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Vol 1 | Issue 4 | `120

the architecture magazine




editorial Tb

he pursuit of our Indian identity in our architecture has been the dream and search of all the architects who have known. We have XQQHFHVVDULO\EHHQLQÀXHQFHGE\WKH:HVW and have ventured into post-modernism, de-constructivism etc. when we have not even participated in the modern movement. It is therefore apt that an American Christopher Benninger, who is now completely an Indian along with the necessary shaking of his head confusing you in the Indian way whether he is agreeing or disagreeing, talks about his quest for identity. It is also serendipity that we feature CEPT at 50 where Christopher started his love affair with India. CEPT is the Mecca of all students of architecture with its mentor BV Doshi, who has, till recently been rediscovering his own identity away from that of his mentor Corbusier. Bijoy Jain’s poetic work adds to the list of those who have truly discovered their identity. We honour Paulo Soleri - a guru when I was studying architecture, whose contribution to global architecture will always be remembered. Again serendipity as we revisit FLW’s Martin House as Soleri started

his career working with Wright. We were taught that “form follows functionâ€? - that very form has been transformed where it leads function and is the pivot which drives many architects. That buildings must respond to their context and be inclusive WRVRFLHW\DQGUHĂ€HFWLWVPDQ\LQĂ€XHQFHV is shown in the iconic buildings in the neighborhoods of Sydney. I personally presented Maya Louis Vietnam Memorial at Washington the other day to a group of 300 architects, where she feels that to keep the memory of those you have loved and lost is to let them go. The Chandigarh Memorial is one such idea whose time has come and helps you come to terms with the nation’s loss. Colors, beads, tribal works for decoration etc. are ideas of enhancing our interiors, and favorite spaces find innovative interpretations in three articles, which push the boundaries of art and interiors. To complete the circle in our discovery WR ÂżQG RXUVHOYHV ZH PXVW UHPHPEHU as Christopher has done, that we must always remain sustainable, as he has demonstrated in the Suzlon headquarters in Pune, as our culture and traditions have been, then and only then can we be the leaders of the sustainable movement of tomorrow.

Architect KARAN GROVER Chief Editor


5HIUHVKLQJH[SHULHQFH It has been a very refreshing, reading experience with Design Detail. The content has a good spread on various architectural subjects, also featuring the Master’s work to the amateur’s work with an edge towards detailing. Many of your articles have been very inspiring for the practising professionals, motivating for the student group and informative to the clients who intend to construct‌ Thecontentsopeningalotofinsightintothe field of architecture and the focus on detailing regardless of the scale of projects in today’s world of ‘macro-thinking’ is well-appreciated. Ar. Karan Grover’s encouraging editorial is full of warmth. Wishing the Team great success and looking forward to more interesting series, Ar. Prathima Seethur Bangalore

:RQGHUIXOUHDG With a layout that is easy on the eye and content that is unique and well-researched, Design Detail makes for a wonderful read! Deepa Paul Journalist New Delhi

$OOWKHEHVW I glimpsed through a copy of your magazine and felt good reading it. I am impressed by the range and quality of the articles presented. The design and layout quality is on par with any international publication. Would like to see more interesting editions published in future. Wishing the team a successful journey, Ar. Mahesh Iyer & Mahesh Thiruvananthapuram

+HDUWHQLQJPHVVDJH I went through your magazine and felt compelled to write this letter. I was under the impression that modern-day archi5HDGHUVŕŤ‚YLHZVDQGFRPPHQWVPD\EHVHQWWR

tecture had become very much alienated from nature – in fact, the rapid rise of cities and mad race of the so-called ‘development’, has shown least consideration for the environment. Trees are mowed down to make way for ever-widening streets, historical buildings are pulled down to build up concrete jungles, pristine landscapes are shaved off the green cover to construct resorts and ‘nagars’ throughout India. And architects, as professionals are at the helm of the marauding development. In such a backdrop, it was heartening to see a committed crop of designers who not only care to harm nature the least but also create highly aesthetic constructions in contrast to the eyesores that mar the urban landscape in India.Delving deeper into your magazine, I am wonder-struck at the unique beauty of the visions of architects like Shirish Beri, designers like Tejas Soni; I am humbled and happy at the respect and love they have for nature. I am sure that Design Detail, with its commitment to eco-friendly architecture would guide the architect community of the country to rethink the concept of development-construction in the spirit of a harmonious relationship with nature. My best wishes to you and your team. Balachandran V. Environmental enthusiast Thiruvananthapuram

9HU\JRRG Received the copy of your 3rd edition. The quality is very good with extensive content covering a multi-dimensional range of subjects. The variety of articles would impress any general reader. The choice of topics is good. I also found it has a different approach, unlike the regular magazines of its kind. I have a suggestion – that the slugs and subtopics can be categorized in sequential order to facilitate a link between the articles and enable easier reading. Ar. Jayakumar Soman Jayakumar & Associates Bangalore


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Vol. 1 . Issue 4 . August - October 2013 EDITORIAL Chief Editor Editor-in-Charge Group Editor Co-ordinating Editor Sub-editor

: : : : :

Ar. Karan Grover Jose Philip Dr Rema S. Kartha Vanaja Varma Yasar Arafath



Tina Garg Jasminder Maolankar Medini Rai Smit Zaveri Aarti Kamath



Ar. L. Gopakumar

DESIGN Head of Design


Deep Das Gupta

MARKETING & ADVERTISING General Manager Head-Events & Brand Promotions Managers Senior Executives

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Corporate Office: Designer Publications Kerala Pvt Ltd, 39/4722, DPK towers, R. Madhavan Nair Road, (Old Thevara Road), Kochi-16, Kerala Ph: 0484-6456290, 3296534, 2367111 Copyright : All rights reserved by Design Detail. Any part of this publication may be reproduced only with the written permission from the Editor.The Editors do their best to verify the information published but do not take responsiblity for the absolute accuracy of the information. All objections, disputes, differences, claims & proceedings are subject to Ernakulam Jurisdiction.


Defining a life through

design Text Photos

: Smit Zaveri and Jasminder Maolankar (Pink Lemonade) : Pongal, Pune


n his book The Innocence of Objects, author Orhan Pamuk said: “We don’t need more museums that try to construct the historical narratives of a society, community, team, nation, state, tribe, company or species. We all know that the ordinary, everyday stories of individuals are riches, more humane, and much more joyful.” Paying tribute to one such story is Symbiosis Society’s Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Museum and Memorial. A secular space dedicated to the life of Dr Ambedkar, made with one vision – to inspire greatness. An ordinary man with an extraordinary mind, Dr Ambedkar is a sum of his experiences, actions, and memories which form an unforgettable story of a life worth knowing. A tale well-told through his personal belongings, photographs, and paintings at the Symbiosis Society’s Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Museum and Memorial in Pune. Located on a hillock, just off the busy streets of Pune, the museum is a sanctuary, which houses many of Dr Ambedkar’s treasures, donated by his wife

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A bird’s eye view of Ambedkar Museum

Dr Maisaheb Ambedkar. The museum was a vision of a young architect, Dhananjay Datar, proprietor of Dhananjay Datar and Associates, architects and valuers, Pune. Datar recalls: “The director of Symbiosis, Dr S B Mujumdar, commissioned me to submit a design befitting the stature of Dr Ambedkar. The brief that was given was simple – construct an environmentfriendly national monument on the side of a hill. The monument was for the personal effects of Dr. Ambedkar, such as an urn containing his ashes and his Bharat Ratna.”

This museum is a part of ‘Pune Darshan’ tours, and, anyone who is ever in the city must visit the museum and spend some time there. It is a beautiful experience. The museum - a sanctuary of treasures

Working closely with the Bhate-Raje Constructions, the museum was completed within a span of 18 months. Despite it being a project in the limelight, grabbing the attention of many important personalities and the Punekars in particular, Datar asserts: “I was given the freedom to do what I wanted, and, while most people lacked understanding, I was lucky to work with people who shared a similar vision in architecture as me, and we were able to execute the project with precision.”


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Bordered by concrete pergolas on all four corners of the compound is the domeshaped museum. The main structure borrows its form from the Stupa, an indicator of the Buddhist influences that reverberate through the space. Taking another step away from the conventional, the museum is camouflaged in colour and texture to merge with its natural surroundings. The museum’s first-of-its-kind geodesic dome has been constructed using triangular steel frames which fit seamlessly without any intermediate support. Concrete panels then complete the structure to form a perfect hemispherical dome. The outer surface of the dome is finished in blue and white

Section AA

Section BB

Within the arched gates at the entrance lies the main museum – nestled inside a large, blue dome which is visible from afar. A pristine landscaped pathway leads to the memorial, made primarily using amygdaloidal basalt, which is indigenous to Pune – signifying strength and longevity.

BUDDHIST INFLUENCES “I didn’t want to make a brick-and-mortar structure and disturb the skyline of the hill. For me, Dr Ambedkar meant having influences of Buddhism, and that is what I did,” says Datar.

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The peepal tree stands strong - a symbol of knowledge & life

1” x 1” glass-mosaic tiles, replicating the vast expanse of the sky above. The rest of the structure, built in undressed rubble masonry, matches the look of all rock-hewn Buddhist caves around Pune. Harmonious with its natural outdoors, the entrance of the main structure has a skylight above. A ramp descends in a circular path – its walls gently cutting out natural light like a cave – which then leads into the main gallery. With an elegant play between light and dark, the circular chamber receives natural light through the skylight at the centre and the courtyards on the sides. Once inside, the soothing sound of trickling water produced by cascading waterfalls calls

The amphitheatre - a platform of dreams

for one’s attention. “There was a natural rock formation under the stairs, which we retained and converted into a water cascade. The sound of rippling water gets amplified in the museum because of the dome’s unique acoustics – high on reverberation. The reverberating sound of flowing water, coupled with the vastness of the volume of the dome, has a calming effect on the visitors,” according to Datar.

A peepal tree – a sapling of the original ‘Bodhivriksha’ donated by the Government of Sri Lanka – stands here, strengthening the link with Buddhism.

Land of pristine beauty


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Display of the life remembered

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HOUSE OF MEMORIES At the centre of the main gallery is the pedestal – basking under the skylight – on which stands the urn with Dr Ambedkar’s ashes and his Bharat Ratna. The circular gallery is bordered with non-reflective glass cubicles, with each enclosure holding a different set of his belongings – from his clothes and his violin to the pen that was used to draft the Constitution. Beamless, folded-slab staircases lead the way to a circular balcony above, a perambulatory path encircling the inner wall of the dome. The life and history of Dr Ambedkar is chronicled through photographs and paintings here, completing his story in a full circle.

LOVELY LANDSCAPE An ardent fan of gardening, the landscape for Dr Ambedkar’s memorial has been dealt with great care. Giving the barren plot a makeover was landscape designer Ravi Gawandi, who worked tirelessly to transform it into the picture of beauty it is today. A peepal tree – a sapling of the original ‘Bodhivriksha’ donated by the Government of Sri Lanka – stands here, strengthening another link with Buddhism. With the exception of the peepal tree, the rest of the garden has been planted from an environmental viewpoint – based on the species’ ability to adapt to the natural rocky terrain.








: 1992






: 275 SQ. METRES (2,960 SQUARE FEET)



Precious relics holding memories of a great life

Adjacent to the dome is an open-air amphitheatre, once again in stone. Semicircular steps that descend along the gentle slope give way to a circular stone stage in the centre.


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Founded by Padma Bhushan Dr S B Mujumdar in 1971, Symbiosis Society is an international cultural and educational centre. Symbiosis believes in the motto ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – the world is one family. One of the reasons why the Society decided to build a museum and memorial is to introduce Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, who initiated the movement for social justice and equality in India. Standing just a few feet away from the Symbiosis educational campus in Pune, the museum is still managed by Symbiosis Society.

With a capacity to seat over 400 people, the amphitheatre – apart from being a platform for political lectures and cultural shows – is a stimulating space for ideating or even dreaming. Datar says: “This museum is a part of ‘Pune Darshan’ tours, and, anyone who is ever in Pune must visit the museum and spend some time there. It is a beautiful experience.”

The roof plan

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A symbol of an extraordinary individual’s strength and story, Symbiosis Society’s Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Museum and Memorial is truly a work of art, dedicated to a man like none other.


In quest of

‘Indian architecture’ DESIGN detail



I think what I call my â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;careerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; is that search for beauty born out of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;organicâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; truth, truth in solving real problems and not running after the mirage of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;stylesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and fashions.


rof. Christopher Charles Benninger is a veteran architect, educator and the Founder and Principal of the firm Christopher Charles Benninger Architects, CCBA. Born in the United States in 1942, he studied urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and architecture at Harvardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Graduate School of Design, where he later taught, from 1969 to 1972. On the invitation of Dr B. V. Doshi, in 1971, he resigned from his tenured post at Harvard and shifted to Ahmedabad, as a Ford Foundation advisor to the Ahmedabad

Educational Society, where he co-founded the School of Planning. In 1976, he shifted to Pune, where he founded the Centre for Development Studies and Activities. In 1983, Prof. Benninger wrote the Theme Paper for the United Nations Commission on Human Settlements 1984. In 1986, he was engaged by the Asian Development Bank to author their position paper on Urban Development, arguing successfully the case for extending financial assistance to the urban development sector. He is on the Board of Editors of UK-based journal Cities and is also a Board member of the United States India Educational


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Foundation or USIEF. A distinguished Professor at the Centre for Environmental and Planning Technology University, Ahmedabad, he is also on the Board of Governors of the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. His best known architectural works are a cluster of academic and educational campuses in the mountainous region between Mumbai and Pune. These include the Centre for Development Studies and Activities, Pune; The Mahindra United World College of India, Mumbai; The Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies, Lonavala; The YMCA International Camp, Nilshi; The Kirloskar


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Institute of Advanced Management Studies, Pune, and the International School Aamby, Pune. His other significant works are the Kochi Refineries Corporate Headquarters in Kerala, the Alliance Francaise in Ahmedabad and SOS Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Villages in Kolkata and Bawana, located outside Delhi. Several of his works have won international recognition. The Mahindra United World College of India was the recipient of the Architectural Record Award for Excellence 2000, sponsored by Business Week & the American Institute of Architects. He is the recipient of the Recognition in Design (RED) Award, for the Best Architect in India in 2006

- the award, instituted by the British Society for Design along with the journal Architecture Plus Design, being the first of its kind in the country. Besides, the YMCA International Camp at Nilshi won the Archies Award for the Best Institutional Building 2006 as well as the Indian Institute of Architects Award for the Best Public Building the same year. In the South, the Kochi Refineries Headquarters that he had designed, received the Indian Architect & Builder “Award for working spaces” for being one of the country’s two best office buildings in 2005. In this conversation with Architect Kochuthommen Mathew, Secretary, Indian Institute of Architects, Cochin Centre, he shares some of his insights and unique perspectives on design, revealing ideas that have been consequential for architecture in the country.

Who or what ignited your interest in architecture and design? As a boy, my aunt presented me with a copy of The Natural House by Frank Lloyd Wright. From the moment I picked up that book, I was lured by Wright’s truth, and I read it fully

Suzlon, Pune

in one sitting, staying awake all night. The next day, I was an architect.

Could you name some of the iconic structures that have inspired you, and why you were inspired by each one and whether any of them influenced your career choice? Falling Water designed by Frank Lloyd Wright lit up my imagination. It began as a passionate search for that magic spark of beauty that lay deep within me. Falling Water is a testament to the integration of nature within our lives, and within the built environment we create. I think what I call my ‘career’ is that search for beauty born out of ‘organic truth.’ By that, I mean a truth imbedded within the plasticity of nature; a truth expressed from natural materials; a truth that makes space out of light; a truth that makes a structure and a function one whole; a

Great teachers lead us to look within ourselves and to see in ourselves the good that can be nurtured and grown.


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truth in solving real problems and not running after the mirage of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;stylesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and fashions.

Is there any architect or designer whom you consider your idol or role model? If so, why?


Frank Lloyd Wright was my early role model because he lead a legendary life, and he â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;lived the legendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; which inspired me. Within his personae, I could envision the person I wanted to become. I drew courage from the reality that there could be such a man! I wanted to be that man, yet from his life, I learned that I could not be him. I had to be my own man. I realised that the lesson is to know and to live my own intrinsic self. I think that, in the end, being my true self is what I learned from Frank Lloyd Wright. I started to yearn to BE, and not to SEEM!

What are the significant landmarks on your journey? How did each one influence your growth as an architect? I have often said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is no good luck, except the good luck of having great teachers!â&#x20AC;? Great teachers lead us to look within ourselves and to see in ourselves the good that can be nurtured and grown. My good luck began with my college teachers at the age of 17, and, like stepping-stones over the messy waters of life, I continued to have good teachers. I had Jose Luis Sert and Fumihiko Maki at Harvard, and Kevin &2(3*LUOVŕŤ&#x201A;+RVWHO3XQH

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Lynch at MIT. I taught design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design as a youngster with masters like Gerhard Kallmann who designed Boston City Hall, and Jane Drew who lived in Chandigarh with her husband Maxwell Fry, bringing Le Corbusier to lead their team. All these people took a personal interest in my growth. My journey continued here in India with Balkrishna Doshi by my side. These masters lead me to a life-long search that became a mental exploration, as well as a physical sojourn, travelling across the world to meet inspiring people, to learn from the humble people I met along the way, and to see great architecture from all the ages of history.

Which was the first project you handled independently? What did you learn from it? My first major project was the tiny Alliance Francaise in Ahmedabad. At that time, I thought it was a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;major projectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; because it was a public building where people meet and learn from one another. Though it was only 2,750 square feet, it was indeed a public domain. Making public domains is where architects are creating civilisation. The Alliance Francaise is moving into a new building about ten times as large, leaving my little structure a lonely shell. The Alliance Francaise is a lesson in the


integration of space, light, structure, materials, function and an urban context. The structure and the materials can all be seen transparently and are honestly expressed. For me, this was a great achievement; for any architect, this should be his goal in place-making.

Is there any one structure or design that you keep going back to for inspiration? My journey began with the Alliance Francaise and naturally advanced further into my own campus for the Centre for Development Studies and Activities (CDSA). The CDSA is a larger cluster of integrated structures, all bound together in a common geometry and language of honestly expressed local Basalt stone, Mangalore tiles and exposed concrete. Like Alliance Francaise, the CDSA is a lesson in honesty and in simplicity. Yet, from a simple isolated structure, emerged a complex, interrelated cluster of functional units! What seems simple is shaped into kind of a mystery of a conundrum. The puzzle moves from a simple study of the holism of materials, structure and space within an individual structure, on to the integration of many structures within a unifying geometry and holistic language to make a unified campus. I used the lessons from these two experiences to fabricate and choreograph

the Mahindra United World College of India (MUWCI), which is a much more complicated and much larger design confabulation. From 2,750 square feet at the Alliance Francaise to 20,000 square feet at the CDSA, I had to bring together 1,50,000 square feet at the MUWCI. This progression of problem-solving was a great learning sequence for me. It has enabled me to solve large urban design and campus planning puzzles and transform puzzles into things of beauty and choreographed experiences.

Frank Lloyd Wright stated, “Every architect must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.” How does one interpret one’s own era or ‘time’? My time has been one of transition, change and ‘displacement.’ We have seen the total displacement of the Indian ethos and of our primordial spirit by the centuries-long experience of foreign invasions and then colonialism. We were then displaced by adopted, alien concepts of socialism, ‘progress’ and the mediocrity of the PWD Raj. Now that has been swept aside, and we have the net of globalisation thrown over us.

One is always a student- learning, adapting and recreating oneself. If there is only one thing you ever design, let it be yourself!

From local materials, we suddenly have ACP cladding from China and imported glass to wrap our buildings in. My struggle in this is to find an ‘Indian architecture’ which is at the same


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timeâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;cutting-edge in terms of our local technology and new functions. That is an internal search, not one sought out in the pages of magazines or on the internet. First, globalisation brought glass boxes, and then globalisation brought us LEEDS, telling us that glass boxes are not so good! But, it also told us that we could do the wrong thing and get extra points for doing the wrong thing a little better! So we were taught to cheat, and then how to be forgiven through a system of confessions and bonus points! Still, most Platinum LEED buildings look like ugly boxes, cramming hundreds of people into mentally unsustainable little cubicles and modules. These are all forms of disruption! As architects, we have to rebel against these imported disruptions!

How has the field of architecture and design in India changed since you began your career? Is it a change for the better or for the worse? Why? $OOLDQFH)UDQFDLVH$KPHGDEDG

As I have noted, we are being driven to change in an alien direction by external forces, and we are not moving in a planned way toward a better future. Architecture, urban planning and urban design are supposed to lead society forward to a better tomorrow. On the contrary, our profession seems little more than a handmaiden of market forces, consumerism and branded fantasies. This fantasy is a nightmare for the vast majority of Indians who are looking up to us to solve their problem of housing, transport, schooling, recreational and health facilities. We are letting down those without a voice, who think we are there to create a better tomorrow, when, in fact, we can only make leisure homes on the seaside, second homes in the hills and holiday places for the idle rich! We are becoming experts at packaging consumer products bought through the unearned increments of an imbalanced economy, through making cute follies and ditties notable only for their conspicuous consumption. We cannot even learn from the tragedy of the automobile in America. We are creating urban sprawl, congestion and strip development along our roads, as if they are Indian inventions! We are blindly following imported models and trends, just because they are foreign. Over centuries of disruption, we have been brainwashed into automatically thinking that anything foreign is better.

What do you think of the development of architecture as a field that must benefit people? Are you personally doing anything in this direction?

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Architecture must benefit the common man. We, as a community of designers, have the capability to plan efficient and hygienic cities, to make affordable shelter systems, to design colleges and schools that will transform our human resources and increase awareness levels, and to create health care facilities that make people feel secure and cared for. Architects and urban planners have a wonderful calling. We can create the facilities that enhance a functioning democracy and that leads to more effective collective thinking and decision-making. I have been honoured to work with numerous development authorities, international development banks, the UN and national governments to restructure existing cities and towns and to build new ones; to create shelter systems making shelter accessible to the poor. The design projects I have led over the years range from a 200-bedded hospital in the isolated town of Udgir in Latur district, to a clinic for mentally challenged children in Pune. We have completed the Bajaj Science Centre in Wardha that will bring science education to needy, yet brilliant, children in a large rural catchment area. We are working with the Dalit community by building boarding facilities for

Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies near Lonavala

poor girl students, and a large institute for Buddhist studies and social work in Nagpur. We have completed a womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hostel for 600 girls at the College of Engineering, Pune, to make technological education more accessible to women. We have built childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s villages for orphans in Kolkata and in rural Haryana. Over my career, I have created over 20,000 shelter units and serviced plots, facilitating self-help housing for very low-income households in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. With World Bank, I lead a large team that improved the slum hygiene and comfort levels in the bustis of Kolkata, in Thane and in Kalyan where tens of thousands of hutment dwellers live in improved slums.

I had to be my own man. I realised that the lesson is to know and to live my own intrinsic self. I think that, in the end, being my true self is what I learned from Frank Lloyd Wright.

As an architect, I feel I have been able to play a small role in manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s great ascent here in the subcontinent. In Bhutan, we are making the U N House that will help spread development deep into

The Samundra Institute is situated amidst greenery, off the Mumbai-Pune Highway.


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We are being driven to change in an alien direction by external forces.Our profession seems little more than a handmaiden of market forces, consumerism and branded fantasies.

the isolated mountains. We are building the Supreme Court of Bhutan with funds gifted by the Government of India to make democracy work more effectively through the institution that interprets and protects the new Constitution. In Sri Lanka, with the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, we prepared the development plans for six regional headquarter towns to upgrade public health, recreational and safety facilities. For the YMCA, we were able to create a campsite in the Sahyadri Mountains where streetchildren of Mumbai may go in the summers to learn of nature and community living. The most interesting social project now on our boards is the Azim Premji University that will create a virtual army of new professionals in the sphere of human resources development and mobilisation. Each and every project, like the IIT at Hyderabad, Kirloskar Institute of Management and the extension of the IIM at Kolkata add to the nation’s human resources wealth and problem-solving capability.

Which of your projects do you think are significant? Why?


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All of my creations, or ‘children,’ are significant. Architecture is only about significance and poetry. Without these, we are only talking about cement and mortar. However, let me highlight a few significant works. The Bajaj

Science Centre is both socially significant and is a wonderful holistic conception of space, materials and structural systems. The COEP Women’s Hostel is significant in the education of women and it is a wonderful revival of exposed concrete construction technology. It is a very poetic tower that becomes a landmark of education in the centre of the city. The new hostels and dining facilities at the IIM in Kolkata, have given new personae to the old campus that was caught in the quagmire of PWD architecture from the 1960s. India House is more than my home; it is a centre of culture and creation where over 40 architects work and make cutting-edge designs. It is the home of the India House Art Gallery and a large public domain where students of architecture come for lectures and meetings. It is a place of cultural programmes and lectures.

Which project designed by you is one that you would consider your best work so far? Each project in my life has been a part of the same continual search for meaning in my life, and as such, all are the same. For me, life is one huge project and there is no separation between one building, a campus, one town or one city I have designed or planned. If one has ever felt love, or known its meaning, then one knows there is no scale of measure for sacred things. Sacred things

are all one instance of the same power and the same energy.


What aspect of your spirit/learning/ temperament does your work represent? I think all of my education, all of my teachers, and the evolution of my value system lead me to ask continuously what I am contributing to society at large. How am I, as a designer, shaping society? How does architecture and town planning enrich and transform civilisation? I think all of my work has been an internal struggle to create something relevant and, to gift something of beauty to the generations that follow me. I feel humanity is divided into people who struggle to create a better civilisation and those who merely labour each day, doing their bit to maintain the huge system we live in. But, when the latter people go to bed at night, they are not asking what they can do for society; they are regretting what society has not done for them! These people are merely survivors and doing â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;labourâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; to survive. There is another creative genre of people who â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;workâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; to build a great civilisation. They are creating public domains; â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;people places,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; social and recreational facilities; making towns and cities better places to live in. I feel my spirit

dwells in the abode of a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;worker.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; I fear only to labour for my own survival! You have been a mentor to students, young architects and designers. What message would you like to give them?


One is always a student. One may never become a teacher, but one is always learning, adapting, changing and recreating oneself. If there is only one thing you ever design, let it be yourself! What would you like to be remembered for, by your peers as well as by succeeding generations? I would like to be remembered for what I have written and the ideas that I have gifted to further generations. I would like that the values I pen down are lived by many youngsters, and that these values describe their lives, and, when they become old, looking back over the years seeking meaning, they would reflect on the way something I had said changed the way they thought. I would be honoured if, only for a moment, they felt that something I had said affected them, and in their looking back, they remembered me for that. I would like my words to become a testament to the things I have struggled to build, and I would like the things I have designed, created and made, to be a testament to what I have scribbled onto pieces of paper finding their way onto printed pages. Photos: &&%$3XQH


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Air vent turned

into art



eathrowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Airco Tree is a modern-day design marvel built around an airconditioning vent in the British Airways First Class Lounge at Heathrow Airport in London. This structure seamlessly merges natureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s glorious elements with the necessities of mechanical design, giving the lounge a feel of a modern day â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;piazza.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; An airport is often associated with a gamut of emotions â&#x20AC;&#x201C; happiness at receiving your loved ones after days of separation, despair over letting a family member go away, the adrenaline rush of flying in an aircraft, the excitement of travelling to an unexplored destination. Well-accustomed to this traffic, Heathrow Airport, London, the third busiest airport in the world, is a complex system of design and process woven together seamlessly. It has thousands of passengers exiting and entering the airport every day and is completely equipped with modern facilities for passengers in transit. As one explores the design elements of the airportâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interior, a prominent feature

designed around sustainability, surfaces â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the Airco Tree at the British Airways First Class Lounge.

AIRCONDITIONING TREE A huge gaping hole, for an air conditioning vent, on the floor of its First Class Lounge was giving British Airways sleepless nights. The vent, though absolutely imperative to circulation of air within the lounge, was extremely perturbing to the British

An airport is often associated with a gamut of emotions â&#x20AC;&#x201C; happiness at receiving your loved ones, despair over the departure of a family member, the adrenaline rush of flying in an aircraft, the excitement of travelling to an unexplored destination.... 27

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various textures and materials like ceramics, furniture, glass, interiors, and metals, was absolutely clear that, while his design must become the focal point of the space, it should complement the surrounding space completely. He consciously steered away from creating something loud and overbearing. Tjepkema formulated a design plan that was defined by the following parameters: the design needed to reflect the existing flow of air; it was required to transport air released from the vent to a higher level; and it needed to be dynamic in nature. In effect, the design needed to suggest the movement of air and people in transit.

Airways passengers as it puffed out air intermittently. The gap stuck out like an eyesore, in the otherwise elegantly designed lounge. Consequently, British Airways approached the contemporary design studio, Droog Design, to redesign this space such that, while passengers remained undisturbed, the functionality of the vent remained intact. Droog Design further commissioned this project to the enthusiastic Frank Tjepkema, a world-renowned designer who runs his own studio, Tjep, in the Netherlands. Tjepkema, often associated with the ideology of creating designs that have a certain irony and which reflect the contemporary society and the times we live in, willingly took up this project. Though the initial planning brought forth a posse of challenges, Tjepkema, who has meddled with

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After much thought and introspection, Tjepkema finalised on a ‘tree’ as the basis of the design. Why a tree in a space largely used for transit and associated with people, one might question, to which Tjepkema says: “The tree is used as a metaphor to represent what keeps us breathing, as an airconditioner also provides us with fresh air for breathing. It also reflects the space as a meeting point, as a rooted object offering shade and protection, and also symbolises life itself. The Airco Tree will eventually be responsible for providing fresh air just as a natural tree is.”

FUNCTIONALITY FOREMOST Spurred by the need to redefine drastically the vent and the lounge space without altering its functionality, Tjepkema approached the


process of constructing this tree with a fresh, innovative methodology. He played around numerous construction materials and finally froze on the relatively lightweight and organic resin to construct the tree. The Airco Tree has a tube running through its centre and is placed right above the vent. The tube carries the air released through the vent right up to the ceiling where it is released again. The elements of the ‘tree’ are designed around this tube, which plays the role of the trunk as well.

DESIGN ESSENTIALS The structure leaves absolutely no impression of a vent that once was, but, at the same time, does not mar its functionality. Tjepkema has consciously stayed away from the obvious colour of a tree – green – and has chosen white instead. The pure white tree, with exquisite gilded gold leaves and branches – a conscious effort to refer to the leaves of a tree without becoming too literal – draw in a sense of calm and peace into the lounge. The smooth texture, the extruding shape and the magical lighting at the top of the tree seem to be in an everlasting, harmonious symphony, setting the mood for a relaxing ambience. Tjepkema says: “The light-line in the ceiling is dynamic and changes colour from green to red to blue. The tree is designed to capture the light accents as if the seasons were changing.”



















The sculpture has successfully managed to make the airconditioning unit – which is usually hidden away– a centrepiece of the lounge and converted the space to a modernday ‘under-the-tree’ gathering, conjuring up images of a tree at the heart of an Italian-style piazza. The Airco Tree at the British Airways First Class Lounge in London’s Heathrow Airport fetched Frank Tjepkema and his teammate the Dutch Design Award. Tjepkema’s work can be found in the world’s most influential galleries, including Moss in New York, Droog in Amsterdam, and in major design exhibitions such as the Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, and the Museum of Art and Design in New York.


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The Chandigarh



handigarh, the City Beautiful, was an experiment in architecture when India was trying to carve its own definition of contemporary architecture. The city arose within much fanfare, became a national and international case study for many. Unfortunately, in the past few years, the burgeoning population has rendered Corbusierâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vision of the city in a trance. The historic significance of the birth of the city led Corbusier to create some monuments in his master plan â&#x20AC;&#x201C; like the Open Hand Monument and the Martyrs Memorial. Augmenting this historic and symbolic effort, the Chandigarh

The arena - with its lyrical narrative quality, the looming sky overhead, distant images of the Capitol complex and the pure greenery around is purely evocative.

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The square punctures induce a sense of transparency while letting in the greenery inside the memorial.

The central sculpture resting on granite slabs contains three posts leaning in the centre to commemorate the three components of the Defence forces.

War Memorial (one of the largest war memorials in the country) was created by the Chandigarh Administration and India’s leading newspaper The Indian Express, in 2006. With this, the much-awaited thought of making a war memorial for honouring the martyrs of the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh (the states whose contribution to the country’s defence has been substantial) was implemented. Conceptual plans for the memorial were invited from the students of the Chandigarh College of Architecture. This would further be detailed out for construction by the Chandigarh Administration. The proposal of architects Shivani Guglani and Nanaki Singh (who were then in their ninth

The Chandigarh War Memorial was created by the Chandigarh Administration and India’s leading newspaper, The Indian Express, in 2006. 31

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“At the macro-level, the design had to be sensitive to not stand out like a sour thumb in an organic space like the Bougainvillea Garden, and also be part of the continuity of the city’s famous landmarks – the Capitol Complex, the Rock Garden, and the Sukhna Lake. At the micro-level, the design had an important part to play, not breaking the flow of the regular users of the garden and be a part of their experience,” says Shivani. The site was not easy to comprehend, and it took at least 5-7 site visits to gauge it and finalise on the best way to use it with respect to its scale and placement. Ar. Shams Shaikh, of the Department of Urban Planning, Chandigarh Administration, who supervised the project, was involved with the detailing of the entire project, including the central sculpture.

The engraved names of the martyrs on granite cladding encircling the memorial

semester, in 2002-2003) was selected and it abided to the brief which called for a ‘simple and austere memorial reflecting the sanctity of sacrifice of members of the armed forces, with a continuous wall space to accommodate 8,000 names of the nation’s deceased soldiers since 1947.’ The central space of the memorial (6 feet below ground level) consists of a 22-foot-high sculpture in Baroda green marble, circumventing which the entire memorial unfolds in a spiral movement contained in an 8-foot-high encircling wall (bearing the engraved names of the martyrs on granite cladding). From this central platform(2675 sq.ft) that has been designed to observe and celebrate national days, a concrete-paved circular ramp (going along a brick parapet wall finished with Kota stone) leads one to the ground-level for exit. The tapering monument resting on granite slabs contains three posts leaning in the centre to commemorate the three components of defence forces – Army, Air Force and Navy. The flooring pattern (in red sandstone and Kota stone) is such that it directs one to this main central area.

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The memorial is lighted up beautifully at night. Ar.Shams Shaikh says: “The lighting has been provided in the inverted RCC trough at the top of the wall above the black granite plaques. There are also some footlights provided at the base of the central monument to light up the dark surfaces during night.” The curved walls were done in exposed concrete (as against brick suggested by the students), and

Shivani is quick to add: “In my opinion, it does go well with its surroundings and the existing exposed concrete construction of Chandigarh.” Nanaki Singh, who, following her B.Arch., did an MBA from Texas, is currently the owner of a vintage luggage and trousseau design boutique in Chandigarh. She says, “The war memorial completely blends in with the lush surroundings of the garden and interestingly maintains its own character at the same time. It is a place frequented by visitors as well as the daily walkers. In the evening, the impeccable placement of the lighting is hard to miss; it lends the space an art-meets-architecture feel. The spaces within the war memorial provide a calm, peaceful and restive feel, which is perfect for visitors to pay their tribute to our brave soldiers.” My own experience while walking though the Bougainvillea Garden brought me to this memorial, which had an ardent, inviting design. All that was perceptible from a distance were spiral-like walls with square punctures (inducing transparency) and the spire jutting out from the centre. The urge to go inside and explore an important component of the architecture of a public building was thus fulfilled. As I stepped into the arena, it did not take

The spaces within the memorial offer a peaceful and restive feel to the visitors.

much time for me to get overwhelmed by the spatial choreography, so vulnerable yet emanating so much of strength. The central monument exemplifying the mighty power and strength of the Indian defence forces is well-complemented by the sunken space for people to sit and contemplate. The arena, with its lyrical narrative quality, the looming sky overhead, distant images of the Capitol Complex, and the pure greenery around was purely evocative.

The central monument exemplifying the mighty power and strength of the Indian defence forces is well-complemented by the sunken space for people to sit and contemplate.

The selection of materials has been contextual as well as organic in nature and stand out with a lovely touch of green (planters).


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Plan at -6’-4” LVL (as submitted by Shivani and Nanaki)

Sectional Elevations

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Materials in such spaces (which are devoid of any embellishments) need special attention to be able to demand notice independently. The selection of materials by Shivani and Nanaki has been contextual as well as organic in nature and stand out with a lovely touch of green in the planters. The memorial, while at one face, has a befitting scale and monumentality for our past heroes, is relatable at the same time. Weaving through the Bougainvillea Garden, it fits well into the theme while maintaining its own individuality. While it portrays the perfect architectural symbolism, it does not lament but emanates an intangible, resilient sensitivity. In a country where the lack of public architecture is invariably deliberated on, Chandigarh has come forward to promote this War Memorial as one of the premier tourist destinations of the city. Shivani, who postgraduated in Urban Design from Toronto, currently works as an architect/urban designer there. She says: “The issue is not of the lack of public architecture in India; it is of the lack of interface and interaction of public spaces with the masses. We don’t find spaces that connect with people at different levels. The growth of economy has, no doubt, generated spaces for people to enjoy, like malls, but that is not enough. What we need are outdoor spaces and more of human interaction. Sec 17 in my view is one of those spaces which inspire human interaction on many levels; I am not saying that it is perfect or imperfect, but it works, and, in today’s times, that is what we need.”

invite fresh ideas for such a memorial but also concurrently make these budding architects, the young generation of India, delve into the valiant nature of these lost heroes.


“We were the face of the War Memorial, so, apart from the design proposal, we were also invited to the bhumi pooja and presentation for the final design to the Governor, Chief Ministers of the states of Punjab and Haryana and the public,” Shivani and Nanaki say proudly. Frank Gehry had once stated that “Architecture has a lot of places to hide behind.” The Chandigarh war memorial defies this obstacle completely and remains a receptive addition in the City Beautiful.


Nanaki also emphasises on the need to educate and highlight the importance of public spaces within the architecture community. Unlike other memorials (which are constructed by the armed forces or the Government), the Chandigarh War Memorial was funded entirely by the people and thus testifies the people’s gratitude to the martyrs. Keeping it simple, minimalist and conferring an ambience that can facilitate (and not create) the emotional connect between the visitors and the space can be an intense task for the designers. I also opine that the bringing together of young students to design such a vulnerable public space was a masterstroke – it would not only


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Innovative design solutions Text Photos

: Ar. Apurva Bose Dutta : VBT Consortium

The firm takes pride in its pragmatic approach that is concept-centric and context-centric by making sincere efforts to dwell on the three key aspects of habitable spaces â&#x20AC;&#x201C; physical, psychological and social.

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Bagmane Aquamarine, Bengaluru


he Bengaluru-based VBT Consortium, through its ingenious design concepts, aims at â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;successfully integrating a creative design approach with technical expertise.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; The firm, a true reflection of its parent company, V.B. Thammaiah and Associates, while adhering to client-friendly approach, places special emphasis on commercial and residential ventures and market-driven developments. V.B. Thammaiah and Associates, one of the oldest architectural practitioners of Bengaluru, was founded by the late V B Thammaiah in 1956. VBT Consortium (VBTC), over the years, has established its expertise in an extensive genre of projects ranging from condominiums, group housing, commercial buildings, hospitality projects, sports complexes, institutional buildings, retail projects, integrated townships, and master planning. Being run as an autonomous organisation with a core strength of 20 multi-disciplinary professionals, VBT Consortium is driven with a profound sense of commitment and precision.


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Perspective - Bagmane Aquamarine, Bengaluru

Form sketches of Bagmane Aquamarine, Bengaluru

Transparency, open-minded communication, encouragement of fresh ideas and innovative resource management combined with nurturing of creative talent at all levels have led to a highly productive and amiable work environment. The firm adopts skilful implementation of advanced design and visualisation tools in all its designs. The principal architects of the firm, architects V T Anand and Neelaksh Mahajan, have Sectional Elevations - Bagmane Aquamarine, Bengaluru

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Lobby interior, Bagmane Aquamarine, Bengaluru

The brief for the Bagmane project called for a building which would serve as an architectural landmark and convey a global appeal. made distinctive contribution to the firm in helping it attain a global presence. While architect Anand, with his international working experience and involvement with projects (of individual houses, public buildings, institutional campuses, sports complexes, and industrial buildings) brings with him a vast experience coupled with technical expertise, architect Neelaksh, with his fresh and innovative ideas, contributes to the overall conceptualisation, visual grammar and styling of the projects. The firm takes pride in its pragmatic approach that is concept-centric and context-centric by making sincere efforts to dwell on the three key aspects of habitable spaces â&#x20AC;&#x201C; physical, psychological and social.


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Plan at 0LVL, Bagmane Aquamarine, Bengaluru

The firm adopts skilful implementation of advanced design and visualisation tools in all its designs.

VBT Consortium, while having evolved as a proactive and innovative design firm, has been able to retain the working principles and ethics instilled by its parent company, V B Thammaiah and Associates. Since mid2002, the firm has been actively involved in information exchange/design dialogues/ collaborations with various architectural design houses across the world. The studio structure consists of principal architects, lead designers, architectural detailers, architectural graphic visualisers, and the execution team. The firm also operates through its associate offices in India and abroad. The firmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s landmark projects include Bagmane Tridib, Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association Stadium, SJR Primus, and Equinox, among many others. Projects in the pipeline include residential and commercial projects for various leading developers as well as some industrial and institutional projects.

BAGMANE AQUAMARINE, BENGALURU Bagmane Aquamarine, a part of the Bagmane World Technology Centre,

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Perspective View, Clubhouse, City Ville - Valmark, Bengaluru

an IT Park, is a G+9 structure with a total built-up area of about 1 million square feet (including car park) on a site area of 5.24 acres. Completed in 2011, the next phase of the project (Bagmane Citrine) is also being designed by the firm and is nearing completion. The brief for the project called for a building which would serve as an architectural landmark and convey a global appeal. Designed for LEED Gold Rating Certification, the green features of the project include reduced development footprint and ample parking provision, reduced usage of potable water in the building premises, reduction of 83% of water requirement in plumbing flush fixtures, usage of high-efficiency and lowenvironmental-impact cooling systems and green building materials and an improved indoor environment for occupants.

The building has an RCC-framed structure with a dynamic juxtaposition and interlocking of different forms, which is well-balanced by the aluminium curtain walling system, inducing a sense of weightlessness in the structure. The firm’s commitment to sustainability is vident in the planning itself – in the conceptualisation of a centralised core which leads to maximum service efficiency. The large, juxtaposed, horizontal cuboids have been further defined by vertical as well as horizontal planes. While the vertical frames double up as fins for the façade areas with glazing, the horizontal planes give stability to the structure and masquerade as overhangs (shading devices). Further, the north-south orientation of the longer sides ensures mitigation of west openings.

Perspective View, Villaments, City Ville - Valmark, Bengaluru


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project (with a total built-up area of 1.5 million square feet), is set to be completed in 2015, and offers scenic views of the Hulimavu Lake. Inspired by the theme of ‘Lake, Tree and Sky,’ the design has been developed keeping in mind the attainment of visual connectivity to the lake and nature and the integral concerns of privacy, security and comfort.

Ar. Neelaksh Mahajan

Ar. V T Anand

A high water table in the area permitted only a single basement, which led to a special focus on the accommodation of the parking spaces to meet the requirement of the applicable byelaws.

CITY VILLE – VALMARK, BENGALURU Reflecting a lavish and luxurious kind of living, the gated community of City Ville – Valmark has been envisioned as a residential development with 510 villaments spread over an area of 28 acres. The

The principal architects of the firm, architects V. T. Anand and Neelaksh Mahajan, have made distinctive contribution to the firm in helping it attain a global presence.

Perspective View, City Ville - Valmark, Bengaluru

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The entire site has being subdivided into 255 individual plots with villaments designed on G+4 levels; the villaments at the lower level are designed as threebedroom duplex units (on ground floor and first floor, about 2,500 square feet), whereas the villaments at the upper level are designed as four-bedroom triplex units (on second, third and fourth floors, about 3,300 square feet) with a penthouse suite and a private terrace. The Vaastucompliant villaments have an east-west orientation, warranting maximum natural light and ventilation. The landscape design has been carefully thought of to perform many functions – of unifying the individual plots while concurrently giving the villaments a clean and separate access; working as buffer zones and as shades; enabling privacy at places and providing a visual connect with nature. The rear

Cluster Layout, City Ville - Valmark, Bengaluru

gardens of the individual villaments also aid in service integration. The villas merge beautifully into this landscape design. The strategic placement of the 25,000-square-foot clubhouse opens views of the lake. The clubhouse makes potential use of its placement in the lap of nature by converting the contours of the space around it into relaxing and rejuvenating spaces. The interiors of the villaments revel in expansive volumes of space. Doubleheight windows, cosy sitouts along with the rooms, home automation systems, and contemporary materials in natural colours are the other striking features. With a contemporary urban appearance, the City Ville â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Valmark takes the advantage of the natural site environs of the lake, rendering a modern dimension to waterside living. Adapting a material and colour palette of neutral and earth colours, the project has been designed to create a dignified ambience. Buffer spaces corresponding to statutory regulations and

Site Plan, City Ville - Valmark, Bengaluru

byelaws have been effectively integrated with landscaped areas to provide a comprehensive design solution. A temple plaza around an existing temple on the site has been created by the architects as a community space to cater to the socio-cultural needs.


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Symphony of style,



The building and its facade - standing tall

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The atrium lobby


iscover the effort that went into creating the magnificent Fortune Inn Grazia, Noida, and the school of thought that architects Shalini Dasgupta and Shoummo Dasgupta brought into the process. The Fortune Inn Grazia stands tall on the main arterial road of Sector 27, Noida. A modern, contemporary hotel, it is a perfect amalgam of grandeur and functionality, and elicits admiration from travellers and businessmen alike.

While the exteriors of the hotel are majestic and opulent, the interiors exude warmth through earthy dĂŠcor. The architects ensured that the earthy theme was maintained throughout.


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Architects Shalini Dasgupta and Shoummo Dasgupta of Heritage Conservation and Design Centre (HCDC) developed the blueprint for this hotel, defined by the principles of ‘Form follows function’ and ‘Less is more’ as advocated by the famous architects Louis Sullivan and Mies Van der Rohe. Fortune Inn Grazia boasts of an easily accessible location – not too far from too close to the commercial hub of Noida. The architects realised that this ideal location would eventually translate into a lot of business. Hence, they acknowledged Plan

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The lobby

the need to conceptualise an eye-catching, contemporary and functional design for the hotel.

guests, such as business centres and conference rooms.

The hotel is well-equipped with all the basic facilities such as banquet halls, all-day dinning, bar, swimming pool and gym. Also present in the premises are a rejuvenating spa and a bustling coffee shop serving delectable offerings. In addition, the hotel has world-class business amenities for its

MAJESTIC FAร‡ADE The first thing to greet visitors at the hotel is its majestic, curved faรงade. Shalini and Shoummo put in a lot of thought behind the materials to be used for the faรงade, and finally zeroed in on a blend of shot-blasted Gwalior

The standard room


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The suite room








: 2009



white sandstone and honed Gwalior white sandstone, Italian marble, grey Travertine and Statuario marble. They chose these stones for their durability, longevity, and ease of maintenance. Also, Travertine, a form of limestone, exhibits a fibrous pattern while Statuario, the finest and most luxurious kind of marble exhibits a veined pattern, and together they create interesting shadow patterns which the architects were keen on highlighting. The curved façade adds a sense of drama and grandeur, and conveys the contemporary stylistics of the hotel as a whole.


Heritage Conservation and Design Centre (HCDC) developed the blueprint for this hotel, defined by the principles of ‘Form follows function’ and ‘Less is more’, as advocated by the famous architects Louis Sullivan and Mies Van der Rohe.

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The hotel, located on a half-acre plot with a built-up area of 65,000 square feet, is adorned by refreshing water fountains. While the exteriors of the hotel are majestic and opulent, the interiors exude warmth through earthy décor. The architects ensured that the earthy theme was maintained throughout, as the client had specified it. A distinct feature of the lobby is its triple-height atrium, adding another dimension to the lobby in terms of space and also allowing guests to view the lobby from their respective rooms on various floors. As much as they ensured maintaining the earthy décor, the architects also laid emphasis on selecting the right colour

palette. Colours, they felt, played a vital role in maintaining and improving the ambience of the space. They chose muted, subdued colours to enhance the earthiness and highlight the artwork and artefacts in the common areas such as the bar, lobby, reception, and all-day dining area, especially since the dining area is named The Earthen Oven.

FIVE TYPES OF ROOMS The hotel has five types of rooms – standard twin rooms, standard double-bed rooms, typical corner rooms, handicap-accessible rooms, and suites that are soaked in warm, bright colours to bring to life the richness and vibrancy of the hotel. The décor is limited to only two types to reduce the burden on the staff during inventory. While the standard rooms, corner rooms and handicap-accessible rooms are based on one décor theme, the suites followed another. The décor included contemporary elements such as hassle-free, straight-line furniture, modern artwork, glass walls and bright colours. The most challenging aspect of designing this hotel was transforming a nallah (drain) located right in front of the hotel. The architect duo worked on this site and converted it into a pleasant, landscaped patch, maintained by the hotel, and effectively concealed the nallah – thus creating the entire space into a symphony of style and grandeur.


Sydney CBD:

Exemplary integration Text & photos : Ar. Apurva Bose Dutta

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ydney CBD (Central Business District), Australia, is an example of how the heart of a city should be â&#x20AC;&#x201C; integrating public spaces that engage and invite interaction; spaces/streets that connect to each other at diverse levels simultaneously maintaining their exclusivity; skyscrapers that seem to be forming neighbourhoods in the sky and a certain vibrancy and calm maintaining an ideal equilibrium.


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St Mary’s Cathedral, St Mary’s Road Standing on the site of the first Catholic chapel in Australia, the ‘Gothic revival’ style of the cathedral reminds one of the great medieval cathedrals of Europe. Constructed in local sandstone, the original cathedral was destroyed in fire. The present one, built in several stages, was completed in the late 1950s.

30 The Bond, Hickson Road The nine-storied Asia-Pacific headquarters of the Lend Lease Corporation uses 30-40% less power than today’s best-practice buildings and emits 30% lower carbon dioxide than a typical office. In 2005, it became the first office building in Australia to achieve the Five-Star Greenhouse rating. The use of a passive system for space conditioning based on ‘chilled beams’ (a ‘first’ in Australia) has been the focus of a lot of deliberations.

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The Sydney Opera House Sydney’s architectural icon is a world-class performing arts venue designed by Pritzker Awardee architect Jorn Utzon. Recognised as a world heritage site in 2007, the journey of the design of this iconic structure is interesting – following the controversial winning of the design competition by Ultzon, there was unprecedented increase in the stipulated budget and Ultzon left the project midway. The Opera House consists of five theatres – two main halls and three small theatres.


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Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Sydney Harbour The re-developed Museum (March 2012) houses some of the finest art installations, paintings, murals and sculptures from Australia and across the globe. The spacious new galleries, state-of-the-art technology, a rooftop cafe and sculpture terrace complement the exquisite art on display.

Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Harbour A brilliant piece of engineering, this steel arch bridge crosses the Sydney Harbour carrying rail, vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The Guinness Book of World Records marks it as the widest long-span bridge and the tallest steel-arch bridge in the world, and the fifth-longest spanningarch bridge. The bridge can rise or fall up to 7 inches with the expansion/contraction of the steel according to the weather.

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Hyde Park Barracks Museum, Macquarie Street Hyde Park Barracks Museum, a World Heritage site, was built in 1819 as a home for convict men and boys. Built by early prisoners, this brick building and walled compound has a fascinating exhibit covering the barracksâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; 190-year history.

The Mint Museum, Macquarie Street The House of the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales (NSW â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the State of Sydney), is the oldest public building in Sydney CBD that was built between 1811 and 1816, originally as the southern wing of the Sydney Hospital. This refurbished project was recently named as one of 30 projects that have reshaped the built environment since 1978.

Mitchell Library, State Library, Macquarie Street The Mitchell Wing of the State Library (the oldest library in Australia) is named after David Scott Mitchell, the first Collector of Australia. Besides possessing one of the best collections of books in Australia, the stunning architecture, the clean, neat lines and flawless organisation is more than an incentive for one to visit the library.


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Darling Harbour The relevance of public spaces in routine life can be assessed by seeing this space crowded with people at any time of the day. With a number of restaurants, cafes, play areas, hotels, gardens, exhibition areas and residential areas, it is a favourite space for the entire Sydney to hang out. It provides an amazing view of the Sydney skyline. The street plays and the weekend fireworks are well-known.

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Sydney Tower, Market Street Opened in 1981, The Sydney Tower, with its spire, is currently Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s second tallest freestanding structure. At 1,001 feet over Sydney CBD, this is Sydneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s highest viewpoint. This tower has a fully enclosed observation deck with a viewing platform at a height of 820 feet above ground level, offering a complete 360-degree panoramic view of the city.


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1 Bligh Street CBD’s latest landmark – a premium-grade sustainable office space with innovative design, technology and sustainability. This was named for the Best Tall Building Award in Asia and Australasia for 2012 in the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s Skyscraper Awards. The features include a doubleskin glass facade (the first high-rise office tower in Australia to have one), a full-height glass atrium on 27 levels, column-free floor plates, and Australia’s largest green wall. The building has been awarded a six Star Green Star – Office Design v2 Certified rating, the highest Green Star rating score in Sydney/NSW.

Australia Square, George Street Having earned its place in the history as Sydney’s first true office tower, this ‘round-tower’ building has been considered an iconic building since 1967, when its construction started. Being Australia’s first true skyscraper, it was the world’s tallest light-weight concrete building at the time it was built.

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Museum of Sydney, Phillips and Bridge Street A creative genius of one of Sydney’s most renowned architects, Richard Johnson, the Museum of Sydney, built in 1995, stands on the national heritage site of Australia’s First Government House that was built in 1788. While the forecourt of the museum preserves the remaining foundations of this house below, of interesting note is the art installation, Edge of the Trees, on the surface that symbolises the site of first contact between the British colonisers and the Gadigal people (a group of Aboriginal Australians) of Sydney. The museum travels through the colonial to the contemporary Sydney.

Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour An initiative by the local Chinese community to celebrate Australia’s 1988 Bicentenary, the Chinese Garden of Friendship was built by Chinese landscape architects and gardeners, and is governed by the Taoist principles of ‘Ying-Yang.’ The Dragon Wall, the Rock Forest amongst the flowing waterfalls, exotic plants and meandering stone pathways convey a story of their own.


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Strand Arcade, George Street A well-preserved Victorian-era shopping centre with chic boutiques, shops and eateries.

Queen Victoria Building, George Street This ornate Romanesque Revival building, initially designed to be a government structure, today houses many upscale brands. The Victorian details of the central dome, stained glass windows, arches, cupolas, balustrades and intricate colonnades have made this structure breathtaking. The two mechanical clocks that feature dioramas and moving figures depicting various historical moments are fascinating!

The Rocks The Rocks, the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;birthplace of Modern Sydney,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; is a place of extensive historical importance. The rustic ambience of the cobbled laneways and the cosy eating joints have history embedded in them. This was the strip of land where the European settlers chose to step ashore in 1788. The Rocks Discovery Museum is a must-visit!

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Utopian visionary

Ar. Paulo Soleri

I “When so many others were theorising, Soleri went out into the desert and actually built his vision with his own hands. That’s the reason he became such a counterculture hero.” - Prof. Jeffrey Cook

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talian-born architect Paolo Soleri (1919–2013), who designed the experimental city named Arcosanti in the high desert 60 miles north of Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States, died at his home in Paradise Valley on April 9, 2013. He was 93. Dr Soleri was one of the few remaining direct disciples of Frank Lloyd Wright and remains one of the most recognised names in architecture and design for his exalted manifestos on a revolutionary lifestyle of complex but compact cities, where cars are not needed and more of the natural landscape is preserved. Team Design Detail pays tribute to this revolutionary architect who dedicated his life to achieving his utopian dreams in architecture and design.

BELLS AND BRIDGES Arcosanti is an urban project that explores the possibilities of future city life in concrete and steel. Though Soleri envisioned over 5,000 people living in the complex, it never achieved his full vision, as in the case of many of his other projects. The poster at the entrance to the city of Arcosanti reads: â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you are truly concerned about the problems of pollution, waste, energy depletion, land, water, air and biological conservation, poverty, segregation, intolerance, population containment, fear and disillusionment, join us.â&#x20AC;? Soleriâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s impact can also be seen and heard across the Arizona Valley. Among his completed projects is a $3.5-million pedestrian bridge in




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Scottsdale, Soleri Bridge and Plaza, south-west of Camelback and Scottsdale roads. It is the only completed bridge of the hundreds he designed. Thousands of Arizona Valley residents treasure their ‘Soleri Bells’ – unique cast-bronze wind-bells that are prized for their purity of tone, which Soleri had begun designing and selling half a century ago to finance Arcosanti.

WIDE CANVAS Phoenix-based architect Will Bruder, who had worked with Soleri at Arizona Valley in 1967 and 1968, likened Soleri to Leonardo da Vinci, the prolific Renaissance painter, sculptor and architect, for his breadth of work on paper and his influential ideas. “Paolo’s mind was always going out into the cosmos. I learned how much you can do with very little, the potential of simplicity and the ability to make unbelievable things from modest means, to dream huge dreams.” Bruder said. “I’m not blowing smoke when I say he was of that stature. He is more widely known in the world than Arizona by far. He will be remembered for hundreds of years. Paolo taught me about the ordinary becoming extraordinary.” &RPIRUWDEOHGLQLQJDW3DROR6ROHUL¶V$FURVDQWL


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According to Bruder, the celebrated architecture of Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix, which Bruder had designed, would not have come about without Soleri’s input on materials and design.


Thousands of Arizona Valley residents treasure their â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Soleri Bellsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x201C; unique cast-bronze wind-bells that are prized for their purity of tone, which Soleri had begun designing and selling half a century ago to finance Arcosanti.

Cosanti Bell Tree

EARLY LIFE AND CAREER Soleri studied with Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West from 1947 to 1949. Yet, he disagreed with the master-architectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vision of a utopian suburbia reliant on the automobile, a concept Wright called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Broad Acre City.â&#x20AC;? Soleri saw the present trend of designing cities only a few stories high, stretching outward in an unwieldy sprawl for miles, as a problem. According to him, this resulted in literally transforming the earth by â&#x20AC;&#x153;turning farms into parking lots, and wasting enormous amounts of time and energy transporting people, goods and services over their expanses.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;We must build up, not out,â&#x20AC;? was Soleriâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s solution to this challenge. Soleri received his first commission with architect Mark Mills in 1949 from heiress Nora Woods to build the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Dome Houseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in Cave Creek. He married Woodsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; daughter, Colly, the same year. They had two daughters, Kristine and Daniela. Colly Soleri died in 1982.


Paolo Soleri returned to his home country in 1950, whereupon he studied solar energy and completed several architectural commissions, including a lauded sculpturalceramics factory on the coast south of Naples. He returned to Arizona in 1956, and, in the same year, founded the Cosanti Foundation (the Italian term â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cosa antiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; means â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;against thingsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;).


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UNIQUE DESIGN PHILOSOPHY Soleriâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s few buildings outside Arizona include the Paolo Soleri Amphitheatre, an eccentric performance space in Santa Fe, whose stage design evokes Salvador DalĂ­. Soleri hoped that Arcosanti would show other cities how to minimise energy use and encourage human interaction. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He was part of a flock of utopian dreamers who designed mega-structure cities in the 1960s, but he had more of a social and ecological agenda than the others,â&#x20AC;? Jeffrey Cook, professor of architecture at Arizona State University, said. According to him, â&#x20AC;&#x153;when so many others were theorising, Soleri went out into the desert and actually built his vision with his own hands. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the reason he became such a counterculture hero.â&#x20AC;? 6ROHULD9LHWUL

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MULTIDIMENSIONAL SPACE Soleri, who apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1940s, developed a philosophy he called â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;arcologyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x201C; architecture coupled with ecology â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that some saw as an answer to suburban sprawl. It involved building densely packed, beehive-like buildings that â&#x20AC;&#x153;held out a promise of not only an alternative architecture but also alternative culture,â&#x20AC;? going by the reported statement of architecture critic Paul Goldberger. Dr Soleriâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s basic idea was that architecture and ecology are inseparable in their effect on people. In his view, technology always moves toward miniaturisation, just as nature tends

toward complexity and compactness. Human habitation, he believed, must also move toward more compact, multilayered and multidimensional spaces instead of scattering or spreading across the landscape. Soleri pursued his philosophy with singlemindedness into his 90s, stepping down as president of the Cosanti Foundation at 92. Even as his ideas seemed to go out of fashion, he continued to work on Acrosanti, which remained his ‘urban laboratory’ until his last breath.

Soleri saw the present trend of designing cities only a few stories high, stretching outward in an unwieldy sprawl for miles, as a problem.“We must build up, not out,” was his solution to this challenge. This “prototype arcology” is the vision of Soleri, who, as an artist-cum-thinker, saw it as an alternative to urban sprawl.

Critic and author Alastair Gordon once likened Dr Soleri to ‘a desert Obi-Wan Kenobi’ who spoke “in elliptical bursts peppered with words like vegativity, vectoriality and stardust.”

REVOLUTIONARY WORKS One project, completed through what Soleri called “no pushing or pulling” of his own, was the Soleri Bridge and Plaza. At $3.5 million, the bridge was the largest project ever undertaken by Scottsdale Public Art, the city-subsidised group that oversees publicart projects and events in the city. The bridge took 20 years from concept to completion, largely because of financial issues. Dedicated in December 2010, the span was designed as a pedestrian passage and gathering place. The 130-foot-long bridge widens from 18 to 27 feet and opens onto a 22,000-square-foot plaza,

which has been a featured setting for several art and tourism events. Most striking are two 64-foot, brushed-steel pylons that generate a light beam on the walking surface of the bridge to mark solar events. A second set of 22foot pylons set in the plaza house Soleri’s cast-bronze bells. The plaza features ten 8-foot-high concrete panels etched with Soleri designs. “I wasn’t pushing or pulling for this,” Soleri said at the dedication. “But, when you come up with a concept, you do like to develop it. You do like to stay with it. That it serves as a sundial was also important. ... We are so (disconnected) from our past. The sun is just something that happens. It’s not our business, but it is our business. We are the ‘big bang’ in development. We should be reminded of how we are connected with something that happened 12 billion years ago.”


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Full of Mexican

cheer & charm B

Photos : Anand Jaju, Anand

angaloreans with their affinity for fun, frolic & weekend parties, are also known for their thirst for adventure with taste buds. Whenever they feel like tasting some of the classic, mouth-watering cuisines of Mexico, they head straight for one of the many Mexican restaurants scattered within the city. Mexican cuisine has close links with the culture, society & customs of the country and forms part of the world’s intangible cultural heritage, as documented by the UNESCO. Habanero is Bangalore’s first authentic Tex- Mex restaurant catering to the high-energy, fun atmosphere and authentic tastes the metro folk and travelers are looking for. It is the creation of a husband-and-wife team - Griffith David from India and Elizabeth Bowden from the US, who have spent years in the American southwest, soaking up the region’s cheerful culture and the flavours of Mexican border cuisine. Habanero, with its vivacious interiors and a warm, welcoming atmosphere, is an ideal spot to unwind with family and friends. The restaurant has a vibrant feel and serves scrumptious Texan, Mexican & Spanish food featuring hearty vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare.

BURRITOS, MARGARITAS Habanero delights its customers with classic Mexican foods, Tex-Mex creations, and Texas-influenced American items. The menu features nachos, burritos, quesadillas, and burgers, as well as grilled chicken breasts, fish and tenderloin. Classic drinks such as margaritas and sangria go perfectly with the cuisine.

Bubbly and bright is this Mexican delight!

The restaurant, reflecting Mexican architecture, portrays a lifestyle of spicy cuisine, music & dance and fun & festivity.


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Depicting Mexican streetscape - the hand-plastered walls lend a rustic charm.

The restaurant in Bangalore is named after the hot chili pepper used in Mexican comida de la calle or simply, street food. The clients had originally started a Habanero restaurant at a Tech park in an IT hub which became a roaring success. This inspired them to initiate a Habanero chain, this one being the first. Specialty food chains are supposed to have a distinct identity. This factor had to be kept in mind during the designing and

The restaurant has a distinct identity.

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developing of this restaurant with Mexican interiors. The restaurant is laid out in two levels with a double-height bar space at the entry connecting them. Soft-edged walls are hand-plastered with undulations on the surface and niches that house the bar display. Bright China mosaic with motifs derived from the logo clads the counter.

The painted niches on the wall and the multi-coloured glass drop lights add to the festive ambience.

The double-height bar space connecting WKHWZRĂ&#x20AC;RRUV










: 6000 SQ. FT

ENTERTAINING STREETSCAPE The obras de art or artworks, painted niches in the wall emulating windows with sloped sun-shades of Mediterranean half-round clay tiles depicting Mexican streetscape, grille patterns, lights and plaster bands all come together to recreate the Mexican calle or street and welcome the guests to an evening of fun and entertainment. A china mosaic display of the restaurant logo is set in the wall that forms the background for the staircase with a wrought iron railing. The first floor becomes a performance area and dance floor during events. An outdoor area with a view of the street below accommodates large groups of people by means of fixed seating adorned with china-mosaic patterns.

MOOD LIGHTING Wooden furniture arranged on hand-made tiles with jaggered edges, add warmth to the interior. Lighting is largely diffused with multi-coloured glass drop lights illuminating the tables. The first floor is treated with mood lighting that is suitable for performances. The basic design elements and details which are uniformly repeated in the restaurant chain reflect Mexican architecture and portray a lifestyle of festivity, music, dance and spicy food.


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Weaving a story with


colours H

It was her parents’ profession that let her absorb the rich heritage of 25 countries by the time she had turned 16.

Shirin Sahba

Text and photos: Tina Garg & Medini Rai, Pink Lemonade

The tiger and the temple

and over a plain white easel or a clear wall of a room to Shirin Sahba and watch the dull walls and easel come to life with her smooth brush strokes and selection of bright tone of colours. Each painting of Shirin Sahba, a young painter/artiste, tells a simple yet captivating tale of its own. Shirin Sahba, born to an architect and a graphic designer in India, was introduced to the beautiful world of red, blue, green, and many other colours at an early age of 4. Most of her childhood was spent amidst the enchanting Israel, exploring its local museums and rich cultural sites. It was her parents’ profession that let her absorb the rich heritage of 25 countries by the time she had turned 16. The unquenchable thirst to explore colours, brush strokes, and paints led her to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the

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prestigious Ontario College of Art and Design, Canada, with Painting as her major subject. While most girls of her age spent their vacation with family and friends, Shirin preferred to work as an intern for Jeffrey Deitch, now the director at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, at his Soho Gallery in New York and sharpen her skills. After graduation, Shirin’s dream of working The maharani’s expedition

Flower sellers of Kashmir


The emotions of love, wonder, passion, sadness and loneliness have evolved into a universal story in her canvas.

The maharani seeks adventure


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The little fox ponders life

It all started at sea


While the protagonists in her paintings appear to travel far and beyond, they have invoked a deep sense of mystery among the keen observers of art.

Rendezvous at the riad

with her childhood inspiration – the renowned Canadian painter Otto Don Rogers – came true when he took her under his wings for a brief time as an apprentice. Today, she accredits her parent’s profession and the exposure to the wonderful opportunities for her 8-year-old professional career to get started. Since then, there has been no turning back.

A HOST OF EMOTIONS One glance is all it takes to realize quickly that most of Shirin’s paintings capture the essence of an everyday life in its natural splendour. It was during the infancy of her career that she started depicting her grandfather – who had passed away in an accident when he was in his early 30s – in a series of paintings donning a pilot cap and sunglasses, travelling around

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the world in his scooter. Soon after, she began to portray her mother’s battle against cancer in different landscapes and seascapes. From thereon, the emotions of love, wonder, passion, sadness and loneliness have evolved into a universal story in her canvas. Through a certain combination of colours, Shirin brilliantly highlights nostalgia, emotions, and memories in her canvas.

Wanderlust grips the maharani

Whether it is the interweaving of different corners of the globe with a single common thread of human emotions and characteristics or the depiction of miniature humans in picturesque landscapes denoting the miniscule yet significant part human beings play in this large wide world, the Bahá’í belief plays a crucial and integral part in all her paintings. This portrayal blurs the dichotomy of abstraction and realism, as Bahá’í believes in the harmony of both. Apart from Bahá’í, she draws inspiration from the rich cultural heritage, history, beauty and colour of the countries she has visited. India, her first home, is one of them. Its rich history and ancient architecture tickle her imagination. Her second muse is the majestic landscape and deep blue sky of the Mediterranean. North Africa also grabs her attention for its historical relevance. Writers, designers, artistes and individuals from other unconventional professions catch her fancy as an inspiration as well.

The maharani walks her monkey

While the protagonists in her paintings appear to travel far and beyond, they have invoked a deep sense of mystery among the keen observers of art. She believes that an individual unwraps the mystery on his or her own, so she lets them weave a story by deciphering the meaning according to his/her perceptions of life.

CIRCULAR CANVAS Each of her masterpieces is an extension of her. The visual treats that are displayed in some of the corporate spaces, architectural firms, and homes are created keeping in mind the needs of the client. These days, her canvas has taken the shape of a circle, as a reminder to peering outside the window of a boat or a ship. Shirin strongly believes that the circle evokes a sense of great harmony and solace as well. Currently, Shirin calls Beijing her home and has designed her beautiful abode herself with a

blend of modernistic furniture and artistic memorabilia collected during her travel. Her friends call up at her home that truly resonates with her. Also, these days she is working hard on painting for private collectors and for an exhibition in Spain and China – the dates are yet to be set. Since Shirin is an avid traveller, the list of destinations she wishes to visit is long. It includes Zanzibar, Sweden, Japan, Brazil and Tunisia. She truly hopes that each of these countries offers her newer inspirations and wonderful experiences.


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Koningin Julianaplein OMA The Hague, the Netherlands

TVCC OMA Beijing, China

Blown-up Fonts: A typographical approach for the building shape.



arket economy has been a dominant force in defining the content of culture, which, in turn, directly defines the content and shape of the architecture of today. Architecture of the 21st century was mostly produced in democratic regimes till the 1970-80s, but the new architectural movement is prevalent in territories where a semi-democratic or non-democratic system exists. Now it is taking place mostly in the Middle East and Eastward. There are no manifestos left, and our culture has become kind of impotent to defining the architecture. From the viewpoint of design education, it is important to be continuously evaluating and be aware of current

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Max Reinhardt Haus Peter Eisenman, Berlin, Germany

Walter Tower Big, Prague, Czech Republic

Brussels Business City, JDS Brussels, Belgium

Hamburg Science Center OMA Hamburg, Germany

As a part of research done by WAIArchitecture Think Tank, they argue that, today shapes are repeated indifferently all over the world. They are the incarnations of the unrealised schemes of Le Corbusier, Meis, Alexander Vesnin, El Lissitzky and many more. CCTV Headquarters OMA Beijing, China

Campus Center, Oppenheim Architecture Design, Florida, USA

The Loop: A tower goes up, bends at the top and comes down, a kind of a Mobius strip.

Phoenix Island, Mad Sanya City, China


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Architekton Kazimir Malevich, Moscow, Russia

Vertical Campus OMA, Shinjuku, Japan

Sears Tower Som Chicago, USA

Gazprom Headquartersoma OMA, St.Petersburg, Russia

Malevichean towers: An arbitrary extrusion of volume to form a tower.

architectural trends. One of the important trends that have arisen in recent times has its basis in the shape of architecture. Modernism is an aesthetic practice, the period of which is impossible to define. Some say that the period of modernism started with the period of Enlightenment, or can be traced to the European revolution of 1848. For many others, it is essentially a condition of the 21st century architecture. Modernist Zeitgeist can be dominantly portrayed from neat and clean straight lines, white villas, brise soleil, grid city plan, treeless plazas and use of revolutionary materials such as glass, concrete and steel etc. The style was of rationalism, purism and sobriety.

abandoning all previous ornaments and concentrating on the aesthetic purism. In 1926, Le Corbusier formulated five points of architecture – Pilotis, Flat Roof, Free Plan, Horizontal Windows and Free Façade – which soon became the spirit of modern architecture. Though modernism was approached by Loos and Corbusier in dichotomous ways, it was still all about style. Contemporary architecture has no written manifestos like those of Loos and Corbusier. Yet, to Modernism, contemporary architecture remains an undefined territory to explore.


According to Robert Somol, Form is a geometry that turns into architecture, while Mass is the act of expression that

Adolf Loos states in Ornament and Crime (1908) that new architecture will benefit by Wolkenbügel El Lissitzky, Moscow, Russia

China Insurance Group Coop Himmelblau, Shenzhen, China

The Nanjing Museum Of Art & Architecture Steven Holl, Nanjing, China

Steel Clouds: A steel box redistributed on various heights on the vertical shaft.

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Habitat 67 Moshe Safdie, Montreal, Canada

New Museum, Sanna,New York, USA

Sky Village MVRDV-Adept Rodovre, Denmark

Stacking Boxes: Preferred by Japanese Metabolists. It is a random amalgamation of boxes stacked on top of each other.

achieves through the cult of an author. Form is embraced into architecture as text while massing embraces itself as object sculpture. Michael Fried has defined the essential characteristic of shape. He suggests that shape is operated by the spatial and performative qualities. For him, the effect of shape is theatrical, while Robert Somol suggests about it in 12 Reasons to Get Back into Shape thus: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Illicit, easy, expandable, graphic, adaptable, fit, empty, arbitrary, intensive, buoyant and projective.â&#x20AC;? Shape can be interpreted as in relation to architecture occurring in a particular set of circumstances, which form a larger group, in contrast to the abstract and immaterial realm of Form.

Market economy has been a dominant force in defining the content of culture, which, in turn, directly defines the content and shape of the architecture of today.

Mondri Delano Hotel JDS, Las Vegas, USA

Signal Tower OMA, France, Paris

Zigguratpolis: A group of ziggurat-shaped towers bounded by a common ground plane Olympic Weaving Village, MVRDV, New York, USA

Alsterzentrum Neue Heimat Hans Konwiarz, Hamburg, Germany


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Slovensky Rozhlas Stefan Svetko, Bratislava, Slovakia

Grand Egyptian Museum Plot (Now it is JDS and BIG), Cairo, Egypt

Inverted Pyramids: This creates an illusion of a pyramid turned upside down.

NEW IDENTITY Today, it is extremely important to have a look at OMA’s and Rem Koolhaas’s works. The shape of the Central Chinese TV Building has a graphic quality and generates a new identity. It is a loop created by six approximately rectangular elements. The two main towers are joined by cantilevered, L-shaped overhangs. It accommodates all the major functions of the media at a national scale within a Universal Headquarters Oma, Los Angeles, USA

single shape. A similar idea was presented by Peter Eisenman in 1992 for Max Reinhardt Tower – again a looping tower. It is a kind of ‘cake tin architecture’ where all the programmatic elements are accommodated in a single shape. Shape sometimes relies on the presence and the mere size of large-scale buildings. It has a graphic quality of logos, generating a new identity which defines the potential and the specific qualities of shapes.

Narkomtiazhprom Vesnin Brothers, Moscow, Russia

Horizontal Condensers: Highly popularised by Russian constructivist. These are the vertical individual towers connected by bridges.

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(SĂ&#x20AC;/HDUQLQJ&HQWHU Xaveer De Geyter Lausanne, Switzerland

REVOLUTIONARY MANIFESTO As a part of research done by WAIArchitecture Think Tank, they argue that, today shapes are repeated indifferently all over the world. They are the incarnations of the unrealised schemes of Le Corbusier, Meis, Alexander Vesnin, El Lissitzky and many more. As a result, subconsciously limited amount of shapes get repeated over time, as a fashion trend. The eight possible categories(refer images) can be formed

Kunsthaus Rex Architecture Zurich, Switzerland

Narkomtiazhprom Vesnin Brothers Moscow, Russia

Linked Hybrid Steven Holl Beijing, China

as classifications of building shapes for contemporary architecture. However, one can see a lot of similarities in the contemporary world, with the ideas drawn from the previous periods. Can Shape be the revolutionary manifesto shaking the foundation of 21st century architecture? For some, it may appear to be cynical to interpret new architecture through some symbolic shapes. The debate continuesâ&#x20AC;Ś.


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CEPT past


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â&#x20AC;&#x153;CEPT believes in valuebased education, because the promoters of education themselves believe in that. At the institute, the fundamentals of all that is taught and the exposure are on par with the best in the world.â&#x20AC;? Prof. B. V. Doshi

Exhibition of studio works at CEPT lobby.

Space to display studio works



he Centre for Environment Planning and Technology has carved out a space as a centre of excellence and research in Architecture in Asia and in the academic world. A search for the best institute to learn architecture always shows CEPT its list. The quality of the professionals passing out and the academic air of the campus proves its credibility as an institute of excellence. CEPT University celebrated its golden jubilee in 2012. It was a happening year with lots of progress, programmes and new faculties added.


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The jute canopy at the campus by students

For an architecture/planning /design student, the CEPT is a happening place; the campus can boast of a ‘real academic space” that inspires minds. For those who visit the campus, the green campus always remains as an oasis nurturing the minds. Looking back at the history, CEPT University was started in the year 1962. The university was initially established as “School of Architecture” on July 24, 1962. The name Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT University) was coined later after the School of Planning was established in 1972.

HARMONIOUS BLENDING The lawns and the studio block in the background

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The Centre for Environmental Planning & Technology was established by architect guru Prof.

B.V. Doshi and his team in Ahmedabad, and it has been moulding and inspiring young minds into architecture for the past 50 years, evolving as one of the premier institutions for architecture studies in the country and in the world. The campus is located in the heart of the Ahmedabad city, in the university area. The campus was designed by Prof. Doshi himself. According to Prof. Doshi, “a student of architecture must be surrounded by beauty and art, so that he/she develops into a wellrounded creative person, sensitive to the emotional, spiritual, cultural and aesthetic dimensions”. This philosophy is epitomized in the campus design itself, with built and open spaces forming a harmonious whole with nature, interspersed with sculptures, installations and other art works. Doshi has used exposed burnt clay brick with concrete, emphasizing the slabs and the beams to create a natural coarse texture that merges with the landscape and the lawns set in the perfect canvas for the building. To quote, “The buildings are designed as double-storeyed linear masses, open from both sides, letting in plenty of light and ventilation into the studios. In addition, there are inclined skylights on top of the studios, perpetually letting in natural light into the spaces. The studio spaces have bay spaces facing the exterior, creating semiprivate spaces which are yet totally open to the exterior - spaces where the individual can be alone with nature even in the environment of a studio”.

The academic block

The courtyard lit for the festival

RESOURCE CENTRE CEPT University sponsored by Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology Trust (1994) was established by an Act of Gujarat State Legislature in 2005. Its constituent School of Architecture was established in 1962, followed by School of Planning (1972), School of Building Science and Technology (1982) and the School of Interior Design (1991). Since its inception, CEPT University has operated as an autonomous academic institution. CEPT University uses its education and research programmes to highlight awareness on the challenges arising from the multi-dimensional issues raised by contemporary society. Its focus on the professional nature of the disciplines it teaches, particularly those dealing with human habitation and the built form, means that a number of experts from the industry and the professions are regularly asked to teach at the university. The interactive campus spaces


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to chart a unique course of study and realize his or her own individual potential, programmes mandate only three quarters of the total credits that students have to complete. Students can complete the remaining credits by choosing from the wide range of elective courses on offer at any of the five faculties of the University. The Faculties also make all attempts to ensure that even within the mandatory portion of the programme, students can choose courses to suit their practice orientation.

View of the lawns

UNIQUE PHILOSOPHY One of its key missions is to become a resource centre for the state, industry, society and the professions, by developing databases and reference materials as well as offering training programmes, educational courses and consultancy services. The teaching programmes at CEPT University focus on building professional capacities and therefore they are centered on ‘studios’ or ‘labs’. Here, students engage with well-designed life-like problems. Coursework, seminars and research assignments, aimed at developing conceptual and analytical abilities of students, and skill-enhancing workshops support the learning in studios and labs. Students also have to enroll in travel and documentation programmes and to intern in professional offices to widen their exposure. CEPT University cherishes the individual interests and abilities of its students. To enable each student

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The belief that educating professionals requires practising professionals and academics to work closely together firmly underpins CEPT University’s pedagogic philosophy. Therefore, CEPT University works as a collaborative of academics and practitioners. Practitioners adept at decision-making bring in their experience to the classrooms and academics impart a more thoughtful and critical approach. Teachers at CEPT University see themselves as coaches. Their role is to support individual students in their explorations and in their capacity-building quests. As the University website speaks, “CEPT University focuses on understanding, designing, planning, constructing and managing human habitats. Its teaching programmes build thoughtful professionals and its research

programmes deepen understanding of human settlements. CEPT University also undertakes advocacy and advisory projects to further the goal of making habitats more livable. The University comprises five faculties. The Faculty of Architecture was established as the ‘School of Architecture’ in 1962. It focuses on design in the private realm. The Faculty of Planning, focused on planning in the public realm, was established in 1972 as the ‘School of Planning’. The Faculty of Technology, which concentrates on engineering and construction, was established in 1982 as the ‘School of Building Science and Technology’. The Faculty of Design was established in 1992 as the ‘School of Interior Design’. It deals with habitat-related interiors, crafts, systems and products. The Faculty of Management is a

The natural coarse texture is designed to merge with the landscape.

newly established faculty from the Faculty of Technology Management, and it focuses on Habitat and Project Management.

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT CEPT University takes its name from the ‘Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology’ (CEPT). CEPT and the various schools that it comprised were established by the Ahmedabad Education Society with the support of the Government of Gujarat and the Government of India. The Government of Gujarat incorporated CEPT as a university in 2005. The University Grants Commission recognized CEPT University under section 2(f) of the UGC Act, 1956 in 2007. The Department of Scientific and Industrial

Research (DSIR) of the Government of India recognizes the University as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (SIRO).

The canteen and the greenery: a meeting and discussion space

CEPT has been instrumental in conducting various training programmes in the field of architectural/ planning education and has been recognized as a lead centre for research and consultancy. The various faculty training programmes held in the campus bring in the cohesiveness and generate discussion within the design community. The University has always played a leading role in the field of education and research and has been a guiding light for the institutions that are coming up in different parts of the country. There are lessons to be learned from the way Prof. Doshi’s cherished dream got translated into the humble beginning of a centre for learning, and how it resulted in a university of excellence, recognized all over the world today. Let the University remain as the leading light for years to come…..


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bead curtain


emories Of A Butterfly (MOAB) is a Bengalurubased design firm which specialises in creating fashionable, customised designer bead curtains for its high-end clientele spread across the globe. Attractive, lightweight and highly adaptable, these glass-beaded screens and crystal-beaded curtains come in a variety of exciting shapes, sizes and colours. Excerpts from an interview Team Design Detail had with MOAB:

Please tell us about your firm and the products. Memories of a Butterfly (MOAB) – Design in Beads – specialies in creating high-end, fashionable, customised bead curtains and screens in a flexible, modern, dynamic and more eclectic form. All the designs are handmade and every piece is customised so as to suit the clients’ lifestyle, design and functional decoration needs.

What’s special about beaded curtains and in what way is your product unique? Sreeti Mondol

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What we love about bead curtains is that they not only allow for a play with colour,

light and texture but also enable us to create natural connectors between spaces. They have the ability to ensure privacy without disconnecting an area from the rest of the house, office, bar, hotel, home or restaurant. Beaded curtains reflect a signature lifestyle, forming a unique fashion statement.

Can your bead curtains be used in all kinds of interiors? Who are your clients? Customisation is the key word here. Every space needs to be tackled with its own distinct design and lifestyle requirement, which is why we believe in customising every piece in our work

Red acrylic crystal bead curtain decorating the champagne lounge

with architects, interior designers, hotels, restaurateurs, builders and individual homeowners. Our beaded curtains are exported across the globe, and we have completed international projects in Canada, Australia, Europe, the United Arab Emirates and the USA. Nationally, we have designed beaded curtains in Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat, Chennai, Gurgaon, Rajasthan, Kerala, Hyderabad and many other states across India.

Attractive, light-weight and adaptable

Bead curtains have the ability to ensure privacy without disconnecting an area from the rest of the house, office, bar, hotel, home or restaurant.

Your acrylic crystal bead curtains form a lively and colourful part of interior décor. Is it centred around any theme in particular? The Champagne Brown Acrylic Crystal Bead Curtain was created for the ‘Champagne Lounge’ at the Grand Cayman Island’s prestigious Car Museum, in affiliation with London-based interior designer and


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The glitz and glamour of bead curtains

Catering to a high-end clientele

gallery owner David Genty. Here we have used various shapes of acrylic crystal beads, all the while in keeping with the prominent colour theme of ‘champagne’ in order to stay true to the essence of this space. Not only do the bead curtains here lend a sense of richness, warmth, royalty and depth but they also help segregate the area from the larger museum, creating a sense of privacy.

Beaded curtains reflect a signature lifestyle, forming a unique fashion statement.

The warmth and glow of crystal beads

The Red Acrylic Crystal Bead Curtain was created for the entrance of the ‘Champagne Lounge’. This bead curtain embellishes the grand entrance into this space flanked by the large, thick curtain in deep red. The red hue lends a perfect contrast, yet finely balancing, thus adding drama and texture to the champagne theme of the entire room.

How do you create variety in your products to suit different tastes? Acrylic Coloured Crystals come in various colours, cuts, shapes and sizes. Different cuts and colours may be mixed to increase textures in the bead curtains. The Champagne Room of the Grand Cayman Island needed to have an aura of the 1950s when warm, furnished spaces with sprawling curtains and flowing carpets hosted elegant men and women dressed in their best. This room was to welcome museum guests and transport them to another era. We chose crystal here because the beads are not only classy and elegant but they also add glamour and fantasy to a space. The Champagne Brown Acrylic Crystal Bead Curtain and Red Acrylic Crystal Bead Curtain together add an element of glimmer and glitz to the champagne room of the Island Car Museum.

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House with





Text Photos


he advertisement of a regular tour of the newly renovated Martin House, on a nondescript brochure in a small hotel in Buffalo, the United States, was one of such happy coincidences in life that I would remember it for all the time. We had arrived in Buffalo to visit the Niagara Falls; almost every Indian tourist visiting the USA would make the mandatory tour to the Niagara Falls, and would never forget to bore you by showing all the photographs. I had thought of putting this latter part off (not the visit itself), but as it turned out, my family was going to be no exception to the rule. It is also the part of USA where the legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright did most of his early projects (the prairie house phase) and I had seen the drawings of the some of the projects in the reprinted version of the Wasmuth Volume. I was wondering whether we could chance upon some of the F L Wright houses on the way, but found out that there was very little chance of that happening. The USA is a very sparsely populated place and has a highway system that allows you

The layout of this area is designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, considered to be the Father of American landscape architecture.

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A street-view of Martin House with the reception pavilion in the background

to travel unhindered by use of flyovers wherever there are road crossings or settlements, but it also makes you lose the charm of visiting places on the way and gathering some local colour, unless you happen to travel on country roads which go through the small towns. Having now stumbled upon this opportunity, there was no question now of letting it go,

so I asked my son to drop me there, while the remaining family would do some serious work of shopping in the nearby mall. When we approached the area, I could identify the house easily. It was executed in the distinct prairie style of Wright in an otherwise calm and serene neighbourhood of Buffalo. The layout of this area is designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, considered to be the Father of American

landscape architecture, and has a flowing pattern of roads instead of the usual grid-iron pattern of most American cities. The curved roads bring the streetscape slowly in view, retaining the element of surprise. In contrast, the grid-iron pattern is a purely commercial venture, giving a standard size and frontage to every plot, almost like a factorymanufactured product, with little or no variety in the streetscape.


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The author in the rear open ground of the house

The Martin House stands apart in the neighbourhood of double-storey houses that have borrowed their style of architecture from England.

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7KHLQGRRUVSDFHRYHUÀRZVLQWRWKH exterior without change in detailing.

The Martin House stands apart in the neighbourhood of double-storey houses that have borrowed their style of architecture from England, with the typical red-brick walls, steep sloping roofs with intersecting planes, dormer windows and open porticos in wood columns with steel railing. A few boast of the typical renaissance portico with the Corinthian columns and the pediment. In all these hundred years after the Martin House, there are no followers of the Wright’s style anywhere in the neighbourhood. The Martin House Restoration Corporation has now taken over the ownership of the Martin House and has been doing the restoration work for some years. A glasswalled pavilion on the side of the existing house, designed by Toshiko Mori, works as a reception area, and includes a museum. Going there, I found out that all the conducted tours for the day were booked, but being a pucca Indian, I told the organisers that I was a professor in architecture and having come all the way from India, wished to join the tour on the same day. They graciously accommodated me for the next tour as a special favour. So much for the title of Professor!

contains Wright’s original hand-drawn sketches in between the typed text, to clarify the points in the text. One letter in particular explained the alignment of the house, in the context of the peculiar configuration of the corner plot in which the house is situated. Being a part of the Olmstead layout, the shape of the plot is irregular, and the only possible alignment could be with the existing house in the rear. Martin seems to have approved the idea, as the final execution has been done exactly as per the sketch in Wright’s letter.

Built in 1903-05, the Martin House is considered one of the most important projects by Wright’s prairie school era. The reception pavilion had a large display showcasing all the original drawings of Wright, including his correspondence with Martin, which

In fact, many of the early clients of Wright had been like Martin – all the practical, down-to-earth people who had started quite low and made it to the top by intellect and hard work. Only these kinds of people would appreciate the functional quality of the work

The tour started with a small film on Wright and his work, and also the biography of Martin, and his interaction with Wright as a young architect. A humble clerk in the Larkin Soap Co., Martin had risen to a senior partner and had become a millionaire. His rise in the company was solely due to his hard work. Martin worked ferociously and his efforts enabled the company to expand. He is also credited with converting all the company customer records from cumbersome ledgers to efficient card catalogues, a pioneering advance in business record-keeping at the time.

of the young architect like Wright and would not bother about the style of the house. Martin’s brother William had commissioned Wright in 1902 to build him a home in Oak Park, which was completed in 1903. Upon viewing his brother’s home, Martin was sufficiently impressed to visit Wright’s Studio, and persuaded Wright to view his property in Buffalo, where he planned to build two houses, one for himself and the other for his sister.

The renovated Gardener’s Cottage

Buffalo town was expanding at a great rate at the time, with increase in population from 3.5 million in 1900 to about 4.5 million in 1910. It was the first city in the USA to have electric street lights, and was called the city of light due to the widespread use of electric lighting, having had the advantage of hydroelectric power generated via the Niagara River. Larkin Soap Company was doing great business with its headquarters at Buffalo. It expanded beyond soap manufacturing into many other products. Being prosperous, the high price for a well-designed, innovative building was not a barrier. So when the task fell on to Martin to find an architect for the new office building, he put forth the name of Wright. Though John D Larkin, the company’s president, was unimpressed by Wright, Martin convinced Larkin to give Wright the job.


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A view of the Conservatory from the living room

Window-detailing in vernacular fashion with original stained glass patterns

In his characteristic fashion, Wright designed the office building with an open plan, with a large atrium in the centre, filling the interiors with daylight. It was also noted for many innovations, including airconditioning, stained glass windows, built-in desk furniture, and suspended toilet bowls. Unfortunately, the company could not sustain the great depression of 1929, and the building had to be sold. The new owners, having no taste for architectural innovations, demolished it to make a way for a truck station, which never materialised. The story of Martin House is no different. Martin and Wright formed a lifelong friendship during their association in design and construction of this house. Darwin, his wife Isabelle and their two children lived

in this house for over 20 years. During this time Martinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fortune continued to rise, while Wright fell on troubled times. Martin began to lend Wright money, becoming the largest benefactor behind Wrightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Taliesin. Wright also designed a second house for him later at Graycliff, overlooking Lake Erie. Called the Isabelle R Martin House, its design is based on the organic principles developed by Wright. Unfortunately, when the stock market crashed in 1929, Martin lost almost everything overnight. So much so, that when Wrightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s autobiography came out, Martin was so impoverished he could not afford to buy a $6.00 copy. Following his death in 1935, the family abandoned the house and it remained unoccupied for a period, during

The reception pavilion designed by Toshiko Mori

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Interior view of the living room after renovation

which its condition deteriorated. It was bought by a developer who converted it into three apartments, sub-divided the grounds, demolished the carriage house, conservatory and added a pair of apartment buildings. In 1967, the complex was bought by the University at Buffalo, for use as the University President’s residence. The university carried out some changes to make it workable. But, it was only after the Martin House Restoration Corporation was formed in 1992, and bought the property from the university that the real restoration work started. The Martin House complex consists of five interconnected buildings designed as a unified composition, including the main Martin House and a pergola that connects it to a conservatory and carriage house with chauffeur’s quarters and stables, the Barton House, a smaller residence for Martin’s sister and brother-in-law, and a gardener’s cottage was added in 1909. The landscape design for the grounds of the complex is nicely integrated with the overall composition of buildings. The restoration project has sought to remove everything else that was not part of the original scheme, and has rebuilt portions which were part of the original design but were demolished in the interim period. For a pure conservationist, this may seem quite the wrong way to go about, when all the ICOMOS Charters are full of guidelines about preserving all the historic layers, and retaining the historical authenticity. For the Wright enthusiasts, however, restoring the house to its original status was more important than historical authenticity which is clear right from the name of the project itself. In the group on the tour, there was only one other architect besides myself, and we got acquainted easily. He was from Mexico, and had chanced upon the place just like me. The guide, though not an architect himself, was well-versed in the process of design and execution, and gave us an insight into its making.

An older image of the living room

Going through the house, following the detailing of Wright, and seeing for the first time a house which I had only seen in photographs and sketches in the Wasmuth volume, was a unique experience for me. I could imagine Wright with his flamboyant style of functioning moving through the place, giving instructions, supervising the work, and there I was, catapulted into history from a distance of roughly 20,000 miles to witness the result in person. The discussion in the tour, however, centred on simple everyday matters, like the cross-shaped (pinwheel) plan giving light and ventilation for most rooms from as many as three sides. The special study room that Martin wanted as an extension to the living room, the placement of library at the edge with its windows on all three sides to help the nearsighted Mrs Martin, the partially hidden staircase signifying the separation of the living room from the rest of the house, the connection to conservatory with its mechanical equipment to open and close windows which


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Ground Floor Plan of the Martin House with site

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were inaccessible, and hiding of the services in the cluster of brick pillars. At one level, the house was all about functional utility, at the other, it talked about the personality of Wright and the insistence of continuity of space with no intervening walls between spaces, and ceilings dramatically lowered in places to indicate division of space. The house flowed into the exterior easily without a break in detailing and the continuity of finishes (the tiles in the interior continue in the exterior space, and the treatment of ceilings, too, made it all the more subtle). Here one would see the oriental leaning in Wright’s design, with its emphasis on including nature in the architectural space, its ambience changing with the quality of light throughout the day and through the changes in seasons.

many innovative structural design solutions for his projects, from the huge cantilevers in the Kaufmann House (Falling Waters), the mushroom columns in the Johnson Wax Building, the involute RCC slab in Guggenheim Museum and many more. Wright, in fact, was one of the first architects to integrate services in architectural design, his working drawings are quite notable from this aspect. Hence it was heartening to know that the Martin House Restoration Corporation is using sustainable systems (geo-thermal heating system using earth tunnels) to aircondition the house now, which fits in exactly with the philosophy of organic architecture by Wright and his love of technology in finding

And then there was the masterful organisation of the form and the detailing – the specially chosen roman bricks with horizontal inset mortar joints to accentuate the horizontal lines, the sweeping roof projecting out and articulating the entire composition, the full-length windows replacing walls as a complete element of design, the urns and many other small detailing reminding one of a Chinese house with strict rectangular/square patterns. Incidentally, the roof slopes of Martin House, like most of Wright’s prairie houses, are low in comparison with the steep slopes of north European houses. I was wondering about the effectiveness of the low roof slope in the Buffalo weather, and the problem of snow accumulation in winter, but the guide assured me that they have not had any problem with that in all the hundred years of its existence. Wright did most his prairie houses in the period when the Arts and Crafts movement had spread in England, and many historians have included these houses by Wright as a part of that movement. That seems inappropriate on two counts. Wright did not share the nostalgic sentiments of the Arts and Crafts movement, neither did he glorify the past traditions – vernacular or not - in any of his work. If he has borrowed from tradition in his detailing, he has innovated all of them in his spectacular fashion. His innovative designs for the stained-glass windows alone would merit a separate volume. Wright successfully used the vernacular tradition, but for its practical and functional aspects – all vernacular traditions use contextually appropriate materials and detailing, not because of any nostalgic feelings about the past. Secondly, Wright was an enthusiast inventor, and welcomed the industrial revolution and its technological inputs, and tried to improvise on them in his own fashion. He was a forerunner on

The roof slopes match their Japanese roots, in contrast to the European style neighbouring houses.

solutions and integrating them with design. I had once remarked that Wright was not understood in the land of plenty when he talked of organic architecture, but things seem to have come a full circle, what with Al Gore (of all the people) making a movie on global warming (The Inconvenient Truth) and Obama now talking about supporting non-conventional and renewable energy systems. This was once a land where people have, for long, considered electricity as a gift of God – as free as the air and water – and wasted all of them with the same careless attitude. But, the installation of geo-thermal HVAC systems in a project like this indicates a much-needed shift in focus. If it can happen here, sustainable architecture has a future.


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Reinforcing old-wisdom technologies

Prana means life energy, life force - the magic that we take for granted. It is the connecting web that ties all creation.

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rana is an experiment, say the Mistry architects, for, according to them, it is a dynamic project, ‘ever incomplete’. They hope it will keep moving on and adding new and newer green technologies such as earth air tunnel system, radiant cooling in floors, efficient water systems, sun tubes and LED lighting from all over the world. Another significant aspect they wish to emphasize is the project’s connection to traditionally available ‘old wisdom’ technologies. Utilisation of these local clay block walls, glass- inset tiles, old doors and windows - they believe - will contribute to reinforcing the idea of renew, reuse and recycle. The whole exercise is to showcase the concept that the old and the new can stand proudly shoulder to shoulder, and survive.

Natural stone columns support the pergolas -the deck has bamboo trellis - the fan coil unit & geo-thermal duct are also seen.



Prana is a fully functional high performance home office unit spread over 200 sqmts with an entrance lobby, living / dining, bedroom, home office and two toilets.Prana is conceived as a complete steel structure to highlight the structural stability and also the recyclable properties of steel. Steel being the major component, allowed for a quicker construction, saving enormous time. ,Wienerberger hollow bricks are used for walls, which provided excellent thermal insulation.Deep cantilever slabs are provided for the opening to reduce the heat ingress into the building. LED lights are used for all the spaces, which reduces the energy consumption.

Radiant cooling pipes are embedded in the roof slab and in the floor, which receive water at 17 deg.C, as compared to the 8 deg.C water in the conventional cooling systems. The chilled water flowing through these pipes reduces the latent heat of the building considerably and maintains the indoor temperature at 24 deg.C even in summer.

Floor and Roof slabs are insulated with poly urethane foam, providing thermal insulation to the building.Photo voltaic panels of 3 KW capacity is installed on the roof to generate power required for lighting and other requirements. The intention is to add more panels to make the building self sustainable .

The chillers have a provision to produce simultaneous cooling and heating and the hot water produced is used for the toilets.

The roof and floor are insulted with PU foam, which helps in avoiding the loss of temperature of the chilled water in the pipes and also reduces the heat ingress into the building.

The chillers use less energy to cool the water, as the chilled water is supplied at 17 deg.C, as compared to the conventional systems that require chilled water at 8 deg.C.


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FACT FILE Glass-inset tiles between the blocks create a beautiful play of light & shade.






200 SQ. MTRS












EARTH AIR TUNNEL TECHNOLOGY The fresh air for Prana is supplied from the Earth Air tunnel system. The pipes buried at a depth of 4.5 meters cool the fresh air from the atmosphere to be supplied to the indoor spaces. Proper dust filters are provided at the air intake and the outlet points of the EAT system. Earth Air Tunnel system uses very minimal power to supply the fresh air required for the indoor spaces.

The bedroom has grills for air, cooled by geo-thermal technology.

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The Plan & Section

Censors are installed to monitor the air quality and the system runs only as per the requirement, resulting in energy savings.

BUILDING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM All the technologies are connected to the building management system and the performance of all the systems are monitored constantly. Prana being a dynamic structure, may undergo some changes and additions in the future to add more newer and greener technologies. The use of steel facilitates these changes with maximum ease and minimum damage to the present structure.

TRADITIONAL TECHNIQUES Another very important aspect that is worth mentioning here is the project’s connection to traditionally available ‘old wisdom’ technologies. It is hoped that these local clay block walls, glassinset tiles, old doors and windows wiill reinforce the idea of renew, reuse and recycle. The whole exercise is to showcase that the old and the new can stand proudly shoulder to shoulder, and survive. t Passive cooling with the hollow block walls, roof


and floor insulation, deep cantilevers to reduce the heat ingress into the building. t Old doors and windows are used to highlight the concept of renew, reuse and recycle. t Glass-inset Mangalore tiles are used for the semi covered roof on the terrace


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Anti-social aspect of

insulated living Text : Prof. Rajeev Kulkarni, Pune


he news that Zaha Hadidâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first-ever building project is coming up in Miami may not be as interesting for the Indian public as the towering house of the Ambanis, or the house of Sachin Tendulkar, but as a Third World architect, I always find it gratifying when the newspapers in the First World glamourise their architects. Not only that, in this particular case, the developers Gregg Covin and Louis Birdman also proudly announced the name of the architect in their interviews to the Press, and the architectural style of Zaha Hadidâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work became the focus of the interview. In both of the Indian examples mentioned above, the name of the architect hardly ever appeared in the news, and there were no comments at all about the architectural style. This is an unfortunate state of affairs for the fraternity of architects in India, but not surprising. I live in Pune, where the urban growth is phenomenal, and, every day, the newspapers are full of colourful advertisements about the new housing projects coming up, with picturesque views of buildings and list of various

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Schematic views of the project released for the Press showing helipad at the top and various public amenities

amenities and so on, but a not a single advertisement has the name of the architect mentioned anywhere. The only exception is made for foreign architects, particularly now that architects from Singapore have started working for Indian developers; but there, too, the style of a particular architect and his philosophy of work is not a part of the advertisement, nor are there any interviews of developers discussing the architectural merit of a particular project.

to break through the price ceiling for a downtown Miami condo. While the going rate for a downtown condo in Miami is about $450 a square foot, the pricing would start at about $900 a square foot in the proposed scheme. If the architectural design can make such a big difference in the rates, it is no wonder that the merit and the celebrity status of the architect becomes the main focus of any discussion about the project.


The news item actually calls Zaha Hadid as “the world’s only female superstar architect” and expects the new project to “raise the design ante for Miami’s skyline.” Zaha Hadid has earlier designed a parking garage for Miami, which actually looks like a structure from outer space with all its curves. One would find the design a bit too extravagant, for a structure merely designed to house a few hundred

I am not suggesting that the Miami developers are generous and great art connoisseurs any more than their Indian counterparts; the profit motive is paramount everywhere. The news items mentions clearly that in the proposed scheme, called ‘1000 Museum’, the developers hope to capitalise both on the location and the big design name View of Miami with proposed building


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The structural frame of the main building covers the podium in the spectacular Zaha Hadid fashion.

cars and is not habitable. And, that is not the first one either. The fashion in Miami started with the Herzog & de Meuron – designed parking structure, a building so spectacular that the developer built a personal penthouse on top and lavish wedding receptions have been held in its spotless spaces. It was followed by Enrique Norten’s parking garage structure, making Miami the only city to have such lavish designs in place for such mundane buildings – a fact which makes the Mayor of Miami Matti Bower proud.

STATUS SYMBOL As one Marxist analysis goes, a personal car is the status symbol of the capitalist system, insulating the persons inside from the external world, and it is but natural that, in the glorification of the car, the American cities epitomise the maxim. Everywhere you go in the USA, it is cars and parking lots that you see all over the place, not the people! Unfortunately, this has made many of the suburban areas of American cities lifeless and dull, and frightening, too, with the spectre of crime hovering over if you happen to walk along these areas.

The structural frame is a combination of horizontal bands & vertical curved elements quite unlike the normal skyscraper design in the US.

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It is people who make the city livable, a fact endorsed by many old European cities, and the one we need to rediscover; with the kind of encroachment of the car we have been promoting in all our cities, we are unfortunately following the American model rather than the European one. Miami, incidentally, has been trying to reduce the influence of cars in recent years by supporting bicycling for both recreation and commuting. The ‘Bike Miami’ programme seeks to enhance the inclusivity of the city by closing the roads to cars and allowing only the pedestrians and bicyclists. In fact, it ranks eighth in US now in terms of walkability.

EXCLUSIVE AND ALOOF In contrast, the projects that are now coming up try to restore the ability of the elite class to remain exclusive and aloof from the rest of the society. The situation is not different from what we have here in India, where many projects coming up in downtown Mumbai are now designed by Singaporean architects, targeted at the ultrarich, who can afford the price tag of a few crores of rupees for an apartment. Not only that, they tend to get converted into huge gated communities, which shun all contact with the outside. This anti-social aspect of such projects does not seem to worry the architectural fraternity; we all have applauded the apartment design of Kanchenjunga by Charles Correa, which is located in one of the elite neighbourhoods of Pedder Road in Mumbai. Though the project is outstanding in terms of its architectural design, the value system of the designer is lost on the occupants. In a building designed to enjoy the breeze and cross-ventilation, almost all of the apartments now are fully airconditioned because the owners can very well afford it, and are not really in favour of being in tune with the nature, if it also means hobnobbing with your neighbours and the people on the sidewalk. They

Parking garage at Miami designed by the architect

would rather be indoors watching TV or playing games on the electronic gadgets instead of on the playground where there is a problem of contamination with the lower species of mankind. But, Correa must be given the credit for revolutionising the apartment design on the lines of the Unit de Habitation by Le Corbusier, where each apartment runs through the building cross section, giving advantage of view, light and ventilation on both ends, removing the typical feeling of an apartment as a closed box. The interesting part here is that the design has actually evolved from Correa’s early design of a ‘Tube House’ meant for a poor man, a project realisable only if the land prices are affordable. It also reminds me of a similar design by Tadao Ando for a double-storied row-house in one straight long bay, with only two rooms per floor and an open space in the middle.

REVERING NATURE I think it is more to do with the cultural preferences than the architectural design issues that made both Correa and Ando focus on inclusion of nature in their buildings. Oriental traditions revere nature, and we cherish and include nature as a part of our living; we are actually quite comfortable with buildings which have no boundaries, buildings that merge with the surrounding landscape seamlessly. Our cultural traditions are built around nature and its changing facets throughout the year. In direct contrast to this, Europeans, who face a harsh, cold climate and where you need to defend yourself against the weather most of the year, have developed the design of a house which has a defensive attitude towards nature. Most of the European architecture is ‘architecture of the closed box’ as Charles Correa puts it succinctly, and the traditions revolve around enclosed spaces. Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) can exist only in such environments. It follows, therefore, that the European experiments in building design would involve experiments in converting the box into some kind of an art

Floor Plans of 1000 Museum, giving details of the large apartments


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The street level of the structure merges seamlessly with the surroundings, creating a large public space for the city.

SOCIO-POLITICAL PHENOMENON Architecture, however, is a socio-political phenomenon, and cannot exist without the support of society. As Wolfsonian Museum director Cathy Leff put it, “the fact that Hadid and other eminent architects are designing exceptional buildings in Miami reflects a growing maturity and sophistication about design from developers and civic institutions.” In simpler words, the developers are now prepared to experiment with architectural ideas once thought to be extravagant. It would be interesting to explore how much of this support has been effectively used by the architect in the project to make it spectacular.

object, even when an opportunity exists of opening up the box to nature, and provide a richer experiential quality to the architectural design.

RECONFIGURATION The design by Hadid tries to reconfigure the typical high-rise apartment block into an interlacing concrete exoskeleton, a bulging midsection and a set of rib-like lower balconies that have prompted comparisons by some local bloggers to a spider, a bug and an alien spaceship. These are the kinder ones. Hadid is a winner of the Pritzker Prize (called the Nobel Prize in architecture) for her spectacular experiments in forms, and the comments do not do justice to her background so far, but it seems that the overall proportion of the building (it is 61 stories tall) has definitely put restrictions on the interplay of form. The design, like most of the earlier projects by Zaha Hadid, exploits the new digital technologies to their maximum, in creating a wonderful form. The digital technologies now enable architects to realise forms and structures unthinkable a few decades ago. When Jørn Utzon proposed the outstanding forms for the Sydney Opera House in the Sixties, this technology was not available, and Utzon had to redesign the shells, trying to match their profile to parts of spheres. This was essential, since, without recourse to digital technology, no structural analysis was possible unless the shells confirmed to some predictable geometric forms. It is a moot point whether the deconstructivist architecture of the Eighties and Nineties spurred the growth of digital analysis or vice versa. I have always thought it a happy coincidence that the deconstructivist architecture is supported by the digital technologies today. We would otherwise never have the wonderful structures that Zaha Hadid and many other present-day architects have been able to design.

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And, spectacular it needs to be if it has to be compatible with the range of facilities the building seeks to provide – starting from a helipad at the top with swimming pools below, and a wide range of lounges and various other luxury amenities. An amenity deck includes more pools, spas, gyms and many other spaces for active and passive recreation. If this is the scale of amenities, it is no wonder that the apartments – targeted at a select clientele – are huge, covering the entire floor at some levels, and duplex apartments at other levels. The architect has also shown sensitivity in terms of the interface of the building with the city and its people at the street level. The building opens up at street-level to include commercial establishments, which makes it a public place, very much in line with the New York skyscrapers, which open up at the street level to convert the entire ground level into a public place.

PRAISE BY PRESS The structural system, using all the advantages of the digital system “appears as a continuous piece of sculpture from podium base to the top of tower” as one Press report puts it. The main structural frame is only on the external face of the building (like the Gherkin Tower in London, designed by Norman Foster) supporting the floors directly, which gives complete freedom to the architect in organsing internal layouts at each floor differently. The Press report waxes lyrical about the project and continues, “contrast in materials between the matte, cementitious expressed structure and the smooth, reflective glass façade gives the impression of a crystal behind a structural, sculptural framework enclosure.” The interplay of form, reflection and shadow characterises the appearance of the tower.” One interesting aspect is that the treatment of façade changes according to the orientation; horizontal ripples appear to cascade down the entire North and South facades, while vertical folds occur on the East and West facades at the balcony recesses. The treatments match the design requirements to keep the sun out in the harsh

tropical climate of Miami. This integration of climatic issues with design is welcome, particularly in a place like Miami, where one would think that the climate and eco-sensitivity are not the priority issues for developers. All over Florida, the Sunshine State as it is called, a majority of residential buildings still follow the typical North European form of house, built entirely in wood, quite oblivious to the harsh tropical summers. Of course, the skyscrapers can only be built with steel and concrete, and need huge quantities of support services to sustain. The legendary Sears Towers in Chicago, once the highest skyscraper in the world, has electrical cabling 80,000 kilometres long, enough to wrap around the earth twice, a fact that was proudly advertised when it was built in the Seventies. We are now more aware of the ecological costs of such ventures, and may rightfully criticise the huge energy costs involved. Even if the occupants can afford the cost of upkeep, the Earth systems cannot. However, with the advancement of construction technology, aided by the digital technologies, we seem to have some kind of competition all the world over to surpass these feats.

DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY The fascinating images of spectacular buildings designed by some of the greatest architects of today (including this year’s Pritzker Prize winner Ar. Toyo Ito), printed in the glossy architectural magazines all over the world, tend to over-emphasise the importance of form over all other aspects of architectural design. It is this quality of architectural design that the developers would like to cash in on. In India, when Hafeez Contractor provided us with his version of the post-modernist architecture, a profession of ‘elevation architects’ came into existence to satisfy this demand in places like Mumbai and Gurgaon, to name a few places, as market-driven as Miami. But, digital technologies are not only about form; they have opened up a whole new array of tools for architects interested in the more serious pursuit of sustainable practices. Digital technology today helps us to predict exactly the effect of climate on the building, and an architect can experiment on the optimum built form of the structure vis-à-vis the solar radiation, air movement and so on. Coupled with other technologies, it is not only possible to design buildings in all kinds of materials, including humble materials like earth and bamboo but also predict their performance in terms of structural stability and effect of weathering. Earlier experimental structures, which were based on empirical methods, now have the support of these technologies, making them acceptable to a wider variety of

Interior views of public spaces at the top of the tower, below the helipad

projects. Ken Yeang has proved that Green architecture does not mean only low-profile buildings in the rural areas, but can be built with innovative solutions for urban areas as high-rise structures – like the Solaris Towers in Singapore.

FORM ISN’T ALL It is only when great experiments in form are supported by a sensitivity towards nature and the ecosystems that great architecture emerges. It is not the forms, but the value system behind the architecture that makes it memorable. The ‘1000 Museum’ may be a great experiment in form, showcasing the outstanding talent of the architect, but we must also remember that, like the monuments of the past, it caters only to the taste of the elite of the society, whose lifestyles we tend to glamourise and gossip about – maybe that is what makes such projects attractive and debatable simultaneously.


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decorative Bastar wrought iron jaali work


AAYA DESIGN is a Mumbai-based home décor firm which specializes in showcasing the beauty and workmanship of Indian Folk Art through aesthetically-pleasing art & craft products that are created by utilising traditional skills. The brand comes out with unique décor & utility pieces in lively and refreshing colours, forms and shapes that capture the essence and purity of the rural arts & crafts of the country and yet can be used for decoration within a contemporary lifestyle.

Fascinating wall art

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Their designs represent the best in craftsmanship from the various states of India. They offer a new lease of life to the Indian artisan by bridging the gap between his rustic environs and the ever-expanding world we live in. Through its constant innovations in design & décor ideas, the firm works with the objective of promoting the Indian folk artists & craftsmen, thereby enabling us to rediscover our age-old art and culture.

NATURE-FRIENDLY DESIGN Baaya Design has been creating contemporary and transformative spaces and has delighted its customers with their innovative concepts and possibilities in design. In their stores, they have introduced its own range of art furniture apart from the select folk art, curios, artifacts, gifts, decorative items and accessories. Their folk art range boasts a variety of over 30 different types of art from various regions. They bring you furniture designs and home dĂŠcor handmade and painted by skilled, award winning artisans. They also extend their consulting services in interior styling for commercial and residential projects. Through ideation and customization, the brand has created beautiful wall murals, 3D art collages, lasercut photo frames, Dhokra art installations, wrought iron tea-light stands, Kutch lipankaam work and so on for home interiors. They also specialize in bringing to life customised folk art work from various parts of the country.

Lippankaam decor in bedroom

Inspired by Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s national bird, the peacock, Baaya Design has created products that add a touch of beauty to your home. MDF cutwork art installation, Mumbai


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Caricatures in wrought iron

cutlery and artifacts besides offering variety in corporate gifting for every occasion.


Almost all the products such as papier mache bowls and lamps, clay figurines and pots, black stone pottery products, cane/ sabai baskets and trays etc. are eco-friendly. The brand provides paintings from various Indian tribes and home accessories like lamps, candle-stands, divider screens, urlis, copper products, Dhokras, Bastar wrought iron products, photo frames, linen, table runners, cushion covers, mugs, bowls, Wrought-iron Tea Light work

This is an indigenous Bastar tribal craft made by local black smiths. Frames made out of wrought iron depicting the everyday life of the tribes, are used as window frames, doors and gates. The specialty of the frames is that they are not cast or moulded but hammered into shape and then filed to remove sharp edges. Hollow artifacts are made out of beaten iron sheets which are then folded, cut and filed to shape. The deepak or large lamp(s) comprise of a number of small, shallow crucibles forming diyas (little lamps), and vertical and horizontal rods or strips. These are ornamented with bird and animal figures that are made separately and later joined together into various types of composite lamps and hangings.

VIBRANT WALL ART The firm specializes in creating and customizing wall art décor for home. Lippankaam (meaning mud-washing work in Gujarati), is a decorative wall art done by women and men from Kutch inside local bhungas or mud huts. The artisans depict birds, trees, animals, human figures etc. It is done with a mixture of clay and camel dung. An adhesive is used to stick mirrors. The originality of lippankam lies in adding no colour - only white/mud outlines are used. Small round/diamond/triangular shaped mirror pieces are essentially used here. Vibrant and sparkling, lippankaam is sure to bring a festive spirit into any interior.

FOLK ART FURNITURE Are you a lover of traditional Indian art? Want to bring it home as part of your interior décor? If yes, the firm has the right collection for you – ‘Sampanna’, their new Patachitra Art Furniture range made from teak wood. Patachitra is an intricate art form from Orissa which was originally done by a

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Lippankaam embellishing the mandir theme

Wall murals based on the nature theme lend warmth & liveliness to the interior.

community of highly skilled artists called chitrakars that makes use of bold, bright and vibrant colours. patachitra or pata painting originated in the 12th century and received considerable patronage by kings and rulers. The significant themes depicted in these paintings revolve around stories of Lord Krishna & the gopis, elephants, trees, creepers, flowers etc. The technique of painting a patachitra requires skill and dedication. The artist uses fine brushes made from mongoose hair or coarse brushes made of buffalo hair. Keya plants were originally used for drawing the thicker lines. The firm has adapted this workmanship to customize their furniture pieces.

TRIBAL GOND PAINTINGS Peacocks announce the arrival of monsoons through their dance. Inspired by Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s national bird, Baaya Design has created products that add a touch of beauty to your home. Gond paintings are native to Madhya Pradesh. These paintings are expressions of rituals or practices that are deeply linked with the day-to-day lives, religious sentiments and devotions of the

tribal people. Themes of Gond paintings are often based on local festivals like Karwa Chauth, Diwali, Ahoi Ashtami, Nag Panchami, Sanjhi etc. Horses, elephants, tigers, birds, gods, men and objects of daily life are painted in bright and multicolored hues. Gond work was originally done by the tribal women of the village using simple homemade colours. Colourful and highly expressive, this art has its own unique identity and the products are pieces of rare beauty.

Baaya Design has been creating contemporary and transformative spaces and has delighted its customers with its innovative concepts and possibilities in design.

Shibani Jain, an alumnus of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and practising as an art and craft design consultant, is the founder and owner of the firm. She has more than a decadeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s experience of working at the grass root level, with several NGO groups in Maharashtra, Orissa, Bengal and Rajasthan, to ensure that their traditional products get evolved in a contemporary format and are brought to the metro markets. She travels extensively to remote tribal settlements to interact with the artisans who create and craft the artworks that finally grace your living spaces.


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Inspired innovations Unique, eco-friendly ideas, concepts and viable, sustainable building techniques that could be made use of while building homes, offices and interiors Photos : Helen Binet, London

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The grass & fern garden surrounding the house

The inner building surface is made of stone, wood & burnished plaster.


his edition features Tara House designed by Studio Mumbai and located in Kashid, Maharashtra. Here, architect Bijoy Jain and his team have implemented a novel concept by configuring a multigenerational family house around a tropical garden. Beneath the garden, a secret room fills with water from a subterranean aquifer, providing water for the house and gardens through the year. Surrounded by mountains, forests and the waters of the Arabian Sea, the house is configured around a tropical garden filled with plumeria, ferns, grasses, bamboo and jasmine. Under the wood-framed roof, rooms are arranged loosely around the garden, weaving routes between them through louvred hallways and verandahs. Vertical wooden slats form a protective enclosure, obscuring and revealing views of the surrounding landscape. Sunlight filters through these screens, creating patterns of light and shadow on the inner surfaces of the building, made up of stone, wood, and burnished plaster.


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7KH多OWHUHGVXQOLJKW creating patterns of light and shadow in the subterranean room

The wood-framed roof beneath which the rooms are loosely arranged

The wooden slats offer views of the surrounding landscape.

Beneath the courtyard lies a secret room filled with water from a subterranean aquifer. Light diminishes as one descends the stairs through a stone corridor, intensifying a sense of passage into the earth. The pool has a comforting silence, as water enters the building without ripples or sound. The subterranean room is a refuge from the hot Indian sun piercing the ground through circular air holes, casting shafts of light across the stonewalls into the water. Inside the stone-lined cavity, ocean sounds reverberate from above and water fluctuates freely, responsive to the seasons and tides. When it rains, water from the roof of the house percolates into the well, recharging the aquifer. The artesian well provides water for the house and gardens through the year.

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the water


Text and photo:


ater is the essence of life. It manifests in myriad forms. It delights, it is meaningful, it plays important ritual roles in all cultures, it is fun, it is cool, it warms, it is cruel, it destroys, it makes and breaks life. It is forceful, it is placid, it is deadly. The purposive, semiotic and experiential, ritual relation we have with it is reflected in every culture, a lot of music, poetry, art and architecture. We have reacted to it as reflecting surfaces, as wonderful drops reflecting the world, as music of waterfalls, spraying water jets, as cascades and fountains, as foggy screens to create cloud-like amorphous floating illusions of buildings, as pools for swimming, as special baths, jacuzzis, cascades and fountains, enjoying its basic experiential quality.

part on its way down to the legs and the foot and to the earth. You would experience it even if you don’t enjoy it. Every child enjoys it, it is joyful; every farmer who works in the rain would love it. It is perhaps the way we understood water experientially and learned of its cycles and its appearances in nature. Will you get the same feel and awareness, when it flows from a tap? Those who have had a swim in the natural rivers ever or a bath in natural streams, would know that water flows and touches our body so differently and delightfully than in the most expensive baths of our times. Every leading manufacturer of bath fittings are vying with each other in enhancing the experience in closed or even private open

Our fundamental understanding of water is of its ‘flow’. When you drink water, you are conscious of its flow down inside you, when you swim you know it , when wading in water you feel , when you see waves, waterfalls and rivers you feel the nature of flow. Imagine yourself caught in a heavy downpour; you know flow on the head and shoulders down to the torso wetting every

Our dependence on water has made us to settle in places where water was available. Most cities and villages had been located near water bodies.


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bath rooms with artificial jets, digital controls and showers with remotely controlled embedded music. Would this experience give a personal knowledge of water?

NATURAL PHENOMENON TO EXPERIENCE Water is a phenomenon of nature and a utility. We studied its chemistry, physics, and biology. We devised technologies for collecting, extracting, conserving, purifying to convenient standards and norms, packaging and even marketing and selling it. We have created laws on its use, developed notions of ownership; our water, their water, our bathing Ghats and theirs, and now my water under my property and my rain over my roof. We have also semantically and culturally and religiously classified some water as more pure and some dirty. In all that, water has been objectified. Have we forgotten the value of experiential knowledge of universality, the phenomenology of it which makes our consciousness aware of its cycles and its central position in nature intrinsically? Have we forgotten its real nature of ‘flow’? Our dependence on it has made us to settle in places where water was available. Most cities and villages had been located near water bodies. The size of the settlement depended directly on the size of the water source. Technological developments of collection and transportation of water, pipes, aqueducts etc, has freed cities from dependence on an immediate water source. Cities today are depending on not just water, but on the technologies connected with it- transportation, desalination, harvesting, storing and leak proofing, distribution- and the economics, politics and sociology-selling and billing and haggles of administration.

As architecture today is slowly substituting sensual sensitivity with cerebral virtuality, how will water be used and manifested in the future? Digitalising touch is still far away, though.

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OBJECTIFIED COMMODITY AND A RESOURCE It is no more just water; it became an object and a commodity. It is considered a resource and fancily a basic ‘infrastructure’. Use of water means social status. How often you bathe ceremonially or ritually or for pleasure, matters. Control of it is a source of power in society. Water has moved from the notion of a basic phenomenon to an object of desire and luxury. Objectification and consumerisation of water happens in more than one sense. We believe that greater the use of water, higher is the standard of life. There are large investments made in research and technology and innovations to cater to its consumer economy. German philosopher Heidegger pointed out two extreme uses of water that differentiates its understanding; one as a river flowing and other as flow of river as a source of power. Heideggerian phenomenology looks at the experience of a thing, like water, as the real appearance and the knowledge and understanding. Looked at as a source of power, that understanding changes. Ramon Barbazza, a Philippine philosopher cum scholar points out that water is no more understood in its natural way, but as a resource. As a thing which has a cost and a price, it divides, as everything else today.

ARCHITECTURE OF WATER To liberate water from being a mere object or resource, the experience of it in a natural way has to be brought back. Can architecture and urban design do that? As architecture today is slowly substituting sensual sensitivity with cerebral virtuality, how will water be used and manifested in the future? Digitalising touch is still far away though. Will it be like flowing water ona surface, digital control of its flow, and jets on surfaces making an illusory, floating cloud like foggy form for a building, buildings or cities floating up from lakes or submerging in it, hexagonal bubbles of water stitched up together to form a watery cube ? Would the primordial experience of water be evoked this way? Is it necessary for the coming generations to understand water that phenomenological way all? Or to find answers of life and nature from consumer economy and experiences and education it can provide? And to digitally evoke a virtual flow; of water, of life?




Architecture for movie ideas, moods DESIGN detail



Brazil stands out in comparison to other movies with architecture as a key element.


ell-cult movies have a way of their own in explaining things, and Director Terry Gilliamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Brazil is no different. Brazil, a sci-fi comedy cult movie, was released in 1985. Through this movie, Gilliam intends to create an eclectic style. The film was shot on location at various places in Europe to create this mood. The architecture of the movie Brazil is as varied as its themes. Architectural expression takes on various forms and styles. Styles range from the decadence of Ida Lowryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house to the brutal interrogation space of the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Ministry of Information.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Gilliam sequences the plot of Brazil to move through these spaces and distinguish the intensity of the film. The spatiality of the sets highlights the themes of the movie.

POST-MODERNISM During the time Brazil was released, PostModernism was a significant architectural style and had influence on Brazilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s set design. The courtyard in front of the Ministry of Information can be linked to Arata Isozakiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s design of MOCA in Los Angeles. MOCA




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has characteristically large monumental public spaces and over-scaled urban artefacts similar to the space in front of the Ministry of Information building. Robert Venturi and the post-modernists of the 1970s and 1980s coined the phrase that ‘function follows form.’ With the use of Post-Modern architecture, artificiality is integrated as a subplot within Brazil. Mrs Ida Lowry’s apartment is an exhibition of her wealth and caste within society. Her apartment was filmed in the Liberal Club located next to London’s old Scotland Yard, a wealthy and wellprotected area of the city. Similar to Ida’s apartment, Dr Jaffe’s surgery room, where Ida Lowry receives her cosmetic treatment, exudes a certain decadence as well. The scene was shot in the home of Lord Leighton, a Victorian artist and collector, and is extravagantly decorated.

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SOCIETAL DISPARITY In the scene where Sam visits Mrs Buttle to return her receipt for her husband, we see the difference between the aristocratic society and the working-class society. Modern economical building types are used to depict the living conditions of societies that are poor. For example, the modernist courtyard that Sam visits before going to Mrs Buttle’s apartment is testimony to this idea. The courtyard is derelict and inhabited by impoverished children. The architectural form of these buildings shares some resemblance to Le Corbusier’s Unite de Habitation. The hard concrete façade is characteristic of both apartments in Brazil and the Unite de Habitation. Additionally, we see that these influences of architecture affect the mood of the scenes. Architecture is used to express

cinematic ideas. The restaurant where Sam, Ida, Mrs Terrain and Shirley eat lunch was filmed in Buckinghamshireâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mentmore Towers. The restaurant scene portrays the lack of sensibility of the upper class in Brazil. A terrorist bomb detonates while the group is dining and not a single person acknowledges that the event takes place or attempts to help the people injured.


EXTREME FUNCTIONALITY Continuing that architecture is used to express cinematic ideas, Samâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s apartment, filmed at the Marne la Vallee in France, a huge apartment complex designed by Ricardo Bofil, depicts the problems of functionality. Samâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house is functional to the point that it is inept for living. The extreme functionality of the house actually negatively affects Samâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life. This is the case when his alarm clock neglects to go off, his toast is burnt, and his coffee is spilled.


Similarly, the enormous space where Sam is lobotomized depicts the overbearing strength of mechanised industrial society on the human psyche. The scene was shot on location in a cooling tower at a South London power station. During Samâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s escape scene, the stuntman who rescues him, descends a distance of 170 feet onto 9-inch-wide metal bridges that are 40 feet above the ground. The enormous space emphasises the scale to which society has succumbed to total dominance over the individual. The space is empowering and extremely intimidating.

Architectural expression takes on various forms and styles. The spatiality of the sets highlights the themes of the movie.

ARCHITECTURE KEY ELEMENT The Records Department where Sam works is the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;containerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; where he becomes a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cogâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in the machine of society. Filming of this scene took place at an abandoned grain mill in the Docklands of London. The mill was painted gray to create a dull and uneventful space. The giant holes in the ceiling are the bottoms of giant 12-story grain silos. The significance of Samâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s workplace shows that the workerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s humanity is mediocre within the realm of Brazilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bureaucracy. Brazil stands out in comparison to other movies with architecture as a key element. While almost all of these movies depict and follow a certain style of architecture, Brazil used the eclectic model, the architecture styles varying with the varying moods in the movie.


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How many

houses do

you need? Text: Sridhar Radhakrishnan, Thanal


ome time ago, a friend of mine living in the US, with children growing up there, and his parents winding up here, called me to ask something that shocked me. Very innocently, he wanted to know whether the controversies raging over Munnar as a realestate destination were over and whether he could invest in a house there.I knew it was not his first house! So, I asked him: “How many houses do you have in Kerala? He said: “Four.” Munnar will be his fifth! And, to what purpose are you buying up these houses – my next question. He said: “It’s good investment!! Then, some convenient luxury. His family – him, wife, two children, own houses in their native towns – three of them, and one house in Guruvayur for his family to visit and stay whenever they want to be in the bhakthi mode and now one in Munnar for their retreat moments.

SNOBBISH MALAYALEE Knowing the Malayalee psyche for displaying his pomp, these are surely not ‘houses’ but probably ‘mansions.’ I stayed awake that night, pulling out housing statistics to see what’s the impact of Malayalee families thinking like this – house as an investment and convenience. The 2011 National Census had some interesting findings. The total houses (buildings) figure in Kerala was about 112 lakh, of which occupied residential houses were 76.5 lakh. Nearly 12 lakh houses, it said, were unoccupied, and, I am sure most of these must have been residential

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Hills are vanishing, thanks to mass quarrying.

ones!! Where were these occupants – probably in some faraway land like my friend, or probably do not exist at all. In many meetings, with senior planners, I have repeatedly heard the very religious argument that Kerala should now grow vertical, and not horizontal, so as to get across its land scarcity. But, what land scarcity? Or, housing insufficiency? For whom? For a middle-income or lower-income family, in Kerala, it has become a sweat-on-the-back effort to own even a small house, simply because people with enough to throw away for luxury or convenience is investing heavily and taking the opportunity out of the needy. And, the throw-away-rich also build such large houses that go much beyond the basic needs of any human family, thus setting standards and hence competition among all others to spend more and build larger mansions. The result – rising expectations and increasing expenses for the rest of the people.

SPECULATIVE INVESTMENT Coming to the sprouting flats, there are many informal (I have not come across a formal study) studies that show that such flats have more unoccupied apartments than occupied ones. Again, investment that may not even be about

luxury or convenience, but simply speculative – the prospect of prices going up in that area, and bringing multiplied returns on disposing it off. On the contrary, how many families in Kerala do not have land of their own or own a house? The number, it is said, is only 2 lakh. That should be an eye-opener. This means that, out of the 77 lakh families, only 2 lakh do not have a house of their own, meaning that Kerala is now 97.5 % housed. Obviously, these rather poor 2 lakhs can satisfy their dream (read ‘need’) of a house only if the cost of buying land, or building a house is brought down, but that also means that they should be reserved out of the financial competition existing on the access to land, sand, water, and other construction material, including labour, skills and expertise. This, for the hapless 2 lakh, is a losing affair unless we bring in strict restrictions and rationing to the number of houses a family can own in a landstrapped Kerala.

The throw-away-rich build such large houses that go much beyond the basic needs of any human family, thus setting standards and hence competition among all others to spend more and build larger mansions.


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DISAPPEARING WETLANDS Now, what about food, which, in Kerala, is in direct competition with the real estate greed of its people, and losing out day by day. Its staple food paddy comes basically from wetlands and paddy lands that, in 1971, spread over a cropping area of over 8 lakh hectares, but, in 2011, we developed and ‘successfully’ brought it down to 2.14 lakh hectares! This obviously brought down our food production to less that 6 lakh tonnes a year, which is about 13% of the annual staple needs of the Kerala population. Now, where did all the foodproducing wetlands disappear? That is where we come back to our first story – houses, and other probably unnecessary buildings. Paddy lands and wetlands have simply been filled up, and developed into plots, by every developer worth his name, and these ‘plots’ have all added up to killing Kerala’s most important asset – its food and water security support systems – the paddy lands and wetlands. One of the reasons for this is also that these wetlands, comparatively cheap, were affordable, provided the developer had enough stone and rubble ( pulled down from hillocks ) to fill up the paddy land and increase its land value. Is it not shocking? A state with 97.5 % housing security but only 13 % food security, and still the state, its planners and people lament that we need more houses, buildings and infrastructure. With great trouble and huge public pressure, in 2008, a Paddy and Wetland Conservation Act was passed. However, in these 5 years, the state and its developers have sabotaged successfully the implementation of the Act by delaying the publication of a data bank, which clearly and for all legal purposes, enlists those land areas that are paddy lands and wetlands and those that are not. Hence each day our builders continue to build mansions over our food and water security lands.

FOOD & WATER SCARCITY I wonder what do we call the people of a state who are almost totally literate and so housed as well, but only 13% food-secure and losing its water security very fast ? What do we call a state that has to keep sending its Chief Minister and its Food Supplies Minister scurrying to the Central Government with a priority list of development wishes, the foremost always being the next consignment of wheat or rice for its food-strapped people?

The real estate boom a sorry scenario?

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Kerala, it seems, is a classical case of a beggar state: a beggar with more buildings than it needs, tonnes of misused money and flowery dreams of a ‘whiteman’s land’ – a beggar nevertheless…



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n annual sand sculpture festival was held in the English resort town of Westonsuper-Mare in North Somerset in March, 2013. This year, the theme was centred on Hollywood and the event featured amazing sand sculptures of film stars, celebrities and favourite movie scenes created by more than twenty world-class sand sculptors from nine countries. Legends including King Kong, Alfred Hitchcock, Batman, Lord Voldemort and others were artfully created using 4000 tonnes of sand from the beach which is located on the Bristol Channel coast. The festival will stay open until September.


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Reduce, reuse and recycle CONFERENCE ON GREEN HOMES HELD AT GARDEN CITY Text : Vanaja Varma Photos: IGBC


angalore, famous for its landmark lung spaces and heritage ecosystems, was home to the Conference on Green Homes, which was held at Hotel Le Meridien, Sankey Road, on June 15, 2013. The elegant setting and verdant landscape along with the classic interiors of the hotel provided the ideal backdrop to the discussions and presentations that took place, centred around the ‘Green’ theme. The theme was of relevance, given the fact that the forward-thinking city also happens to be one of the most polluted among the metros.

Thanks to the vision and initiative of the late grandsire architect Dr Visweshwarayya, Bengaluru has been maintaining an enviable track record of contributing to the Green movement.

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The schoolchildren’s song for the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), with the chorus on ‘Let’s go Green together….’ struck the right chord with the audience and set the tone for the theme of the day. The inaugural session saw the who’s who of the metro coming together on the dais to address issues related to green compliance, create awareness on the importance of green habitat and promote ecofriendly concepts and sustainable building techniques in general, with specific reference to Bengaluru city. The entire focus of the conference was on the sustainability factor, oriented towards the motto of reduce, recycle, reuse and reproduce. Ever since the pioneering effort taken in the field of developing the Nation-building Code for Sustainable Building Techniques, thanks to the vision and initiative of the late grandsire architect

BBMP Commissioner M. Lakshminarayana delievers his talk on the Green theme.

Dr Visweshwarayya , Bengaluru has been maintaining an enviable track record of contributing to the Green movement. The role played by this legendary figure in recognising architecture as a living system was highlighted by one of the panelists, P C Jain, from Jindal Institute. It is hoped that the green city, with its serious and sensitised approach towards energy-efficient buildings, use of naturally available materials, water saving techniques, recycling of wastes and garbage management, continues its efforts as a leader in the nation-building process to pave the way for a better, safer and healthier living for all in the coming decades.

CHALLENGES GALORE The conference venue created a common forum that facilitated a fruitful exchange of expert opinions and perspectives that looked at diverse ways by which the city could be revived to its former glory. It is to be kept in mind that the city has been facing problems such as water depletion, deforestation, soil erosion and environment pollution all along.

be to ensure that waste management begins at home. Building policies formulated by regulatory bodies would work if implemented on a public-private partnership basis. The fact that ‘Green’ has become a mere fad today was rued over, and it was decided to devise ways and means by which the fashion aspect could be converted to passiondriven activity, leading to a solid outcome. A book on Green Building Communities was released. H. N. Siddhanna( IPS retd), whose pioneering efforts in practising and propagating the concept of environmentalism through his sapling-planting drive, was honoured for his contributions.

GREEN – A FAD? Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda remarked that the growth of new apartment complexes Recognition of Mr. Siddhanna’s contributions towards the environment.

The panel discussions turned out to be brainstorming sessions that threw light on the numerous possibilities of restoring and developing the city’s natural resources, thus ensuring a complete revival of Bengaluru. This included rejuvenating the water bodies that were drying up – through water harvesting systems, minimising waste production, utilising garbage-recycling techniques, introducing green power, generation and so on. In this context, it is worth mentioning that Karnataka has played a significant role in developing non-conventional, alternative methods of power generation. It was discussed that this holistic revival had to begin at the grassroots-level, that there is a need to educate society by creating mass awareness on such issues as the hazards of dumping wastes. The first step in this direction would


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P C Jain’s inaugural address

and layouts was draining away the land resources of the city and urged the City Development Authority/ BBMP officials – planners and policymakers – to put an end to this lopsided development. They should look at the prospects of Bengaluru growing vertically. The development should facilitate a sustainable mode of living and take into account the legitimate aspirations of all sections of society. It was decided that it must involve a concerted effort by the IGBC, CII, the Government, the NGOs, architects, industries etc., in order to contribute to reducing waste, minimising consumption and facilitating the Green concept. Syed Mohamed Beary and Dr Chandrasekhar Hariharan, chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the IGBC, Bengaluru chapter said the organisation could come up with training courses and learning programmes on the value of Green through consumerfriendly as well as professional-friendly content to spread awareness on and popularise the theme among the public. This would ensure that the movement extends beyond the cities to permeate into the suburbs and villages in the interiors.

State Agriculture minister Krishna Byre Gowda speaks to the audience on sustainable solutions.

At the panel discussion involving popular media persons representing eminent institutions, journals and TV channels, the focus was on arriving at a consensus on how the media could play a proactive role and serve as a catalyst in forwarding the Green movement by highlighting the environmental concerns faced by society – like initiating awareness campaigns headed by celebrities by harping on topics that directly impact lives such as the growing garbage menace. Responsible journalism would also include conveying messages in such a way as to influence the readers’ mindset, and featuring images and titles which have a profound visual impact so as to sink directly into the viewers’ minds. It was expressed that the social responsibility could be further extended to wider information-sharing like street-plays in order to reach the common folk. It was opined that the entire theme, including both the problems as well as the solutions, should be projected in a mode that would convey the message that the remedy is simple, viable and sustainable irrespective of whoever maybe taking it up – bureaucrats, professionals, students or housewives. The prospects of the media devoting specific pages towards the Green cause and carrying interesting stories on matters affecting everyone in order to get the debate going on a regular basis were also discussed.

INSIGHTFUL CONCEPTS The discussion session titled ‘Architects Insights on the Art, Science and Philosophy of designing Green Homes’ hovered around concepts of minimalism, on-site planning, site contextuality, sensitivity to environment, use of natural materials, free-flowing spaces, etc. The bottom line was that design should be inspired from nature and life, and that architecture should evolve in a contemporary format even while remaining rooted in traditional principles. There were several presentations by eminent architects and landscape designers from in and around the city, which focused on Green aspects that aligned with the environment-friendly theme of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle.’ The conference threw up several avenues and methods of integrating social networks into the built environment in order to enhance the social bonding between families and communities. The need to promote ecological literacy and people’s participation in community development was highlighted. The role and responsibility of the architect fraternity was also touched upon and it was felt that the architect has to strike a balance between need and greed. Even while designing buildings engaging latest technology and new building practices, he has to retain his concern for nature and remain sensitive to his surroundings. The conference explored numerous ways and means by which human space and comfort could be maximised while, at the same time, minimising material costs,

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running costs, maintenance costs and energy consumption.

INTEGRATING ART, TECHNOLOGY During the open discussion session, the possibility of integrating architecture, engineering and technology into the curriculum as a coherent unit was explored. The need was also felt to include special features of architectural relevance such as water and energy saving techniques in the syllabus. Besides, workshops with hands-on training in building techniques could be conducted for awareness and experience.

The tangible benefits of green interiors like energy efficiency, water storage, saving of natural resources and better health were highlighted. Landscape architect Varna Shashidhar gave an interesting presentation on greenery and how it can change our quality of life. Her concept of sustaining ecosystems focused on community parks that could be developed as reusable gardens and contribution of wetlands as a self-sufficient unit by integrating community life.

The role of the Government and the private sector in creating sustainable homes was yet another topic that was taken up for discussion. Methods of restructuring building regulations, redefining housing/financing schemes etc., were explored and it was felt that stable governance is what is needed to contribute to the built environment. Overall, there was a feeling of a need to create a demand for Green solutions through public literacy campaigns in Green awareness, and implementing skill development and vocational training programmes targeted at all sections of society, not only in the construction sector but also among homes, schools, hospitals, industries and the like. It was also felt that the Green agenda thus implemented should sustain in future and keep meeting its goals in order to create an impact on the national front. Many new ideas were discussed by the architects, builders and others among the discerning audience. Educational institutions could be a vehicle to carry the Green movement forward. The loopholes in the present Green certification norms are to be plugged. The existing mode of pre-certifying the building at the design-level and ignoring its operation should be scrapped and the building has to be rated for its actual performance throughout. And many more.

GREEN MATERIALS, APPLIANCES A session was devoted to deliberations on eco-friendly materials and appliances and Green design interiors for homes. Architect Gouri Rathod, of Ecumene Habitat Solutions, talked about the experiences of codes for residential dwellings in other countries and how the issue of pollution can be tackled within the urban landscape of the metro by strictly adhering to Green building practices. Architect and counsellor to IGBC, Praveen Kumar Soma, dwelt on the holistic approach involving nonconventional, recycled or renewable materials using less embodied energy such as bamboo, composite wood, re-used bottles etc., and how they would go a long way in preventing destruction of forest land and natural resources.

A section of the audience

Dr Dhakshayani, of Harita-NTI, spoke about the concept of decentralised organic waste management and how bio-polymers played a vital role in the green agenda. This was followed by Farmland Rainwater Harvesting Systems director Vijay Rajâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s talk on how to create wealth out of waste.

IGBC The conference was organised by the Indian Green Building Council, an associate of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which is a non-government, not-for-profit and industry-managed organisation that plays a pro-active role in Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s development process. The IGBC is a visionary group that aims to facilitate sustainable built environment for all and enable India to become a global leader in sustainable built environment by 2025. The Council coordinates with the Central and state governments as well as other nodal agencies, architects, designers, builders, developers and others in the construction sector to promote and propagate environment-friendly, sustainable dwelling concepts and Green building techniques.


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PRODUCTS Sleek introduces ERIC


itchen specialist Sleek has introduced Eric, the new generation model oven with a digital display. This fanassisted oven-cum-electric grill has a two-layered glass oven door. Eric is an 8 Functronic LED Programmer having a 60-litre usable capacity. Further details can be viewed at

Dr. Fixit introduces Bathseal


ienerberger, one of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest brick manufacturers, recently introduced POROTHERM DRYFIX.SYSTEM. Widely accepted in Europe for nearly a decade, POROTHERM DRYFIX.SYSTEM is a technologically advanced wall building system that improves productivity, saves costs and paves the way for faster building of walls. It also ensures minimum utilization of scarce resources and a cleaner

and healthier working environment. POROTHERM DRYFIX. SYSTEM, when used with POROTHERM Clay Bricks (which are 60% lighter, possess high compressive strength and provide thermal insulation) forms a combination with unparalleled benefits. This is used for construction of rendered infill walls. Fu r t h e r i n for m at i on an d details can be accessed from

LIGHT Mirror from CERA


ERA Sanitaryware Ltd has launched the new 5500 Light Mirror with special features. This innovative device (600 Ă&#x2014; 800 mm) has a 100% silver plating for better reflectivity. 5 mm thick glass having Alufer coating is used, with an anti-crack film for mirror protection. A painted wooden light box is also attached. For more details, visit


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NEWS Book on architecture for Green living


ell-known architect Rafiq Azam’s monograph Rafiq Azam: Architecture for Green Living will be published on November 26, 2013. The book is being published by Skira, Milan, Italy, along with co-publisher Bengal Foundation, Dhaka. Skira is one of the top-class publishers of the world, and Bengal Foundation, leading promoter of the arts and cultural wealth of Bangladesh. The book is edited by Rosa Maria Falvo, a writer and curator, and Skira’s international commissions editor who has specialised in Asian contemporary art and photography. The foreword is by Kerry Hill, acclaimed Australian architect and an influential

figure in South-east Asia.The texts are by Kazi Khaled Ashraf, a Bangladeshi architect and historian, based at the University of Hawaii, and Philip Goad, professor of Architecture and deputy dean of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne, Australia. The interview is by Syed Manzoorul Islam, a Bangladeshi writer and professor of English at the University of Dhaka. The launching of the book will take place in Dhaka, Colombo, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangalore, Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, London, New York, Pennsylvania, Houston, Toronto, Beijing, Tokyo, Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad.

China plans to build world’s tallest building in 3 months


he race to build the world’s tallest build-

ing has taken on an urgent tone these past few years, but a Chinese plan to build the world’s tallest building in mere months takes the latest salvo in this architectural arms race to new heights.Broad Sustainable Building Corporation, led by eccentric and reportedly brilliant CEO Zhang Yue, claims to have solved the problem using prefabricated parts. When the company built a 30-story building in 15 days in 2012, Yue had said: “Traditional construction is chaotic, and we took construction and moved it into the factory.”In 2012, Broad had announced a plan to build the world’s tallest building, Sky City One, in no more than a few months. Using 100% prefabricated parts, the

company claimed, the building would rise at a rate of five stories a day. Recently, Broad renewed its claim, announcing that construction was about to begin. The construction, according to reports, will start in September 2013.Sky City will be 150 stories taller than the current tallest prefabricated building in the world. Broad prefabricates its modules in a factory, including everything from HVAC ductwork to floor tiles. Those Lego-like blocks, which are roughly 50 feet long by 12 feet wide, are packed along with boxes of the hardware needed to secure them, including the vertical supports, which are a unique Broad innovation. The steel columns sprout diagonal ‘legs’ at each end, creating the building’s cross-bracing.

100th issue of Designer + Builder magazine coming out soon


he first architecture magazine in Malayalam, Designer + Builder, is bringing out its special 100th issue. This grand issue, with a wide variety, focuses on 100 signature projects by the most influential 100 architects in Kerala. The much-awaited issue will be on stands in September 2013.This is the first-of-its-kind effort in the publishing history of India, bringing all leading architects together along with their favourite projects in detail. Another feature of the 100th issue of Designer + Builder is that it will cover the details of the best homes designed by the most influential architects.In the 10th year of its successful publication, Designer + Builder tops all architecture and design magazines published in Malayalam. It has been keeping over 6 lakh readers updated on the latest developments in the architectural designing and related fields for over a decade.

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NEWS Taj Mahal ranked third among world’s top landmarks


ravellers from across the globe have ranked India’s Taj Mahal among the top three landmarks in the world, a leading travel website has announced. According to TripAdvisor’s 2013 Travellers’ Choice Attractions Awards, Taj Mahal was ranked third in the list of Top 25 landmarks.The top two places were taken by Machu Picchu in Peru and Angkor Wat in Cambodia, respectively. The winners of Travellers’ Choice Attractions Awards were determined based on the quality and quantity of traveller reviews of attractions, featured on TripAdvisor, one of the largest travel websites in the world. Taj Mahal, listed among the new Seven Wonders of the World, is renowned the world over for its architecture and aesthetic beauty. Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his late wife Mumtaz Mahal, the white marble mausoleum in the northern Indian city of Agra is also a symbol of enduring love. In 1983, Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Taj Mahal attracts 2-4 million visitors annually, with over 200,000 visitors from overseas.

20 projects shortlisted for Aga Khan Award for Architecture


he shortlist of nominees for the 2013 cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture was announced at the Palacio das Necessidades (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs). The 20 nominees for the US $1 million prize range from a modern high-rise apartment block to the revival of traditional building techniques.The shortlisted projects, selected by an independent Master Jury, are located in Afghanistan, Austria, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, and Yemen. The shortlist includes Rehabilitation of Nagaur Fort in India. The Award’s mandate is different from that of many other architecture prizes: it selects projects – from innovative mud and bamboo schools to state-of-the-art ‘Green’ high-rise buildings – which not only exhibit architectural excellence but also improve the overall quality of life. Since the award was launched 36 years ago, over 100 projects have received the award and over 7,500 building projects have been documented. The shortlisted projects are now being techni-

cally reviewed by a select group of architects, urban planners and engineers. Five to six finalists will then be selected and announced at a ceremony to be held in Lisbon in September 2013. The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established by the Aga Khan Foundation in 1977 to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs

and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence. The award recognises examples of architectural excellence in the fields of contemporary design, social housing, community improvement and development, historic preservation, reuse and area conservation, as well as landscape design and improvement of the environment.

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ERA Sanitaryware Ltd., synonymous with style and innovation, has bagged the prestigious â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Indian Power Brandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; award, sponsored by IIPM Think Tank and Planman Media in association with the Indian Council for Market Research.


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â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is a very proud moment. CERA has bagged the award consecutively for two years now, as one of the top power brands in India.â&#x20AC;? says Mr. Atul Sanghvi, Chief Operating Officer, CERA Sanitaryware Limited, who received the award at a glamorous event in Las Vegas.CERA is a premium brand acknowledged for its stylish product range, elevated innovation through technological advancement and high quality production. Accolades like Power Brand awards endorse CERA as the pioneer in sanitaryware. Today, with accelerated marketing thrust, CERA has a higher growth pace than its peers and it has found an important place amidst the 30 fastest growing companies in India.


Ar. Rajeev G. Kulkarni M. Arch.(Arch. Conservation), A. I. I. A. Professor, Sinhgad College of Architecture, Pune â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 411 041. Phone: 09822790305 Email:, Blog:

Christopher Charles Benninger Architects Founder,India House 53, Sopan Bagh, Balewadi, Pune 411045 India Dr.B. Shashi Bhooshan 656 B, Fifth Cross, Saraswathipuram, Mysore - 570009. Phone: 0821 2510148 R 2543147 O Email: Website:

Ar. Sreekanth P. S. Keerthana, Surya Nagar, Kalamassery, Kochi- 683503. Phone: 09028839150 Email: Blog:

Studio Mumbai Architects 561/63, NM Joshi Marg, Byculla West, Mumbai- 400011 Email:

Droog B.V. Staalstraat 7A 1011 JJ Amsterdam the Netherlands Phone: +31 20 523 5050

Serie Architects Mumbai 317, A-Z Industrial Estate G.K. Road, Lower Parel Mumbai 400013 India Phone: +91 22 40046952 Email:

Sridhar Radhakrishnan Thanal OD-3, Jawahar nagar, Kawdiar,Thiruvananthapuram â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 695003 Kerala. Phone: 09995358205 Email:

Mistry Architects #444, 13th Cross, 5th Main, II Stage Indiranagar, Bangalore - 560 038 Phone: +91 (80) 252 57529, 252 56266, 252 50186 Email:

Symbiosis Society Senapati Bapat Road, Pune - 411 004, Maharashtra, India Phone: +91-20-25652444


Baaya Design 11/12, Raghuvanshi Mills Compounds, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai - 400013. Phone: 022-65210165 Email: / Website:

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Design Detail The Architecture Magazine

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Design Detail The Architecture Magazine