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→
In a curated series on archival texts, views, discussions and comments on the state of architecture and design education in India, Sen Kapadia contributes the first to provoke further thought as he reminisces about the importance of a diverse learning environment against the restrictive curriculum-based thinking.
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.
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→
A monograph on the work of Prof. Christopher Charles Benninger chronicles buildings that express his transition from an architect in India to an Indian Architect outlining and emphasising on the core values of his work and the changing nature of the context that it negotiates with.
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→
The recently concluded conference : Z-Axis, curated by the Charles Correa Foundation [Goa], ‘Buildings as Ideas’ witnessed a meaningful shift in the discourse of architectural paradigm.
The conference, presented in diverse contexts, was collectively driven by a strong intention of ‘influencing a positive change’ with the physical manifestation of a ‘building as an idea’.
As designers and visionaries of the built environment, we are in a weighty profession that has the potential to condition the societies we live in. In this, it assumes a tremendous responsibility to the many unseen layers of complexities and concerns which rattle our inner subconscious each time we alter that which is naturally on this earth to accommodate that which we ideate. As individuals, each of us contributes to the shaping of the built environment in our own way, but as architects, we tend to disconnect ourselves from this reality more often than we should. Continue reading Building as an Agent of Change→
Conceived, conducted and edited by Narendra Dengle
Encompassing a staggering 50 years of architectural practice across seven Indian Master Architects, the book engages in profound discussions that one can go back to as learnings. Presenting them as multi-faceted personalities, it captures each of their intriguing journeys – as aspiring students of architecture to inspiring architects who laid the architectural touchstone of an Independent India.
The book is a rare compilation of intimate conversations conducted over a period of seven years with seven of India’s most senior Architects – Achyut Kanvinde, Raj Rewal, Anant Raje, Hasmukh Patel, B V Doshi, Uttam C Jain and Charles Correa. Each of these dialogues is curated by author – conductor Narendra Dengle with a live audience to facilitate participation from students, practitioners, and academics from architecture and other diverse disciplines. This he intended would commence discussions on a number of aspects – social, historical, and interdisciplinary.
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→
Eye on the Lake, a weekend retreat in Khadakwasla, principled by Lonavala-based Shabbir Unwala’s critical understanding of architecture, is a veritable effort to intervene responsibly in a natural landscape.
How not to build on mountain slopes and how I learnt to design ‘Diet’ buildings.
Having relocated to Lonavala in 1988 to get away from the architectural madness called Mumbai, I started my practice in 1989 in Lonavala and began immediately to unlearn all the lessons learnt of how to build in an urbanscape that the college and offices I had worked had taught me.Continue reading Eye on the Lake: Shabbir Unwala, Design Workshop→