Category Archives: Conservation

CONSERVING ARCHITECTURE BY KULBHUSHAN JAIN [Ed]

With a collection of essays on preserving our architectural heritage, Kulbhushan Jain attempts to spark the ever-passive conversation on conservation practices in India: the good, the bad and the ignored parts of it; in his recent work titled- ‘Conserving Architecture’. The compendium discusses the multifarious approaches that are needed to address the grey area between heritage and modernity, the need to find a common ground between the two. Continue reading CONSERVING ARCHITECTURE BY KULBHUSHAN JAIN [Ed]

Houses of Mylapore

A public initiative, Houses of Mylapore intends to generate interest and involvement of the community to harbour an awareness about the preservation of a transient past – the cultural and architectural ethos of Mylapore – through Heritage Walks, installations, souvenirs and other activities.

“The challenge here,” explains Tahaer Zoyab of Chennai-based Triple O Studio, one of the co-founders of the Houses of Mylapore initiative in a televised interview, “is that not too many people associate an individual house as a heritage building so that is a notion that we have been trying to change through this project itself.”

Since November 2015, Tahaer and his partner, Anupriya Subbian have directed a part of their studio’s efforts along with several other volunteers to an ongoing endeavour of documenting and thereby, preserving the eclectic suburban fabric of Mylapore.

01 Continue reading Houses of Mylapore

What is Heritage? – Prem Chandavarkar

In context of the recent demolition of the Hall Of Nations, Prem Chandavarkar observes that the lacuna in understanding the definition and the meaning of heritage will lead to the loss of many valuable buildings that belong to our recent past.


A couple of weeks ago, the Hall of Nations, an exhibition hall in Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, was demolished to make way for a new convention and exhibition centre. The building was a rare example in the world, and the only one in India, of a space frame built in reinforced concrete.  Completed in 1972 and designed by architect Raj Rewal and structural engineer Mahendra Raj, it was widely recognised as one of the icons of a period of modern Indian architecture that started in the 1950s and continued till the 1980s. This was an era that centred on India’s desire that the potential of her newly won freedom should offer the country a new modernity, and the cutting-edge architecture of that time, produced by the first generation of post-independence architects, was a significant and powerful representation of this quest. Continue reading What is Heritage? – Prem Chandavarkar

Oxide: Beyond a material

Through the illustration of the usage of oxide in making of floors and surfaces, this is an attempt to revisit the firmly rooted existence of this valuable building art. It is an elaboration on the uniqueness of a material which expresses through its end product a narrative of its locally crafted creation and the growth of a skill over centuries, which makes it exclusive for an informed pick in design practice. 

Oxide, as a raw material, has contributed significantly to the manifested choices of finishes for the built surfaces in architectural spaces. Its earthy, warm and tantalising texture has time immemorially instigated masses and not just practitioners, to reconnect with myriad associations of traditional charm and value of building craftsmanship. By being used as an agent in preparation of floors, walls and other surfaces in typical shades as cherry, crimson, ruby or scarlet, its practice has been polished and perfected to become a selective building process in concentrated parts of India like Kerala, coastal Karnataka and interior Tamil Nadu. Continue reading Oxide: Beyond a material

No Museum for Architecture

by Ruturaj Parikh

A reaction to William JR Curtis‘s piece on India’s Modern Heritage titled ‘Nothing is Sacred.

I have grown up with modern architecture. As a child in Ahmedabad, my father used to take me to climb trees in CEPT campus and play cricket in IIM (which then had no compound wall) while vultures lined the water tank with the fake arch. I have known the Sanskar Kendra to host some nice exhibitions although as a child I never used to like the space. I was taught in architecture to consider it sacred. I am not a fan. Continue reading No Museum for Architecture

Remembering Bawa . . .

By David Robson

Architect, writer and critic David Robson, pens an empathetic personal memoir of Geoffrey Bawa as he tries to decipher the legacy of Bawa through his works, his persona and his understanding of the rich tropical landscape of Sri Lanka and his pastiche to find many images of the master architect who continues to influence architecture in Sri Lanka and the Indian Subcontinent.

Bawa at Lunuganga (1990s - Unknown Photographer)
Bawa at Lunuganga (1990s – Unknown Photographer)

Continue reading Remembering Bawa . . .

Himalayan Cities; Settlement Patterns, Public Places and Architecture

Book by Pratyush Shankar.

Following years of travel, documentation and engagement, Pratyush Shankar authors a rich, intimate monograph: an insight into the unique, diverse, versatile and complex human habitats of the Himalayas illustrated with Photographs, Sketches and Drawings.

A Spread from the Book. The book is beautifully laid out and richly illustrated.
A Spread from the Book. The book is beautifully laid out and richly illustrated.

Continue reading Himalayan Cities; Settlement Patterns, Public Places and Architecture

Protecting Modern Masterpieces in India

A Conversation between William J.R. Curtis and an Unknown Indian.

UI  You are known around the world as a historian and critic of architecture who defends quality against mediocrity, and who maintains a long view of events. In a recent article, ‘Nothing is Sacred: Threats to Modern Masterpieces in India’, (Architectural Review, April 2014)*, you have sounded the alert about the vulnerability of major works in India such as those by Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn in Ahmedabad, and of course those by Le Corbusier in Chandigarh. Subsequently in the Times of India you have argued in favour of the legal definition and defence of modern architectural heritage. What are these threats and what can be done to protect these universal masterpieces of modern architecture? Continue reading Protecting Modern Masterpieces in India