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Pakistani firm MSA wins the prestigious Prix Versailles Continental Award

Pakistan Architecture News - May 23, 2018 - 11:28   22439 views

Pakistani firm MSA wins the prestigious Prix Versailles Continental Award

MSA (Metropolitan Studio of Architecture), an architectural firm of Pakistan has won the prestigious Prix Versailles Continental Award 2018 (Special Prize Exterior) for its uniquely and esthetically designed fashion flagship store, called Flagship Peshawar, in Peshawar, Pakistan. 

Mr. Jerome Gouadain, Secretary General of the Prix Versailles and Mr. Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, UNESCO’s Assistant Director General for Culture gave away the Award to Syed Fawad Hassain, the founder and principal architect of MSA and Leena Hassan Principal Interior designer at MSA during an impressive ceremony held at the UNESCO Headquarter in Paris on 15th May 2018.

Pakistani firm MSA wins the prestigious Prix Versailles Continental Award

Based in the heart of the culturally opulent metropolis of Lahore, Pakistan, the Metropolitan Studio of Architecture (MSA) strives towards an architecture, which is situated in the regional context but at the same time has a global appeal. There are two uncompromised features of our practice; development of a sustained line of enquiry and a multi-disciplinary approach to generate discourse, informed the office.

Pakistani firm MSA wins the prestigious Prix Versailles Continental Award

Syed Fawad Hussainis the Founder, Partner and Principal Architect at MSA and the head of MSA-RIand MSA-Collaborative, sub-divisions at MSA created in the early years of its practice to cater to internal and client directed need for research. 

With an academic background in both architecture and philosophy, his core vision lies in playing a central role in promoting greater collaboration between academicians and practitioners while cities undergo rapid urbanization and their inhabitants become more global. 

Pakistani firm MSA wins the prestigious Prix Versailles Continental Award

Leena Hassan is the Partner and Principal Interior Designer at the MSA and a multi-discipline specialist with an academic background in both interior and psychology. She specializes in interiors and has headed numerous interiors projects from their inception to completion. In addition, she is also well-known for customized furniture solutions that cater to the need of the interior space and her clients. Moreover, she is also a distinguished color consultant who has worked and presented her ideas at many prestigious forums.

Pakistani firm MSA wins the prestigious Prix Versailles Continental Award

MSA collaborated with WARDA, a clothing brand, on designing of their new stores, which are planned in various cities of Pakistan. This project is the first in this series. Each flagship store is designed keeping in mind the idea that it will serve as a rejuvenating device for the brand. 

MSA has taken this collaboration as an opportunity to look closely at the retail culture of Pakistan in general and WARDA retail strategies in specific. These explorations helped in developing an overall thematic of the brand, where context becomes the central focus of the aesthetics of the flagships. 

Pakistani firm MSA wins the prestigious Prix Versailles Continental Award

The aesthetics of the project is driven by the careful study of the history of the built heritage of the city. From the choice of the material to its craftsmanship, the project relied on the local resources at the same time the project is a dedication to the contemporary culture of the retail. 

Pakistani firm MSA wins the prestigious Prix Versailles Continental Award

MSA conducted a thorough research of the built heritage of the city Peshawar. The city has a long history of using brick as a main construction material (Bala Hisar brick fort) and wood as the main interior material. MSA has inverted this relationship by using wood as the main exterior material and brick as the main finishing material of the indoor walls. 

This shift of materials has given the flagship a unique aesthetic experience and still maintains the same old traditional material pallet. This front metal and wooden screen mitigates the solar gain and also helps control the natural light intake.  

Pakistani firm MSA wins the prestigious Prix Versailles Continental Award

The wall behind the long cash counter is created in wood by employing a traditional technique of “Tarseem Bandi”, where the geometric pattern is made in wooden pieces and the spaces in between the pattern lines are given unique colors. Tarseem Bandi is usually found on the ceilings of the traditional Haveli’s of the city.

Pakistani firm MSA wins the prestigious Prix Versailles Continental Award

Another important feature of the project is it’s indoor and outdoor plantation. A large chunk of the indoor space is dedicated to plantation in a jungle like arrangement. In the same way a tree is planted in front of the main door of the flagship that welcomes the costumers and participate in creating a distinctive sense of place. This tree grows with the store and both share a common history 

The overall project heavily borrows its material and technical sensibilities from the building tradition of the city, Peshawar.

All images © Mirza Omar

> via Prix Versailles/MSA (Metropolitan Studio of Architecture)