ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Mapping architectural pattern language for cultural heritage preservation in the HKH region


Hussain Zahra - TU Delft, Architecture, Delft, Netherlands


47 – Recent Cultural Heritage Initiatives in Nepal and the Himalayas


 Pakistan is experiencing rapid urbanization / densification, even in relatively remote mountain landscapes of the Hindu Kush and Himalayas. Formerly verdant hill stations and small towns have already become significant urban centers that continue to expand outwards. Geographic zones on the ecological frontiers with complex and interrelated ecosystems are where the impacts of climate change are most visible. Pakistan ranks 8th position on the Global Climate Risk Index for 2019 but the alarming state is that the country is termed as 4th most vulnerable for future climate change impacts. In such a scenario, strategic planning for the built environment in mountain areas is an important aspect to be considered since the interplay of ever-increasing domestic tourism, ongoing development of road links and population pressures has led to poorly planned and executed developments in sites of major heritage and tourism importance. This paper introduces a mapping practice that documents architectural pattern language (Alexander, Ishikawa et al., 1977) for understanding and preserving the tangible-built environment as well as its evolution in conjunction with immaterial heritage practices. This paper will illustrate how pattern language was employed as a methodological tool for documenting the built environment in Kalash valley in North-West Pakistan and developing architectural bye-laws for the protection of the Kalasha built heritage.