From the Islamic architecture to Taj Mahal to Bugti’s mountain palace to the many governor houses of Pakistan, architecture has played an important part in history. The evolution it has gone through has clearly developed distinct designs that are the hallmark of architecture.

This blog explores some of the styles that exist and which are the most common styles found in Pakistan.

Talking to Nayyab Durrani of AenZay Architects, it was revealed that the most common types of architectural styles are the following:

Spanish architecture

This predominantly refers to the architecture in Spain and by Spanish architects around the world. Due to its historical and geographical diversity, Spanish architecture has drawn from a host of multicultural influences from the Romans to the Muslims. Some of the typical characteristics of Spanish revival architecture include:

    • Asymmetrical
    • Low-pitched flat, gable, or hip roof, typically with no overhang
    • Tile roof
    • Half round arches, doors, and windows
    • Stucco over adobe brick, or adobe brick exterior walls
    • Plaster interior walls
  • Ornate tile, wrought iron, and woodwork

Contemporary architecture

This refers to the architecture of the 21st century. There is no particularly dominant style since the architects are working in a multitude of styles ranging from postmodernism to highly expressive and conceptual designs. Some of the most common characteristics of contemporary architecture include

  • Irregular, asymmetrical façade
  • Strong, geometric shapes
  • Extensive use of natural light
  • Open floor plan in L, T, H or U shape to embrace outdoor space
  • Flexible layout to adapt to changes in family needs
  • Large windows often placed non-symmetrically
  • Clerestory windows
  • One or two stories
  • Local or recycled building materials
  • Sustainable, eco-friendly materials such as bamboo flooring and granite countertops
  • Green heating, air-conditioning and plumbing systems to conserve energy

Modern architecture

This refers to the architecture that came up in the first half of the 20th century and became prominent after World War II. It relied heavily on the use of new construction technologies such as reinforced concrete, steel, and glass etc. Modern architecture relies heavily on abstraction. This effect is created by clean lines, basic shapes, and forms. Therefore, simple, plain, geometric forms, rectangular shapes, and linear elements make the characteristics of modern architecture.

Minimalistic architecture

The main idea behind this is to reduce the subject to its most necessary items and remove the excess. The entire movement can be summed up in the line “Less is more”. This movement has been heavily influenced by the Japanese culture and traditional design. The main characteristics of this movement are:

  • Simplicity of form and function.
  • Uncomplicated cladding & wall finishes.
  • Clean, open, light-filled spaces.
  • Simple detailing devoid of decoration.
  • Strategic use of materials for visual interest, texture, and personality.

While talking to Salman Hassan of SMH Designs it came to light that the architectural styles vary from city to city. Currently, Karachi is at the cutting edge of architectural design since more and more people are opting for the contemporary, minimal and modern look. Lahore and Islamabad are still playing in designs heavily influenced by royal and grandiose looking buildings.

The primary reason that impacts the architectural skyline of a city, are the people as revealed by Nayyab. The more exposure and funds people have, the more experimental and daring they are when it comes to the designing of their property. This results in unique designs that become the talk of the town.

So, these were some of the most common architectural styles found in Pakistan. Would you consider these styles when building your own house? What are some of the other styles that have influenced you? Talk to us in the comments section below.