Category Archives: Essays

Christopher Benninger: Cyrus Jhabvala Memorial Lecture 2018

Architect Christopher Benninger narrates the experiences that moulded his life and shares these learnings from his travels in the Third Edition of the Cyrus Jhabvala Memorial Lecture held in September 2018 at India International Centre, New Delhi


THE STORIES FROM MY JOURNEY
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Prologue
India is the land of storytelling. Since time immemorial oral narratives have been the medium of India’s learning and self-awareness. Oral traditions are kept alive by temple artisans and priests, by wandering minstrels, and dramas in village fairs and tamashas. Continue reading Christopher Benninger: Cyrus Jhabvala Memorial Lecture 2018

TRIBUTE: Hasmukh C. Patel, (7 December 1933 – 20 January 2018) by RIYAZ TAYYIBJI

Riyaz Tayyibji writes about the significance of the work and legacy of Hasmukh C. Patel remembering him for his unique oeuvre and his ability to design humane spaces of delight.  


For the last decade and more, I have called a place designed by Hasmukh C. Patel; ‘Home!’

My apartment is on the ‘4th Floor’, which happens to be the eighth level, as each apartment is a duplex with rooms organized around a double height living room. A large balcony overlooks a public park and a sculptural stair physically connects the rooms. There are days when we forget we are living seventy feet above the street- there is something grounded about the way the apartment works. Our children often refer to our lowest bedroom as ‘the basement’. There is no sense of disconnection, no sense of the typically isolated
apartment. This is not a ‘flat’ that is born from Continue reading TRIBUTE: Hasmukh C. Patel, (7 December 1933 – 20 January 2018) by RIYAZ TAYYIBJI

School Without Walls

In a curated series on archival texts, views, discussions and comments on the state of architecture and design education in India, Professor Chhaya critically questions the idea and role of an institution in an increasingly multidisciplinary design world, outlining his thoughts on a desired model for an architecture school and the values associated with the same. 


Continue reading School Without Walls

Humanising Architecture by Sandeep Virmani

In this transcript of a lecture presented by Sandeep Virmani of Bhuj-based Hunnarshala Foundation at the Z-Axis Conference 2016, he talks about the inclusive process of design and planning at Hunnarshala which hinges on the idea of human resource as the fountainhead of all building activity.

Continue reading Humanising Architecture by Sandeep Virmani

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