The post-independence period in India witnessed the beginning of a new design culture with the founding of quality institutions and initiatives in arts, crafts and cultural projects across India. In the quest for a unique modern identity, the architecture and design trajectory of an independent India aspired to establish a significant voice in the making of a new kind of society. In this context, the exhibition: IMPACT: Design Thinking and the Visual Arts in Young India attempts to foreground the radical design discourse in India in the 20th century, featuring select works of individuals, groups and organisations at the intersection of art, craft and design.
The contribution of the history of modern architecture in India is unparalleled in terms of the many experiments that were embarked upon in search of spatial and social innovations that were responsive to the cultural, social, political and economic landscape of India. At a time when architecture in India needs a critical review, it is this history that serves as a reference and a foundation.
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 about space-making.
Shubhra Raje, principal architect of shubhra raje_built environments closely engages with different drawing practices within her studio. By excavating and analysing visual material in Shubhra’s studio, we attempt to decipher the draftsmanship cultures, their relationship with the design process and the way in which they inform her practice.
Images and Drawings: Courtesy Shubhra Raje Author: Vedanti Agarwal Curation and Film: Matter.
Shubhra Raje’s practice emphasizes the act of drawing as a means of critical thinking. Her rigorous drawing habit traces back to schooling years at CEPT University, where drawing by hand was ingrained in the academic rigour. However, her perceptions on the necessity to draw as a mode of thinking (as against drawing to represent) evolved through learnings during her time at the Cornell University. Representational drawings command a style that is conscious of its viewers. Design-thinking drawings are undisturbed collaterals between the engaged hand and the searching mind, oblivious of another eye. The scale of Shubhra’s practice enables her to engage with all stages of drawing in the design development process.
Perched on a hill top within the walls of the majestic Golconda Fort sits the stark but vibrant Hilltop School designed by the Hyderabad-based DesignAware led by Architect Takbir Fatima. Arshiya Syed, a Hyderbad-based Architect and Urban Designer writes about her readings of a space designed for an education that has much to learn from.
In conversation with Ratan Batliboi, Principal, Ratan J. Batliboi Consultants, we discuss exhibition design as a discipline and an area of his creative endeavour, drawing from his exhaustive portfolio in design of an array of temporary and permanent exhibitions and his insight into the processes that work on the front and back-end of the experience.
In a curated series on archival texts, views, discussions and comments on the state of architecture and design education in India, Prem Chandavarkar assesses the state of architectural education and the role of the Council, the practice and the institution in an increasingly urban India- outlining his thoughts on an appropriate paradigm for an architecture school and the urgency for a competitive standard of excellence.