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CURRIM SUTERIA SELECTED WORKS


Architecture without Poetry is nothing but a protective umbrella (of straw, skin or stone) against unfavorable climactic conditions - and against attacks from human and other animals during sleep. Frederick Kiesler, Magic Architecture


The selection of works in this portfolio expresses my interest in a more poetic architecture - one that can make man aware of his being in this world. Whether it be about inhabiting a library infused with dizzying color, or alleyways that make place for amicable conversations, these projects attempt to provide settings for an authentic human experience. They attempt to make sense of our more-than-human world. My work has been inspired by authors, places, and the everyday lives of people. Not a quintessential architectural portfolio, this book is comprised of diverse mediums, such as paintings, poetry, architectural projects, and sketches. The lines between these mediums blur, and make love - creating a portfolio in which various projects have informed each other in uncanny ways. Writing has always been an essential part of my creative process. My work emerges from imagined narratives, characters that would inhabit little crevices and mythical creatures that inform the design process. This portfolio is made up of silk worms that create coloured glass, digital frustrations, a lost lover, a fools den and much more.


CO N T E N T S Selected Paintings 2

i. Amidst Hot Snow, They Had Marched iii. She Hung the Remnants

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iv. Magritte was Wrong

Everybody Knows Everybody Here Murdoch Lang Housing Project

Speed Urban Lookout

Like the Colour Break of a Xylophone Pavillion for Light, Sense, & Colour

It Must Look “Beautiful” - I Was Told Component Design Project

It Smells Like a Fool’s Den The Smellscape of St Denis

Incomplete Spa Project

A Coloured Dust Fills the Air Rosemount Library

Freehand Drawing

ii. The Newborn v. Lahore


Amidst hot snow, they had marched Furious – they had seduced Now in the aftermath, they Had surfaced victorious, Like jubilant soldiers, tired That art would live

installation, 2004

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Amidst Hot Snow, They Had Marched


Ball sparks grew out of them, everything platonic; they shone like newborn children. Sanguine and relentless. In an unknown sphere (cuboid) they would play forever.

mixed media installation, 2005

The Newborn

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One by one, they stuck their hot selves inside her. It happened yesterday, tonight for Karachi to see, she hung the remnants.

acryllic on canvas, 2003

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She Hung the Remnants


Magritte was wrong See right through, Right there, there But rest assured: this tragedy is not fiction. All is true.

mixed media installation, 2004

Magritte was Wrong

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Where men become monsters, And red women don the dress of clowns, Anklets and the azan in dialogue Reaching a trance of sorts, God responds, “This is the infamous liminal, the inbetween is where you belong, homeward bound – the sinful pray here, and the noble make love. Now, together, lets dwell.” Lahore, Pakistan, 2008

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Lahore


acryllic on canvas, 2010

Lahore

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Everybody Knows Everybody Here


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Everybody Knows Everybody Here


9.53 pm, 8th September, Paul Woolberg. Resident of the Montréal Plateau between Saint-André and Saint-Christophe, just north of Roy. “Here, it’s not just the plateau, there is an atmosphere. It’s close... when you walk along these thread-like streets, you feel as though you walk your own corridors. This place is made up of courtyards and alleyways. It’s a bit of an odd connection - it’s not like a fast maddening downtown or like the private, to-each-their-own kind of suburbia. If you want milk, Andrew will give you milk. Not because you know him, but I guess because we park our bikes in that corridor. Our acquaintance wouldn’t make any sense to the average Montréaler. There is something about our lives intersecting, there, right there, the yellow blanket, those are Yasmin’s cloths. And she is okay with doing that on the opposite plot. We’re comfortable with that kind of stuff here. Everybody smiles at you - not really but they do. They do because there is a kind of culture.”

Murdoch Lang Housing Project

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site plan

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Everybody Knows Everybody Here


ground floor plan


single plot basement floor plan

single plot first floor plan

single plot second floor plan


section 1

section 2

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Everybody Knows Everybody Here


section 3

section 4

Murdoch Lang Housing Project

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Everybody Knows Everybody Here


Murdoch Lang Housing Project

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Everybody Knows Everybody Here


Murdoch Lang Housing Project

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Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2 (1912)

she stared hard at the painting. jarring - for a long time before she began to connect its ends. stitching speed together her pace quickens, melting amidst steel rods. the sound of a loud time. a metallic vibration. st. laurent continues to bustle in a disjointed hurry. the cold slides through her. she smiles at the boy pouring sparkling beer, ahead - where flowers bloom in full glory. 30

Speed


Giorgio De Chirico, Red Tower (1913)

a less hurried time, a cobbled path lay ahead her. here it’s different - people smile with a silence, quaintness and ease. time seems to slow down here with each step becoming a place in itself. she can now sit, eat, drink water and stare at the park ahead. it’s rather conversational. with each step, she is reminded of another memory in the future, so slow, that it all turns into one dreary dream.

Urban Lookout

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Speed


Urban Lookout

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section

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Speed


plan

Urban Lookout

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Speed


Urban Lookout

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Like the Colour Break of a Xylophone


like the color break of a xylophone, she walked through – released the water continues to wash sediments the light creating a wet-poem of a kind. she lay, pensive, listening to the maples around her


from left to right: section study, section, light study, plan

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Like the Colour Break of a Xylophone


Pavillion for Light, Sense, & Colour

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Like the Colour Break of a Xylophone


from left to right: section, perspectives

Pavillion for Light, Sense, & Colour

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Created, singled, animated. The camera at this exact position, no, perhaps more to your left. It must look “beautiful and sexy” - I was told. Abundant, I must produce endlessly. Fancy. he said, “Oh - look at the video of the “real” thing - its magic.”

The Hand There is something extremely magical about creating with the hand. When sketching or molding, it follows intuition and allows for the process to be visibly imperfect. Growing up as an artist, I developed a close connection with my brushes. My instruments became friendly extensions of my body. Even now years later, my ideas still hang, dusty between their soft fibres. In university I was surrounded by colleagues who hurried to create fancy forms. I found it difficult to design on the flat screen of a computer. I felt that my feelings were being reduced to the insensitive movements of the cursor. I often willed to break into the screen, to touch and feel the places I have created, and to mould them using direct contact with my hands. Such projects have only resulted in dissatisfaction on my part. I feel disconnected from my work and that there is something that feels inherently alien. The project becomes just another product - undesirable and senseless. We forget that our body imagines and sees - and it is the pleasure of working with our hands that allows us to best express what it means to human.

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It Must Look “Beautiful” - I Was Told


from left to right: plan, section, elevation

Component Design Project

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It Must Look “Beautiful” - I Was Told


left: section (top), elevation (bottom) right: component plan

Component Design Project

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“Cities serve as the place of our daily actions. It is in the capacity of the city that individuals perform tasks and human relationships flourish. It is in the city that we can restore a truly authentic and meaningful experience of “place.” Our cities have become shaped by modernity’s obsessions, such as rationalization, sanitization and deodorization. The challenge is therefore to reclaim sensory experience, that is, to re-tie the ligatures that connect cities with the most visceral and memorable experiences of our existence.” Excerpt from “Smell, Memory and Place-making in the City” by Currim Suteria

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It Smells Like a Fool’s Den


“I doubt if there is any sensation arising from sight more delightful than the odors which filter through sun-warmed, wind-tossed branches, or the tide of scents which swells, subsided, rises again wave on wave, filling the wide world with sweetness. A whiff of the universe makes us dream of worlds we have never seen, recalls in a flash entire epochs of our dearest experience.” Helen Keller, The World I Live In The sensorial qualities and character of a space are key factors in the definition of a “place.” Smell is the most atmospheric of our senses, and with smell, once can introduce a richer condition of perception. Such is the nature of St Denis - a bustling street close to the hearts of many Montréalers. Informed by my research paper, the following excerpts from my reconnaissance report attempt to challenge Kevin Lynch’s seminal work, The Image of the City. He argues that visual anecdotes are our only way of mapping and knowing the city. As a critique to his work, my report maps the smellscape of St Denis between Sherbrooke and Maisonneuve, over the span of four days. I recorded the smells on each sidewalk by interviewing locals, photographing smell sources, and taking extensive notes. The report was an experiment to see how one may represent smells, given their elusive quality. It questions the dominance of the visual and allows for an olfactory way of knowing our cities.

The Smellscape of St Denis

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It Smells Like a Fool’s Den


The Smellscape of St Denis

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It Smells Like a Fool’s Den


The Smellscape of St Denis

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It Smells Like a Fool’s Den


The Smellscape of St Denis

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Incomplete


Desire for the unknown gives man a sense of purpose. It creates a human space for delay - for the inhabitant to become an active participant in the quest for completion. “Throughout our lives we constantly look for something that is missing or that might complete us - be it the physical presence of another, the acquisition of knowledge, or the experience of art and architecture.” Alberto Perez-Gomez, Built Upon Love. Longing for the beloved is one of the many incarnations of desire. It manifests itself as a constant state of yearning that may never be fulfilled. Every time we come closer, the boundary recedes. But, such is the nature of human desire - we are never complete. Inspired by Dr Alberto Perez-Gomez’s writings on Eros, this project describes a program for a spa sited in the wet-grey city of Boston. It revolves around the travails of two lovers, where the primary protagonist is a woman constantly chasing her beloved. The narrative serves as a guide that informs the “official” building program. Set up as four acts, the story unfolds in four various architectural settings. The project uses a multi-medium approach to express experience, and attempts to push the boundaries of conventional architectural representation.

Spa Project

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Incomplete


Spa Project

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The Collapsing Walls Act 1 Scene 1 layers of white, semi-wet – almost dusty, brush off her body. she is naked, bare and raw. a kind of earthly existence. the sun shines, striking its rays through endless layers of white mist. it shines on the contours of her body, her nipples washed in dappled light, in perfect glory, her neck long and erect. she maintains the demeanor of a tight muscle about to break loose. sublime bodies – both geniuses and demons sing songs of mockery around her. they tell her that her future will remain a false myth – it will never complete itself. she scolds them, and insists on the journey ahead – it will make her human again. the air is thick with a grey odour, and weightless with a burning mist. in it, she is now reminded of a sweet beginning. her feet palms become wet. finding her way through the blur and confusion, she has forgotten that she has already entered through layers of fear, doubt and anguish. those demons have now vanished and await their next victim. now, the walls talk to her, they whisper to each other. they sense the admission of an earthly figure. this is everyday magic. they enact their performance everyday. this is not usual. she walks through a fine layer of grey water. it seems un-distilled. she can hear the sound of unsatisfied sea mammals whistling through her (her body a porous myth, its insides a story in itself, with systems and chords striking, finding themselves constantly), calling for her body – far in the distance. flattered, she asks them to wait. they howl back, in subdued requisition. sudden. now. a certain inside explodes in her, the walls brush off her. almost flirting against her lower hip, creating the draft of a passionate lover.

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Incomplete


the wall almost passes through her. little snippets of life/light watch at her, it seems like a dazzled kaleidoscope of vertical lines, she runs her hands through each band. these walls feed onto her imagination, they collapse, sink in, and then rise again. this blows every stream in her system. a kind of cool warmth rises, she sweats a bead. the wall on her right, catches action, and turns to the screen above. it is ghostly and charged. the entire atmosphere becomes a cracked dream. they become excited, and begin to conspire. its now game play. the mirrored ceiling continues to fall and rise, and its detached sides allow a certain washed light to fall through. the walls have stories of their own. in their insides, tucked in their tectonic-melting edges, are long gone tales. they don’t intersect, they quietly, almost lovingly like the quaint brush of foreplay slide by each other. she turns around, the wall closes on her, she hides behind. the atmosphere is impregnated with another being. the action picks up pace. the walls quicken their calling, they rise, fall, unify, divide, and oh, parallax is celebrated. they bloat the present dream. she runs, finding her way through, suffocating, but they block on her. the existence of another immortal is now the chase beyond. yes we are immortal beings, and recreate ourselves endlessly. she swims through waters in the far distance – but in another dream. across thick, agitated waters and the whisper of conspiring walls, there exists the birth for a translucent yearning. a human desire to reach out, to reunite with the immortal. at first she doubts the existence of another being, but her keen self regulates herself. she fights her way through the notoriety of these walls. the water level at her feet rising. she leaps back avoiding the recent gush at her feet. the floor below her is sticky and wet, a fungus wet, slopes under, far under. she finds it difficult to walk, but daringly journeys into.

Spa Project

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Incomplete


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Incomplete


Spa Project

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Incomplete


Spa Project

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Underwater Act 1 Scene 2 the waters feel contaminated with a being. its ghostly existence calls for her in silent ways. she slips into uncaution, as if almost prompted by a willful inside, silently both resisting the unbound enigma, and wanting it. the water reaches her waist, seeping into her warm insides. the cold water tickles her, almost causing a climax, stiffening her, she can breathe the thick of waters now. she slides into the blue. the blue where nymphs and goddesses embrace her. waves gush past her. they warn her that mammals live, and cryptic messages float around. she attempts to read, but imagines their meanings instead. umbilical cords wander in unattended misery - almost as if endless lives were once created here. they make the water oddly sweet. sparkles of light shine far below, indicating the calm action of water caves. a group of nymphs massage her outsides inside a cave, causing her to come, but she realizes that real ejaculation lies somewhere else. it lies at the heart of this immortal being. instead the nymphs distract her. they pry her into tango, but she loosens, her body tense continues to wander. she pushes through aged weeds, packs of unsatisfied dolphins, and swims endlessly. her new lover, far in the never-ending horizon keeps her wanting more. her body tired, recreates itself, her tender muscles tighten, and grip the water as she soars ahead. he is now aware of the tease, and moves far beyond, floating mirrors continue to remind her of the immortal she once was. tired, she realizes that a certain sweet madness has taken over her. a madness that invigorates her insides, the growth of a sublime being – an incomplete impulse. it keeps her wanting more, its this not-so-complete moment that leaves her spellbound and purposeful.

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Incomplete


Spa Project

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Incomplete


Spa Project

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Incomplete


Spa Project

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Incomplete


Spa Project

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Incomplete


Spa Project

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The Courtyard Act 1 Scene 3 washed ashore, she is tired and rests along bare trees. fields and orchards around her, spread vast into a opaque snow field. she refuses to feed on an apple. believing that she shall also be doomed. she insists to continue with the journey ahead. her hair wet with sweat, her body aching, she does not become complacent. she wants to reach out for its best fact. the graves around her, remind her of lost lovers. she combats the thought of giving up, and continues to fight. a breeze of dried oak and water-drenched cherry hits her, floating on the surface of her nostrils, reminding her of her beloved. she wants it, the ascent of her being, she lifts her self, powers herself, running through the orchard, around the brick temple, hoping that some sort of mantic circling would cause a union. she spins, hoping to unite, with the wonder of a kathak dancer, spinning through the orchards, its apples deceiving her of a delicious ending. they tell her that her journey ahead is futile. she spins through the orchards, singing songs to the dead, the half alive, the lingering spirits whose souls have yet to rest in peace. she sings songs of mockery, chasing her beloved, wanting it more. her naval creates auras, endless auras that she dives into. she realizes she has the power to dare beyond and create herself endlessly. the spinning speeds her want, her hands high in the air, and her gaze shifting like darts. waters in nearby streams begin to vibrate, her bright reflection shone bright and shaky. her dance so strong, so magnificent that the ground below begins to shift, garden plates change gears, and a sewer world of rising stairs begins to emerge. Dark, opaque curves begin to encircle her from all sides, a skylight shone strong, and the dark world of piranesi comes to life.

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Incomplete


Spa Project

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Incomplete

 


Spa Project

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The Rising Stairs Act 1 Scene 4 an exaggerated disorientation breaks in below, she looks up, high above. a strong light radiates the inside. stairs and never ending platforms continue to construct themselves. unattended perspectives intersect, creating a more elaborate chase, and as she continues, her imagination runs in streams, growing, with growing stairs, chasing her wanted beloved. among these stairs, and disclosed arches, a dream begins to take shape. she reaches to the inverse, looking far to the right, and a mirrored perspective takes form. distortions and various landscapes within landscapes begin to multiply. tired, she climbs, through these constructions wanting to reunite. her lover, enjoying her agitated anticipation extends far. fighting through dark brains, and aged chandeliers, her insides want it more. she rises, reaching, constructing, and extends beyond the light beam, and then continues to construct. they stairs continue to multiply. thye construct of her. inside her. somewhere, amidst these constructions, she rises to the sky above in her. she reaches the pool. her beastly lover - an inhuman figure awaits her.

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Incomplete


Spa Project

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Incomplete


Spa Project

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Spa Project

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Epilogue her beloved awaits her at the pool. the pool stares confused at the city, despite their physical/esoteric union, she desires for more. she looks at the city of the dream ahead, where constructions continue, orchards extend, waters thicken, walls collapse, and the chase together lengthens. far into the dream, the endless abyss. she is now human.

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Incomplete


Spa Project

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Incomplete


Spa Project

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A Coloured Dust Fills the Air


The sun coyfully flirts, peeling its waves against sliced corners of glass. The edge so thin, little bands of white light pass through, vibrating against each other - causing a disposition of sorts. Then, very quickly, like the swift march of sun-dyed silk worms- a colour dust fills the air. The apparition right slipped into her, radiating her insides. It colorized her - the air inside imbued with a kind of blue washed crimson. Her blood shone bright and lovely. Sparkled by a coloured stir, her imagination is on the run now where the glass grows endlessly, and her pages fly amidst frivolous joints.

Rosemount Library

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“Affect is immersive, a sort of edifice of sensations. It deframes as it envelops. We live within affect, and affect lives through us. In order to emerge as affective landscapes, buildings must be conceived in terms of intensification, of sensational intensification, an environment in which the boundary between subject and object is blurred.” Martin Bressani, Towards a Digital Theory of Affect The library as an institution has the potential to be a container of acute affect a threshold into a different universe. It may allow itself to be read as a tomb, a temple, or a jewel of shimmering mystery. In the following project, my intention was to create a library that would transform the library into a kaleidoscope of various colour atmospheres. My initial colour studies were informed by Goethe’s “Theory of Color,” and allowed me to explore intensity, temperature, and the tactile effects of inhabiting certain coloured environments. As a result, the proposed library provides a spectrum of spaces that vary in colour - making it possible to read Dahl in a open and gay space imbued with the cheerfulness of yellows and reds, or dwell in the somber dark words of Kafka between close blue-washed panels. The building is made of a ribbon-like skin of various glass panels with the main stacks and offices concentrated in the core. The glass panels differ in colour and transparency, creating an array of specific colour intensities. Implicitly placed white concrete panels are interspersed along the ribbon, giving the building its necessary structure but also acting as important elements in the reflection and fusion of colour. As a result, when light bounces these panels melt into each other to create an augmented reality that is both immersive and maddening.

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A Coloured Dust Fills the Air


Rosemount Library

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A Coloured Dust Fills the Air


Rosemount Library

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A Coloured Dust Fills the Air


Rosemount Library

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A Coloured Dust Fills the Air


Rosemount Library

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A Coloured Dust Fills the Air


Rosemount Library

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A Coloured Dust Fills the Air


Rosemount Library

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A Coloured Dust Fills the Air


Rosemount Library

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A Coloured Dust Fills the Air


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A Coloured Dust Fills the Air


ground floor plan 118

A Coloured Dust Fills the Air


first floor plan Rosemount Library

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second floor plan

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A Coloured Dust Fills the Air


third floor plan

Rosemount Library

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A Coloured Dust Fills the Air


Rosemount Library

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A Coloured Dust Fills the Air


Rosemount Library

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A Coloured Dust Fills the Air


Rosemount Library

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A Coloured Dust Fills the Air


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Freehand Drawing


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Freehand Drawing


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Freehand Drawing


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Freehand Drawing


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Books, people and places that have helped and inspired in the making of this portfolio: Farzana. Ekta. Aditi. Aaron. Aamir. Fahd. Saaraa. Martin. Ricardo. Carlos. Alberto. Sybil. Taimur. Geoff. Shazia. Alizain. Seema. Tufail. Built Upon Love. The Lion King. The Eyes of the Skin. Goethe’s Theory of Colour. Paul Woodberg. Zaakir Hussain. Cheryl. Arif Bhai. Kiran. Sarah. Reshmi. Rushi. Zumthor. Kiesler. Shams and Karim. Karachi and MontrÊal for being more than just cities. And for the world, for letting me be and make mistakes.



Currim Suteria - Selected Works