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’.
Our Lady of Miracles, Kochi
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.
Percy Adil Pithwala’s practice moves through intersections in art and architecture. While analysing his work at the Red Studio in Vadodara, we discuss and discover his way of looking at drawing – the abstract and the architectural.
Images and Drawings: Courtesy Percy Adil Pithawala Author: Vedanti Agarwal Curation & Film: Matter
Percy Pithawala has developed a unique approach to architectural practice over the years. Situated between pedagogy, art and architecture, his practice forages for intersections, unions and relationships between the three fields with ideas moving fluidly between the three. Percy Pithawala transitioned from working on conventional architecture projects to testing new grounds in competitions, abstract explorations and experimental pedagogy. While growing into both an artist and an architect, Percy closely engaged with ‘drawing as art’ from his schooling years at Pratt University, New York. His process engages with various modes, methods and mediums of drawing, some meant to bring about resolution in thought, while others: a vivid intuitive activity; each one producing expressive outcomes. Continue reading DRAWING TO FIND OUT : PERCY ADIL PITHAWALA→
The post-independence period in India witnessed the beginning of a new design culture with the founding of quality institutions and initiatives in arts, crafts and cultural projects across India. In the quest for a unique modern identity, the architecture and design trajectory of an independent India aspired to establish a significant voice in the making of a new kind of society. In this context, the exhibition: IMPACT: Design Thinking and the Visual Arts in Young India attempts to foreground the radical design discourse in India in the 20th century, featuring select works of individuals, groups and organisations at the intersection of art, craft and design.
Shubhra Raje, principal architect of shubhra raje_built environments closely engages with different drawing practices within her studio. By excavating and analysing visual material in Shubhra’s studio, we attempt to decipher the draftsmanship cultures, their relationship with the design process and the way in which they inform her practice.
Images and Drawings: Courtesy Shubhra Raje Author: Vedanti Agarwal Curation and Film: Matter.
Shubhra Raje’s practice emphasizes the act of drawing as a means of critical thinking. Her rigorous drawing habit traces back to schooling years at CEPT University, where drawing by hand was ingrained in the academic rigour. However, her perceptions on the necessity to draw as a mode of thinking (as against drawing to represent) evolved through learnings during her time at the Cornell University. Representational drawings command a style that is conscious of its viewers. Design-thinking drawings are undisturbed collaterals between the engaged hand and the searching mind, oblivious of another eye. The scale of Shubhra’s practice enables her to engage with all stages of drawing in the design development process.
A public initiative, Houses of Mylapore intends to generate interest and involvement of the community to harbour an awareness about the preservation of a transient past – the cultural and architectural ethos of Mylapore – through Heritage Walks, installations, souvenirs and other activities.
“The challenge here,” explains Tahaer Zoyab of Chennai-based Triple O Studio, one of the co-founders of the Houses of Mylapore initiative in a televised interview, “is that not too many people associate an individual house as a heritage building so that is a notion that we have been trying to change through this project itself.”
Since November 2015, Tahaer and his partner, Anupriya Subbian have directed a part of their studio’s efforts along with several other volunteers to an ongoing endeavour of documenting and thereby, preserving the eclectic suburban fabric of Mylapore.