An editorial project by Matter in partnership with Şişecam Flat Glass, PRAXIS investigates the work and positions of diverse contemporary architecture practices in India.We discuss the many dimensions of working with heritage – architectural, urban and cultural – with Delhi-based Aishwarya Tipnis and the people at Aishwarya Tipnis Architects. The discussion also focuses on the idea of heritage and conservation in a diverse, rich and complex landscape of India; and the numerous ideological positions that enable them to navigate the challenges of dealing with the past.
In a dialogue with Nashik-based architects, CAUSE – an initiative, author Rama Raghavan poses questions and explores themes on practice, conservation, publicness, ambition of a programme, perceptions of constraints and challenges through the lens of their project – Shanti-Krishna Museum of Money & History.
A conversation with the architects on the nuances of their practice and the project.
The Coin Museum and Numismatic Centre in Anjaneri is a building that has been an integral part of the city of Nashik. The institute founded in 1980 by the Indian Numismatic, Historical and Cultural Research Foundation has been a landmark of the city. Earlier constituting a research centre and a library relating to numismatic studies, it was also home to an impressive privately owned collection of coins and artefacts. The museum known locally as ‘Nane Sangrahalaya’ (Coin Museum) flourished for a while but gradually began losing ties with the community over a period of time.
Recognising this fading dialogue, the trustees, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, the Government of India, decided to establish a renewed identity for the museum. The new extension spanning nearly 9000sqft was thus conceived and rechristened the ‘Shanti-Krishna Museum of Money & History’. A product of thoughtful, responsive processes emerging from context, the extension to the coin museum was conceptualised and completed in 2018 by a Nashik-based architectural firm, ‘CAUSE – an initiative’ co-founded by architects, Ali Kaderi, Purva Shah, Nandan Malani and Amol Suryawanshi.
Afflicted with bureaucratic hurdles and unsettling realities, the condition of living heritage in the country is grave. At a time when the practice of urban heritage conservation has seen a paradigm shift to ‘beautification’, the meticulous restoration of St John the Baptist Church by Mumbai-based Vikas Dilawari Architects resurfaces the need for patronage in conservation.
Indian waters and waterscapes are replete with political ambitions, cultural affinities, environmental compulsions, and mythology. From the ornate subterranean water structures of Bundi in south-eastern Rajasthan to the unique Vasanta-Mandapas or the spring pavilions of Tamil Nadu; the book is an account of water histories woven into the landscapes of different time periods in Indian History.
“Architecture negotiates space, it designs space. When it engages with water, it designs water.”– Jutta Jain-Neubauer
At its core, Water Design: Environment & Histories explores this intrinsic relationship between water and space in India – the negotiations in built and unbuilt space, in social, ritual and sacred space, in real and metamorphic space. Looking at the structural and aesthetic figurations of water and waterscapes, it opens discussions within a larger cultural and spiritual worldview of these rich ensembles. Continue reading Book: Water Design : Environment and Histories | Edited by Jutta Jain-Neubauer→
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.