Níall McLaughlin: The 2021 Takshila Lecture on Architecture and Society

The Takshila Lecture on Architecture and Society is delivered by an eminent professional / academician that addresses growing disparity between the practice and pedagogy of Architecture in India, and the realities of our social, cultural and economic contexts. The lecture and the following dialogue aim to challenge the status-quo with a conviction that an open and honest conversation on the state of practice will instigate positive change.

The 2021 Takshila Lecture on Architecture and Society was presented by Níall McLaughlin on January 26th, 2021. Níall McLaughlin speaks about architecture fundamentally being a representation of time and society through his work over the past few decades and understand architecture as a part of a longer continuity.

 

The complete transcript of the lecture is available to download here


Níall McLaughlin

NÍALL MCLAUGHLIN was born in Geneva in 1962. He was educated in Dublin and studied architecture at University College Dublin between 1979 and 1984. He worked for Scott Tallon Walker for four years and established his own practice in London in 1990. He designs buildings for education, culture, health, religious worship and housing. He won Young British Architect of the Year in 1998, received the RIBA Charles Jencks Award for Simultaneous Contribution to Theory and Practice in 2016. Níall was elected an Aosdána Member for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts in Ireland and as a Royal Academician in the Category of Architecture in 2019. In 2020 he was awarded an Honorary MBE for Services to Architecture. Níall exhibited in the Venice Biennale in 2016 and 2018 and has been shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2013, 2015 and 2018.

Níall is Professor of Architectural Practice at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. He was a visiting professor at the University of California Los Angeles from 2012-2013, and was appointed Lord Norman Foster Visiting Professor of Architecture at Yale for 2014-2015.

Significant projects from the practice include the Bandstand (Bexhill 2001), Pier Cafe (Deal 2006), Dirk Cove House (Cork 2004), ARC Building (Hull 2005), Goleen House (Cork 2008), Bishop Edward King Chapel (Oxford 2013), Olympic Athletes’ Housing (London 2012), Peabody Housing (Whitechapel 2015), Somerville Student Residence (Oxford 2010), West Court Jesus College (Cambridge 2017) and The Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre (Oxford 2017).

Níall lives in London with his wife Mary and his children Iseult and Diarmaid.


TAKSHILA EDUCATIONAL SOCIETY  was set up  in 1997. Takshila Educational Society (TES) is driven by the vision of an India whose children are educated, environmentally conscious and in full readiness to become future leaders. To ensure that this vision becomes a reality, TES has already established four spectacularly successful Delhi Public Schools, one each at Patna (Bihar), Pune (Maharashtra), Ludhiana (Punjab) and Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu).

TES also runs an integrated rural community development initiative called Parivartan. Functional from October 2011, Parivartan has been working from its beautiful campus at Narendrapur village (Siwan, Bihar) in 36 nearby villages on various issues that include early childhood development, education, livelihood, farming practices, social and economic empowerment of women, music and theatre revival, community sports, and weaving craft revival.

Moreover, TES operates a centre for children’s literature and arts named Ektara, publishes books and magazines under the banners of Takshila Publication and Jugnoo Prakashan, and promotes engagements related to literature, visual arts, performing arts, and cinema through its unique initiative Arthshila.

Arthshila brings together a host of artists and enthusiasts into the public domain by exhibitions, collaboration, debates and discussion between community artists, professionals and youth. Every Takshila endeavour is a small tribute to the tremendous cultural richness of India.


 

STUDIO: Nataraj and Venkat Architects

Studio culture – as with all manifestations of the human intellect – is the embodiment of a pattern of work that nurtures the craft of building. Architecture workspaces are especially readable in this context as architects are, in this case, designing for themselves. With every workplace as distinct and specific as the work it produces, the people who design and work in these environments reveal their ideas in the space.

In this edition of the STUDIO series, we enquire about the early beginnings and work ethics of a long standing studio-culture of the Chennai-based practice Nataraj and Venkat Architects, founded by V S Nataraj and A Venkat in 1984.

Entryway: Studio NVA

A quiet pathway trails into the studio space, where dappled sunlight gently wraps its facade forming an interplay of shadows, materials and textures. Chennai-based  Nataraj & Venkat Architects [NVA] is a 30-year-old design practice, and is among the city’s pioneering firms renowned for their contemporary vernacular architecture. In a brief conversation with ThinkMatter, Principal Architect A Venkat discusses the making of a successful practice with a philosophy rooted in collaboration, competition and consciousness. Continue reading STUDIO: Nataraj and Venkat Architects

THE MERIT LIST 2019: PANEL DISCUSSION

A Recorded Discussion with The Merit List 2018-19 Jury Panel at Goa.


The jury for The Merit List 2018-19 cycle in a conversation moderated by Mahesh Radhakrishnan of MOAD, discusses projects in the context of issues that concern practice, pedagogy and built environment that emerged in the evaluation process.

The Jury (2018-19 Cycle)
Brinda Somaya, Somaya and Kalappa Consultants, Mumbai.
Dean D’Cruz, Mozaic, Goa.
Riyaz Tayyibji, Anthill Design Studio, Ahmedabad.
Rajiv Soni, Communications Expert and Photographer, Kolkata.
Vijay Narnapatti, mayaPRAXIS, Bengaluru.


The following text is an edited transcript from the panel discussion recorded on August 18th, 2019.  Continue reading THE MERIT LIST 2019: PANEL DISCUSSION

In Memoriam: Kamu Iyer; A Tribute by Mary N. Woods

A Tribute by Prof Mary Norman Woods


Mary Norman Woods pens a tribute to Kamu Iyer – one of Mumbai’s most cherished architects and a much respected member of the design community in India. With his passing, we lose one of the last few keepers of the conscience of our profession – a citizen-architect who loved Mumbai and was perpetually engaged with the fate of the city through his work, his writings and his activism.

The tribute is followed by a reproduced dialogue between Kamu Iyer, Brinda Somaya and Mary Woods titled ‘Working from Mumbai‘ originally published in Brinda Somaya’s monograph titled ‘Works & Continuities’. 


Kamu Iyer (1932-2020)
Mourning and Celebrating a Friend and Mentor

Albert Mayer, American architect and planner who worked in post-Independence India, wrote about his excitement at being present at the birth of a nation. Throughout his seven decades of practice, teaching, writing, and mentoring, Kamu Iyer sustained and nurtured the “tingling atmosphere of plans and expectation” envisioned by Indians of “ability, outlook, energy, and devotion” that so impressed and inspired Mayer. Kamu embodied the ideals of the Independence struggle and hopes for a free India in his life and work. He was a mahatma, a great soul who touched so many and whose like we will not see again. Continue reading In Memoriam: Kamu Iyer; A Tribute by Mary N. Woods

Bharath Ramamrutham: On Architectural Photography

In conversation with photographer Bharath Ramamrutham, we discuss architectural photography as a discipline and a passion, and the various processes underlining a meaningful photograph.  


The following text is the edited transcript from the interview with Bharath Ramamrutham, conducted on July 10th, 2020.


I. Origins [00:15]: 

Bharath Ramamrutham [BR]: I grew up in a very simple traditional family. I was very fortunate because my father – an engineer and a marketing man – had a very keen sense of design. He also had an abiding interest in architecture, as well as photography.

I remember when I was about 14 years old, I asked him to get me a camera and he bought me an Agfa Click 3 (one of those really old-fashioned things, then for 35 rupees). It used to shoot monochrome film. We converted one of the bathrooms at home into a dark room and he bought an enlarger. We started processing film and making prints at home. He also travelled a lot around the world and Continue reading Bharath Ramamrutham: On Architectural Photography