University of Karachi
Karachi, Pakistan

In 1951 the Government of Pakistan established the University of Karachi. The site was a flat plot of 1200 acres, northeast of the city and eight miles from its center. A team of French architects was commissioned to develop the layout of the University and to design its individual buildings. The services of Michel Écochard were secured through the courtesy of the United Nations, those of Messrs. Riboulet and Thurnauer through the French Technical Assistance Board. The building program is designed to accommodate some seven thousand students in Faculties of Arts, Islamic Learning, Sciences, Business and Public Administration, Education and Law. Housing is planned to be available on campus for one thousand students, in addition to staff and servant housing and an international hostel. Other services include an administration building, auditorium, library, museum, mosque, teachers' club and guest house, student union, infirmary and a number of athletic facilities. A north-south road forms the principal axis and divides the campus in two, with general buildings to the east and student housing and sports facilities to the west.


The classrooms and major University buildings were designed to be centrally located, and thereby in easy contact with all campus residents. Staff and service personnel, who have family lives independent of the University, could thus be able to maintain an autonomous lifestyle within campus confines. Protection was required against the sometimes harsh climate to ensure comfort and favorable working conditions. This necessitated a certain orientation of buildings and shading mechanisms (vertical and horizontal brisesoleif). Only the laboratories were to be be air conditioned. Green spaces and footpaths aimed to make circulation and integration of buildings and areas of campus easy and pleasant. A variety of gardens, with lawns, shrubs and  pools, also serves to inhibit soil erosion and provide shade.


Unfortunately  the original plans have not been adhered to, but renowned architect and critic Arif Hasan gives the credit for this 'brilliantly and carefully worked out' complex of buildings, to Michel Écochard, the French architect who actually designed the KU master plan and its buildings. The KU buildings, he feels, are the only buildings in the whole of Pakistan that were designed according to the principles laid down in the theory of proportions that was developed by Le Corbusier.

Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture

Karachi, Pakistan
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Karachi University
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