Pakistan’s First Woman Architect Invents Housing Solution for Flood Victims

Sep 12, 2022

Pakistan is suffering from its worst flooding ever. 81-year-old Yasmeen Lari is the country’s first woman architect. She has stepped in to help. 

Lari received her architectural degree in Oxford, England, in 1964. When she returned to Pakistan, she opened her own firm. That made her the first woman in the country to do so. Though she officially retired in 2000, Lari began a nonprofit called Zero Carbon Campus. She hires women to research, design, and build climate-friendly buildings. At Zero Carbon Campus, Lari found a way to make homes for millions of people who lost their houses in the flood: bamboo huts.

“You could not find other materials,” Lari said. “Everything was taking too much time (to find), like bricks. You could find bamboo. And I said, ‘OK, let’s give it a try.'”

The bamboo huts are shaped like a cone. They are cheap, won't hurt the environment, and can be made quickly. That's essential in a place where floods can wipe out homes in hours. The 12-foot by 12-foot huts can house a family of five.

Lari estimates that a small team on Zero Carbon Campus can build eight bamboo huts each day. She hopes that anyone with access to the fast-growing and abundant material can copy the design. 

“My artisans . . . will now teach other artisans from surrounding villages to be able to go back and build your own unit,” she says. “If I can disperse it all over the country, we can make hundreds of these a day.”

Photo from BBC interview courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Which of the following pairs best describes the problem and solution in the story? (Common Core RI.5.5; RI.6.5)
a. floods have destroyed homes/Lari designed a bamboo hut
b. Lari got her architectural degree/Lari returned to Pakistan
c. bamboo huts are cheap/people can build hundreds a day
d. Pakistan is flooding/Lari is its first woman architect
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