All posts by Matter

[IN]SIDE: Exploring Emergent Architecture by Studio Advaita

The architecture of Studio Advaita taps into the essential purpose of building with structure, skin, and details that are contextual and inspired from the immediate: a practice where the eye draws from observations of cultural and historical contexts. 

Shivsagar School, Assam

Reflecting on the past, there still exists a recollection of a time where good architecture was once identified with spaces of worship
such as Temple Architecture, or with structures of power such as kingdoms, forts, and assemblies- among many other forms of public architecture. Today, the scope has broadened and architecture is mostly a setting for everyday, ordinary activities. Despite this familiarity of architecture in our everyday lives, very often we find ourselves asking, “What is good architecture?” Continue reading [IN]SIDE: Exploring Emergent Architecture by Studio Advaita

In Focus: The Architecture of Didi Contractor

Resonating with the mindfulness of architect Didi Contractor’s approach to her work and life, Joginder Singh’s book ‘An Adobe Revival – Didi Contractor’s Architecture’ and the documentary ‘Didi Contractor – Marrying the Earth to the Building’ by Steffi Giaracuni, together encapsulate the unique sensibility with which Didi diligently continues to pursue an architecture that is embedded in a holistic sensorial experience.

The film unassumingly opens with the architect seated at her drawing board, sketching while deep in thought in the comfort of her warm mud abode amidst the stunning views of the Kangra Valley. Born to Expressionist Painters associated with the Bauhaus group of the 1920s, Didi pursued an education in art although keenly drawn towards architecture and design. Having moved to the hills, she set up a practice much later in life with a core ideology rooted in the understanding of local material and construction techniques. Continue reading In Focus: The Architecture of Didi Contractor

MODERN HERITAGE: IIM, Bangalore

Designed by Balkrishna Doshi / Vāstu Shilpā Consultants, the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore is an important site for the heritage of modern architecture in India – a study in the possibility for architecture to assimilate time and human presence in a composition of the built, open and in-between spaces.


Photos and Film: Ruturaj Parikh; Edited by Isha Raut ©Studio Matter
Drawings: Vāstu Shilpā Consultants; Courtesy Khushnu Panthaky Hoof



The Plan as a Generator

The Indian Institute of Management campus in Bangalore occupies about 54,000 square meters within a 100-acre site. Designed as a poly-nuclear plan, the overall spatial arrangement relies on a series of intersecting corridors that form the basic skeletal structure.

Continue reading MODERN HERITAGE: IIM, Bangalore

[IN]SIDE: Design of the Idea with Ajay Shah Design Studio [ASDS]

Industrial Playground (now a part of Rubberband) – a furniture design initiative by Ajay Shah Design Studio [ASDS] – juxtaposes playful formal and visual qualities of the objects they make with process-driven industrial manufacturing for characteristic precision and uniformity. Their contemporary aesthetic is derived from the intrinsic quality of materials they work with and the nature of this specific process.


Design, in a context like that of India, can mean many things. From improvisations on existing situations to ideas that are points of the genesis of the new and unexplored avenues; the context of a developing nation enables one to deal with a range of unprecedented challenges. In 1990, Ajay Shah, then a young NID graduate, founded the Circus Design Company after a few stints of working as a designer and a furniture producer. This new company was imagined to be a multi-disciplinary design firm that dealt with design as the process of thought rather than a professional service. The conceptual framework of the present-day Ajay Shah Design Studio can be traced back to this office. Continue reading [IN]SIDE: Design of the Idea with Ajay Shah Design Studio [ASDS]

MODERN HERITAGE: In Retrospection: Shivdatt Sharma

CURATED BY SANGEET SHARMA

The Capital Project of Chandigarh is among the most widely discussed and debated projects in the history of Modern Architecture in India. Under the trusteeship of Prime Minister Nehru, several young Indian architects joined hands to contribute to the mammoth task of nation-building, working across diverse sectors such as buildings for Space Research & Technology, Administrative Infrastructure, Cultural & Educational Institutions and Housing. At the forefront alongside his better-known contemporaries, was Architect Shivdatt Sharma [SD Sharma], a silent but powerful contributor to the ‘modernist’ landscape of a young India. In this piece, curated and assimilated by his son and architect Sangeet Sharma, SD Sharma writes about his time working alongside Le Corbusier and as an apprentice under Pierre Jeanneret

In an intimate note that follows, Sangeet Sharma shares instances of growing up in the newly built city of Chandigarh and working under Shivdatt Sharma as an apprentice for almost two decades. He reflects on the many relationships that he has nurtured with his father, over the years – one of a friend, philosopher and guide.


LEARNING FROM LEGENDS
Authored by Shivdatt Sharma

Le Corbusier and his associates, all being the members of CIAM, processed the pure architecture that was to be followed in the making of Chandigarh. They believed that geometry was a timeless factor in the whole universe, and was, therefore, to be followed to create purity. Continue reading MODERN HERITAGE: In Retrospection: Shivdatt Sharma

[IN]SIDE: Sanjay Mohe on Practice of Architecture in India

In a discussion with Sanjay Mohe, Principal, Mindspace Architects, we explore the relationship between architecture and the specific peculiarities of the Indian landscape to try and decipher a unique way of seeing that is at the core of our experience of the built environment in India.


Q: You practise architecture in India – a landscape of great diversity and multiple cultures. What do you think is unique about practising in India? Continue reading [IN]SIDE: Sanjay Mohe on Practice of Architecture in India

SITE VISIT: KHAMIR CRAFT RESOURCE CENTRE

Situated in the midst of a vast arid expanse in Kutch, the architecture of Khamir Crafts Resource Centre in Kukma is one of participation in the celebration of the crafts from the region. Designed to facilitate a network with the artisans by responding to their way of life and work, the place builds upon the complex cultural relationships therein.


In a region that faces natural extremities, craft, in Kutch, is a means of self-reliance. Continue reading SITE VISIT: KHAMIR CRAFT RESOURCE CENTRE

Christopher Benninger: Cyrus Jhabvala Memorial Lecture 2018

Architect Christopher Benninger narrates the experiences that moulded his life and shares these learnings from his travels in the Third Edition of the Cyrus Jhabvala Memorial Lecture held in September 2018 at India International Centre, New Delhi


THE STORIES FROM MY JOURNEY
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Prologue
India is the land of storytelling. Since time immemorial oral narratives have been the medium of India’s learning and self-awareness. Oral traditions are kept alive by temple artisans and priests, by wandering minstrels, and dramas in village fairs and tamashas. Continue reading Christopher Benninger: Cyrus Jhabvala Memorial Lecture 2018

[IN]SIDE: SAMIRA RATHOD ON PRACTICE OF INTERIOR DESIGN

Samira Rathod, Principal, Samira Rathod Design Atelier [SRDA] writes about the predicaments and opportunities of practising interior architecture in India – a context where the discipline is disorganised and there is lack of clarity on the role of design consulting in the interior space.

Craftsmanship – learning in the making of the object.

PRACTICE

To write about interior design as a practice is very tough since we do not see Interior design as a formal, organised discipline in India. When we were studying architecture, there was no independent/separate interior design practice in India and no interior designers that were respected or known enough. Continue reading [IN]SIDE: SAMIRA RATHOD ON PRACTICE OF INTERIOR DESIGN

The Structure: Works of Mahendra Raj

‘The Structure: Works of Mahendra Raj‘ is an elaborate account of the significant career of one of the predominant structural designers of India – through an archive of images, drawings and writings on the prolific structures envisioned by Mahendra Raj.

Book Cover: View of the Hidon River Mills roof, Gaziabad.

Continue reading The Structure: Works of Mahendra Raj