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Peoples Architecture Commonweal, Chennai

Towards an informed architecture and building practice.

The present day ‘modern’ distress inflicted by ‘innovation’ offers only a fleeting escape amidst architecture that cannot be distilled and built environments that cannot be differentiated. This yearning for a mature, viable society may be met by reclaiming lost responsibilities of unveiling the grammar of traditional practices. Exploring the scope for a radical reorientation of the profession, I recently spoke with Architect Sudhir Kumar to get an insight into the studio’s core concerns which find expression through architecture, research and civic engagement projects.

Based out of Chennai since 1991, Peoples Architecture Commonweal is a coalition of a small group of architects, led by Sudhir Kumar. The studio is invested in the exploration of cultural practices through insights offered by an evolutionary approach towards architecture. Guided by the study of instinctual older approaches to planning, design, and building that are free from the restraint of technological trends, architecture is seen as a means to build more equitable communities by supporting craft and other livelihoods embedded in their local contexts. Continue reading Peoples Architecture Commonweal, Chennai

If I were to Teach…

Matt Groening, from “School is Hell”, 1987.

In a curated series on archival texts, views, discussions and comments on the state of architecture and design education in India, Sen Kapadia contributes the first to provoke further thought as he reminisces about the importance of a diverse learning environment against the restrictive curriculum-based thinking. 

Continue reading If I were to Teach…

Sahyadri School : Khushru Irani Design Studio, Pune

Amidst an overwhelming landscape of the Sahyadri range of Maharashtra nestles the Sahyadri School. Designed by Pune-based Khushru Irani Design Studio, the architecture is an ensemble of spaces sewn together with tactful geometry and generous circulation.

Situated on a remote site, the school was established as a residential campus in 1996 for students from class four to ten. The educational philosophy of the school has its roots in the profound teachings of J. Krishnamurti who envisioned a space of learning free from obstacles, close to nature. A proposed extension of the school to include class eleven and twelve presented itself with an opportunity to express the workings of two synergised design philosophies through architecture.

Panorama of the Residential Block

Continue reading Sahyadri School : Khushru Irani Design Studio, Pune

Book: The Architecture of Hasmukh C. Patel : Selected Projects 1963-2003

With a career spanning four decades and a self-made legacy of some of the most significant works of Independent India, Hasmukh C. Patel’s architecture speaks volumes about the architect he embodies and the grit he possesses. A narrative of his personal and professional journey – the book showcases select 51 projects that summarise Patel’s architectural idiom in its entirety.

Book Cover: Looking between the expressed columns and the main wall of the front facade while entering the Newman Hall in Ahmedabad,1963
Book Cover: Looking between the expressed columns and the main wall of the front facade while entering the Newman Hall in Ahmedabad,1963

“…………………The human being is at the centre of my creative efforts…………………This is the only thing I understand and the only thing I practice.” – Hasmukh Patel Continue reading Book: The Architecture of Hasmukh C. Patel : Selected Projects 1963-2003

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