Alhamra Arts Council Lahore
Alhamra Arts Council (also Alhamra Hall, Alhamra Cultural Complex or Alhamra Art Gallery) was designed by Nayyar Ali Dada and completed in 1992. Alhamra is the heart of Lahore as Lahore is the cultural capital of the country. Alhamra is basically an Arabic word, which literally means a woman in ´Red Clothes´. This was the name initially given to the Royal enclave at Cordoba Spain by the Arabs. The palaces and other buildings were constructed in red bricks.
The Alhamra Arts Council is located on a colonial-period road in Lahore, Pakistan
, that was formerly known as Mall Road and has been renamed as Shahrah Quaid-e-Azam. The origins of the arts complex lie in an initial commission of Nayyar Ali Dada to design a 1000-seat auditorium for the Alhambra Arts Council (AAC), of which he was a member. The AAC had been given the site by the government in the years immediately following independence but had generally staged its performances outdoors. The auditorium was completed in 1979 and replaced some temporary buildings.
A further three phases of construction followed that of the auditorium. There were commissioned from Dada by the Lahore Arts Council, a government agency that took over the project from the non-governmental AAC following a dispute concerning ownership of the land. The first of these phases was completed in 1984 and consisted of offices and art galleries housed in four octagonal structures. In the following year, a 450-seat theatre in hexagonal form was added to the existing auditorium and, in 1992, an octagonal 250-seat facility for lectures and recitals was completed. The buildings are placed in a manner that creates semi-enclosed courtyards and the various polygonal shapes in their design are intended to enhance acoustics when used for performances.
The structures are influenced by Mughal architecture and are constructed using a veneer of handmade red bricks overlaying a concrete form. The bricks are bonded with a local mortar and reflect the construction of the historic Lahore Fort
and Badshahi Mosque
, as well as the red sandstone that was favoured by the Mughals.
The design was a winner of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1998,when the jury described it as "a rare example of flexible spaces that has enabled several additions to be made over time, each of which has in turn enhanced, rather than detracted from, its overall architectural value. This is a very popular and successful public building, projecting its complexities in a simple and powerful manner.
The Al Hamra Academy of performing Arts is an academy for the education of music, dance and drama along with courses offered in ceramic, photography, drawing/painting & calligraphy. The Academy was established on October 7, 2002 in the premises of the Lahore Art Council. It consists of two campuses, one at the Al Hamra Art center, Shahra-e-Quaid-e-Azam & the other at the Cultural Complex, Gaddafi Stadium. It is the pioneer institution in Pakistan
for the education in these particular fields.
68 Shahrah-e-Quaide-Azam, Lahore, Pakistan
042 39200953 & 042 39200917
Zulfiqar Ali Zulfi Deputy Director 9200992