Christopher Benninger: Architecture for Modern India

A monograph on the work of Prof. Christopher Charles Benninger chronicles buildings that express his transition from an architect in India to an Indian Architect outlining and emphasising on the core values of his work and the changing nature of the context that it negotiates with.

A 1972 Photograph shows Christopher Benninger with Balkrishna Doshi on the CEPT Campus, Ahmedabad.
A 1972 Photograph Shows Christopher Benninger with Balkrishna Doshi on the CEPT Campus.

Continue reading Christopher Benninger: Architecture for Modern India

Boombay: From Precincts to Sprawl : Kamu Iyer

As a memoir-cum-historical and cultural repository, Boombay: From Precincts to Sprawl by Kamu Iyer captures the zeitgeist of an era in Mumbai from 1940s to the present.  

Boombay
Cover

“This book is different. Kamu Iyer is an architect who has lived in Mumbai all his life. He is observant, analytical and visual. He understands how people use spaces – especially public spaces. And he has a sense of History.” writes Charles Correa in his foreword to Boombay. Continue reading Boombay: From Precincts to Sprawl : Kamu Iyer

Design.I.Y HOUSING: S+PS Architects

The Design.I.Y HOUSING project offers a refreshing perspective to the monotony that otherwise defines contemporary commercial housing. In the context of Lonavala, this project by S+PS Architects proposes an alternative approach wherein the preferences of the inhabitants become integral to the development of architecture and essential to the richness of design. Continue reading Design.I.Y HOUSING: S+PS Architects

DIALOGUES with Indian Master Architects: Narendra Dengle

Conceived, conducted and edited by Narendra Dengle

Encompassing a staggering 50 years of architectural practice across seven Indian Master Architects, the book engages in profound discussions that one can go back to as learnings. Presenting them as multi-faceted personalities, it captures each of their intriguing journeys – as aspiring students of architecture to inspiring architects who laid the architectural touchstone of an Independent India.

The book is a rare compilation of intimate conversations conducted over a period of seven years with seven of India’s most senior Architects – Achyut Kanvinde, Raj Rewal, Anant Raje, Hasmukh Patel, B V Doshi, Uttam C Jain and Charles Correa. Each of these dialogues is curated by author – conductor Narendra Dengle with a live audience to facilitate participation from students, practitioners, and academics from architecture and other diverse disciplines. This he intended would commence discussions on a number of aspects – social, historical, and interdisciplinary.

Continue reading DIALOGUES with Indian Master Architects: Narendra Dengle

Drawing to Find Out [03]: Ajit Rao

In conversation with Ajit Rao on his work and insights on drawings, skill and education. 

Architect, Animator and Artist, Ajit Rao started his career working with the renowned Indian architect B V Doshi. Ajit’s added passion for the art of cartooning soon developed into a journey exploring diverse skills in varied mediums of expression and communication. An intuitive teacher, he has headed training programs at leading animation studios and has been a visiting faculty at premier design and architecture institutes in India. Presently Ajit has set up a studio in Lonavala, endeavouring to bring these diverse resources to the service of various aspects of Indian cultural expressions. Continue reading Drawing to Find Out [03]: Ajit Rao

Photography and Modern Indian Architecture

By Ram Rahman

Through a visual journey, acclaimed photographer Ram Rahman talks about a critical time for architecture in India – from Independence to Economic Liberalization – as we observe the anxiety of architectural positions in times of uncertainty and struggle for identity.

In India, masters are revered and apprentices forgotten. But it is the apprentices who religiously took the message, the art and the knowledge across India from the first generation of experimenters till the generation of architects and designers who work in an economically liberal India.

Ram-Rahman-Cover

This video [with Ram in the background narrative] takes one through an incredibly rich history of the architecture of post-independence India when the socialist ideology worked through democracy creating a fertile ground for experiments in housing and civic architecture. This time stands in stark contrast to the present as the patterns of patronage change and the state becomes increasingly impervious to the core issues.

Profile:

Ram Rahman is a photographer, designer, curator and activist based in Delhi. He has been an observer of modern movement in architecture in post-colonial India. Using photography as a window to history and the present, he observes the changing landscape of architecture, design and art in India.

He is one of the founding members of the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust. Ram Rahman has studied Physics from MIT followed by Graphic Design from Yale.

Credit:

This presentation is excerpted from a closed-door session with MoMA‘s C-MAP Asia Group in June 2015.

Studio 877: Khushru Irani Design Studio

Working with an intuitive palette of materials and minimal interventions, Pune-based Khushru Irani Design Studio (KIDS) artfully restore an old structure combining contemporary detailing with much of its original splendour, partly to be used as their studio and a space for events open to the community.   

Khushru Irani Design Studio, Architecture, Pune, India, Adaptive Reuse, Restoration

Occupying an idyllic corner of a busy thoroughfare within the Pune Cantonment area is a 100 year old building. An unassuming verandah peeps down on to the street midway from its three-storeyed façade – the entrance to the studio of Pune-based architectural practice Khushru Irani Design Studio (KIDS). With its sloping roofs, a verandah with wooden railings, seasoned doors & windows, a stone staircase and plastered brick walls, the building bears a distinct characteristic. It may feel akin to chancing upon on a long-forgotten secret. Continue reading Studio 877: Khushru Irani Design Studio

Architecture in India – The Bridge Generation

By Ar. Brinda Somaya

Brinda Somaya explains a critical period of architecture practice in India that connects the ‘masters’ to the contemporary practices outlining the nature of work in an era that helped India come to terms with its modernity by minting the term ‘The Bridge Generation’.


I believe I belong to the first generation of practising Architects to be born after India got her freedom.  For ease of reference and to give us a sense of identity I have coined the term “Architecture in IndiaThe Bridge Generation” after a great deal of reflection and thought.  The term evolved in my mind as I believe we ‘bridged’ the architectural space between the Great Masters and the current generation that continues to enter the global architectural space. Continue reading Architecture in India – The Bridge Generation

Architects on Architecture: Bijoy Ramachandran

In this edition of ‘Architects on Architecture’ series, we speak with Bijoy Ramachandran of Hundredhands about practice, the books he likes and the works and thoughts that he admires and that influence him. 


Continue reading Architects on Architecture: Bijoy Ramachandran

Casa Rana: Made in Earth ONLUS

A unity of unassuming mediations, forms and experiences, Casa Rana is a foster home for HIV-positive children in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu – an expression of the purposeful and paracentric intentions of Italy-based Made in Earth ONLUS.

Casa Rana, Made in Earth, Tamil Nadu, foster home for HIV-positive children

The form sits low; an intriguing image occupied by several fleeting instances: colourful volumes interrupted by intricate textural pattern of bamboo inset within speciously unmoored solid planes anchored readily amidst patches of shrubs. An assembly of these fragmented scales, the structure is raw, compact and porous acknowledging the light, its users’ desires and the site. Continue reading Casa Rana: Made in Earth ONLUS

Eye on the Lake: Shabbir Unwala, Design Workshop

Eye on the Lake, a weekend retreat in Khadakwasla, principled by Lonavala-based Shabbir Unwala’s critical understanding of architecture, is a veritable effort to intervene responsibly in a natural landscape.


How not to build on mountain slopes and how I learnt to design ‘Diet’ buildings.

Having relocated to Lonavala in 1988 to get away from the architectural madness called Mumbai, I started my practice in 1989 in Lonavala and began immediately to unlearn all the lessons learnt of how to build in an urbanscape that the college and offices I had worked had taught me. Continue reading Eye on the Lake: Shabbir Unwala, Design Workshop

Architects on Architecture: Dr Brinda Somaya

In the first episode of our ‘Architects on Architecture’ series, we discuss the fundamental ideas that helped shape one of the most versatile practices in India in conversation with Dr Brinda Somaya, Somaya & Kalappa Consultants, Mumbai.

Continue reading Architects on Architecture: Dr Brinda Somaya

Dharmapuri

Remnants of a Fast Disappearing Way of Life

A photo-narrative by Sneha Parthasarathy of the quintessential Indian village culture, lifestyle and architecture, against the backdrop of the Godavari River Festival. 

The Pushkaras, occurring annually, are river festivals celebrating in a cyclic manner each of the 12 important holy rivers of India. This year was that of the river Godavari and was said to be a ‘Maha Pushkara’ – occurring once every 144 years. The 12 day festival saw over 11 crore devotees, from Telangana-Andhra region rush to the river banks of Godavari to take the emancipating dip and pray for departed souls of their loved ones. There is something very powerful and beautiful about belief but mass hysteria and hype is worrying. Worrying because it leads to herd mentality; when you do something not because you deeply believe in it but because you do not want to be left out. Continue reading Dharmapuri

In Conversation – Charles Correa, Raj Rewal and Mahendra Raj.

From The Z-Axis Climactic Session – Moderated by Riyaz Tayyibji. 

The complete edited video from Charles Correa Foundation with a landmark conversation between Charles Correa, Mahendra Raj and Raj Rewal. Continue reading In Conversation – Charles Correa, Raj Rewal and Mahendra Raj.

M.G.A.H.V. Student and Faculty Housing : MO-OF Architects

Set against the vast, arid landscape of Wardha, the Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalay [M.G.A.H.V.] Student and Faculty Housing does not flaunt its existence, despite a seemingly overwhelming scale. Designed by the Mumbai-based MO-OF Architects, the project is an attempt at a ‘non-design’ process in which “architecture is no longer either implicitly or explicitly seen as a dominant system, but rather simply as one of the cultural systems.”

Masterplan
Master Plan

Amidst central plains of India, lies the inconspicuous town of Wardha – among the most historically significant centres of the Indian Independence Movement and Gandhi’s avant-garde socio-educational experiments. In this spirit, it nurtures the growth of the Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalay [M.G.A.H.V.], established to globally promote and develop Hindi language and literature. Continue reading M.G.A.H.V. Student and Faculty Housing : MO-OF Architects

The Atelier: Biome Environmental Solutions

Inspired by an effectual educational approach, The Atelier by Bengaluru-based Biome Environmental Solutions embodies a conscious architecture which stems from the understanding that, “The permanence of a building may no longer be a prerequisite in its design.……it is necessary to allow material recovery and recycling, or reconstruct the same building elsewhere – anything but create debris that will occupy landfills.” 

It is well known that children in their formative years are responsive to their everyday surroundings, experiences, and routines. Borrowing from this, The Reggio Emilia Approach focuses on the centrality of the hundred languages of children wherein they require utmost freedom in order to value the infinite resources of their hands, eyes, and ears and of forms, materials, sounds, and colours. Designed by Bengaluru’s Biome Environmental Solutions, this pre-school is an example of a sustainable building whose design submits to the enhancement of a sensorial, exploratory learning experience. Continue reading The Atelier: Biome Environmental Solutions

LafargeHolcim Awards 2016/2017

What: The LafargeHolcim Awards is one of the most significant global competition in sustainable design. Organized by the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, the competition identifies the ideas with the highest potential to tackle today’s challenges to increasing urbanization and to improve quality of life.

The competition is open for projects in architecture, building and civil engineering, landscape and urban design, materials, products and construction technologies that contribute to the five “target issues” for sustainable construction. The competition has two categories with different requirements: Continue reading LafargeHolcim Awards 2016/2017

Palitana [The City of Temples]: Radhika Pandit

by Radhika Pandit

A photo-essay that extends the sublime quality of spaces of monumental and religious significance in Palitana – The City of Temples, the sanctimonious temple complex in Gujarat and tirtha for pilgrims in the Jain community. 

Palitana © Radhika Pandit

Jain temples are called as derasaras. This is world’s only mountain that has 900 temples. These temples are also called Tucks. According to Jainism, since ancient times Palitana has been a major site of salvation and nirvana of Jain saints and sages. Palitana temples and whole mountain are considered the most sacred pilgrimage place (tirtha) by the Jain community, and it is the world’s largest Temple Complex. Continue reading Palitana [The City of Temples]: Radhika Pandit

Building as an Agent of Change

The recently concluded conference : Z-Axis, curated by the Charles Correa Foundation [Goa], ‘Buildings as Ideas’ witnessed a meaningful shift in the discourse of architectural paradigm.

The conference, presented in diverse contexts, was collectively driven by a strong intention of ‘influencing a positive change’ with the physical manifestation of a ‘building as an idea’.

As designers and visionaries of the built environment, we are in a weighty profession that has the potential to condition the societies we live in. In this, it assumes a tremendous responsibility to the many unseen layers of complexities and concerns which rattle our inner subconscious each time we alter that which is naturally on this earth to accommodate that which we ideate. As individuals, each of us contributes to the shaping of the built environment in our own way, but as architects, we tend to disconnect ourselves from this reality more often than we should. Continue reading Building as an Agent of Change

THE CITY AND THE WATER’S EDGE COMPETITION: KRVIA@25

WHAT: Cities have had a very strong relationship with bodies of water. Many were built on the banks of rivers, some were at the seaside, others were adjacent to lakes and of course in many cases cities created their own lakes and reservoirs. No city could afford to disregard the collection, storage, use-pattern and disposal of water. Water-bodies served as modes of transportation or defense; they supported livelihoods and crafts; they created open spaces that served as a release from the confines of urban congestion. In many ways water was intimately connected with the very idea of being alive. Though cities were man-made artifacts, humans felt a sense of being grateful beneficiaries, and sometimes unwitting victims, of this capricious natural element. Water, in its presence as well as absence, was both a blessing and a threat. Thus water was not just a physical fact, it was a deep psychological presence. Continue reading THE CITY AND THE WATER’S EDGE COMPETITION: KRVIA@25

TRANSPARENCE 2016: Space In Motion

WHAT: The theme for Transparence 2016, an annual students’ competition organised by Ethos India and Saint Gobain is Space In Motion.

The programme brief is Performing Arts Centre at the Pragati Maidan complex, New Delhi.

Pragati Maidan in New Delhi has been an epicenter of culture, history and art and has been playing an active part in encouraging and showcasing this since 1972. It has also been home to several literary fests, trade fairs and theatre over the years, inspiring and nurturing artists and their art. With such a rich legacy, Transparence 2016 gives you an opportunity to design and create a Performing Arts Centre at the Pragati Maidan complex. Continue reading TRANSPARENCE 2016: Space In Motion