Juan Chacón Gragera and David Cardenas Lorenzo in Karachi

October 12, 2016 - November 30, 2016

An investigative and constructive research of urban informal design practices and collective traditional technologies


The German-Spanish collective zoohaus were invited by the Goethe-Institut to carry out an investigative and constructive research of urban informal design practices and collective traditional technologies in Karachi as part of “Urbanities – art and public space in Pakistan”. Represented by the Spanish architects and social designers Juan Chacón Gragera und David Cardenas Lorenzo, the collective continues their series Inteligencias Colectivas, an open online platform and free database. During their second stay at the end of November, zoohaus focus on Pakistan Chowk, a landmark heritage public space of Karachi. In collaboration with Pakistani architecture and heritage consultant office Marvi Mazhar & Associates, who conducted a rehabilitation project in the historically important quarter, zoohaus construct urban furniture using informal design practices and local techniques which they have discovered and studied during their earlier stay, to come to use by the community and local stakeholders. The outcomes of the collective project are installed and ready to be used starting November 29, 2016. The documentation of their work will be on display at the URBANITIES exhibition at Alhamra Arts Gallery, Lahore, from December 1-4, 2016, and presented at the Symposium CITY IN CONTEXT.
  • with children on a swing Foto: Vasl
  • discussion Foto: Vasl
  • Loranzo with a kid Foto: Vasl
  • A bag vendor in Karachi Foto: Vasl
  • purchasing stuff from a roadside vendor Foto: Vasl
  • photographing pottery Foto: Vasl
  • a shop with rikshaw/truck decoratives Foto: Vasl
  • discussion with a Pakistani Truck Artist Foto: Vasl
  • a local shop Foto: Vasl
  • The Scrapyard Foto: Vasl
  • Documenting Factory Workers Foto: Vasl
  • Sun rays in a factory Foto: Vasl
  • Truck art Foto: Vasl
  • Hammering a sheet to shape it up for a truck's body Foto: Vasl
  • discussion with Asif from Phool Patti Foto: Vasl
  • Phool Patti on a truck Foto: Vasl
  • Phool Patti on a truck Foto: Vasl
  • Backstage Foto: Vasl
  • cracking a joke Foto: Vasl
  • The trio Foto: Vasl
Inteligencias Colectivas draws its inspiration from the coexistence of industrialization and development that allow for the mixing of semi-industrial products with old and enduring techniques. While many of these construction solutions lack proper design planning, they generate a wide range of procedures through popular and generational wisdom. Rooted in real-life examples of intelligent construction, the online platform and free database brings together knowledge considered to be on the fringe of traditional construction practice. A horizontal learning system and material prototypes weave together a tight network of people and collectives.
The project is made possible through the support by Vasl Artists' Collective and Marvi Mazhar & Associates and takes place in the framework of “Urbanities – art and public space in Pakistan”, a critical exploration of the urban.

About Pakistan Chowk
Pakistan Chowk is a landmark heritage public space of Karachi which underwent an elaborate restoration and rehabilitation project under architect and heritage consultant Marvi Mazhar, generously supported by Sharmila Saheba Faruqui, in an attempt to transform the area, which used to be a lush garden known as Burnes Garden established in the 19th century, back into a space of recreation for the community.