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Charles Correa: Trajectories and Contexts

Ranjit Hoskote

A Recorded Lecture from FRAME Conclave 2019: Modern Heritage


In this lecture, Ranjit Hoskote postulates a portrait of Charles Correa as a curator. He speaks about Correa’s contribution to culture at large and his preoccupation with societal institutions albeit being an architect.


Edited Transcript

Good Morning.

Since I have 35 minutes, I am not really going to try and engage with absolutely everything that Charles Correa built in the course of a magnificent career. I am going to try and focus on a very particular strand in his work, his preoccupation with cultural institutions, and through what I have to say, I am going to try and develop provisionally a portrait of the architect as not only a member of a particular profession but as a contributor to ‘culture’ at large.

Charles Correa’s architecture was really part of my growing up in Bombay. Whether it was the Salvacao Church or Kanchenjunga, these were part of the urban fabric, part of the way in which one experience the city and part of what one identified with one’s home city. But also in the course of my professional life, there are Correa buildings to which I have often returned, where I have sometimes done things and which again have been part of my consciousness in my being. I am thinking particularly here of the Crafts Museum in Delhi, indeed the Kala Academy, the Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur, the British Council building in Delhi and Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal. Also, on a far more personal note, my wife and I spent for many years our New Year holidays in a Charles Correa house, a spare elegant home that Charles designed for his and our friend, the artist Mehlli Gobhai in a chikoo orchard in Gholvad. To be there around Christmas and the turn of the year, every year, was very special. It is still a visceral experience that remains with me. Last year as part of an exhibition called ‘The Sacred Everyday‘, which I curated for the Serendipity Arts Festival here at the Adil Shah Palace, I thought that it might not be out of place to have, so to speak, a shrine that honoured the way in which Correa dealt with these questions of the ‘Circulation of the Sacred in the Everyday’ and how one might by means, both mythic and material, invoke these larger contexts of being so. But I am not going to talk about this today, I am actually going to move on.

Continue reading Charles Correa: Trajectories and Contexts

In Memoriam: The Objects of Aziz Kachwalla

By Anusha Narayanan

On the 14th of January, 2020, Aziz Kachwalla met with a tragic and fatal accident. Aziz Kachwalla’s work pushed the limits of material understanding through an involved and iterative design process, for objects that he often co-authored with architects and designers his firm worked with. His work demonstrated an intuitive grasp of the nature of materials he worked with, and he was often instrumental in the development of decisive details for complex design issues in products and spaces. A contextual and textural comprehension enabled him to create organic and surreal products, emanating the honesty from which they were conceived. 

To many, Aziz was an enabler, a co-conspirator and a bridge to a good product, a complex spatial assembly or a new way of looking at a material. There are very few individuals of his calibre today, who appreciate the finesse and humility demanded to execute compelling ideas with dexterity.  This editorial was originally authored by Anusha Narayanan in June 2018 for [IN]SIDE Volume 01 and Issue 02. This article is republished in memory and as a tribute to Aziz Kachwalla.


ORIGINAL: Edited from 2018 text.

With over 20 years in the product, industrial and interior design space, Aziz Kachwalla runs a practice around experimentation with materials and forms overlaid with fine craftsmanship. He is also a frequent collaborator for other architects, designers and artists of renown.

The space/studio Aziz works out of now, is a double-heighted, gritty, imperfect yet honest warehouse-turned-workshop tucked away in one of the lanes of Mazgaon, Mumbai. It has nothing to hide, no lies or pretense, similar to the nature of the designs it is home to. Resembling a theatre backstage, pieces are strewn about the space but upon observation, the emphasis on understanding each material is hard to miss. Continue reading In Memoriam: The Objects of Aziz Kachwalla

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

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

‘India: Modern Architectures in History’

Peter Scriver

A Recorded Lecture from FRAME Conclave 2019: Modern Heritage


In this lecture, Prof Peter Scriver articulates a historical perspective on the changes and challenges of Modern Architecture in India since Independence. The talk also dwells on the Nation-building efforts, the nation-builders and the significance of this body of work in contemporary India.


Edited Transcript

Welcome, everybody. Just before I proceed, I just want to show due credit to my colleague, Prem Chandavarkar for a profoundly significant opening thought-piece for us to all think about in the days ahead.

I think FRAME Conclave’s expectation of what I might do was to also help set up some ideas, but they will be far more humble, and they are more prosaically engaged with the stuff of the architecture around us and the careers of many of the people in the room, and some of the backgrounds that I have had the opportunity to observe over a number of years. This talk will open up some of that perspective for you and hopefully also be of some use.

But I guess I just wanted to note particularly how a term that Prem, someone among many in the room that I have known for some years, this architecture, the background, your final point, which you published about and talked about in the past. I think I have a much deeper understanding now of what you really mean by that. So thank you for putting those thoughts together. Continue reading ‘India: Modern Architectures in History’