Yasmeen Lari is Pakistan's first female architect and a prominent figure in the intersection of architecture and social justice. She is the founder of the Heritage Foundation Pakistan, which undertakes humanitarian relief work and historical conservation projects.
Yasmeen Lari’s architectural journey began when she returned to Pakistan at the age of 23 after graduating from the Oxford School of Architecture. She established her own firm, Lari Associates, in Karachi, thereby becoming the first female architect in Pakistan. Her work initially focused on designing buildings for the corporate and elite classes. However, after retiring from architectural practice in 2000, Lari shifted her focus towards humanitarian relief work and historical conservation projects.
She founded the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, a non-profit organization that has been recognized by the United Nations for its work in promoting cultural and historical conservation. The foundation has been instrumental in providing disaster relief in rural areas of Pakistan, constructing over 50,000 homes for victims of floods and earthquakes.
Lari’s work is characterized by her commitment to sustainable and affordable design solutions. She advocates for the use of local materials and traditional building techniques, which not only reduces the environmental impact but also empowers local communities.
In recognition of her contributions to architecture and social justice, Yasmeen Lari has been awarded several prestigious awards, including the Fukuoka Prize in 2016 and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Royal Gold Medal in 2023.