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(21-22) Unveiling the (In)formal City - From Karachi To Place Liedts

2021-22, sem 2
Campus Sint-Lucas Brussels
Tutor: Asiya Sadiq
Engagement: Urban Cultures

Unveiling the (In)formal City – From Karachi To Place Liedts

Public architecture and related open spaces are situated within the larger context of any city and the city is a living organism, within which all architecture, urban design, public open spaces and networks become integrated via formal and informal public engagement and an understanding of collective problem solving, finding innovative ways to reclaim and reimagine contemporary cities.
– Asiya Sadiq and Christophe Polack
(The Rising Tide Exhibition Catalogue, Curated Naiza Khan, 2010, Artists Statement)

Karachi Studio – In Brief

Karachi studio was initiated in 2013 at the Faculty of Architecture – KU Leuven, Campus Brussels and has completed 08 cycles in 2021. The case-based Karachi studio was established with the intention of developing a specialized studio on Hyper Transforming Cities in South Asia utilizing the available expertise available in house, introducing the International Masters students to the specificity of the South Asian context through the case of Karachi, introducing the challenges encountered in the making of contemporary architecture in the global South.

This 9th Karachi Studio aims to:

The unique design debate of CONDITIONS vs SITUATIONS. Emerging out of the practice findings of Asiya Sadiq the studio would explore and unveil the design potentials of the informal actors and processes which exist de-facto yet remain unrecognized in all our formal cities and their design protocols. Karachi and Place Liedts (BXL), seemingly far apart, are similar in that respect and will be unveiled for their informal design potentials while dealing with global design challenges which concern contemporary cities across the North and South, in all their formal and informal complexities, emerging trends and new realities.

The topic of (In)formality in cities and the recognition of its impact on urban and architectural design as a CHOICE or a NEED. The current formal – informal design norms, paradigms and parameters will be questioned, and new design ideas and strategies explored within the global overarching debates of; neoliberalism, land scarcity and density, climate change, migrations, increasing populations, decreasing resources, multiple disparities, and impending pandemics like COVID – 19. 

Spatial strategies and projects (architectural/urban design/urban development) embedded in the topic of; Formal-(In)formal Interface, Community Participation and Co-Creation. These global recommendations will be applied as projects by the students to one of the two contexts of Karachi and Place Liedts to prove their validity, viability, and constraints. 

  • Read the studio brief here (pdf)