Jan 29, 2016- Nepali architects have said that the country is slowly waking up to the importance of architecture in construction but still 85 percent of buildings do not have involvement of engineers.

In this light, Society of Nepalese Architects (Sona) is hosting the 14th regional assembly of South Asian architects from the first week of February in which Nepal is taking over as the chair of Saarc Association of Architects (Saarch), a Saarc recognised body. The assembly which will see the participation of national architectural bodies of all Saarc members except Afghanistan will deliberate on traditional but resilient architecture in the context of disasters, organisers say.

According to Architect Kishore Thapa, president of Sona, Nepalese architects have an important role in making sure that Nepal’s heritage monuments which have been destroyed by the Gorkha earthquake last year are rebuild without compromising our indigenous designs.

“We have been mobilising our architects to assist Department of Archaeology and National Reconstruction Authority to rebuild the nation with earthquake-resistant technology but keeping intact traditional architecture,” said Thapa, who is also an expert in NRA’s steering committee.

Thapa also pointed out that the market of architects has increased in the country compared to the past as public, commercial and institutional buildings are being built under the supervision of architects. “Eighty-five percent of construction in the country does not employ engineers. In the 15 percent which use engineers, architects are involved in only a few of them,” said Thapa. But the next two years, during which Nepal will chair the Saarch, is expected to change it as Nepal will lead South Asian architectural movement.

Data shows that 120 architects graduate in Nepal each year. In the past, architects were only used to design “important” government-funded buildings and private houses for the rich. But these days, hospitals, schools and housing projects are increasingly employing architects in the country. According to Sona, architects do not have to stay unemployed these days unlike in the past.

General Secretary of Sona Architect Suman Meher Shrestha said that the organisation is giving constant feedback to the government in its reconstruction campaign and has been stressing on community-led reconstruction based on indigenous designs and using locally-available materials.