Journal of Research in Architecture & Planning
NED University of Engineering & Technology

ISSN 2519-5050 (Online), ISSN 1728-7715 (Print)
Listed in HEC recognized Y category Journal
Journal DOI:
Listed in Ulrich Periodicals Directory, Scientific Indexing Services & Cross Ref.

Previous Volumes

Amal Hashim

Article DOI:


Karachi, a city of 14000 people, was evolving as an important port for strategic geopolitical reasons and increasing trade at the time of the British conquest in 1843. However, it was not equipped with the infrastructure — such as an all-weather port — required for its continued economic progress. The fort town had a Chabutra (Custom House), shrines, temples, and caravanserais interspersed among the large havelis and houses of Hindu merchants and government functionaries. Neither the fort nor the Chabutra survived British colonial rule in Sindh. In fact, in keeping with their plans for the city, the British demolished these structures fairly early on in their rule of Sindh. The subsequent establishment of British institutions and political infrastructure was reinforced by the construction of buildings and monuments that looked distinctly European in style. This was not only because of the architectural styles employed in these buildings but also in the choice of ornamentation. For example, by patronizing artisans that were well versed in stone engravings and sculpture making, the British shifted attention away from the art of traditional frescoes, painting, and glazed tiles. This paper explores how the Occident imported architectural and visual cultural styles and forms into their colonies to create an entirely new visual language for their colonized subjects in South Asia. It argues that this was done deliberately to ensure political legitimacy in the eyes of their subjects as well as to highlight their own cultural superiority. The lack of native creative expression and the emergence of the modernist movement eventually led to their disappearance from structures built after Independence. This was a colonial project deeply entrenched in discourses of racism and inequality.


Colonial Architecture, Hegemony, Tradition, Architectural Movements, Colonialism
Volume 34 Issue 1
ISSN (P) 1728-7715 - ISSN (E) 2519-5050
Issue DOI:

All articles published by JRAP are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy, redistribute, remix, transmit and adapt the work provided the original work and source is appropriately cited.