Towards an informed architecture and building practice.
The present day ‘modern’ distress inflicted by ‘innovation’ offers only a fleeting escape amidst architecture that cannot be distilled and built environments that cannot be differentiated. This yearning for a mature, viable society may be met by reclaiming lost responsibilities of unveiling the grammar of traditional practices. Exploring the scope for a radical reorientation of the profession, I recently spoke with Architect Sudhir Kumar to get an insight into the studio’s core concerns which find expression through architecture, research and civic engagement projects.
Based out of Chennai since 1991, Peoples Architecture Commonweal is a coalition of a small group of architects, led by Sudhir Kumar. The studio is invested in the exploration of cultural practices through insights offered by an evolutionary approach towards architecture. Guided by the study of instinctual older approaches to planning, design, and building that are free from the restraint of technological trends, architecture is seen as a means to build more equitable communities by supporting craft and other livelihoods embedded in their local contexts. Continue reading Peoples Architecture Commonweal, Chennai→
Amidst an overwhelming landscape of the Sahyadri range of Maharashtra nestles the Sahyadri School. Designed by Pune-based Khushru Irani Design Studio, the architecture is an ensemble of spaces sewn together with tactful geometry and generous circulation.
Situated on a remote site, the school was established as a residential campus in 1996 for students from class four to ten. The educational philosophy of the school has its roots in the profound teachings of J. Krishnamurti who envisioned a space of learning free from obstacles, close to nature. A proposed extension of the school to include class eleven and twelve presented itself with an opportunity to express the workings of two synergised design philosophies through architecture.
For Uday and Mausami Andhare, the process of sketching and drawing by hand pivots the design process as they work through the layers of an often messy path to architectural resolution. Looking through a cross-section of the rich visual material produced as a result, we attempt to capture the many purposes of drawing at Indigo Architects.
Set against the vast, arid landscape of Wardha, the Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalay [M.G.A.H.V.] Student and Faculty Housing does not flaunt its existence, despite a seemingly overwhelming scale. Designed by the Mumbai-based MO-OF Architects, the project is an attempt at a ‘non-design’ process in which “architecture is no longer either implicitly or explicitly seen as a dominant system, but rather simply as one of the cultural systems.”
Amidst central plains of India, lies the inconspicuous town of Wardha – among the most historically significant centres of the Indian Independence Movement and Gandhi’s avant-garde socio-educational experiments. In this spirit, it nurtures the growth of the Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalay [M.G.A.H.V.], established to globally promote and develop Hindi language and literature. Continue reading M.G.A.H.V. Student and Faculty Housing : MO-OF Architects→
Inspired by an effectual educational approach, The Atelier by Bengaluru-based Biome Environmental Solutions embodies a conscious architecture which stems from the understanding that, “The permanence of a building may no longer be a prerequisite in its design.……it is necessary to allow material recovery and recycling, or reconstruct the same building elsewhere – anything but create debris that will occupy landfills.”
It is well known that children in their formative years are responsive to their everyday surroundings, experiences, and routines. Borrowing from this, TheReggio Emilia Approach focuses on the centrality of the hundred languages of children wherein they require utmost freedom in order to value the infinite resources of their hands, eyes, and ears and of forms, materials, sounds, and colours. Designed by Bengaluru’s Biome Environmental Solutions, this pre-school is an example of a sustainable building whose design submits to the enhancement of a sensorial, exploratory learning experience. Continue reading The Atelier: Biome Environmental Solutions→
The Design.I.Y HOUSING project offers a refreshing perspective to the monotony that otherwise defines contemporary commercial housing. In the context of Lonavala, this project by S+PS Architects proposes an alternative approach wherein the preferences of the inhabitants become integral to the development of architecture and essential to the richness of design.Continue reading Design.I.Y HOUSING: S+PS Architects→
In conversation with Ajit Rao on his work and insights on drawings, skill and education.
Architect, Animator and Artist, Ajit Rao started his career working with the renowned Indian architect B V Doshi. Ajit’s added passion for the art of cartooning soon developed into a journey exploring diverse skills in varied mediums of expression and communication. An intuitive teacher, he has headed training programs at leading animation studios and has been a visiting faculty at premier design and architecture institutes in India. Presently Ajit has set up a studio in Lonavala, endeavouring to bring these diverse resources to the service of various aspects of Indian cultural expressions.Continue reading Drawing to Find Out : Ajit Rao→
A visual artist and designer who has transcended into art for social good and tech-based installations, from illustrations for children’s books, Shilo Shiv Suleman is an experimental feminist and an independent voice, representing not only herself, but other innovators and women around the globe. In an afternoon at Leopold, Anusha Narayanan got the chance to catch up with her and talk about biofeed installations.
Art is an external expression of internal discoveries: thoughts, dreams, advocacies and emotions of artists. Art in the ‘truly public’ domain is a rarity in India, but with the street art movement catalysed by the St+ART India, and independent artists such as Shilo Shiv Suleman, Anpu, Harshavardhan Kadam and more, art seems to be getting democratised. Yet as the quality of public artistic interventions at open festivals such as the Kala Ghoda Festival consistently and drastically drops, there is no room for quiet contemplation. In this quicksand, last year, I found Shilo’s work on bio-feed installations, an oasis in a desert. Continue reading In Conversation with Shilo Shiv Suleman & Heather Stewart→
D A Studios designs a crematorium that intuitively concentrates on the encounter of ritualistic orders of funeral obsequies for Hindus, appropriating individual and collective spatial layers, a subdued palette and a silent language of architectural gestures.
The architectural genre belonging to utilitarian buildings such as crematoria in India remains conventionally non-descript. It forms an invisible part of the built fabric, one that is not stitched into the aesthetic explorations of a city’s transforming viscidity. It may be read as a singularity in this space. The notion is perhaps of the bare and essential that need not be formally inscribed with ideas but which can be waylaid with smaller, agile solutions – neither necessarily artful nor thoughtful. In rare instances such as this, designers do get involved in the process. Continue reading Mahaprasthanam, a Crematorium: D A Studios→
Working with an intuitive palette of materials and minimal interventions, Pune-based Khushru Irani Design Studio (KIDS) artfully restore an old structure combining contemporary detailing with much of its original splendour, partly to be used as their studio and a space for events open to the community.
Occupying an idyllic corner of a busy thoroughfare within the Pune Cantonment area is a 100 year old building. An unassuming verandah peeps down on to the street midway from its three-storeyed façade – the entrance to the studio of Pune-based architectural practice Khushru Irani Design Studio(KIDS). With its sloping roofs, a verandah with wooden railings, seasoned doors & windows, a stone staircase and plastered brick walls, the building bears a distinct characteristic. It may feel akin to chancing upon on a long-forgotten secret. Continue reading Studio 877: Khushru Irani Design Studio→