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The ‘Heritage Cell’ at Department of Architecture and Planning, NED University, is a research unit established in 2006 to support and sustain DAPNED’s ongoing efforts towards creating general awareness of issues related to heritage conservation in Pakistan. Since its establishment in 1998 the department has endeavoured to develop technical support and professional capacity building in the field of heritage conservation through its activities of focused research, training and advocacy. The Heritage Cell, (HC-DAPNED) has full-time staff of researchers/ architects and AutoCAD draftsperson/s; additionally having supportive technical staff for IT/ Database management. Two to three architecture students are also appointed during summer/ winter breaks, and trained to conduct heritage documentation- research as on-the-job internees.

Organizational Profile

The establishment of HC-DAPNED within the larger umbrella of the ‘Department of Architecture and Planning, NED University’ is in lieu of the department’s continued commitment to develop professional capacities in the arena of heritage conservation. HC-DAPNED today functions as a full-fledged research unit housed within NED University’s historic ‘Old Campus’ or ‘City Campus’ situated in the heart of Karachi’s city centre; and exclusively functioning as an the Department of Architecture and Planning since 2004. The NED City Campus Restoration Project was undertaken by the university as an ongoing endeavour for heritage conservation - prior to which the site had remained abandoned for many decades.

HC-DAPNED, since its inception in 2006, has been actively involved in initiating research and projects addressing heritage conservation issues in Pakistan, developing national and international collaborations with organizations involved with heritage protection and advocacy, publication of research outcomes for wider dissemination and awareness building, and developing education and training programs that now form an integral component of the curriculum offered in architecture programs at graduate and undergraduate levels .

Aims & Scope of Work

•  To undertake specific studies and research within the framework of heritage conservation
•  To collaborate and assist the public sector departments responsible for heritage properties providing them with technical support
•  To undertake specific projects related to conservation; independently or in collaboration with other consultants
•  To provide technical and professional support for institutional or individual owners of heritage properties seeking advice for their proper conservation and/ or restoration

Education, Training & Awareness Building

Training of young professionals in the field of heritage conservation is among priority objectives of HC-DAPNED; addressing the critical issue of existing dearth of trained professionals specializing in conservation of historic buildings and management of heritage sites and cultural landscapes. Young graduates of architecture, as well as students of the department are encouraged to join HC-DAPNED as internees who are provided with on-the-job training opportunities.

DAPNED is among the pioneering institutions in Pakistan where efforts at formulating conservation training and education are being made as part of curriculum development. Elective courses on heritage conservation are formally introduced within undergraduate and post graduate curriculum. Introductory course offered at undergraduate program is designed with a 50-50 percent content of lectures (focusing on theories, historical development and principles of conservation, heritage legislation and network of organizations) and field visits (providing practical hands-on exposures to historic structures and materials). Electives introduced at post-graduate level (Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning and Master’s in Architecture) focus on orientation towards contextual issues of historic urban areas and cultural landscapes.