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  • Dreaming of a Nation: Architecture and Cold War Modernization in Postcolonial Pakistan, 1947-1971
    Farhan Sirajul Karim

Constantinos A. Doxiadis, Comilla Academy for Village Development.

In the two decades following the creation of Pakistan, a group of leading Western architects were hired by the Pakistani Government to construct quintessential democratic institutions for the new nation-state. Spearheaded and aided by US universities, architects, and the Technical Assistance Program, the group embarked on a grand project: forging a quixotic hybrid of postwar reformation spirit, modernization theory, and postcolonial Muslim nationalism. However, while the US cold-war interest in Pakistan and its military rulers was well showcased in the new institutional buildings, local architects were critical of this hybrid modernism. They favored expansion of architectural meaning to an array of new possibilities—an alternative to modernism, based on regional tradition. These ideological frictions were expressed in myriad ways through the complex rhetoric of architecture and spatial innovations of the era. This research, for the first time, gathers the many pieces of history into a single narrative and offers a global historical perspective of the modern architecture of undivided Pakistan. This research offers geopolitical perspective on modern architecture that documents the involvement of the United States and Pakistani institutions and individuals in a project that defies the orthodoxies of post colonial studies: the United States as a struggling agent of postcolonialism.

Farhan Karim is an assistant professor in the School of Architecture, Design, and Planning at the University of Kansas. He received a PhD in the history of architecture from the University of Sydney, Australia. His first book, Modernism of Austerity: Formation and Display of Ideal Home in India, 19201960 will be published by the University of Pittsburg Press in 2017. He is currently coediting a volume entitled Routledge Handbook of Architecture and Social Engagement. His current research focuses on the involvement of Euro-American architects in the development of modern architecture in postcolonial Pakistan (194771). He received the Aga Khan Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 2015 and has served as juror for the National Endowment of the Humanities.