Message From Mr. Ali Zafar Qazi
It gives me great pleasure to congratulate the Lahore Chapter, Institute of Architects Pakistan, for organizing and holding the IAPEX 2017 Lahore. The chapter under the able and experienced leadership of its Chairman, Ar. Prof. Sajjad Kausar, the young and energetic Convener IAPEX 2017, Ar. Faizullah Qureshi, along with their enthusiastic and motivated young team, are confidently set to host, a grand IAPEX event. The highlight of this year’s event, will most definitely be the attendance of two internationally renowned speakers, in the field of conservation and heritage, Dr. S. Roland Silva and Ar. Ashley De Vos from Sri Lanka, who will share their views with us, making the event all the more significant. The theme for this year’s IAPEX 2017 Lahore, “Conservation of Heritage -Exploring new context” is a well selected and pertinent topic. In our (Architects) case, conservation of heritage, essentially deals with securing our collective built past, over the last many centuries, may it be ancient urban or rural settlements, archaeological sites or historical buildings, not necessarily monumental or grandiose, but also those modest works, even in the recent past, which have acquired cultural significance with the passing of time. It is evident from the changing urban landscapes in our towns and cities that heritage and identity are conservation concepts in need of change, to keep up with the ideological and political shift. The grand and monumental of the eras and people past need to be reviewed in a more autonomous manner. No longer is heritage to be singly led by a top-down approach to identifying what is significant and of value for conservation. Heritage is finding ways of broadening its audiences, accepting more than one set of memories, identities and histories in our understanding of the past and present can lead to an evolving and shared future. On the one hand the conservation and restoration of the built, must have recourse to all the sciences and techniques which can contribute to the study, preservation and restoration of the built heritage, yet it must deal with the socio economic, ethical and political, questions, like what and who’s heritage it is, or should be? What is worth saving? What can we, or should we, forget? What memories can we enjoy, regret, or learn from? Who owns “The Past” and who is entitled to speak for past generations? These are all cogent questions that need to be answered. Public reflection, debate and discussion about heritage--of individuals, groups, communities, and nations, deals with a range of contemporary activities, meanings, and behaviors that we draw from it. It is how we identify ourselves. We are seeing our towns, cities and urban centers experience vast changes an transition, being brought in by numerous private sector development projects, like large residential and commercial complexes, gated communities, shopping malls and high rise retail and office towers etc., essentially dedicated and developed by capital forces and on the other hand politically stirred mega public sector infrastructure development projects, like motorways and express roads, high speed metro bus lanes and city rail lines etc., to accommodate the same, leaving little or no space for heritage and conservation work. The question remains whether the only means of cultural communities surviving regeneration is through the marketing machine. Ultimately, the act of ‘interpretation’ and the placing of ‘value’ will be subject to the rigors of power, rather than a recognizable part of heritage. Time will tell whether our culture will find a way to survive in the face of such regeneration. It is as Architects, we can best address these questions. We must be ready to face up to these challenges, guide and support the concerned, in taking the right decisions, for a more sustainable and holistic approach towards heritage and its conservation. The other major activity of each year’s IAPEX, is The Building and Material exhibition which has now become the integral part of IAP’s annual calendar. This year’s exhibition again, has been very well received by the building industry. Most of the prominent building industry leaders, vendors and suppliers are participating in the exhibition. The Lahore chapter, owing to its hard work and promotional activities, has been able to accommodate a full house at the exhibition. The IAPEX 2017 Lahore, is expected to be attended by many, including foreign and local delegates, speakers, architects, IAP members and affiliates from all chapters and students from the various local and national institutions. The building industry related professional, engineers, technicians and other stake holders like, clients, contractors, vendors and suppliers, along with a large segment of the interested public, is also expected and keenly invited to take part in this very exciting and informative, three day mega event. I once again wish the Lahore Chapter all the success for organizing and holding a superb grand event.