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Malika Zartaj Baig

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By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Apr 03 - 09, 2000

Malika Zartaj Baig is a young enterprising architect, currently associated with Tariq Hasan, a prominent name in the field of architecture. Malika Zartaj a bachelor of Architecture from Lousiana State University(1996-98). During her academic career she was among top three in Architecture Department of National College of Arts, Lahore (1994-96). Earlier she did her "A" levels in Art, History, Professional Drawing, Film Studies and Basic Craft from Manchester, UK (1993). Committed to her profession, she is the member of Pakistan Council for Architects and Town Planners. She was lucky to have a working exposure as a researcher in the "Downtown Baton Rouge Revitalization Programme." The State of Louisiana sponsored project to identify areas of improvement in downtown Baton Rouge. In that project, she assisted as a main architect in drafting proposal for renovation of two buildings and construction of a theater. She also made presentation on proposal to the local community. She was also engaged as a researcher in documentation of Historic Buildings and Monuments in Louisiana. She also worked as manager of the theater and the box office for Louisiana State University. She also organized weekly work schedules. In acknowledgement to her management skill she was given the hiring and firing power of the staff. She was also the manager for events like Opera House, Performing Arts Series, Music School, Art Lectures, Press conferences and Graduation ceremonies. Malika proudly mentioned her association with Lari Associates/ Heritage Foundation where she devotes her times for documentation of Historical Buildings in Lahore and Karachi. She also contributed in compiling detailed national Registers for separate areas for listing of buildings under the Sindh Cultural Heritage (Preservation) Act.

PAGE: Would you like to highlight the aims and objects of Heritage Foundation and its achievements.

Malika: Actually, the known architect Yasmin Lari heads the Heritage Foundation. This foundation has done wonderfully well by preserving original documents including maps, site plans, designs etc of the buildings of historic and monumental values located in Karachi and Lahore. She said that some of the papers related to historic buildings like Lahore forts and other premises were collected even from India. The decaying monuments and other buildings of historic importance can not be renovated by the foundation due to financial constraints, yet the architectural records have been preserved of such buildings at the archives of the foundation. She said that the delegation of heritage foundation was invited by the counterpart in India to participate in an international conference on architecture.

PAGE: What was the purpose of the conference.

Malika Zartaj: In fact it was a 6-member delegation of Pakistan comprised Yasmin Lari, Nazia Somro, Nahid Mashooqullah and Malika Zartaj from Karachi while Fauzia Qureshi and Ayesha Noorani were from Lahore. The delegation was given a tremendous welcome at the conference held at Bombay. The purpose of the conference was to discuss new dimensions and ideas in architecture with special reference to the new trends in South East Asia. Other countries present in the conference were including Hong Kong, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Singapore, India and Pakistan. Pakistan will be the host of the next conference of the similar nature, she said.

PAGE: What could be the role of an architect in the ever growing problems of rapid urbanization and the civic problems of the metropolitan cities in Pakistan.

Malika: The importance of an architect specially in major cities like Karachi, Lahore and other parts of the country is increasing day by day with the influx of population from rural areas to urban centers which add to the environment problems in the major cities. She said designing of the buildings answers to various problems related to city life. The new technology and know how has introduced new trends in construction and housing building. Utilization of Information Technology has made the house designing much easier and acceptable to the clients. Through the use of Information Technology, a client can see the exterior and interiors of his house even before its construction. He can make amendments of his or her choice before the premises come up to the ground as a complete view of the house is available with the help of information technology. She said that new houses being built in Pakistan are totally different from the conventional style of housing which are pleasant to the view and comfortable to live, she said.