The National War Memorial in Delhi by Chennai-based Webe Design Lab is a built landscape that emerges from an unprecedented participatory process, programme, ambition, and typology. In its comprehension, the project creates a space of sanctitude in memory of Jawans, and of pride, and honour for their families and citizens of India, which is respectful to the context.
Google Earth Image of the Site: Before
BACKGROUND & TIMEFRAMES
One of the most enduring images from Delhi since 1931 is the axis of India Gate, forming one of the pinnacles of the ceremonial Vijaypath (the erstwhile Rajpath or the Kings Way) – the currently debated Central Vista. The ceremonial boulevard was designated by Edwin Lutyens as the centre of what he contrived as a ‘modern imperial city’, tethering an enclave of buildings of political eminences such as Rashtrapati Bhavan (formerly the Viceroy’s Residence), Secretariat Building, Vijay Chowk, designed by Lutyens himself and Herbert Baker. Renowned as one of the foremost European designers of war memorials and graves, Edwin Lutyens designed the All India War Memorial, popular as India Gate in tribute to the soldiers martyred in the First World War from 1921-31. Beyond it, since 1972 stands the Amar Jawan Jyoti, an inverted bayonet with a soldier’s helmet – an insignia in homage to India’s victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan and to the brave soldiers who died while serving India’s armed forces. The area surrounding this is marked as the Lutyen’s Bungalow Zone (LBZ) which is also enlisted on 2002 World Monuments Watch list of 100 Most Endangered Sites. Needless to iterate, it is a site of cynosure – an avenue in focus with the ongoing debates around the Central Vista project. It is a landscape of immense cultural, historical and political significance. Continue reading National War Memorial, Delhi: WeBe Design Lab
A Recorded Lecture from FRAME Conclave 2019: Modern Heritage
In this lecture, Prof Peter Scriver articulates a historical perspective on the changes and challenges of Modern Architecture in India since Independence. The talk also dwells on the Nation-building efforts, the nation-builders and the significance of this body of work in contemporary India.
Welcome, everybody. Just before I proceed, I just want to show due credit to my colleague, Prem Chandavarkar for a profoundly significant opening thought-piece for us to all think about in the days ahead.
I think FRAME Conclave’s expectation of what I might do was to also help set up some ideas, but they will be far more humble, and they are more prosaically engaged with the stuff of the architecture around us and the careers of many of the people in the room, and some of the backgrounds that I have had the opportunity to observe over a number of years. This talk will open up some of that perspective for you and hopefully also be of some use.
But I guess I just wanted to note particularly how a term that Prem, someone among many in the room that I have known for some years, this architecture, the background, your final point, which you published about and talked about in the past. I think I have a much deeper understanding now of what you really mean by that. So thank you for putting those thoughts together. Continue reading ‘India: Modern Architectures in History’
Architecture, Academia, and Gendered Homelessness
In a curated series on archival texts, views, discussions and comments on the state of architecture and design education in India, Prof Dr Anuradha Chatterjee discusses the specious, generalised view of academic practice in India. She writes critically of the prevalent discriminatory and discursive structures or biases that this space and contemporary professional discourse have grown to embody.
THE (PROFESSIONAL) ACADEMIC
Academia in India has evolved a lot, from the times when we were labeled as teachers to now being called faculty members. In fact, Pearl Academy in Delhi has started offering postgraduate Continue reading ‘I am Damned If I Do and Damned If I Don’t’
BY dd ARCHITECTS
Restored through a continuous effort spanning over a decade, Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple Conservation Project was carried out under the supervision of Thrissur-based Vinod Kumar MM of dd Architects. The process focuses on the authentic with an idea of reviving traditional workmanship through an amalgamation of interdisciplinary interventions.
Located in the heart of Thrissur – the cultural capital of Kerala, Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple (incrementally built around 12th century) has played a significant role in the evolution of the temple town. Conceived as the conceptual centre of the temple town, the place continues to be a living institution in the core of the new and aggressive developments around.
An aerial view of the Vadakkunnathan Temple precinct positioned centrally in the dense urban fabric of Thrissur
Continue reading SREE VADAKKUNNATHAN TEMPLE CONSERVATION PROJECT
In a curated series on archival texts, views, discussions and comments on the state of architecture and design education in India, Kiran Kumar & Madhuri Rao review the significance of ‘History’ in architectural education and practice of contemporary architecture as a “…..tool to operate rather than a static and canonic body of knowledge.”
The facts are really not at all like fish on the fishmonger’s slab. They are like fish swimming about in a vast and sometimes inaccessible ocean; and what the historian catches will depend, partly on chance, but mainly on what part of the ocean he chooses to fish in and what tackle he chooses to use – these two factors being, of course, determined by the kind of fish he wants to catch. By and large, the historian will get the kind of facts he wants. History means interpretation.
–E.H. Carr, What is History?
It is necessary at crucial junctures such as our present, to come to terms with change and to re-direct and accommodate shifting practices. This will ensure that architecture and history will continue to be sponsored by and for the collective. The process of evolution of the past is an engaging construct to reflect on themes – generic and those that have been susceptible to modifications. The past can become relevant and meaningful only if it becomes an anchor to our conscience, diffusing into our politics, economics and our daily mundane, not as a characteristic or stylistic manifestation but as a reflection to what has always remained relevant. Continue reading History: Narratives for Meaning and Operation