A photographic journey through the architecture and history of the capital of Pakistan, built ex nihilo from 1961 to the mid 1970s.
In 1962, the architecture practice Ponti Fornaroli Rosselli was commissioned to design and build part of the Ministries area of the new capital of West Pakistan, Islamabad, which was under construction according to Constantinos Doxiadis and Robert Matthews master plan. Fifteen hundred architecture drawings and less than two years later, the buildings were completed. At some moments, five thousand workers were on site at the same time. Project manager Alberto Rosselli declared that the idea was not to transfer their Western knowledge to Pakistan, but to create a new Pakistan.
Moved by this incredible project, where the personal stories of the Ponti and Rosselli families crossed paths against a backdrop of architectural and political history, Giovanna Silva traveled to Islamabad in 2020 with Paolo Rosselli, nephew of Gio Ponti and son of Alberto Rosselli. It was a journey through architecture, personal memories, and a city built in the desert as a future capital of a new world, against the beautiful scenary of the Margalla Hills. Silvaʼs photographs show the buildings in their everyday public function, with a focus on the spaces as performed by their users. The book also features archival images of the building site and construction, and a narrative text by Paolo Rosselli tracing the story of the project and his reactions during his first visit to his father's work in Islamabad.
Giovanna Silva lives and works in Milan. As a photographer
, she exposed at the Venice Biennale 2006 her work about the city of Bogotà, Colombia. She is the author of Desertions
, a chronicle of an american trip with designer Enzo Mari
. From 2005-2007 she contributed to Domus
and since september 2007 until september 2011 she was the Photo Editor of Abitare
. She photographed Renzo Piano and Zaha Hadid for the Abitare's special issues Being Renzo Piano
and Being Zaha Hadid
, 6 month experience of architecture in the making. In 2011 she published the book, Orantes
, ed. Quodlibet. In 2012 she published Narratives/Relazioni: Baghdad, Green Zone, Red Zone, Babylon
, Mousse Publishing
She is in the editorial board of San Rocco
Magazine. She is the editor of Humboldt Books
. She has a column on Doppiozero.
Paolo Rosselli is an Italian photographer
based in Milano. He was introduced to photography by Ugo Mulas
at the age of 20. After the degree in Architecture he begins a series of long journeys in India with Arturo Schwarz. During these long stays dedicated to the architecture of the Hindu temple, he begins assembling photographic profiles of Indian cities. Since then, his approach to architecture through photography evolves in other directions to contemporary architecture in Europe; towards masters of modern architecture as Giuseppe Terragni, and in the direction of the past, the Renaissance architecture in Italy.
Beside this activity he has pursued specific researches on contemporary urban landscape and on the interiors of the home, seen as a place where people leave traces of their living. He was invited to the Venice Biennial in three editions: in 1993 he exhibited groups of works on signs and messages found in the cities; in 2004 he shows an exploration on the interior of the home; lastly, in 2006, he showed a group of images of contemporary cities as Mexico, Shanghai, L.A., Istanbul, London.
Paolo Rosselli writes on photography and about the changes in the perception of the real world in the digital age. In all, he is author of around twenty books. Rosselli was also teacher of photography at the Milan Polytechnic for a brief period.