Category Archives: Discourse

[IN]SIDE: Crafting Metal Roofs

With R Ravindrakumar & Suhasini Ayer, Auroville


In a world of tremendously paced technological advancements, technique often supersedes skill as technology replaces craft. While alternate modes of construction and production with higher efficiency and precision levels continue to influence the building industry, there exists a sustained effort to renew processes rooted in intuition and the idea of endurance. Suhasini Ayer, Principal Architect, Auroville Design Consultants and R Ravindrakumar, Principal, Ravindrakumar Roofing Technology, shed light on aspects of sustainability and construction methodology deployed in crafting the metal, respectively.

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Portraiture: ‘Movie Theaters’ and ‘Churches’

By reading into the cultural environment of the sixties and seventies, and the rise of a range of affinities in architecture that emerged in the wake of Independence in India, two pictorial essays by Stefanie Zoche and Sabine Haubitz document a part of a larger cultural zeitgeist. The essays focusing on the essentialised photographs of facades of single screen movie theatres and churches in South India propose a common ground – an enquiry into what they refer to as ‘Hybrid Modernism’. 


In India, architecture evolves in a palimpsestic disposition, especially in the rurban areas. Historical, provincial, aspirational layers exist in this pluralistic built landscape. The development of modern architecture in India succeeding the influences of international style made a gradual headway from 1920s and -30s and pronouncedly was acknowledged with Le Corbusier’s vision for Chandigarh. While post-independence architecture in India is largely attributed to modern architecture, it belongs to perhaps only a fraction of the built landscape. Architecture in the remaining paradigm is countered by a gentler transition, more self-conscious and self-referential, consolidated socially and culturally. Familiar and immediate frames of references are appropriated and contextualised at a local level. Moreover, it is not homogeneous across the country but exists in complex crossovers.

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[IN]SIDE: HIREN PATEL ON ‘MAKING’

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.


DESIGN

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 [IN]SIDE: HIREN PATEL ON ‘MAKING’

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: 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