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

Unveiling the (In)formal City

From Karachi To Place Liedts

Tutor(s): Asiya Sadiq

Semester: 1, 2021-22
Engagement: Urban Cultures
Language: English
Location: Campus Brussels


Contents of the Studio:

“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

(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 07 cycles in 2021. The case-based Karachi studio was established by Ar. Asiya Sadiq Polack and Ar. Martine De Maeseneer 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 8th 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.

Working Method:

The studio participants are organized as teams. This format is adopted to mimic a professional environment in which all students work with the tutor as a team and each one gets a chance to contribute, share their knowledge and build-up their potentials and constraints.

All students have access to the archives of previous works, lectures, discussions, and research data. The design teams after understanding the context arrive at critical design issues via primary and secondary data sources and digital means such as; online lectures, interviews with resource persons and local stakeholder’s groups identified by the tutors, as well as websites, vlogs, documentaries, and other media sources.

The research conducted remotely on Karachi or on site in Place Liedts will be analysed and developed as design projects by interfacing with the available archives and the real life personal and professional experiences of the tutor. All jury moments are used to interface with real stakeholders and become platforms of knowledge generation and exchange.

The works produced through this rigorous process are deemed very valuable, innovative and dissemination worthy by the tutor. The student works produced in the past 7 Karachi studios have been curated as an exposition, a seminar and a book titled, “ Karachi Seen from a Distance – A New Perspective” in Campus Brussels in April 2021. Similar aspirations exist for all upcoming studios.

Links to Previous Studios Expo and Book

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFP1jwQzrpE

BOOK: https://www.dropbox.com/s/vva0krrk2bqn6ya/KARACHI_Booklet_FINAL.pdf?dl=0


Weekly Design Development Process leading to intelligent, innovative, well analysed and developed;

  • Conceptual Framework
  • Design Strategies and Programming
  • Urban and or Architectural Projects

On the Final Jury, Cumulative Presentation, a Poster, and a Booklet

Lecture by Dr. Noman Ahmed on Karachi’s Development and its Formal/Informal Challenges 8/11

Please join via zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/99252671826?pwd=TmxUYk40Q0F6S21ucTJzbW92aDhVQT09


On the studio 20-21

Tutor – Asiya Sadiq* Academic year 2020-21, semester 1, Brussels Engagement: Urban Cultures Designing Negotiable Public Architecture and Related Open Spaces Via Formal-Informal Interface in a Hyper Transforming Context Case of Saddar Bazar in Karachi – Pakistan “Public architecture and related open spaces are situated within the larger context of the city and the city […]


On the studio 19-20

Studio INTMA – 14- Autumn 2019 Tutor – Asiya Sadiq Engagement: Legacy Build Up or Build Out Re-Imagining Habitats in a Hyper Transforming Context Case of the Megapolis – Karachi – Pakistan Habitats in Developing Contexts – In Brief  Habitat design projects in hyper transforming cities, in both the global south and north, are often […]


Studio maib14 Karachi 2019 – Asiya Sadiq

Marianna Jarina, Lisa Eisen, Ava Dehghani Ragesh, Frey, Charlotte, Lynn Jia He, Mahishini Vasudevan, Victoria Vandewelle


Lecture Arif Hassan

Hyper Transformations in Asian Cities – Causes and Effects, a lecture by Arif Hasan as part of the Architecture Masters Studios – engagement Urban Cultures and Hyper Transformations, studio ‘Build Up or Build Out – Reimagining Habitats in Karachi’ (Asiya Sadiq)


Simon Desimpelaere and Nicholas Ronchetti runners-up Vectorworks Design Award 2019

The Vectorworks Design Award is in its fourth edition. This international design competition for students is looking for the most talented student-designers in architecture, interior, exterior and entertainment. In the first, local round, the jury of the Vectorworks Design Award 2019 rewarded three intriguing projects with $ 1,000 each for the designer(s) and free Vectorworks […]


Lecture / Hyper Transformations in Asian Cities – Causes and Effects by Arif Hasan 14/10

Hyper Transformations in Asian Cities – Causes and Effects As part of the Architecture Masters Studios – Engagement Urban Cultures and Hyper Transformations, the studio Build Up or Build Out – Reimagining Habitats in Karachi (Asiya Sadiq), organizes a lecture by eminent Pakistani Architect Arif Hasan – an authority on Hyper Transforming Contexts like Karachi. http://www.arifhasan.org http://www.blog-archkuleuven.be/karachi 14 […]