[stextbox id=”info”]Saima Iqbal had a dream. She wanted to become an architect. Her career choice took her to MSIA College of Karnataka University. This was the first time she was away from home; completely on her own.[/stextbox]
When she was in school, she would love observing buildings, cities and market places. “I had a cousin who was an architect and I would observe his drawings keenly,” says Saima. When her friends at school harboured dreams of pursuing medicine and engineering as career, she chose differently, “I always saw myself as an architect”. She graduated as an architect in 1999.
After short stints in architectural firms outside the state, she returned home. Here she worked in local architectural firms for about two years before joining the local chapter of INTACH. She is among its founding members.
Here her work revolved mainly around restoration and conservation. She was the lead architect on the Manasbal Guest house restoration besides many other projects. Soon she realised that the nature of her work with restoration needed special knowledge.
So Saima headed to Oxford University to pursue a Masters course in Historic Conservation. She was the first female from the state to join the course. After completing the course she worked with the Oxford city council and the Oxford University as a consultant before heading back to the valley in 2009. Presently she is working with INTACH as a consultant.
Saima believes that there is an urgent need for the society as a whole to wake up to the importance of conservation of heritage buildings. She says that the government providing incentives and framing laws for conservation of such buildings can play an important role in preserving our heritage.
After rejoining INTACH she has worked on a number of important projects. The Prince Claus Foundation has agreed to fund her project for restoration of Thag Baba shrine in Safa Kadal, Srinagar.