Category Archives: Research

Photography and Modern Indian Architecture

By Ram Rahman

Through a visual journey, acclaimed photographer Ram Rahman talks about a critical time for architecture in India – from Independence to Economic Liberalization – as we observe the anxiety of architectural positions in times of uncertainty and struggle for identity.

In India, masters are revered and apprentices forgotten. But it is the apprentices who religiously took the message, the art and the knowledge across India from the first generation of experimenters till the generation of architects and designers who work in an economically liberal India.

This video [with Ram in the background narrative] takes one through an incredibly rich history of the architecture of post-independence India when the socialist ideology worked through democracy creating a fertile ground for experiments in housing and civic architecture. This time stands in stark contrast to the present as the patterns of patronage change and the state becomes increasingly impervious to the core issues.

Profile:

Ram Rahman is a photographer, designer, curator and activist based in Delhi. He has been an observer of modern movement in architecture in post-colonial India. Using photography as a window to history and the present, he observes the changing landscape of architecture, design and art in India.

He is one of the founding members of the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust. Ram Rahman has studied Physics from MIT followed by Graphic Design from Yale.

Credit:

This presentation is excerpted from a closed-door session with MoMA‘s C-MAP Asia Group in June 2015.

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

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