LAHORE: Beaconhouse National University (BNU) unveiled the Mariam Dawood School of Visual Arts at its new campus near Tarogil on Thursday.

The building is named after the mother of industrialist Hussain Dawood, who donated Rs 100 million for the project. It took two years to finish and cost around Rs 300 million to build, BNU Vice Chancellor Sartaj Aziz told Daily Times.

The red-brick building will host the visual arts and architecture and design schools. It was designed by architect Nayyar Ali Dada and is the first to be finished at the new campus some 13 km from Thokar Niaz Baig off Raiwind Road. The campus should be completed in 12 to 18 months and will cost a total of around Rs 1.2 billion, Aziz said.

He said the most important feature of the new building and campus was their integration of IT features. “We are equipping the university with the best technology that we have,” he said.

He hailed the unveiling of the building as “the remarkable beginning of a major new experiment”.

BNU Visual Arts Dean Salima Hashmi said classes at the new building would start in September, and would increase the capacity of the schools of visual arts and architecture and design to about 400 students. Classes will include digital photography, textile and jewellery design, sculpture, painting and architecture.

BNU is hoping to find more funds to buy expensive equipment such as a kiln for ceramics and an etching press so it can offer even more classes, she said. It is also looking to expand its photography programme, the only specialist photography degree available in Pakistan, she added.

She said the buildings for liberal arts should be finished in November and social sciences in January, and the campus completed not long after September 2010. “The only major building we have yet to find funds for are the auditorium and library, but hopefully people will come forward to support it,” she added.

BNU Foundation Chairwoman Nasreen Kasuri said at the unveiling ceremony the new building would give Lahore and Pakistan its next generation of “great artists”. She said the new campus was initially meant to cater to 1,500 students, but would now be equipped for 2,500 when complete.

Dawood said he had donated money for the school because Pakistan’s survival “is entirely down to education”. He hoped BNU would help reverse “the systematic decline in our intellectual capacity” over the last 40 years. Dada said his guiding principle when designing the building was to concentrate on creating a suitable space, one without unnecessary flourishes.

Source: Daily Times