Through a visual journey, acclaimed photographer Ram Rahman talks about a critical time for architecture in India – from Independence to Economic Liberalization – as we observe the anxiety of architectural positions in times of uncertainty and struggle for identity.
In India, masters are revered and apprentices forgotten. But it is the apprentices who religiously took the message, the art and the knowledge across India from the first generation of experimenters till the generation of architects and designers who work in an economically liberal India.
This video [with Ram in the background narrative] takes one through an incredibly rich history of the architecture of post-independence India when the socialist ideology worked through democracy creating a fertile ground for experiments in housing and civic architecture. This time stands in stark contrast to the present as the patterns of patronage change and the state becomes increasingly impervious to the core issues.
Ram Rahman is a photographer, designer, curator and activist based in Delhi. He has been an observer of modern movement in architecture in post-colonial India. Using photography as a window to history and the present, he observes the changing landscape of architecture, design and art in India.
He is one of the founding members of the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust. Ram Rahman has studied Physics from MIT followed by Graphic Design from Yale.
This presentation is excerpted from a closed-door session with MoMA‘s C-MAP Asia Group in June 2015.
WHAT: The Symposium will be the culminating event of the series of activities starting from 27 August 2015 to commemorate Le Corbusier 50th death anniversary, to go on to celebrate his birth anniversary falling on the 6 October as well as Chandigarh’s official inauguration on 7 October 1953.
WHAT: There are various elements of Chandigarh, that were conceived by Le Corbusier but remained confined to documents, pictures and archives. Despite being the symbol and identity of the city for many years, the Capitol complex is still incomplete, for a fourth building, the Museum of Knowledge was planned to accompany the existing Secretariat, Assembly Hall and High Court. The MoK, according to Corbusier was to function as a decision-making or a briefing centre for the government officials, highlighting the importance and applied use of technology and electronics in processing, synthesising and presenting large bodies of information related to the state matters.
David Robson pens an empathetic memoir outlining the life and works of Sri Lanka’s two pioneering architects – a man by the name of Andrew Boyd and a lady by the name Minnette de Silva – in an attempt to restore their well-deserved place in the history of Modern Architecture from Sri Lanka and to bring into light their exceptional merit.
Born in Cornwall in 1905, Andrew Boyd was the son of an Indian Circuit Judge and experienced a typically dislocated Raj childhood, spending part of his childhood in India and part of it at school in England. His father encouraged him to join the tea business, and in 1927 arranged for him to become a tea taster with Liptons in Ceylon. There he was befriended by the photographer, Lionel Wendt, and moved in a circle which included the painter George Keyt and the poet/diplomat Pablo Neruda. Wendt kindled Boyd’s interest in photography and this in turn led him to architecture. Continue reading Andrew Boyd and Minnette de Silva→
I have grown up with modern architecture. As a child in Ahmedabad, my father used to take me to climb trees in CEPT campus and play cricket in IIM (which then had no compound wall) while vultures lined the water tank with the fake arch. I have known the Sanskar Kendra to host some nice exhibitions although as a child I never used to like the space. I was taught in architecture to consider it sacred. I am not a fan. Continue reading No Museum for Architecture→
UI You are known around the world as a historian and critic of architecture who defends quality against mediocrity, and who maintains a long view of events. In a recent article, ‘Nothing is Sacred: Threats to Modern Masterpieces in India’, (Architectural Review, April 2014)*, you have sounded the alert about the vulnerability of major works in India such as those by Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn in Ahmedabad, and of course those by Le Corbusier in Chandigarh. Subsequently in the Times of India you have argued in favour of the legal definition and defence of modern architectural heritage. What are these threats and what can be done to protect these universal masterpieces of modern architecture? Continue reading Protecting Modern Masterpieces in India→