Mapping Festivity

  • Category
  • Research Projects

  • Collaborating Organization
  • Architectum

  • Researchers List
  • Fizzah, CnD
    Ailiya Merchant, SDP
    Shallum David, SDP
    Maleeha Khan, SDP
    Omema Akhtar, SDP
    Luluwa Lokhandwala, CnD
    Hira Zuberi, playground Supervisor

  • Conducted In
  • 2019

    The Mapping Festivity project focuses on highlighting the history, complexity, diversity and evolution of the wedding halls in Karachi, and explores their evolution over time, to understand how the different religious and ethnic communities living in the city celebrate festivities like weddings. The team hopes to present the different wedding practices and rituals as microcosms of Pakistan, and understand the social, cultural, and urban forces that have influenced and transformed the weddings over time.

    Members of 29 different communities across Karachi were interviewed, to understand the different cultural and wedding practices that were unique to each community’s celebrations. Narratives and personal anecdotes were collected in the form of Oral Histories, with families and groups elaborating on the values, rituals, practices and interests of their communities in festivities like weddings. The project reveals how all of these different communities come together to give Karachi its lively, vibrant and resilient vibrant character, amidst the existing political, social and cultural divides. 

    The interview narratives and findings have been presented in the form of photographs, network maps, diagrams and tarot cards, each of which add to the rich, graphic details of the analysis, thus, interconnecting community cultures and practices with the wider dynamic of celebrating festivities.

    In contemporary Pakistan, weddings serve as more than just social institutions. They knit together a multiplicity of societal, cultural and economic norms, that are performed in high energy festivities and celebrations. They open up a space for members of different industries and social classes to coexist in harmony.

    ‘Shaadi’ (Wedding) Halls are studied as an architectural type that emerged to serve these wedding performances, and a stage that supports the various wedding industries like  The project explores the urban transformation undergone by these wedding halls in the past decade, from close-knit gardens, street and home-based weddings, to weddings in present-day Karachi taking place in halls, marquees and banquets. The project also views wedding halls as stages that support various wedding industries such as food catering, event planning, decor, beauty salons and fashion.

    The team presented their work at the La Biennale di Venezia - 17th International Architecture Exhibition in 2021. 

    The project in exhibition can be viewed here: