Conservation and Rehabilitation of Historic Houses on South Side of the Chowk Wazir Khan

The 17th Century Chowk Wazir Khan is enclosed on the southern side with a series of the residential historical building stock. Among these the properties H-686, H-687 and H-1088 are owned by the AUQAF Department Govt of Punjab and possess high architectural merit.

The Houses H-1088 and H-687 portray the amalgamation of Mughal, Sikh, and British styles and successfully demonstrate the transition of early 19th Century tradition of Indian architecture into the British era. With the use of hand molded brick tiles in lime mortar constituent of thick load bearing masonry walls and wooden roofing system as the primary structure of the traditional building, H-1088 is the oldest structure from the rest and is estimated to be constructed around mid-19th Century.

These two houses add to the historical value of the urban context of the neighbourhood with the use of a variety of traditional decorative features such as cantilevered carved wooden and wrought iron balconies, Shahnasheen on facades and “Barsati” roof structure. Before the commencement of the project these houses were found to be in dilapidated structural condition due to overloading, deteriorated structural members, application of past low merit alterations and additions and lack of proper upkeep.

H-688 is another house which is privately owned property. However, it was decided to include it in the project as it is adjacent to H-687 and several interventions were introduced on its façade which was overpowering the surrounding context and adjacent historic houses. With the financial assistance of GoPb, the later additions were removed, and setback the entire building and façade of the house improved.

Aga Khan Cultural Service – Pakistan carried out this conservation & rehabilitation project between August 2019 and May 2021. This was enabled by the friendly collaboration and partnership of the Walled City of Lahore Authority, who carried out acquisition of the properties and site facilitation.  Generous financial assistance of USD $ 196,776 (0.196 million) from the US Embassy made this project possible.

The conservation project has reclaimed the southern facade of the Chowk Wazir Khan through enhancing and improving visual impact of the urban environment as well as structurally and architecturally improved and increase longevity of historic buildings for the benefit of the community. The project was executed following sequence of activities, demolition of later added structures, structural consolidation of foundations and walls, replacement of deteriorated structural floors/ roofing, addition of new spaces, restoration of projected baloneys, decorative architectural features, lime-based finishes, construction of RCC staircase, streetscaping and provision of modern amenities. The conserved and rehabilitated historic houses are now managed by the Walled City of Lahore Authority.