BAC Design Studies Program Welcomes Pakistani Students and Faculty to Campus

Three-year cultural exchange made possible by grant from the Public Affairs Section, US Embassy, Islamabad

Robert Ogle, BAC Director of Historic Preservation and Ali Ahmed Shah, architecture faculty member at NCA-Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Robert Ogle, BAC Director of Historic Preservation and Ali Ahmed Shah, architecture faculty member at NCA-Rawalpindi, Pakistan

The Boston Architectural College is pleased to announce the BAC Design Studies program has welcomed the first cohort of exchange students and faculty from the National College of Arts (NCA)-Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The two Pakistani students and faculty member, Ali Ahmed Shah, arrived on campus on October 11, 2014, signifying the first stage of a three-year partnership made possible by a grant from the Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy, Islamabad, Pakistan.

The grant was awarded to the BAC and the Historic Preservation program to develop the historic preservation curriculum at NCA-Rawalpindi. For this development to be successful, the partnership aims to serve as an exchange of information, knowledge, and experiences. By spending time in Boston, the Pakistani students and faculty will use what they learn to help develop the NCA-Rawalpindi's historic preservation courses, syllabi, research, workshops and capacity of faculty.

The students and faculty will be visiting the BAC campus for three months and will gain exposure to the work of BAC students and faculty, as well as other educational experiences historic Massachusetts has to offer. Physically visiting the United States allows the Pakistani students and faculty to grow close to the culture and experience how preservation is upheld in this country.

"Pakistan represents a great cultural heritage and number of monuments, but unfortunately most of the historic built heritage is exposed to multiple threats, including deterioration due to weather conditions, vandalism, negligence and maintenance-related issues. Above all, there is a lack of awareness towards the subject, resources and qualified man-power to address the persistent issues of the loss of heritage," said Ali Ahmed Shah, faculty and Head, Department of Architecture at NCA-Rawalpindi, Pakistan. "Therefore, it is a learning opportunity and a unique cultural experience to witness first-hand how historic preservation is maintained and promoted in the United States."

Since arriving, Ali Ahmed Shah and his students have visited several local architect favorites, like the Fairbanks House in Dedham, MA, thought to be the oldest standing timber frame building in North America, as well as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which is an example of a new and old building seamlessly working together.
At the end of the three-year grant period, the BAC and NCA-Rawalpindi hope to have started to build positive, concrete outcomes from this partnership that have a long-term viable impact on both schools and their communities.