Evolution and Development of Public Architecture in the Punjab Communication & Works Department

Z. Ashraf, Neelum Naz


Public Architecture identifies and solves practical problems of human interaction in the built environment and acts as a catalyst for public discourse. Pakistan has a significant long architectural history however, public architecture set its pace in the Punjab during British Period with the establishment of Public Works Department (PWD) in 1849. A separate branch of Buildings and Roads was created in April 1899; succeeded by the Communication & Works (C&W) department in 1962. The engineers were considered competent for designing and execution of buildings without the help of an architect. With the increase in the building activity the need of a Consulting Architect was felt. Basil Martin Sullivan from Britain was appointed as Consulting Architect to Govt. of the Punjab in 1914. Since then the public sector architects have professionally designed many important buildings, but there is no documentation available for ready reference. It seemed like the architecture of a lesser value. The time has come to take it seriously and acknowledge the contribution made by this department over the years. The paper is just a humble beginning on the subject and will attempt to delineate the historical perspective in a chronological, albeit overlapping sequence. The first author’s long experience in the C & W Department acted as a catalyst in generating the desired information coupled with the Archives of the office of Chief Architect. The research paper will be beneficial in providing a baseline for conducting further research on public architecture in Pakistan and the region.

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