Inspired by the Royal enclave at Cordoba Spain, Alhamra Hall in Lahore is a representative edifice reflecting the cultural ethos of Pakistan. Lahore has always been the cultural capital of Pakistan having traditional links with Muslim rule in the subcontinent.
Alhamra Hall is consequently influenced by Mughal architecture and is 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 built by Emperor Aurangzeb. In its construction the favourite Mughal red-stone was abundantly used.
The Hall has a 1,000-seat auditorium used by Alhamra Arts Council for holding cultural programmes. The building was completed in 1979 giving way to a further three phases of construction. 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 a hexagonal form was added to the existing auditorium and in 1992 an octagonal 250-seat facility for lectures and recitals was completed.
The entire complex is artistically placed in a style that creates semi-enclosed courtyards and the various polygonal shapes in their design are intended to enhance acoustics when used for performances. The edifice was commended “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.” Alhamra is a jewel in the cultural crown of Pakistan. It is an exquisite building full of life and reflects aesthetic aspects of existence.