Critical Framework for the Development of Women’s Shelters in Karachi A contextual study

Ilsa Ahmed
University of Karachi, Department of Visual Studies

Project idea

This project aims to revolutionize women's shelters, addressing the urgent issue of domestic violence that affects 20-25% of women globally. Despite seeking refuge from abusive environments, many women face overcrowded, communal living conditions in shelters, which lack privacy and fail to prioritize their well-being.

The aim of this project is to understand the architectural requirements of women’s shelters based on the needs of women who are victims of psychological and/or physical abuse. Addressing “Goal 5: Gender Equality” of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 Agenda, this research will explore novel strategies and innovations that can be applied in order to design a space that inspires feelings of security, inclusivity, and comfort, which these women are in desperate need of. This study seeks to understand how architecture can help these women heal and start anew. This research will also focus on how architecture can help build a self-sustaining community and how these women can enter the workforce.

Project description

The project involves an in-depth analysis of the architecture of two women's shelters in Karachi, incorporating interviews with residents and on-site social workers. Informed by relevant literature, such as case studies and psychological research papers, the project strives to pave the way for transformative changes in women's shelter design.

The conceptual design includes features of a neighborhood-scale prototype for shelters, such as, Administrative, Communal, Recreational, and Living Areas.

Keywords: Women, Shelters, Architecture, Design Strategies, Inclusive Design, Karachi, Domestic Violence Survivors, Urban Densification, Safe Public Space

Technical information

This project is a prototype that serves its function as housing and as a safe public space for women and children.


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