“Buildings and cities are museums of time. They emancipate us from the hurried time of the present, and help us to experience the slow, healing time of the past.”
- Juhani Pallasmaa, a Finnish architect
To experience this “slow, healing time of the past”, you got to visit Moses Somake - The Man who built Karachi at TDF Ghar (which will continue till Sept 10). The exhibition explores the buildings Moses, a Jewish architect, helped build in the city. He was a member of the Society of Architects in the early 20’s. His portfolio highlights the religious diversity that existed in Karachi in the early 20th century including designing a mosque, a Christian club and a school for Zoroastrians. Many of the buildings still remain, some including the Karachi Goan Association Hall, Edward House, Mules Mansion, Flagstaff House and the BVS Parsi School. He spent most of his life in Karachi before migrating to England in the mid-1940s.
According to Doreen, Moses’ granddaughter, “His house in London was bombarded during the World War II. Luckily, he was safe because he had already moved away during the blitz. Most of his belongings (including many of his papers and designs) were destroyed or badly damaged. He stayed with us in Norwich (where we had evacuated during the war) for some time. He died peacefully on April 6, 1947 in London, from a stroke at our home.”
Hiba Zubairi, Communications Team Leader, The Dawood Foundation, adds, “We personally went to the buildings, spoke to the tenants living there for decades since there wasn’t enough information available online. These buildings have been eaten by pollution and dust. Over the years, these mansions have grown feeble. Doreen was surprised to see that her grandfather’s buildings are still present in Karachi. This exhibition will help people understand that we need to preserve our architectural heritage and should make efforts to maintain it.”
Various researches indicate having a space that feels safe can empower youth by providing them with the opportunity to gather and participate in diverse activities or to talk and engage in meaningful dialogues.
Lincoln Corner recently organized a panel discussion “Safe spaces for youth” where speakers Arieb Azhar, Executive Director T2F, Marvi Mazhar, Founder Pakistan Chowk Community Centre, Muzammil Afzal, Co-founder Cafe Commune, Sabrina Dawood, CEO The Dawood Foundation, and Nooruddin Merchant, Sr. Associate Library and Educational Programmes, Habib University” emphasized on creating free and safe spaces for young people where they could make decisions and can express themselves in whatever ways they want. It could be through music, art, photography, or any other activity related to their diverse needs and interests. And, as Pakistanis, we should also work on reviving the “mohala culture” to engage people from all walks of life.