Tag Archives: architecture

PRAXIS: A Panorama on Contemporary Architecture in India

PRAXIS is a curatorial project to chronicle contemporary architecture practice in India, with a particular emphasis on the principles, the structure, the challenges and the ideology. This film – a panorama of the first phase of the PRAXIS initiative – documents eleven studios from across India.  


PRAXIS

A Panorama on Contemporary Architecture in India


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GANDHI OF SPATIAL DELIGHT: THE CRITICAL PRACTICE OF LAURIE BAKER

Himanshu Burte

A Recorded Lecture from FRAME Conclave 2019: Modern Heritage


In this lecture, Dr Himanshu Burte speaks on the nature of Laurie Baker’s human-centric architectural practice; as an empiricist, environmentalist and extremely critical and creative practitioner.

Edited Transcript

So it is going to take a while for me to recover from one hour of Geoffrey Bawa and after this lush serenity, especially because I have to follow it up with an argument. But, I will go ahead and I am going to be talking about Laurie Baker. I have kept what I am saying fairly narrow and it is mainly in the form of a straight-on argument I am offering, and I am hoping that we can have a discussion afterwards, whenever we are scheduled. I have actually changed the title from what is published or what was originally given to it, because I actually took the title of my obituary for Baker, written just after he passed away and because of the resonance with yesterday’s discussion around Gandhi and Architecture.

I will begin by looking at the context, the objectives and the premises of what I have to say. To begin with, since this is about heritage and we are talking about Modern Heritage particularly, I approach heritage with the understanding that every map is really a plan. It just does not show you what is there, but it is a project. Heritage in that sense, I see as an exercise in constructing the future. By constructing the past in certain ways, by preserving certain memories and ascribing certain meanings to it, we are really constructing and doing the work of creating a future that we want. That I think extends to some extent to Prem‘s point, though I am sure he would not necessarily disagree with this. So, given that this is what is involved in thinking about heritage, it becomes very important to be conscious of our value positions and especially about the ethic of architecture, its politics, economics, the aesthetics and of course, the actual processes and practices that go into making the practice or the product itself. 

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CONTRAPUNTAL MODERNISM: THE ARCHITECTURE OF MUZHARUL ISLAM AND LOUIS KAHN

Kazi Khaleed Ashraf

A Recorded Lecture from FRAME Conclave 2019: Modern Heritage


In this lecture, Kazi Khaleed Ashraf discusses the works of two prominent contemporary architects – Muzharul Islam and Louis Kahn as counterpoints to modernism in the Indian subcontinent. He also speaks about understanding modernity, modernism and the positions either took in the way they practised architecture.

Edited Transcript

In the pursuit of framing and reframing modernism, perhaps we might have to rethink the various ways we described modernism, tropical modernism, we might have to call it – monsoon modernism. Monsoon in the subcontinent is what sank European modernism; that is something to think about. I have been tasked to talk about two architects – Muzharul Islam and Louis Kahn. Muzharul Islam is from Bangladesh. He is what one could describe as the kind of a father figure of modern architecture. That term, ‘father figure’, is how Ranjit Hoskote described Charles Correa. If you replace Charles Correa with Muzharul Islam and other specific details, that is Muzharul Islam in Bangladesh. He was an architect, teacher, activist and most importantly, he was openly engaged in politics. He was a hardcore Marxist, a politically engaged persona. So I think among all the pioneering architects we are discussing here today, this is an interesting moment to think about an architect, who is both – an architect professionally engaged with the larger cultural milieu, and also devotedly engaged in politics. And the other person whom you are more familiar with, especially I am thinking about the younger architects and students. I am not sure how much you are familiar with Muzharul Islam so I will be taking up the task of talking about him in the next fifteen-twenty minutes, but you are surely familiar with the other person, Louis Kahn, who was invited to Bangladesh, and Muzharul Islam was involved in that invitation.

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PRAXIS | 10 Studio ii

An editorial project by Matter in partnership with Şişecam Flat Glass, PRAXIS investigates the work and positions of diverse contemporary architecture practices in India. In this conversation, Mitul Desai and Priyank Parmar of Surat-based Studio ii reflect on their influences, and reveal the intensive process behind understanding architecture, details and the making of projects that lies at the core of their practice. They provide an insight into the ethos of a collaborative dynamic, and modes of thinking based on values and meaning.

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Prem Nath: The Architect’s Performance

In conversation with Prem Nath of Mumbai-based Architect Prem Nath and Associates, we discuss the numerous obstacles traversed in his architectural journey, as well as some of the landmark projects that brought him to the forefront of contemporary architecture in India.


The following text is the edited transcript of the interview conducted with Prem Nath at his Mumbai office, on the 14th of October, 2021


I. Origins

Everybody always asks me this question – “Mister Prem Nath, how did you become an architect?” It seems almost like a miracle, that I became an architect.

Back in my time, in the 1950s, pre-independence – people did not know what an ‘architect’ was. Engineers, overseers and mistris (labourers), were common terms known to people, but they had never heard of the term, ‘architect’. I myself had no idea what architecture was. I became an architect by fluke, you may call it. Maybe fate had determined I was to become an architect through a series of random events, and I had no idea at the time.

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