Heritage at Stake: Discourse Concerning the Causes of Damages Occurred to the Historic Hostel Structures Built in British Era in Karachi
Karachi being the first born city of the colonial architecture in Sindh Pakistan has the honour of housing very important and diverse ornamental architectural master pieces. Along with the commercial nucleus; Karachi emerged as a regional educational hub after the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 with several hostel structures and studio apartments. These structures are among the better examples of the pre-colonial and post-colonial architectural influence in the region. Few of them (still surviving) are incorporated in the national list of protected heritage under Sindh Cultural Heritage Preservation Act 1994. This research paper is focused on “the lost importance of the three different hostel (boys’ hostels only) premises in the historic core of the city of Karachi”. Despite possessing similar functions in the past and having the same status of the declared protected heritage at present, each of them has different use and conservation status at present. None of the buildings have endured the original function. This research focuses the reasons of the non-continuation of the original function and the impairments caused to the buildings due to this reason. Methodology followed for the research includes analysis of available archives, physical observation, photographic documentation and interviews with the local inhabitants of the neighbourhood. The results and the findings of this research portray that eroding hostel culture has subjected those structures to slow and painful death of their original purpose. These buildings, once popular in the area, are now fading fast and perhaps will cease to exist in the near future unless the immediate precautionary measures are taken. The main conclusion drawn in this paper is that “it is important to preserve those historic premises as they are of significant historic character that remained associated with a number of key political and social personalities of the region. Moreover, they play a vital role in the general architectural value of the region”.