All posts by Matter

‘I am Damned If I Do and Damned If I Don’t’

Architecture, Academia, and Gendered Homelessness


In a curated series on archival texts, views, discussions and comments on the state of architecture and design education in India, Prof Dr Anuradha Chatterjee discusses the specious, generalised view of academic practice in India. She writes critically of the prevalent discriminatory and discursive structures or biases that this space and contemporary professional discourse have grown to embody.



THE (PROFESSIONAL) ACADEMIC

Academia in India has evolved a lot, from the times when we were labeled as teachers to now being called faculty members. In fact, Pearl Academy in Delhi has started offering postgraduate Continue reading ‘I am Damned If I Do and Damned If I Don’t’

National War Memorial, Delhi: WeBe Design Lab

The National War Memorial in Delhi by Chennai-based Webe Design Lab is a built landscape that emerges from an unprecedented participatory process, programme, ambition, and typology. In its comprehension, the project creates a space of sanctitude in memory of Jawans, and of pride, and honour for their families and citizens of India, which is respectful to the context.


BACKGROUND & TIMEFRAMES


One of the most enduring images from Delhi since 1931 is the axis of India Gate, forming one of the pinnacles of the ceremonial Vijaypath (the erstwhile Rajpath or the Kings Way) – the currently debated Central Vista. The ceremonial boulevard was designated by Edwin Lutyens as the centre of what he contrived as a ‘modern imperial city’, tethering an enclave of buildings of political eminences such as Rashtrapati Bhavan (formerly the Viceroy’s Residence), Secretariat Building, Vijay Chowk, designed by Lutyens himself and Herbert Baker. Renowned as one of the foremost European designers of war memorials and graves, Edwin Lutyens designed the All India War Memorial, popular as India Gate in tribute to the soldiers martyred in the First World War from 1921-31. Beyond it, since 1972 stands the Amar Jawan Jyoti, an inverted bayonet with a soldier’s helmet – an insignia in homage to India’s victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan and to the brave soldiers who died while serving India’s armed forces. The area surrounding this is marked as the Lutyen’s Bungalow Zone (LBZ) which is also enlisted on 2002 World Monuments Watch list of 100 Most Endangered Sites. Needless to iterate, it is a site of cynosure – an avenue in focus with the ongoing debates around the Central Vista project. It is a landscape of immense cultural, historical and political significance. Continue reading National War Memorial, Delhi: WeBe Design Lab

Doshi: The Master of Elastic Time

Lecture and Text: Bijoy Ramachandran
Film: Cinematographed, Edited and Directed by Premjit Ramachandran; Conceived and Researched by Bijoy Ramachandran (© Hinterland Films)

In this lecture, Bijoy Ramachandran articulates his reading of the works and thoughts of Pritzker Laureate Dr Balkrishna Doshi through the multiple encounters with his buildings that include the seminal IIM Bangalore, NIFT Delhi Campus and the Diamond Bourse. The talk also outlines the influence of the numerous interactions Bijoy has had with Doshi over the years.

 

In 2009, Bijoy collaborated with his brother and filmmaker Premjit Ramachandran to author and produce Doshi – a film on the celebrated indian architect. In 2019, and with a gap of ten years, they collaborated again to script and produce the second film ‘Doshi: Return to Formlessness‘ – an intimate portrait of the architect with immersive and enduring glimpses of some of his celebrated buildings.

Images and Film: Courtesy Bijoy Ramachandran and Premjit Ramachandran. The talk and the film were presented at the FRAME 2019 conclave ‘Modern Heritage’. 

Continue reading Doshi: The Master of Elastic Time

SREE VADAKKUNNATHAN TEMPLE CONSERVATION PROJECT

BY dd ARCHITECTS

Restored through a continuous effort spanning over a decade, Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple Conservation Project was carried out under the supervision of Thrissur-based Vinod Kumar MM of dd Architects. The process focuses on the authentic with an idea of reviving traditional workmanship through an amalgamation of interdisciplinary interventions.

Located in the heart of Thrissur – the cultural capital of Kerala, Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple (incrementally built around 12th century) has played a significant role in the evolution of the temple town. Conceived as the conceptual centre of the temple town, the place continues to be a living institution in the core of the new and aggressive developments around.

Continue reading SREE VADAKKUNNATHAN TEMPLE CONSERVATION PROJECT

History: Narratives for Meaning and Operation

In a curated series on archival texts, views, discussions and comments on the state of architecture and design education in India, Kiran Kumar & Madhuri Rao review the significance of ‘History’ in architectural education and practice of contemporary architecture as a “…..tool to operate rather than a static and canonic body of knowledge.”

The facts are really not at all like fish on the fishmonger’s slab. They are like fish swimming about in a vast and sometimes inaccessible ocean; and what the historian catches will depend, partly on chance, but mainly on what part of the ocean he chooses to fish in and what tackle he chooses to use – these two factors being, of course, determined by the kind of fish he wants to catch. By and large, the historian will get the kind of facts he wants. History means interpretation.

E.H. Carr, What is History?


Premise

It is necessary at crucial junctures such as our present, to come to terms with change and to re-direct and accommodate shifting practices. This will ensure that architecture and history will continue to be sponsored by and for the collective. The process of evolution of the past is an engaging construct to reflect on themes – generic and those that have been susceptible to modifications. The past can become relevant and meaningful only if it becomes an anchor to our conscience, diffusing into our politics, economics and our daily mundane, not as a characteristic or stylistic manifestation but as a reflection to what has always remained relevant. Continue reading History: Narratives for Meaning and Operation