Studio culture – as with all manifestations of the human intellect – is the embodiment of a pattern of work that nurtures the craft of building. Architecture workspaces are especially readable in this context as architects are, in this case, designing for themselves. With every workplace as distinct and specific as the work it produces, the people who design and work in these environments reveal their ideas in the space.
In this edition of the STUDIO series, we enquire about the early beginnings and work ethics of a long standing studio-culture of the Chennai-based practice Nataraj and Venkat Architects, founded by V S Nataraj and A Venkat in 1984.
A quiet pathway trails into the studio space, where dappled sunlight gently wraps its facade forming an interplay of shadows, materials and textures. Chennai-based Nataraj & Venkat Architects [NVA] is a 30-year-old design practice, and is among the city’s pioneering firms renowned for their contemporary vernacular architecture. In a brief conversation with ThinkMatter, Principal Architect A Venkat discusses the making of a successful practice with a philosophy rooted in collaboration, competition and consciousness. Continue reading STUDIO: Nataraj and Venkat Architects→
In a curated series on archival texts, views, discussions and comments on the state of architecture and design education in India, Prof Dr Anuradha Chatterjee discusses the specious, generalised view of academic practice in India. She writes critically of the prevalent discriminatory and discursive structures or biases that this space and contemporary professional discourse have grown to embody.
The Capital Project of Chandigarh is among the most widely discussed and debated projects in the history of Modern Architecture in India. Under the trusteeship of Prime Minister Nehru, several young Indian architects joined hands to contribute to the mammoth task of nation-building, working across diverse sectors such as buildings for Space Research & Technology, Administrative Infrastructure, Cultural & Educational Institutions and Housing. At the forefront alongside his better-known contemporaries, was Architect Shivdatt Sharma [SD Sharma], a silent but powerful contributor to the ‘modernist’ landscape of a young India. In this piece, curated and assimilated by his son and architect Sangeet Sharma, SD Sharma writes about his time working alongside Le Corbusier and as an apprentice under Pierre Jeanneret.
In an intimate note that follows, Sangeet Sharma shares instances of growing up in the newly built city of Chandigarh and working under Shivdatt Sharma as an apprentice for almost two decades. He reflects on the many relationships that he has nurtured with his father, over the years – one of a friend, philosopher and guide.
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.