Richard Neutra‘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.
The Neutra Embassy Building is located in the downtown area of Karachi and has survived a long history of terrorist attacks. Over the years, in the early 2000′s, the U.S. wanted to relocate the U.S. Consulate outside of this area to preserve and protect it from future attacks, but a lack of cooperation by the Pakistani government delayed this effort. After the last attempt in 2006, Pakistani officials approved the relocation and a new building was built on a new site, which just opened in January 2011.
Now that the Neutra Embassy Building has been vacant for over a year, demolition will likely be the next move. The Neutra Institute opposes such plans, pleading for community support and the Department of State’s attention to convert this symbol of modernity into a social and cultural space for Karachi’s downtown area. The petition proposes to save the only Neutra Structure left in the region with the intention of repurposing it into a cultural center. The goal is to have this facility serve as a record of history in an architectural, political and cultural sense by preserving the modernist building and addressing its role in the history of the region that it represents.
Find out more about the petition here.