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The NCA Building was built in 1880 with red-stone bricks

The NCA Building was built in 1880 with red-stone bricks

Mall Road, also known as Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam is one of Lahore’s primary thoroughfares. Several colonial buildings line the road, and one of them is the National College of Arts (NCA), one of Pakistan’s leading art schools. 

From a school to a college… The NCA was established in 1875 as the Mayo School of Arts in memory of Lord Mayo, the British Viceroy to India. In 1958, it was upgraded to the National College of Arts and Fine Art. Since then, several departments, including architecture, ceramics design, multimedia arts, film and television have been added. Well known alumni include architects, musicians, painters and sculptors such as Jamil Baloch, AR Chughtai, Nayyar
Ali Dada, Jamil Naqsh, Nayyara Noor and Ali Zafar. 

A student moulding a clay sculpture at the NCA

A student moulding a clay sculpture at the NCA

Mughal architecture… The College’s main building was constructed in 1880, and designed by Bhai Ram Singh in the Mughal architectural style. Its walls are made of red-stone bricks, and a fountain adorns the courtyard. 

The Alhamra Arts Council is a major cultural attraction

– The Alhamra Arts Council is a major cultural attraction

Traversing the neighbourhood… Mall Road is one of Lahore’s major shopping districts. This is due to the presence of the famous Naqi Market and Panorama Centre, which primarily deal in clothing, the ICI building which houses shops that sell watches and electronics, as well as the nearby Old and New Anarkali Bazaars where shops selling everything from readymade clothing and jewellery to home ware are located. Cultural attractions include Alhamra Arts Council, Lahore Museum and Tollinton Market (which is a museum). 

The real estate take…  Over the years, several low-rise buildings have been constructed along Mall Road, which primarily provide retail and office space; standalone shops are also available. Several houses have been converted into schools, restaurants and high-end boutiques. Property prices are very high, and have appreciated by 25% in the last two years. 

In a nutshell… Although this part of Mall Road has evolved with time with the establishment of commercial bazaars and shopping centres, it is the magnificent colonial buildings that line it, like the NCA, that continue to define it.

NCA map

NCA Prices– Syed Wajeeh-ul-Hassan Naqvi

First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on March 9, 2014.

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