Rising Star for the Month of August – Unaizah Syed


Unaizah Syed, IVS Batch of 2016, is our Rising Star of the month of August. Explore the album to know more about her Thesis Project!

Thesis Topic: Familiarity in Architecture as a Catalyst for Communal Empowerment (Center for Health and Vocational Livelihood Training, Hijrat Colony, Karachi).

Thesis Abstract

The concept of Familiarity suggests that memories and associations can bond an individual and, in turn, a community to architecture thereby triggering positive responses towards those spaces. This constitutes the change in perception of ‘places’ into ‘spaces’ due to the added aspect of Relatability. Hence the concept suggests that architecture does not need to be lavish or elaborate in order to possess emotional properties, but it should be relatable to its inhabitants. To test out this theory, I started to explore the potential of using Familiarity in Architecture as a tool for Communal Uplift in a low income area, when working within very limited resources.

The Pakhtoon dominated Katchi Abaadi of Hijrat Colony sees male domination in commerce as well as in day-to-day activities. Women are considered their men’s honor more than independent individuals, restricting the women to their homes where they work in isolation from scattered home based cottage industries. Despite being homebound, these women contribute to over 23% of the income generated by the community, specializing in cane weaving and ‘salai dastkaaari’.

Hence my architectural initiative took birth based on these women, who became the primary focus of this intervention. The chief idea of the project was to understand the demographic and subsequently propose an integrated platform for women, which not only promoted their skills/ trades, but also facilitated women-empowerment through social interaction.

Moreover, the project aimed to address the lack of health-care facilities in the colony, which was otherwise the root of both the physical and emotional slump of the community.

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