the session was for presentations by participants of the Students’ Design Charette. The objective of the charette is to bring together architecture students from different institutes under the Karachi Chapter region to collaborate on an architectural design project. This year the students were taken to a heritage building on M.A. Jinnah Road near the Institute of Business Administration. The brief outlined ideas for the students to use the skeletal structure and propose a scheme for a public plaza and other activities.

5 groups of 8 students, each from a different school of architecture including the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture; Mehran University of Engineering and Technology; Nazeer Hussain University; Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology; Dawood Schhol of Engineering and Technology; Baluchistan University of IT, Engineering and Emerging Sciences, Center of Excellence Arts and Design; and the University of Karachi. Each presentation was followed by comments by a jury panel including Ar. Fazal Noor, Ar. Fauzia Qureshi, Ar. Thomas Daniell and Ar. Arshad Faruqi who applauded the efforts of the students and gave them constructive feedback on their proposals. Students were awarded mementoes for their efforts.

Technical Session D – 16th April 2017

The third and final day of the conference included a session with four paper presentations. The first paper titled ‘The [Un]Built within the Built’ was presented by Sri Lankan Architect Prassanna Jayalath. The presentation focused on his twofold design philosophy that of the built and the unbuilt. With a smart showcase of his work, he highlighted the use of unbuilt spaces within his built schemes, creating dialogues between the natural and built environment.

A presentation by Ar. Iftikhar Azam on the “Role of an Architect, Intellectual Property and the Significance of the Unbuilt Work” presented his ideas on the need for architectural discourse and research to shape the profession and propose new and innovative ways for future development. This was followed by a short movie of various projects from his practice that remain unrealized.

Ar. Zohaib Zuby’s presentation titled ‘Building and Unbuilding: Politics and Philosophy in the Work of A Designer” argued that an architect’s work is testament to his own ethical morality and showcased a 1988 unpublished, unbuilt work by Danish Azar Zuby. ‘Elevated Grid Cities’ proposed an alternative future for the development of Karachi along with various solutions to the cities ecological, economic and social problems.

The next presentation was by Ar. Arif Belgaumi, who was able to raise several eyebrows with his images of Karachi’s proposed skyline rendered on existing Google Maps. The puzzling conversion of various neighbourhoods into high-density areas, without the implementation of infrastructural developments, raised questions on the future of the city and its citizens.

Ar. Sami Chohan was able to moderate a very animated discussion after the presentation, raising questions from philosophy, architecture, urban developments, culture, education and history.

The Conference Repertoire, Ar. Fauzia Qureshi, summarized the proceedings of the conference as the last speaker of the day. She began with some of her insights into the theme and its ability to encompass a wide range of ideas and opinions. She was appreciative of the speakers and the ideas that they shared with the audience over 3 days.

The conference proceedings were called to an end with a short vote of thanks from Convener Conference Ar. Mariyam Nizam.


The Students Night took place on the 15th of April 2017 at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. The event included an award giving ceremony of two prizes –

Mehdi Ali Mirza Awards

The Award recognizes outstanding achievement of students with the highest cumulative GPA of a five-year study in Architecture. The 2016-17 Recipients of the Mehdi Ali Mirza Awards from the Karachi Chapter region were

  • Zumra Kanwal Ansari, Center of Excellence in Art and Design, MUET, Jamshoro
  • Naseeb Shah Mohammad, Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro
  • Maria Sajjid Zaheer, Dawood University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi
  • Unaiza Asif, Department of Visual Studies, University of Karachi, Karachi
  • Sameen Javed, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi
  • Tooba Khalid, NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi
  • Tehreem Sahir, Baluchistan University of IT, Engineering and Technology, Quetta

BAE-IAP Student Photography Competition

The Photography Competition titled ‘The Process’ was held earlier this year supported by ICI Dulux AkzoNobel Pakistan Limited. 59 Students from 18 schools of architecture participated in the competition by submitting three original photographs. Jury comprised of Ar. Ali Zafar Qazi; President IAP, Ar. Arshad Faruqui, Chairman BAE-IAP; Ar. Arif Changezi, Chairman IAP-KC; Ar. Tariq A Qaiser, Eminent Member IAP; Amean J, Eminent Photographer; Farah Mahbub, Eminent Photographer; Alena Amir, Corporate Communications Manager, AkzoNobel Pakistan Limited.


The first position with a cash prize of Rs. 25, 000 was awarded to Sakina Hassan of Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. The second prize of Rs. 15,000 was awarded to Nawal Mazhar from COMSATS, Islamabad. The third prize of Rs. 10,000 was awarded to Wasiq Shakeel from the University of Gujrat with two honorable mentions (Rs. 5000) were awarded to Ammar Zia, University of Karachi and Laraib Fatima, UET Lahore.


The Gala Night was held on the 16th of April 2017 at the Mariott Hotel in Karachi. The IAP-Design Excellence Awards and were distributed. The Awards encourage and recognize exemplary works of architecture in the country. This year’s award winners were:

  • Khadija Tul Kubra, Category A-1, Single Family Residential for Beach House, Karachi
  • Anwar Said, Category B-1, Amenity Buildings up to 25,000sft for Mosque in G-7/1, Islamabad
  • Najmi Bilgrami Collaborative, Category B2, Amenity Buildings above 25,000 sft for IBA Students Center, Karachi
  • Shahid Abdulla, Category E-2, Interior Space above 5000 sft for the IBL Center, Karachi

Several honorable mentions were also awarded.

The evening also included the closing ceremony of the Exhibition. The significant efforts of the various exhibitors were applauded. In just a matter of time they were able to morph the interior of the Expo Center. Stalls with impressive temporary structure made of various building materials on exhibit. Various vendors and individuals shared their ideas of innovation through new and improved products in the building industry. The detailed design and impressive alteration of space was acknowledged by awarding certificates to all participants and three awards were presented to the best stalls at the exhibition. These included:

  • 1st Prize: Stone World
  • 2nd Prize: International Industries Limited
  • 3rd Prize: Z’ Mario

The ICI Colour Award supported by AkzoNobel Pakistan is given annually to an exemplary project that utilized color in an innovative manner. This year a cash prize was awarded to M/s Identity. Ar. Saad Shah and Ar. Ahmed Ali who received the prize for the interior of Khan Ji restaurant in Karachi.

The event was officially closed by a vote of thanks from the Convener IAPEX, Ar. Faisal Bilwany who appreciated the participation and efforts of all involved in making the IAPEX 2017 – The [UN]Built a huge success!