6 Politically Motivated Cities Built From Scratch

Image of the planned new capital of Egypt, masterplanned by SOM. Image Courtesy of SOM

Threatening to end ’s 1,046 year dominance as the country’s capital, earlier this month the government of Egypt announced their intentions to create a new, yet-to-be-named capital city just east of New Cairo. The promise of the more than 270 square mile ‘new New Cairo’ has attracted headlines from around the world with its sheer scale; a $45 billion development of housing, shopping and landmarks designed to attract tourism from day one, including a theme park larger than Disneyland. And of course, the plans include the promise of homes – for at least 5 million residents in fact, with the vast number of schools, hospitals and religious and community buildings that a modern city requires – making the new capital of Egypt the largest in history.

The idea of building a new capital city has appealed to governments across history; a way to wipe the slate clean, stimulate the economy and lay out your vision of the world in stone, concrete and parkland. Even old Cairo was founded as a purpose built capital, although admittedly urban planning has changed a little since then. It continues to change today; see the full list of different ways to build a totally new city after the break.

Al Jazeera’s Rebel Architecture: Episode 2, “The Traditional Future”

The second episode of Al Jazeera’s new series “Rebel Architecture” features Pakistani architect Yasmeen Lari, who has built over 36,000 houses since 2010 for those affected by ’s floods and earthquakes. Rather than using the mass-produced housing designs offered by international organizations, Lari implements traditional building techniques and local materials. In this 25-minute episode she returns to the Sindha Valley region to see how her homes survived floods in 2013 and helps villagers in Awaran district who were hit by the 2013 Balochistan earthquake.

Watch the full episode above and read on after the break for a full episode synopsis and a preview of upcoming episodes…

IBA Student Centre / Najmi Bilgrami Collaborative

Courtesy of

Architects: Najmi Bilgrami Collaborative
Location: Karachi,
Architect In Charge: Syed Zayd Bilgrami, Ahsan Najmi, Sarah Najmi Bilgrami
Project Architect: Shabih Haider
Area: 34000.0 ft2
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of Najmi Bilgrami Collaborative

Kapadia Residence / Coalesce Design Studio

© Mustafa Mehdi

Architects: Coalesce Design Studio
Location: , Pakistan
Project Architect: Bilal Kapadia
Area: 600 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Mustafa Mehdi

The Neutra Embassy Building in Karachi, Pakistan: A Petition to Save Modernism

The Neutra Embassy Building in Karachi, via Neutra Institute for Survival through Design

‘s Embassy Building in Karachi, Pakistan is a relic of the Cold War – an effort by the United States to express its authority and wealth in other countries.  The building is in the modernist style, designed in 1959, by an architect whose work is still admired today.  Until 2011, the Embassy was occupied by the U.S. General Consulate and was a symbol of modernity in Karachi.  The Neutra Institute for Survival through Design has begun a petition to help save this building from demolition.  It proclaims that this modernist icon is “the only surviving Neutra Structure in the region”.

More after the break.

AD Classics: Mazar-e-Quaid (National Mausoleum) / Yahya Merchant

Photo by Benny Lin / http://www.flickr.com/photos/benny_lin/

Otherwise known as the National Mausoleum, the Mazar-e-Quaid is the tomb of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.  Sited in the center of Karachi, Pakistan on a natural plateau, this structure was designed by the Indian architect Yahya Merchant and was completed in 1970.

Pakistan Pavillion for Shanghai World Expo

15241The will be a replica of the Lahorte Fort, an iconic symbol of the city of Lahorte. The fort dates back to the year 1025 AD and is the cultural capital of modern-day Pakistan.

The 2,000 square meter pavillion is themed “harmony in diversity”, and will show various aspects of the best of Pakistan’s cities, merged into one showcase of tradition, culture, modernity and history.

In the pavilion, visitors will be able to experience the life of a typical Pakistani citizen through detailed visual and multimedia presentations. More images, after the break.

E7-2 House / Montage DESIGNBUILD

Architects: Montage DESIGNBUILD
Location: ,
Project year: 2003
Construction year: 2004-2007
Site Area: 1,000 sq yds
Constructed Area: 697 sqm
Budget: US $202,500
Photographs: Montage DESIGNBUILD