About

A ‘nature tutor’ is someone who takes inspiration from nature and creates something inspirational in turn. The term refers to the secondary and tertiary levels of bio-mimicry. NatureTutor.com is an online and paper-based magazine that curates the best practices of nature tutors from the following categories:

  1. Nature Gadgets in the categories of art, architecture, utility, mobility, sports, and defense
  2. Nature Policies in the categories of food, shelter, health, education, and poverty
  3. Winning entries of the Nature Contest
  4. Interviews, portfolios and personal profiles of the Nature Tutors including fine artists, musicians, filmmakers,  poets, and authors

Nature Tutor is the world’s first magazine at the confluence of a scientific journal and a personal notebook. The only common kernel in our entire interdisciplinary content is endless love for nature. For publication and promotion opportunities, please write at submission@naturetutor.com

The Fellowship

  • Arfan Ghani (Chief Advisor)

Arfan Ghani is an Architect and considered the greatest educator in his discipline. He graduated from the National College of Arts, Lahore and taught there for the major part of his career. For more on his bio, please read our story below.

  • Khurshied Ahmed (Advisor, Technology Section)

Architect Khurshied Ahmed has an experience of over 30 years of Architectural practice. He has completed hundreds of projects in Pakistan and has trained tens of thousands of students from the National College of Arts, Lahore where he teaches design. He specializes in systems design and material technologies.

  • Khawar Hassan (Advisor, Policy Section)

Khawar Hassan is an AIA licensed Architect. He is a certified project manager who has a managerial experience that spreads over three decades and all continents of the world. He specializes in arbitration and is presently teaching design and project management at the National College of Arts, Lahore.

  • Azma Salman (Advisor, Art Section)

Azma Salman is illumination or Tezhib artist. Her work has been exhibited internationally. She has taught illumination at Hast-o-Neest and the National College of Arts, Lahore. She is the first illuminator in Pakistan to hold a formal degree (Masters of Arts in Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts) in her discipline.

  • Mashal Umair (Advisor, Nature Contest)

Mashal Umair is an emerging Interior Designer of Pakistan. She is the founder of Takmeel Design Consultants, Pakistan’s first interdisciplinary design studio for art and design practices. She is an Architectural graduate from NUST, Islamabad.

  • Umair Zia (Linkages)

Umair Zia is an internationally acclaimed expert in designs inspired by nature. His bio-mimetic projects have been featured by CTBUH, Adaptable Futures, Concepts, and Venice Art Biennale to state a few. He graduated as an Architect from the National College of Arts, Lahore where he teaches now as Assistant Professor.

  • A cohort of five to ten teachers and students each year from interdisciplinary backgrounds (Liaison Team)

Our team visits different Universities, colleges, and schools each year. We give lectures, share examples of bio-mimicry, and demonstrate the application of the Bio-mimicry Design Spiral and the principle of synergy in design. The winning entries from both online and nation-wide contests are published in the Nature Tutor magazine.

The Story

Nature Tutor magazine was envisioned by Arch. Umair Zia as a tribute to his mentor, Architect Arfan Ghani. Ghani is believed to be the greatest educator at the Department of Architecture, National College of Arts, Lahore- which is the oldest and most prestigious Art school in Pakistan. Ghani was trained by two legendary Architects of his time, Baba Javaid Najam and Agha Khan Award-winning Architect, Kamil Khan Mumtaz. After completing his degree, Ghani went to New York for Architectural practice and returned a decade later to teach at NCA. His students and colleagues called him a nonconformist, a true rebel in academics, and even an anarchist. But time proved that his method of madness was the right method to adopt.
The decline of Architectural education in Pakistan started in the late ’90s when a few Architects from Lahore found a private foreign University that offered a quick Ph.D. degree after B. Arch. Several young Lahoris skipped their Masters and hasted to get a Ph.D. degree instead. In a country that had no research culture at the time let alone doctorate-level research in Architecture, the Government had no choice but to accept these fast-track degrees though they have been banned now. After a few good years of hope and celebration upon the return of these doctorate batches, what followed was irreversibly detrimental. In 30 years, the entire lot succeeded in publishing no quality book; had their names added- rather systematically- in hundreds of research articles that were written by other people; they took control of the private-sector education and opened up tens of new private schools within a short span; all this, while the number of Ph.D.’s produced locally remained hopelessly low. It dawned upon authorities over the following decades that it was not the absence of a Master’s degree but rather the education at that stage which these gentlemen had lacked. But it was too late by then. For 30 years, Architectural education in Pakistan spiraled down and a culture of academic feudalism, flattery, and submission prevailed.

It was during these hopeless times, Arch. Arfan Ghani- along with the professional Architects and academicians from other cities of the country- stood up against such a culture. Ghani did not revolt against any person. He revolted against the system by showing an alternate path to students. He sparked perpetual curiosity in his students who in turn explored exciting new possibilities in design. His singular goal was to develop critical thinking in his students and to involve them in the latest scientific and academic debates of their time. His achievements could not be summed up in numbers or papers. His biggest achievement remains to be the countless number of young revolutionary Architects from Pakistan who are doing tremendous work all over the world.

Nature-inspired-design (bio-mimicry) in Architecture was introduced at the National College of Arts by Arfan Ghani. He would agitate the minds of young students with fascinating new ideas from complexity sciences and refer to the books which had never been mentioned before. He would spend hours reading on multifarious topics before discussing them with students, a trait that made him a favorite among the student body. All his life, Ghani never compromised on academic integrity, never pursued empty diplomas, or indulged in flattery.

We hope that through this initiative, we shall produce design leaders of tomorrow and will keep Arfan Ghani’s name alive forever.