The Potential of Glass

In the advancement of urban architecture, glass has played a key role and Şişecam Flat Glass has worked extensively to bring forth glass products catering to safety, functionality and aesthetics. Originating from Turkey, Şişecam Flat Glass is a multinational glass production company with manufacturing facilities in fourteen countries and a presence spanning 150 countries. With an experience of over 85 years, Şişecam Flat Glass has worked with the motto, ‘The world is our market’. Their values are grounded in building fair, transparent and mutually beneficial relationships through knowledge exchange with collaborators in all fields in the construction industry.


Glass can be perceived in two ways – through the lens of materiality and utility. In its innate properties, it offers control on several levels. With the right treatment and application one can modulate heat, light, noise, safety, visual connect, physical connect, ventilation, the feel of a space and aesthetic requirements of a space. Secondly, and more importantly, glass can be perceived as an idea.

How does this material extend as a means to an end to facilitate ideas?

Tracing the roots of its usage, an understanding emerges that historically, glass was used for smaller fenestrations or as fragmented parts of a whole such as in a stained-glass window. What was once a luxury material started to become more accessible during the industrial revolution. As iron and steel construction technologies developed in parallel, the glass and metal combination became key in the modern architecture movement. Glass started to appear in public spaces that demanded naturally well-lit large spaces. As towering glass-clad skyscrapers started rapidly dotting the horizons, developments in structural glass led to the material playing a critical role in today’s urban architecture. In a tropical climate like India, where heat is unavoidable, the usage and sourcing of this material evokes careful consideration. In this context, Şişecam Flat Glass is one of the world’s leading glass producers that is set apart by its brand values. As General Manager of Şişecam Flat Glass India, Mukesh Sharma articulates, Şişecam believes that glass is not a commodity, but a functional product that adds value to the user.

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PRAXIS 11 | BARD Studio

An editorial project by Matter in partnership with Şişecam Flat Glass, PRAXIS investigates the work and positions of diverse contemporary architecture practices in India. Rupali Gupte and Prasad Shetty discuss their work as curators, urban thinkers and educators, pondering upon new tools and ideas to comprehend the city and the human relationships within. Their work, through collectives of the likes of BARD Studio, CRIT, SEA and many others, engages the domains of practice and pedagogy through the principles of spatial economy, culture, ethics and justice.

BARD Studio

Rupali Gupte, Prasad Shetty


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CONTRAPUNTAL MODERNISM: THE ARCHITECTURE OF MUZHARUL ISLAM AND LOUIS KAHN

Kazi Khaleed Ashraf

A Recorded Lecture from FRAME Conclave 2019: Modern Heritage


In this lecture, Kazi Khaleed Ashraf discusses the works of two prominent contemporary architects – Muzharul Islam and Louis Kahn as counterpoints to modernism in the Indian subcontinent. He also speaks about understanding modernity, modernism and the positions either took in the way they practised architecture.

Edited Transcript

In the pursuit of framing and reframing modernism, perhaps we might have to rethink the various ways we described modernism, tropical modernism, we might have to call it – monsoon modernism. Monsoon in the subcontinent is what sank European modernism; that is something to think about. I have been tasked to talk about two architects – Muzharul Islam and Louis Kahn. Muzharul Islam is from Bangladesh. He is what one could describe as the kind of a father figure of modern architecture. That term, ‘father figure’, is how Ranjit Hoskote described Charles Correa. If you replace Charles Correa with Muzharul Islam and other specific details, that is Muzharul Islam in Bangladesh. He was an architect, teacher, activist and most importantly, he was openly engaged in politics. He was a hardcore Marxist, a politically engaged persona. So I think among all the pioneering architects we are discussing here today, this is an interesting moment to think about an architect, who is both – an architect professionally engaged with the larger cultural milieu, and also devotedly engaged in politics. And the other person whom you are more familiar with, especially I am thinking about the younger architects and students. I am not sure how much you are familiar with Muzharul Islam so I will be taking up the task of talking about him in the next fifteen-twenty minutes, but you are surely familiar with the other person, Louis Kahn, who was invited to Bangladesh, and Muzharul Islam was involved in that invitation.

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PRAXIS | 10 Studio ii

An editorial project by Matter in partnership with Şişecam Flat Glass, PRAXIS investigates the work and positions of diverse contemporary architecture practices in India. In this conversation, Mitul Desai and Priyank Parmar of Surat-based Studio ii reflect on their influences, and reveal the intensive process behind understanding architecture, details and the making of projects that lies at the core of their practice. They provide an insight into the ethos of a collaborative dynamic, and modes of thinking based on values and meaning.

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Prem Nath: The Architect’s Performance

In conversation with Prem Nath of Mumbai-based Architect Prem Nath and Associates, we discuss the numerous obstacles traversed in his architectural journey, as well as some of the landmark projects that brought him to the forefront of contemporary architecture in India.


The following text is the edited transcript of the interview conducted with Prem Nath at his Mumbai office, on the 14th of October, 2021


I. Origins

Everybody always asks me this question – “Mister Prem Nath, how did you become an architect?” It seems almost like a miracle, that I became an architect.

Back in my time, in the 1950s, pre-independence – people did not know what an ‘architect’ was. Engineers, overseers and mistris (labourers), were common terms known to people, but they had never heard of the term, ‘architect’. I myself had no idea what architecture was. I became an architect by fluke, you may call it. Maybe fate had determined I was to become an architect through a series of random events, and I had no idea at the time.

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