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Atkins to build tall in Pakistan's earthquake zone - image

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Atkins has been commissioned to design the tallest building in Pakistan - only three months after an earthquake claimed nearly 80,000 lives in a neighbouring area.

The move has raised eyebrows among observers who question the safety of the 250m-tall tower, especially given that the relief effort in the country is continuing.

Atkins, which today presented its plans to Pakistan's prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, was appointed by developer Pak Gulf in October.

The location is at the same risk of lethal tremors as San Francisco and Japan, both renowned for their earthquakes.

The £175 million project is Atkins' first significant project in the country, and will comprise a 30-storey hotel, forming the centrepiece of a mixed-use development in the capital Islamabad.

The 280,000m 2design also incorporates a shopping mall, office space and more than 300 apartments, and is expected to take three years to complete.

Shortly before Christmas, several UK architects set off to help rebuild the country following the earthquake disaster, which struck last October.

Azhar, founding partner of Azhar Architecture, aims to provide expertise and advice for self-build permanent housing solutions for the earthquake-affected areas of the North-West Frontier Province ( London architect sets off on Pakistan mission).

by Rob Sharp

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