Dean D’Cruz, co-Founder and Principal Architect of Mozaic writes about his learnings from a three-decade long tryst with the landscape of Goa, and the way in which its biodiverse terrain became the foreground of a practice in environmentally responsible architecture.
It has been 32 years since I came to Goa. In the beginning, I worked for Gerard D’Cunha and in time entered into a partnership with him which was then called Natural Architecture. This was interesting and a change for me; since my college days, I was intrigued by technology, which I loved. Earlier, as a student of architecture, I was inspired by Mies, and Corbusier for their mastery of forms. But then slowly, I began to appreciate the level of detailing in the work of architects like Gaudi. Gerard had worked closely with Laurie Baker who was always very hands-on, maintained a down-to earth approach to architecture where one actually builds oneself! So, it was a very interesting learning – this integration of technology and the Baker-approach to architecture. As I grew, I was influenced more by the humanistic approach to architecture rather than the final sculptural form.
Bengaluru-based firm M9 Design Studio led by Nischal Abhaykumar and Jesal Pathak, explored the concepts of modularity, temporality and versatility of steel in the Admin and Academic block of the renowned CMR University’s new campus. Adapting to the challenges of time, efficiency and extensibility, M9 outline a possible precedent for the future blocks in the campus with a comprehensive design approach.
Nischal Abhaykumar discusses the processes, interests and ethos of the practice. The conversation dwells on the design and making of the project – CMR University Admin & Academic Block.
Within the hilly context of peri-urban Bengaluru, is located CMR University‘s newly developed 60-acre campus. In 2015, M9 Design Studio was approached to design the first building, initially to be purposed as an administration and academic block. The proposed block was programmed to be an ever-evolving space, and to be completed within a short timeline without compromising the quality of construction. This challenge prompted the architects to employ a design partly focusing on efficiency and flexibility to delineate the various learning spaces. A modular system derived from prefabricated steel emerged which follows a grid to achieve an idea of dismantling or expansion and speed of construction that was essential.
In a dialogue with Nashik-based architects, CAUSE – an initiative, author Rama Raghavan poses questions and explores themes on practice, conservation, publicness, ambition of a programme, perceptions of constraints and challenges through the lens of their project – Shanti-Krishna Museum of Money & History.
A conversation with the architects on the nuances of their practice and the project.
The Coin Museum and Numismatic Centre in Anjaneri is a building that has been an integral part of the city of Nashik. The institute founded in 1980 by the Indian Numismatic, Historical and Cultural Research Foundation has been a landmark of the city. Earlier constituting a research centre and a library relating to numismatic studies, it was also home to an impressive privately owned collection of coins and artefacts. The museum known locally as ‘Nane Sangrahalaya’ (Coin Museum) flourished for a while but gradually began losing ties with the community over a period of time.
Recognising this fading dialogue, the trustees, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, the Government of India, decided to establish a renewed identity for the museum. The new extension spanning nearly 9000sqft was thus conceived and rechristened the ‘Shanti-Krishna Museum of Money & History’. A product of thoughtful, responsive processes emerging from context, the extension to the coin museum was conceptualised and completed in 2018 by a Nashik-based architectural firm, ‘CAUSE – an initiative’ co-founded by architects, Ali Kaderi, Purva Shah, Nandan Malani and Amol Suryawanshi.
Hiren Patel, Principal and Director, Hiren Patel Architects writes about an approach to architecture where the question of thinking in detail is central to the idea of a project and the work reaffirms this belief when it endures inhabitation over a large span of time.
The semi-covered veranda: pavilion in the middle of the site for a Village house project: structures that promote outdoor living and bear a better relationship with the natural context.
For me, designing a building is like creating a painting on a canvas. Growing up, I always had an inclination for the arts. As a student, architecture opened up a whole new way of looking at art and design. This, I think, in some way influenced my approach towards architecture. Continue reading HIREN PATEL ON ‘MAKING’→
Projects in the public domain are not ordinarily facilitated by a direct dialogue between the architect and the end-user. Instead, they deal with multiple agencies or a singular representative body, depending on the nature of the work. Operating within two distinct frameworks but catering to a public at large, the GKD Crematorium and the Railway Station in Coimbatore designed by Chennai-based Mancini Enterprises Pvt Ltd explore the possibilities in the many constraints and contradictions of privately-funded public projects, where the resulting architecture is an informed alternative that is both, applied and strategic.
Architecture in post-independence India played a critical role in the task of nation-building, a project supported by the State and a significant number of goodwill citizens. Since the wave of a largely ‘privatised’ global economy, the profession like many other service sectors, is inevitably sustained by an industrial commerce. However, this notion has witnessed a change of perception in the recent years with several professionals collaborating with not-for-profit organisations and other institutions operating in the public-private interface, as a means to initiate a design dialogue that holds significant value for a society.
With the dawn of a different kind of architecture in the public domain that is unassumingly responsive to set-requirements by virtue of a diligent design process, it appears that the “fundamental difference between public and private projects is not just defined by the agencies involved but also the amount of trust that is bestowed on the collective vision of the private donors and the architects, by the authorities representing the public. Once this trust is established, the process of design is not really compromised as opposed to the general perception”, clarifies Niels Schoenfelder, Principal Architect.
Addressing the practice of architecture in the public realm, it must be acknowledged that there exists a fundamental difference between ‘architecture in the public domain’ and ‘public architecture’- the distinction primarily being one of the involved agencies, depending on the ownership and monetary source. Set within an intricate web of dynamics, architecture today has resurfaced as an effective design aid in the public realm adopting a different approach to practice by way of collaboration across diverse specialisations. In this new equation where the current economic, ecological and political climates provoke architecture to confront its own priorities and assumptions, how could these broader relationships help to redefine the role of patronage in architecture?