Issuu on Google+

EXPLORE

VOL 27 (8)

APR 2014

www.iabforum.com

INDIAN ARCHITECT & BUILDER

Focus 361° Conference 2014, ‘Architecture & Identity’ In Conversation Raj Rewal Architecture Visual Arts Institutional Campus in Rohtak

Presented by


VOL 27 (8) | APRIL 2014 | WWW.IABFORUM.COM RNI Registration No. 46976/87, ISSN 0971-5509 INDIAN ARCHITECT AND BUILDER

28 CURRENT EXPLORE

Chairman: Jasu Shah Printer, Publisher & Editor: Maulik Jasubhai Shah Chief Executive Officer: Hemant Shetty EDITORIAL Assistant Editors: Maanasi Hattangadi, Ruturaj Parikh Writers: Rashmi Naicker (Online), Chandrima Padmanabhan, Anusha Narayanan Copy Editor: Sachi Atul Shah Design Team: Mansi Chikani, Prasenjit Bhowmick, Kenneth Menezes Event Management Team: Abhijeet Mirashi Subscription: Dilip Parab Production Team: V Raj Misquitta (Head), Prakash Nerkar, Arun Madye Head Office: JMPL, Taj Building, 3rd Floor, 210, Dr D N Road, Fort, Mumbai - 400 001. Tel: + 91-22-4037 3636, Fax: +91-22-4037 3635 SALES Brand Manager: Sudhanshu Nagar Email: sudhanshu_nagar@jasubhai.com MARKETING TEAM & OFFICES Sales Coordinator: Christina D’sa Email: christina_dsa@jasubhai.com

Au courant updates on events, exhibitions, competitions and news.

34 PRODUCTS

Objects and details designed for architectural settings from across the globe.

44

361° POSTCARD PROJECT

The winning entries of the 361° Postcard Project, meaningfully represent the

participants’ cities through a deeper understanding and characterisation of

‘Architecture and Identity’, the theme of the 361° Conference 2014.

46

CONSTRUCTION BRIEF

Designed by Ahmedabad-based Anthill Design, as an annexe to an

existing residence, the Pavilion of Incremental Form houses an unimposing

studio for a graphic designer that effortlessly extends to the outside.

50

IN CONVERSATION

Renowned architect Raj Rewal, in conversation with IA&B discusses

architecture within the constructs of his work, inspirations and philosophies,

all of which have been determining factors in his illustrious career.

Pavilion of Incremental Form, Ahmedabad

On Memory and Modernity

Mumbai Parvez Memon Taj Building, 3rd Floor, 210, Dr D N Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 001. Tel: + 91-22-4037 3636, Fax: +91-22-4037 3635 Email: parvez_memon@jasubhai.com

54 ARCHITECTURE

MOVING THROUGH LAYERS

Raj Rewal’s work goes beyond the definitive constructs of modern

Delhi: Preeti Singh / Manu Raj Singhal 803, Chiranjeev Tower, No 43, Nehru Place, New Delhi – 110 019 Tel: +91 11 2623 5332, Fax: 011 2642 7404, Email: preeti_singh@jasubhai.com, manu_singhal@jasubhai.com

architecture, with resounding architectural and urban narratives that

naturally respond to its culture and context.

Gujarat: Nisha Pipaliya Mobile: +91 9099963930, Email: nisha_pipaliya@jasubhai.com

72

361° CONFERENCE 2014

Bengaluru / Hyderabad: Sudhanshu Nagar Mobile: +91 9833104834, Email: sudhanshu_nagar@jasubhai.com

Exploring the various interpretations of identity through practices that take

Chennai / Coimbatore: Princebel M Mobile: +91 9444728035, +91 9823410712, Email: princebel_m@jasubhai.com

strong standpoints on the same, the 361° Conference 2014 engaged students

and professionals in a meaningful discourse on the importance of critically

evaluating the subject.

74

POST EVENT

An overview of 361° Conference 2014, which was held at the Nehru

Centre in Mumbai from 19 th – 21 st February 2014.

80

LECTURE SYNOPSES

Balkrishna Doshi, Sangath, India

Kolkata: Sudhanshu Nagar Mobile: +91 9833104834, Email: sudhanshu_nagar@jasubhai.com Pune: Parvez Memon Mobile: +91 9769758712, Email: parvez_memon@jasubhai.com Printed & Published by Maulik Jasubhai Shah on behalf of Jasubhai Media Pvt. Ltd (JMPL), 26, Maker Chamber VI, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021 Printed at M B Graphics, B-28 Shri Ram Industrial Estate, ZGD Ambekar Marg, Wadala, Mumbai 400031and Published from Mumbai - 3rd Floor, Taj Building, 210, Dr D N Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 001. Editor: Maulik Jasubhai Shah, 26, Maker Chamber VI, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021 Indian Architect & Builder: (ISSN 0971-5509), RNI No 46976/87, is a JMPL monthly publication. Reproduction in any manner, in whole or part, in English or any other language is strictly prohibited. We welcome articles, but do not accept responsibility for contributions lost in the mail.

Architecture and Identity

84

William J R Curtis, Architecture Critic, France


86

Aniket Bhagwat, M/s Prabhakar B Bhagwat, India

88

Héctor Fernández Elorza, Héctor Fernández Elorza

Arquitectura, Spain

90

Dominic Sansoni, ThreeBlindMen Photography, Sri Lanka

92

Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury, URBANA, Bangladesh

EXPLORE

94

Channa Daswatte, MICD Associates, Sri Lanka

96

Rick Joy, Rick Joy Architects, USA

98

Paulo David, Paulo David Arquitectos, Portuga l

100

Minakshi Jain, Minakshi Jain Architects, India

102

Sanjeev Panjabi & Sangeeta Merchant,

SPASM DESIGN, India

104

Lars Müller, Lars Müller Publishers, Switzerland

106

Emre Arolat, Emre Arolat Architects, Turkey

108

Carin Smuts, C S Studio Architects, South Africa

110

EPILOGUE Architecture – A Discipline or a Profession?

112

BOOK REVIEW

THE BUNGALOW IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY INDIA

Collaboratively authored by Madhavi Desai, Miki Desai and Jon Lang, the

book is a referential analysis and discourse on the changing architecture of the

Bungalows through the Colonial and Post-Colonial period and its influences.

Printed & Published by Maulik Jasubhai Shah on behalf of Jasubhai Media Pvt. Ltd (JMPL), 26, Maker Chamber VI, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021. Printed at M.B.Graphics, B-28, Shri Ram Industrial Estate, ZG.D.Ambekar Marg, Wadala, Mumbai 400031and Published from Mumbai - 3rd Floor, Taj Building, 210, Dr D N Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 001. Editor: Maulik Jasubhai Shah, 26, Maker Chamber VI, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021. Indian Architect & Builder: (ISSN 0971-5509), RNI No 46976/87, is a JMPL monthly publication. Reproduction in any manner, in whole or part, in English or any other language is strictly prohibited. We welcome articles, but do not accept responsibility for contributions lost in the mail.

rI Cove

mag

e

aj R :©R

ew

soci s A l a

ate s


current

28

Category Type Deadline

: : :

International Open to all May 18, 2014

The 2014 edition of the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) which will take place in Copenhagen this year, is now accepting submissions for its international design competition. Partnering with Refshaleøen Holding and the IT University of Copenhagen, this year the competition invites designs of infrastructural proposals for a new sustainable art piece for Copenhagen’s Refshaleøen area. The site being a historic shipyard lot that is scheduled for redevelopment, the solutions will be judged on the participants’ aptitude to respond to the ecology and the participants’ ability to contextually integrate themselves in the local environment. $20,000 in prize money will be allocated by the determination of the LAGI 2014 jury to the winning entries. For further information, log on to: www.landartgenerator.org/designcomp

Entries Open for 2014 World Architecture Festival Awards Category Type Deadline

: : :

International Open to all May 30, 2014

The 2014 edition of the World Architecture Festival (WAF) Awards is open to entries from architects worldwide, who wish to showcase their designs across any of the extensive 30 categories under the broader classifications of built projects, future projects and landscape design. WAF is one of the largest international festivals, which celebrates architectural excellence, bringing together designers from across the globe annually. Judged by an esteemed panel of jurors, all entries will be displayed in the festival gallery at the venue and listed permanently in the World Buildings Directory, which is a definitive and extensive archive of global architecture. The event takes place in Singapore from 1st-3rd October 2014. For further information, log on to: www.worldarchitecturefestival.com

X-Change 2014 Competition

COMPETITIONS

Category Type Deadline

: : :

International Open to all June 25, 2014

International Conference on ‘Sustainable Innovative Techniques in Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering’ Date Venue

: :

April 26-27, 2014 Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

The 3rd international conference on ‘Sustainable Innovative Techniques in Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering’ is being organised by Krishi Sanskriti, an NGO which works towards environmental protection. The Conference aims to provide a foundational forum for a new principled approach to Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering. Garnering participants from different backgrounds to foster interdisciplinary thought and exposure, the different modules of the Conference cover innovations, theories, methodologies, tools and applications for sustainable development. For further information, log on to: www.krishisanskriti.org/sitacee.html

Vernacular Eco-Architecture of The Himalayas Date Venue

: :

May 1-10, 2014 Dharmalaya Institute, Bir, Himachal Pradesh

A 10-day residential workshop at the Dharmalaya Institute offers hands-on education in traditional methods of construction with earth, through the techniques of eco-architect Didi Contractor. Dharmalaya is a charitable organisation whose main mission is to unite the best of traditional wisdom with creative innovation to produce compelling possibilities for sustainable and compassionate living in the Himalayas and beyond. The workshop is an ideal learning environment for those who wish to gain an overview and understanding of the possible, as well as existing applications of sustainable vernacular architecture, and its appropriateness to Indian conditions. Handled principally by architects Mark Moore, Sourabh Phadke and Naresh Sharma, the cost of `1500 per day also includes a tent accommodation and meals. In addition, a limited number of work-study scholarships are available at a subsidised price. For further information, log on to: www.dharmalaya.in/events/2014/2/24/vernacular-eco-architectureworkshop-1-10-may-2014.html

International Urban Sketching Symposium Date Venue

: :

August 27-30, 2014 Casa da Cultura, Paraty, Brazil

The X- Change 2014 Competition, hosted by YArch invites proposals for construction during its two week workshop in Cyprus this year. The aim is to visit a different city each year, with the ambition to study and propose architectural solutions for that particular city. The project for construction should be in keeping with the theme, which is the cultural exchange between people, linking and bridging continents together. The main intention of the competition and workshop is to bring together students of architecture to work on the same project, on an international level and explore the practical world of working with real life structures from smaller to varying scales.

In its 5th edition, the annual International Urban Sketching Symposium will host a series of diverse workshops, activities, demos and lectures. Organised by Urban Sketchers, which is a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering the art of on-location drawing, the event will engage with the city through drawings. Each educational session, led by an international faculty, is an exercise in observation and expression, exploring form and technique in a variety of ways and gaining a deeper understanding of the host city. The Symposium is open to anyone with an interest in drawing on location, regardless of their expertise or professional background. Registrations begin on March 31st 2014.

For further information, log on to: www.yarchworkshop.com

For further information, log on to: paraty2014.urbansketchers.org

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014

EVENTS

Land Art Generator Initiative 2014


current

30

Book Launch: Rafiq Azam, Architecture for Green Living A renowned architect, Rafiq Azam is also a respected painter, lecturer and founder and principal architect of a firm - Shattoto in Bangladesh. He has recently received the LEAF 2012 Residential Building of the Year Award at the London Design Festival and is responsible for taking the architecture of Bangladesh to a global platform. ‘Rafiq Azam, Architecture for Green Living’ is the first ever monograph on contemporary architectural practice in Bangladesh. Hosted by Studio-X in Mumbai in association with IA&B, the book was launched on February 22nd 2014. The monograph is a compilation of projects with more than 200 colour and black-and-white plates, design sketches, watercolour paintings and an evocation of his process of design, providing a rich reference for students, designers and practitioners alike. It is published by Skira, which is one of the foremost publishing companies of the world and the Bengal Foundation, a leading promoter of the arts and cultural wealth of Bangladesh.

NEWS

Young Architects Festival 2014

Kurula Varkey Design Forum 2014 The Kurula Varkey Design Forum 2014 was held at the CEPT University from February 21 st–24 th, by the students of the faculty of architecture. Since 2001, the Forum has become a national platform for critical discourse on architecture and architectural education. The forum is a platform to comprehend and recognise, through discourse, the diverse directions in the architectural profession and to reflect upon the varied streams of thought emerging amongst the student community. The design event commenced with a dialogue by Japanese architect Osamu Ishiyama, who shared a presentation of his various architectural work and his inspirations from Indian architecture. The rest of the programme involved discussing the thesis projects of the selected 5 th year students of architecture from around the world, where the students were given the opportunity to interact directly with a panel comprising of members of the architecture community from across the world. The panellists for this event included William J R Curtis, Bijoy Ramachandran, Carin Smuts, Rafiq Azam, Emre Arolat and Shirish Beri. The Forum came to a befitting end with the Memorial Lecture which was delivered by Charles Correa.

The 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale to be Curated by Rem Koolhaas

Held between 21 st - 22 nd February and hosted by the Kochi Centre of the Kerala Chapter of the IIA, the theme of the Young Architects Festival was ‘Be the Change’. The venue for the event was the scenic Bolgatty Palace and Island Resort at Kochi. The Festival aimed at bringing about an improved understanding of contemporary architecture and a renewed thought process to propel its participants, mainly the new generation of architects, to work towards a change for the better. The Festival saw some interesting debates and discussions on professional practice and the allied fields of architecture. The list of speakers included Ashok B Lall, Adrian Welke of Troppo Architects, Sandeep Virmani of Hunnarshala Foundation, Rural Urban Frameworks, Site Specific Company and a number of other distinguished Indian architects. As peripherals to the main event, competitions and workshops were also organised. A competition inviting entries for an iconic structure that is symbolic of what Kochi represents was announced and the winning entry was unveiled at the Festival.

The Dutch Architect Rem Koolhaas has agreed to curate the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale which is opening in June. Under the title of Fundamentals, Koolhaas undertakes a radical departure from the usual assessment of the current architectural scene, focusing instead on a three-pronged approach, conceiving the project “more as a vehicle for research than an exhibition”. Fundamentals consists of three interlocking exhibitions – Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014, Elements of Architecture and Monditalia – that together illuminate the past, present and future of the discipline. The exhibition content is being produced in collaboration with a range of architecture schools, from Harvard and MIT to TU Delft and Shenzhen University. Debates, meetings and talks will enrich the Biennale for the whole duration of the exhibition that, given the intensity and the scope of the project, has been extended to six months.

Photo Exhibition by Andreas Volwahsen: Living Architecture

Shimul Javeri Kadri Wins an Honourable Mention at the arcVision Prize 2014

Tasveer celebrated India’s architecture in Delhi between 1st–14th March 2014 at the Saffronart Gallery to preview the exhibition ‘Andreas Volwahsen – Living Architecture’ which celebrated India’s most beautiful heritage sites. Dr Andreas Volwahsen, born in 1941 in Germany, is chiefly acclaimed as an architectural historian. The photographs in the exhibition were originally taken to illustrate his first two academic books, ‘Living Architecture: Islamic India’ (1968) and ‘Living Architecture: India’ (1971). Demonstrating his aspirations for a deeper understanding of ancient Indian architecture, the photographs also revealed strong formal undercurrents of German modernist photography. He analysed the historical, social and religious background of a structure with a consistent use of black and white, muting any distracting details and by emphasising the underlying geometry and symmetry. Through these photographs, the visitors at the exhibition were able to appreciate the extraordinary subject matter in its honesty and pay just tribute to the architects and craftsmen responsible.

Indian architect Shimul Javeri Kadri of SJK Architects, Mumbai, won an Honourable Mention at the arcVision Prize 2014, the second edition of the award on ‘Women and Architecture’. The citation was won by Portuguese architect Ines Lobo. Both Kadri and Lobo were chosen from a shortlist of 21 architects from 15 countries.

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014

Introduced last year by Italcementi, the Prize honours the best women in architecture whose work incorporate technological innovation, sustainability and culture in a harmonious combination of function and style. The projects and profiles of the finalists will be inserted in a special arcVision publication, a magazine published by Italcementi on the culture of business and architecture. The prize winner was announced on March 7, 2014 in Bergamo at i.lab, the Italcementi research and innovation center designed by Richard Meier. Kadri received special commendation for her project ‘The Nirvana Film’ offices in Bengaluru and the factory in Karur which integrates local material and techniques to create a global workspace.


THE STORYTELLERS A photo-competition on spaces and places

By: Vibhor Yadav Equipment used: Canon 1100D Title: Khalsa Heritage Centre Description: Moshe Safdie has created this beautiful complex which is so peaceful and soothing that one should definitely experience it. It celebrates 500 years of Sikh history and the 300th anniversary of the Khalsa, the scriptures written by the tenth and last Sikh guru, Gobind Singh, the founder of the modern Sikh faith. This is the arch underneath the 540ft long bridge leading to the exhibition area. The form and shadows beautifully add another dimension to the complex. Submit your entry today! Each month, the winning entry will be published in the magazine and will receive a complimentary annual subscription.

Submission Format: 1 Photograph – JPEG Format. Brief write-up of upto 100 words describing the image. Required Details: Name / Email Address / Contact Number / Camera Used. Send in your entries to iabedt@jasubhai.com or iab.editorial@gmail.com. See selected entries on IA&B’s Facebook page: facebook/Indian Architect and Builder For queries, please call 022 40373660

EXPLORE


34

Mumbai-based product and furniture designer Anjali Mody takes her passion for creating interesting designs a step further through ‘The Organ Console’.

THE ORGAN CONSOLE Text: Sachi Atul Shah Images: courtesy Anjali Mody

L

ike synchronism of an organ that resonates with the yearning ear, ‘The Organ Console’ by product and furniture designer Anjali Mody, resonates with any type of interior design, be it an individual’s house, insides of an office lobby or a hotel foyer. The Organ Console is created with 19mm black slate stone on top and many 3-5mm brass-plated metal pipes as its base. It is made in the dimensions of 66” length, 24” width and 31” height. It draws inspiration from the attributes of an organ to set a mood of shimmering extravagance – not of furniture, but of art. Inquisitive and passionate, Anjali Mody, completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design from Rhode Island School of Design in 2009 and returned to India and got involved with two creative ventures. She started Josmo Studio, a boutique furniture design studio which is dedicated to creating individualist, bespoke furniture that caters to specific needs of the buyer. The Organ Console, reflects the designer’s philosophy of blending necessity with artistry. Explaining her objective for focusing in crafting such designs, Anjali Mody explained, “Through these creative ventures, I seek to transform the arena of design in India, by opening up India to the world, exposing it to new ideas and innovations, and more importantly, by opening the rest of the world to India and its innate, creative ingenuity”.

Designer: Anjali Mody Contact: Anjali Mody, Josmo Studio Product and Furniture Designer Tel: +91 9820505057 Email: anjali@josmostudio.com; info@josmostudio.com Web: www.josmostudio.com Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


products

35

CANTILEVERED ENSEMBLE Architects Suparna Ghosh and Jensil John utilise their diverse skills and area of interest to put together a versatile piece of furniture – ‘Cantilevered Ensemble’. Text: Sachi Atul Shah Images: courtesy FORUM Architecture

A

rchitects Suparna Ghosh and Jensil John understand the needs of cramped urban houses and create ‘Cantilevered Ensemble’, multifunctional decorous furniture that is suitable for any house irrespective of its size. The furniture is made with simple shelves braced on two vertical elements and cantilevered on either side in varied dimensions where the each shelf rests on the vertical supports and like a building, the cantilever is counterbalanced depending on its unsupported length. The ‘Cantilevered Ensemble’ set of furniture, made of veneer boards of 19mm thickness, is a combination of bookshelves, storage units and a worktable. The extension of one of the shelves acts as a workstation; while the storage box at the base is designed with shutters and detailed to avoid any handles or knobs. In response to the flexibility of application of this set of furniture, Suparna Ghosh, elaborated that, “Depending on the requirement of the user, the cantilever lengths and their resultant counterbalances can be varied. The simplicity of the concept gives this shelf the flexibility to be customised as per site conditions and dimensions and as a result be conducive to different user profiles”.

Designer: Suparna Ghosh, Jensil John

450

230

1650

800

450

760

900

800

ELEVATION

0.3 m

PLAN

0

1.0 m

Contact: Suparna Ghosh, Jensil John Architects at FORUM Architecture 72, Khirkee Vilage, Malviya Nagar, New Delhi – 110017 Tel: +91 98116 00754 Email: forum.architectur@gmail.com Web: www.forumarch.com Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


ard Pro ostc je eP

Pune by Pradhumn Makarand Ghugare

Chennai by Ranga Rohini C

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014

Bhubaneswar by Jhinesh Kumar Bhinde

London by Bethan Kay

y

h it

t

A

rc

ct

361° POSTCARD PROJECT

Th

44

ectu re & Ide

n


45

A

city evolves as an amalgamation of diverse influences such as its history, economic situation, politics and culture. Therefore, inherent in its evolution is the ethos or identity that is intangible yet representative of the place. Whether it is in the way of life of the people, the people who move there, its social/political values, the conversation it draws or even the skyline it presents to the rest of the world, the underlying aspiration of each city is evident in all aspects of its cultural and social life. An individual’s perception of the identity of his/her city differs, depending on the depth of his/her engagement with it. While a visitor may relate to its prominent landmarks, an individual who has lived there all his life might relate to a more deep-rooted tradition or ideology that society has developed from. How we identify with our cities or what makes them specifically our own, could range from the impetus given to education in certain places to the reinforcement of culture in others. At the end of the day, it is that intangible quality of identity, a quality that delves much deeper than language, in a sense of self, and which ties us together as ‘Mumbaiites’, ‘Bangaloreans’, ‘New Yorkers’ or ‘Londoners’. Initiated this year, the 361° Postcard Project sought a deeper understanding of fundamentals, ideas and interpretations for ‘Architecture & Identity’ - a more meaningful representation of a city. Framed here are the eight citations selected from the 112 entries received.

Dallas by Carolina Zuniga

Gangtok by Shashank Satish

Brussels by Denisse Florea

Chandigarh by Jasleen Manrao Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


46

An exploded isometric view showing the layers of the structure.

The pavilion carries the embedded potential of evolution over time.

Pavilion of Incremental Form, Ahmedabad Situated on a narrow parcel of land, the Pavilion by Ahmedabad-based Anthill Design abuts an existing residence as a transparent extension of space stretching through the glazed structure with ease, into the open area outside. Text: Anusha Narayanan Drawings and Images: courtesy Anthill Design and Hazel Karkaria

B

uilt as an annexe to an existing residence, the 'Pavilion of Incremental Form' sits drenched in the shadow of the trees grown on the site. The idea was to keep this pavilion as inconspicuous and open as possible and build the structure within a limited time and budget. The glass box housing the studio is open on three sides with large sliding doors which, along with the columns, establish the formal order in the pavilion. A singular plastered brick wall on the side facing the residence screens the box from the house. The rainscreen which is to rest on the steel exoskeleton running atop the glazing, will be handcrafted in wood. Its coarseness is intended to contrast with the regularity of the frame structure consequently enhancing both the textures. The layered reading of space is to continue as one walks past the outer layer of the steel exoskeleton made of double-columns of Mild Steel box-sections of 66mm x 33mm, through the glazed sliding doors into the space inside. The plinth is resting on a concrete pile foundation which distinguishes the structure by raising it from the site. Despite the slenderness of the columns, the RCC foundations and the structure have been designed with a provision to increase the number of floors to a maximum of three storeys, and to allow an experimentation with the form in the future. This idea of ‘incremental growth in form’ is central to the Pavilion as the slender columns, the ingenious cross-bracing of the diagonal ties across the panels distributing the load uniformly, and the lateral connections between the columns and the slab together make for a stable structure. The expressions of space here are minimalist, flexible and multifunctional rather than defined in Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014

The skeletal structure of the Pavilion showing the materials used in the process.


construction brief

↑

47

The structure is designed to accommodate experiments and additions in the form and structure in the future.

(L & R) The skylight in the ceiling divides the studio but very suggestively, acts as a register of time with the changing light.

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


48

33 x 66mm Box-Section Handrail

Top of Railing : +4510

8 x 66mm Double-Flat Sections welded to the Handrail on top

40

20mm Thick Single-side Polished Kota Stone

12

750

20mm Thick Single-side Polished Stone

12mm Thick Toughened Glass to be fixed with 3mm Glazing Tape

20

75

20mm Thick Plaster 385

430

Mortar

450

115mm Thick Brick Upstand

R75

China-Mosaic Flooring 50mm Thick Waterproofing Layer

Top of Slab: +3760

66mm Thick Wall

12 x 12mm Plaster Groove Made Using Aluminium Square-Sections Double-curve Panel

Top of MS Truss: +3600

12mm Thick Toughened Glass Sealing Gap between Top of Truss and Skylight Glass seen in elevation

8mm Gauge End Plate 43.5 X 25 X 4mm Angle Section Welded to 66 x 33mm Box Section Main Members seen in elevation 66 x 33mm Box-Section Main Members with Diagonal Members 40mm Thick Inclined Bison Board 40mm Thick Bison Board seen in elevation Bottom of MS Truss: +3000 66 x 33mm Box-Section Main Member 40 x 45mm Box-Section

DETAIL A

Top of Railing: +4510 33 x 66mm Box-Section Handrail

66 x 8mm Thick DoubleFlat Sections Railing

750

115mm Thick Brick Upstand 75

12mm Thick Toughened Glass

450

75

20mm Thick Single-side Polished Stone

32 240

200

20

China-Mosaic Flooring 50mm Thick Waterproofing Layer 115mm Thick Brick Upstand

Top of Slab: +3760

12 x 12mm Plaster Groove made using Aluminium Square Section

12mm Thick Glass Sealing Gap between Top of Truss and Skylight Glass

Double Curved Panel 8mm Gauge End Plate

Top of MS Truss: +3600

45 x 45mm Box-Section seen in elevation 43.5 x 25 x 4mm Angle-Section Welded To 66 x 33mm Main Members 66 x 33mm Box-Section Main Members with Diagonal Members 40mm Thick Bison Board

45 x 45mm Box-Section seen in elevation 66 x 33mm Box-Section Main Members with Diagonal Members DETAIL B

DETAIL A

DETAIL B

The expressions of space here are minimalist, flexible and multifunctional rather than defined in totality.

A

B

C

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014

F A 02.01

SECTION THROUGH THE SKYLIGHT

E B 02.02

C 02.03

D

G

H


49

totality. The only defined spaces are the pantry and the toilets encased in grey and blue. The ceiling is an accurately triple-layered structure adding to the light-weighted pavilion. The innermost layer is a steel truss made of 50 x 50mm Mild Steel sections on top of which rest fifteen precast funicular concrete shells, forming the second layer. The outermost layer is made of a concrete finishing with a skylight dividing the roof into two. The light from the ceiling is to soulfully fill the space within, moving in a straight line across the floor during different hours of the day, marking time as it moves. This indistinct separation of the space by light from above will perhaps be the only division in space, apart from which the studio takes a softened approach in the act of building. The Pavilion is designed as an object that will grow and evolve with the green outside, tying it to the inside with its literal transparency.

FACT FILE: Project : Location : Architect : Design Team : Client : Structural Engineer : Completion of Phase 1 (Ground Floor) : Construction of Phase 2 (Vertical Extension) :

Pavilion of Incremental Form Hansol, Ahmedabad Anthill Design Sarosh Anklesaria, Riyaz Tayyibji, Krishna Malu, Christian Manuel Martinez, Praveen Zapadia Karizma Communications, Dhun and Hazel Karkaria StrucArt Design Consultants, Bhairav Patel November- February 2014 Ongoing

The Pavilion relates to its surroundings and is structurally innovative albeit slender, by being a part of a larger scheme yet complete in itself.

↑

The Mild Steel double-columns give order to the otherwise transparent entity.

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


50

ON MEMORY AND MODERNITY

In conversation with IA&B, veteran architect Raj Rewal talks about the core concerns of his work, his ideas on context and continuity and the paradigms of practice in the Indian landscape as the NGMA celebrates his prolific career with a first-ever retrospective on the works of an architect. Images: courtesy Raj Rewal Associates

Raj Rewal hails from the first generation of architects in India with a prolific practice that spans across four decades. In this time, Raj Rewal has produced some of the most iconic works of architecture in India that have served as precedents for many in the profession and academia. Raj Rewal was educated in Delhi and London, and worked in Michel Ecochards’s office in Paris before starting his practice in New Delhi. He has received among many other honours, the Gold Medal from Indian Institute of Architects and the Robert Mathew Award from the Commonwealth Associations of Architects. The National Gallery of Modern Art is set to host an extensive retrospective on the works of Raj Rewal – the first such exhibition on an architect. In a recent statement, the curator of Raj Rewal’s exhibition in the Pompidou Centre, Mr Aurelien Lemonier wrote “Raj Rewal’s architecture is a possible synthesis of rapid industrial development and the awareness of one’s secular cultural roots. How to express collective consciousness through architecture? How to produce an architecture that affirms both the modernity of the new democracy, and the complex and plural sources of an ancient civilisation? These questions go beyond the scope of construction - they have been raised, for instance, in some of Rabindranath Tagore’s texts – and would seem naive and sketchy had they not been explicitly raised by the architect himself. The search for a synthesis - this crossroad linking memory, tradition and modernity is yet to be fully assimilated into architectural theory in Europe – was indeed addressed head-on by Rewal, and explored in different stages since the early sixties when he set up his office in Delhi after completing his education in England and then in France.” Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


in conversation

↑

Placemaking in the Indian context.

IA&B: Your work draws heavily from the Indian context and its landscape. How important to you is the culture and history of India and how has it influenced your ideas? RR: Cultural memory is an important part of my architectural upbringing. I have travelled extensively all over India and at one stage as the Curator of the exhibition of traditional Indian architecture in Paris, I was involved in the measurements and recording of Jaisalmer, Fatehpur Sikri, Jantar Mantar and Stepwells of Gujarat etc. These are essentially secular monuments and urban spaces which have deeply influenced my works. Indian inspiration to solve contemporary problems has obvious limitations. Let us say you cannot make a Toyota factory based on Indian temples! On the other hand, there are certain elements of design dealing with climate and cultural values which have relevance to our work even today. Building techniques are changing quickly. The pattern of living is in the process of evolution and a global culture inspired by media is eroding traditional values. Does this imply that architectural

heritage has no future? Some would like to equate regionalism with backward fundamentalism and others would argue that globalisation and market economy would promote a new kind of brutal banalisation. In fact, contemporary societies have to fight on two fronts. They have to confront fanaticism going back to the medieval times as well as the mindless attitude inspired by the market economy that form follows finance. In terms of architectural language, there is another way which amalgamates the essence of traditional wisdom with the tech-savvy of our times to create humane, ethical and sustainable architecture. Passive energy saving systems learnt through traditional methods can go hand in hand with smart buildings based on state-of-the-art technology. IA&B: You have invested much thought and energy in Housing - as a typology and occupation. What prompts you to engage with this field? RR: Housing is an important factor of living. I have always been interested in low-cost humane habitat. My aim is to create a Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014

51


52

pedestrian environment which is lively and interconnects housing units in a lively environment. In the realm of practical climatic considerations, the traditional morphology of the cities of Rajasthan has important lessons to teach for today’s low rise, high density housing developments, and it directly influenced the design for the Asian Games Village of five hundred housing units in New Delhi (1982). The institutional and sterile pattern of housing favoured by departmental engineers for public and municipal works, based on an endless repetition of a design, is rejected here. Instead, an attempt has been made to create urban norms from a network of pedestrian streets and squares. The peripheral road provides motor access from two ends to the parking squares, which in turn give way to pedestrian paths or to the garages of individual housing units. The village reinterprets several salient elements of vernacular design that have stood the test of time. IA&B: You will be the first Indian architect to have a retrospective at the NGMA. In the context of your practice and of architecture as a discipline in India, how important is the exhibition? RR: The NGMA exhibition on my works underpins the fact that architecture is a creative effort and can be the basis of solving our problems and raising certain issues related to urbanism. The general public, administrators, corporations have to be involved with mainstream contemporary architecture and I hope other exhibitions on architecture would keep the momentum alive. Unfortunately, architecture is a neglected art in India and the focus on architecture at the NGMA exhibition would encourage appreciation of our profession as a creative art form. The exhibition would have about 35 models made in wood, quarter size details of structure for Lisbon project and Parliament Library. There would be paintings on canvas showing housing projects highlighting internal spaces, courtyards and roof terraces. There

Scale, monumentality and continuity - the Parliament Library in Delhi. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014

↑

Questions of the Habitat and appropriateness in the Asian Games Village.


53

The Parliament Library Building with the Sansad Bhavan in the background.

would also be atleast three films and a series of filmed documents with room size images. We hope the exhibition would be visited by maximum number of architects and students from all over India. IA&B: If we were to look at one project that represents your ideas and your attempts in architecture, which would it be? RR: It would be difficult to answer this question. In fact, the works in a life span are a progression of ideas and values. Sustainability has always been an important part of our design concerns because of the Indian context. We are living in an age of global warming. It is also a period in the history of mankind where more buildings are to be carried out in the Asian countries.

The encircling steps among the common activity cylinder has echoes of Sarnath in Varanasi and the Borobudur Stupa in Indonesia. The circular wheel is a rational structural form for the roof of the library, and its circular beams may recall historical precedents. The merging of building-integrated photovoltaic panels and energy technologies of smart buildings, with the traditional wisdom of holistic values, seems to be a way forward. All these concerns may well be achieved without forgetting the elements of design which formulate the poetry of building. To read more about his Visual Arts Institutional Campus in Rohtak, refer to page 54.

In order to meet the rising standards of living and building requirements, we have to innovate and think in new directions. For the Coal India Ltd Headquarters office complex in Kolkata, workspaces are grouped around distinct areas and shaded by pergolas incorporating photovoltaic panels. Orienting the building towards the south-west and slanting the roof elements allow for maximum harnessing of solar energy. The building-form allows for maximising the passive use of solar energy, and the active use of solar collectors, tempering the building climate with insulation, and planting on the roofs. The design for the Visual Arts Institutional Campus in Rohtak comprises of Institutes of Fine Arts, Fashion Design, Film and Television and Architecture. In this project, we have set out a process of creative amalgamation of open spaces with surrounding buildings. The enclosure between the buildings and their linkages based on pedestrian routes and axes forms the basis of urban design. Buildings and urban design reinforce our earliest core values of structure, space and light, our traditional values of incorporating microclimate, symbols and ‘rasas’, based on our cultural values, and embracing solar energy by means of innovative technology.

Model of the Nehru Memorial Pavilion. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


54

Moving Through Layers

The Visual Arts Institutional Campus in Rohtak by Raj Rewal Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


architecture

55

Text: Ruturaj Parikh Images: Sushil Khandelwal; courtesy Raj Rewal Associates

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


56

Aerial view of the campus.

In the work of Raj Rewal, we find a unique reading of India. While it addresses the core concerns of ‘modern’ architecture, it goes beyond and resonates with deeper layers of our environs – layers that are familiar, intuitive and experiential – a quality that transcends ideas of light, order and structure and positions his work at the cusp where things start becoming relevant to our context and landscape.

Context

I

n the suburban landscape of Rohtak, the Visual Arts Institutional Campus occupies a complete urban block – an institution of an unprecedented scale in its immediate surroundings. With scale, comes the complexity in programme – with schools for architecture, fine arts, film and television, design & fashion technology, and all the common amenities – the campus supports diverse disciplines that have independent requirements and common demands. In the hot-dry plains of the region, the campus also deals with extremities of a harsh climate – unforgiving dry heat and bitter cold. Sited 70km from Delhi, the design of the campus deals with an institutional programme that is employed effectively at an urban scale. Organised along the diagonal, the scheme for the campus ensures that the building surfaces and sanctums are well-protected from constant sunlight. On the site, a peripheral road connects four essential blocks that house four core disciplines. By restricting the road on the periphery, all the blocks are independently accessed by vehicles while the space in the core is made pedestrian. This space becomes the heart of the project with all the common amenities, public areas, zones for interactions and the informal spaces essential for cultural integration of the campus are positioned. This zone accommodates a large auditorium, a library and conference areas in a cylindrical space of immense scale with steps that wind around the curve. The auxiliary resources are positioned here, thus making it the most public zone designed to facilitate encounters.

Central Enclosure with the Auditorium block in the background and the seating area.

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014

The architecture of the Visual Arts Institutional Campus in Rohtak deals with subtle intermediates – the spaces that do not occupy the programme yet are critical for the programme. The courts and steps, corridors and staircases, amphitheater, soft and hard-scapes, common circulation areas, spillover spaces and colonnades bring the plan together in a comprehensible whole while humanising the space. This balance is crucial to a lot of Raj Rewal’s work where the rationale of the program and structure (form, space, etc) is stratified into layers of human experience. The human experience then becomes the essential aspect of this work.


57

↑

Light trickles through the impressive foyer of the Institute of Fashion Design. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


58

LEGEND 1. Common Activity Area (Auditorium, Library and Conference Hall) 2. Amphitheatre 3. Institute of Film and TV 4. Institute of Architecture and Urban Design 5. Institute of Fine Arts 6. Institute of Fashion Design 7. Cafeteria 8. Administration 9. Guesthouse

9 3

4 1

7

8

5 2 6

↑

SITE PLAN

5

Photovoltaic panels inclined to take maximum solar energy on south-west

0 5

30

15

50M

Photovoltaic panels inclined to take maximum solar energy on south-west

3 2 1 Common Activity Block

Central Area

Amphitheatre 0

5

10

20M

LEGEND 1. Amphitheatre 2. Conference Hall 3. Library

Photovoltaic panels inclined to take maximum solar energy on south-west Photovoltaic panels inclined to take maximum solar energy on south-west

4 4 5 4

3 2 1 Institute of Architecture and Urban Design

↑

Photovoltaic panels inclined to take maximum solar energy on south-west

SECTIONS

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014

Administration

Central Area

7 7

9

6

8 Institute of Fashion Design

LEGEND 1. Principal's Office 2. Classroom 3. Classroom 4. Laboratory

0

5

10

5. Computer Lab 6. Reception 7. Foundation Courses Lab 8. DVD, VCD and Books Library

20M

9. Resource Centre


59

↑

Steps leading to the Conference areas and the Library.

↑

The helical staircase moves with the curve of the built form.

The transitions - from open to semi-open to shut - a pattern. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


60

Students in the sunken garden. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


61

↑

Spatial qualities and degrees of enclosure.

Experience While the new campus dwells on the ideas of forms, spatial hierarchies, light, monumental scale, permanence, order, geometry and balance, the architecture of the campus ventures into nuances of interaction, movement, time and tactility. The quality of space is appreciated in constantly changing light. On one hand in the construct of the project, we find monumental forms and spaces that go beyond the institutional scale, and on the other, we encounter finely articulated details, surfaces to touch, balconies to stand in, views to appreciate, niches to sit and talk – spaces that respect concerns of an individual and are conducive to gatherings of all nature. Variations in levels and degrees of enclosure are employed to define and demarcate use. The fenestrations keep varying in size, nature and control thus establishing a rhythm. An identifiable set of elements come together in multiple permutations and combinations to differentiate ideas schematically. While the columns are exposed concrete, the walls are clad in sandstone.

Moving axes - Pathway interconnects the central space between Institute of Architecture & Urban Design and Institute of Fine Arts.

While there are devices that support the environmental control within the institute, the composition of spaces contributes significantly to the environment and comfort within. The climate is thus appropriated in the design and technology supports the appropriation but does not define it. Architecture is the primary means and the eventual end. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


62

↑

Overview of the Institute of Film and Television.

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


63

The architecture of the Visual Arts Institutional Campus in Rohtak deals with subtle intermediates – the spaces that do not occupy the programme yet are critical for the programme.

↑

The coming together of spaces and elements in cohesion. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


64

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


65

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


66

Common Activity Area

Sunken Court

Foyer

Amphitheater

DRAWING: The tapestry of the central enclosure. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


67

Human scale, movement through and gentrification of structure.

Pathways - buffer spaces designed for encounters.

Environment The four major disciplines are organised in four blocks. Each block is a microcosm that while being inward-looking is connected to the scheme through the central plaza. Each block has surfaces that – irrespective of the diagonal plan – will be washed with intense sunlight. This issue is dealt with by cutting the loss through double-glazing and wherever appropriate – creating a second layer of recessed openings. The internal walls are buffered by the corridors which are protected by the stone verticals and a series of architectural calibration devices. Photovoltaic panels on south-inclined roofs harness energy while a sequence of sunk spaces take the rain water to the lowest level eventually to retain it underground. The variable porosity of the surfaces and the sequencing of spaces protects the functional cores from extremities.

The central enclosure - a common space from the library level.

The axes of symmetry move and accommodate complexities that occur with the movement eventually resulting in spaces that are born of this accident. These un-programmed spaces then bind the campus in a cohesive idea and render a sense of fluidity and ease to the structures. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


68

↑

↑

Changing light - movement and patterns in the court.

View from the staircase towards central enclosure.

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


69

Staircase leading to the topmost level of the Insitute of Fashion's Amphitheatre.

Working the stone - making of the screens that calibrate the light.

Theme and Variations

The Auditorium Block.

As the campus is occupied by students, one can begin to appreciate the contribution of architecture in the quality of life that it harnesses. The intent of scheme – through its planning, construction, structural and material articulation, hierarchies, degrees of enclosure and design of spaces – is to generate an order that substantiates the life that occupies the architecture. And in this life that comes with occupation, lies the intent of Raj Rewal’s work. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


70

While the new campus dwells on the ideas of forms, spatial hierarchies, light, monumental scale, permanence, order, geometry and balance, the architecture of the campus ventures into nuances of interaction, movement, time and tactility.

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


71

FACT FILE: Project : Location : Client : Architect : Design Team : Structural Consultants : MEP Consultants : Project Managers : Civil Contractors : Initiation of Project : Completion of Project :

Visual Arts Institutional Campus Rohtak, Haryana Directorate of Technical Education, Haryana Raj Rewal Arvind Mathur, Ankit Bansal, Maneesh Gupta, Sunil Kumar Gautam, Sanjeet Bose, Shadab Ahmed Asrar, Ram Avtar Vijay Rewal Associates Ru Tech Service Inc RITES Ltd Ahluwalia Contracts India Ltd 2008 2014 Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


72

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


O

ver the past decade, the issue of ‘identity’ has been at the centre of many discourses – personal and public. In the age of Google and an intellectual flattening of the world, why does this idea still obsess us? Do we not aspire to live as global citizens? Do we not think that a reference to the past is regressive? Do we not talk about ‘avant-garde’ and wish to move beyond our time? In the context of architecture, as we move further in the 21 st century, we find incredibly diverse and individual trajectories of academia, practice and building. Within this diversity, we find a consistent struggle by individuals and groups to anchor ideas to their appropriate roots. Introspective and reflective in its essence, this search for the origins or the fundamentals is critical in contemporary architecture as the search is what determines the trajectory. Architecture ‘is no longer part of any urban tissue. It exists; at most, it coexists’, as Rem Koolhaas says in ‘Bigness, or, The Problem of Large’. The search for identity is a slow process of assimilation, internalisation and reaction that requires a long engagement with the context. It has also become important to investigate the process and its minutiae, as it is in the process that we find resemblance of continuity. With emerging efforts to redirect our attention to the fundamentals, it is also becoming increasingly important to understand that ‘Identity’ is not a function of language. It is a function of response; how well does the built environment address the concerns of our landscape and its realities? The apparent misinterpretation or a superficial reading of the issue of identity then results in a recursive reaction that comes from a purely aesthetic judgement which disregards the process and focuses only on the object. Thus, the ‘isms’ of the past century have lost their ground in contemporary times and a critic’s obsession to look for similarities in ways of making does not interest a culture that celebrates diversity. In a profession that remains stubbornly divided between nostalgia and a blind faith in the new global economy, the quest is not for a regionalism or ‘genius loci’, it is more for what Carlo Ratti prescribes as a kind of ‘Specifism’ – a praxis that neither rejects history nor ignores contemporary truths. The 2014 Conference has focused on people and practices whose fundamentals mediate the impact of these statements and have an investment in the idea of identity; whose work takes a critical position on this issue. The 361° Conference 2014 explored the issue of Architecture & Identity.

73

ARCHITECTURE & IDENTITY

focus

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


74

The 361° Conference 2014: ‘Architecture and Identity’ 19-21 February 2014, Nehru Centre, Mumbai

(L-R) Mr Hitoshi Tanaka, Mr Jasu Shah, accompanied by Dr B V Doshi, Mr Hemant Shetty and Ar I M Kadri on stage for the lighting of the lamp.

Revolving around the theme of ‘Architecture & Identity’, the 361° Conference 2014 was a meeting of minds on issues related to ‘identity’ and how it is reflecting in principle and through practice within the work of the 14 speakers and the consequent formal and informal discussions that arose.

T

he seventh edition of the 361° Conference 2014, titled ‘Architecture & Identity’ presented the opportunity for several prominent architects from around the world to set a stage for thought-provoking dialogue on ‘identity’ and its impact within or on architecture of a place. The issue of identity is one of much consequence and is rather rooted deeper in our social, cultural and philosophical ethos than what is the tangible. With the definition of identity being a complex one, it was interesting to see how the designers were to make their ideas on and interpretations of identity clearer through the tangible aspects pertaining to architecture.

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014

On a temperate evening in Mumbai, the Conference opened to an auditorium filled with students and professionals. To mark the commencement of the Conference, Maulik Jasubhai, Vice Chairman & Chief Executive of Jasubhai Group & Chemtech Foundation, addressed the gathering putting light on the founding principles of Jasubhai Media and the core values of the Conference. Successively, Mr Hitoshi Tanaka, Managing Director of Daikin Airconditioning India Pvt Ltd spoke of their alignment with the Conference, lighting the inaugural lamp along with Mr Jasu Shah, Chairman of the Jasubhai Group & Chemtech Foundation,Ar I M Kadri, Founder of Kadri Consultants Pvt Ltd and


post event

The Conference opened to professional delegates and students on the evening of 19th February.

Rafiq Azam, an architect from Bangladesh, expressing a thought during one of the interactive sessions.

Dr B V Doshi of Sangath to mark the ceremonial beginning of the Conference. Over the years, the 361° Conference has been able to establish a close working relationship with its partners who believe in the spirit of the Conference and its cause, especially this year with 'Daikin Airconditioning India Pvt Ltd’, 'QUEO Bathware' and 'Birla White' whose involvement amplified the scale of the Conference. Combined with initiatives such as the ‘Young Designers 2014’ competition, the ‘361° Postcard Project’ and the ‘361° Student Fellowship Programme’, the 2014 Conference marked the enunciation of conscious architectural discourse addressing pressing issues in the community, as intended. The focus of the Conference was on people and practices whose work and philosophy takes a stand on architecture and identity within their regions and thus, to introduce the delegates to issues like history, politics, economics, religion, principles, methods, sociology, landscape, conservation and environment across a spectrum of scales and contexts. Presenting diverse views of ‘identity’ and its meaning in architecture, the panel of speakers this year included renowned architects, which were Dr B V Doshi (Sangath, Ahmedabad, India), William J R Curtis (Architecture Critic, France), Aniket Bhagwat (M/s Prabhakar B Bhagwat, Ahmedabad, India), Héctor Fernández Elorza (Héctor Fernández Elorza

75

William J R Curtis and Dr Doshi engaged in a discussion with each other.

The delegates attending the lectures.

Arquitectura, Madrid, Spain), Dominic Sansoni (ThreeBlindMen Photography, Colombo, Sri Lanka), Kashef Chowdhury (URBANA, Dhaka, Bangladesh), Channa Daswatte (MICD Associates, Kotte, Sri Lanka), Lars Müller (Lars Müller Publishers, Zurich, Switzerland), Minakshi Jain (Minakshi Jain Architects, Ahmedabad, India), Paulo David (Paulo David Arquitectos, Funchal, Portugal), Rick Joy (Rick Joy Architects, Tucson, Arizona, USA), Emre Arolat (Emre Arolat Architects, Istanbul, Turkey), Sanjeev Panjabi and Sangeeta Merchant (SPASM DESIGN, Mumbai, India) and Carin Smuts (C S Studio, Pretoria, South Africa). Variegated perspectives and opinions stemmed from the ensemble of presentations made by the speakers providing insights to the audience, of countries far away and cities perhaps unvisited otherwise. Marking the opening of the three-day consortium, Padmashree Balkrishna Doshi presented his views on the theme. An icon of post-independence Indian architecture, Doshi discussed the ideas of spontaneous place-making and its expanse beyond the physical attributes of any place. Following the presentation, architectural critic, academic and historian William J R Curtis joined him on the stage, in an interesting debate drawing animated inputs from both the speakers and an attentive and receptive audience. The second day of the Conference began with an intense lecture by William J R Curtis starting with “Transcending cultures Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


76

Sandip Somany, Joint MD, HSIL and Christopher Charles Benninger, CCBA together presenting the citation for Young Designers 2014 to Rika Chaudhry and Ipsit Patel of patch design studio.

Héctor Fernández Elorza touching upon the minute details of designing.

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


77

between nations”, stretching across eras, tracing identity through history, community and individual beliefs, and giving accounts on the historic architecture of Gujarat and Chandigarh, the works of Louis I Kahn and Le Corbusier. Following this, Aniket Bhagwat, touched upon the individual identities amidst a multiplicity of stories through a curation of his projects, saying, “India has too much history and our architecture is often conversations with this history”. This was followed by a presentation by Héctor Fernández Elorza who spoke of the strength of centred concepts and subtle material interventions in architecture with select works of his one-man practice. Dominic Sansoni, an internationally acclaimed travel and architecture photographer, who has majorly worked in Sri Lanka and in close collaboration with Geoffrey Bawa, showcased architecture as seen through the eyes of a person untouched by the web of theories. Sansoni’s photo-recital was an honest and peaceful pause to the intense discourse. Kashef Chowdhury of Bangladesh, nominated for the Aga Khan Award and an eminent contemporary architect with a practice named URBANA, elaborated on spirituality as the core of architecture, simplicity as the essence of social spaces and functionality and relevance to the place as the keys to designing resonant spaces, in a poetic recital on contemplative regionalism. In tandem, Channa Daswatte from Sri Lanka, a close associate of Geoffrey Bawa, reflected on memory in architecture, design as a part of landscape and vice-versa, and architecture as a combination of contextualism and the anticipated choices of the occupants. Over the two days, the discussions grew in intensity, building up to the curated 'open-mike' sessions at the end of each day, wherein the students and the professionals were

Engrossed delegates jotting down inspiring thoughts during the Conference.

The 361° Postcard Project citations being felicitated by Mr Hitoshi Tanaka, Managing Director of Daikin Airconditioning India Pvt Ltd on Day 02

(L - R): Mr Kashef Chowdhury, Mr Aniket Bhagwat, Mr Héctor Fernández Elorza and all other speakers debated and discussed the audience's questions and concerns during the first 'Q&A' session.

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


78

Emre Arolat of Turkey tackled complex issues like fragmented and layered cities.

Rick Joy (USA) answering a question raised by a delegate on the last day of the Conference.

seen debating, commenting and reacting to the content of the presentations as well as issues concerning architectural practice and education in the country. On the concluding day, Lars Müller of Switzerland, a famous publisher with an interest in architecture emphasised on the importance of ecological building and the need for well-read professionals or ‘a citizen’ as he termed it, in modern-day society. As a response to a question posed by a delegate during the open-mike session on “politics and architecture”, he stated firmly “to be a citizen, you do not have to know politics”. With a completely different repertoire of work, Minakshi Jain, a stalwart conservationist and academic in historic preservation of Indian architecture, shared some of her illustrious projects such as the restoration of the Nagaur Fort which won her the UNESCO Award of Excellence and a nomination for the Aga Khan Awards for 2013. Paulo David of Portugal, Rick Joy of Arizona and SPASM DESIGN of Mumbai (represented on stage by Sanjeev Panjabi – the principal architect) put forth their anthology of projects, their concepts and afterthoughts, aesthetic inclinations, struggles, failures and successes, and the entire process of building in small intimate studios where most of the work is done by the principal(s) themselves, reaffirming the aspirations of young students and professionals. As an apt closure to the Conference, the testimonies of Emre Arolat of Turkey and Carin Smuts of South Africa, gave Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014

Sanjeev Panjabi of SPASM DESIGN explaining select projects in detail.

The Conference served as the platform for young professionals to ponder on and raise issues of relevance to architectural practice.

Variegated perspectives and opinions stemmed from the ensemble of presentations made by the speakers providing insights to the audience, of countries far away and cities, perhaps unvisited otherwise. insights into the socio-economic and political constructs of their nations and a perspective of architecture as a ‘tool to aid’ growth and development, rather than a mere iconic statement. The plethora of knowledge and information transmitted through the three days gave the audience an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the works of national and international architects. Beyond this, the Conference was a voice to the plurality of the word identity, sometimes meaning one’s own, the other times meaning that of a region, a memory, a time or a political and economic identity of a country. It is a subject of extreme complexity and thus could only be dealt with part-by-part, with each speaker carving out their own stand on it specifically. Rather than seeing each one in isolation, looking at the series of lectures would make for better comprehension as it projected realistic images and pushed one to reflect on and place one’s own understanding of ‘identity’ in today’s time. This year, the 361° Conference was a journey to seek the interpretations of ‘identity’ through actions that represent it, manifest it or perhaps are even blind to it, a journey which the speakers and the audience treaded together.


79

Carin Smuts reacting animatedly to a question from the audience during the last ‘Q&A’ session.

The speakers at the 361° Conference 2014 (L - R): Carin Smuts (South Africa), Lars Müller (Switzerland), Minakshi Jain (India), Rick Joy (USA), William J R Curtis (France), Emre Arolat (Turkey), Aniket Bhagwat (India), Héctor Fernández Elorza (Spain), Sangeeta Merchant (India), Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury (Bangladesh), Dominic Sansoni (Sri Lanka), Paulo David (Portugal), Sanjeev Panjabi (India).

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


80

BALKRISHNA DOSHI

Celebrating Multiple Identities of the Indian Habitat Padmashree Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, an architect, urban planner, institution builder and a mentor, studied architecture from Sir J J School of Architecture. Doshi worked with Le Corbusier in Paris from 1951-54, stayed in Chandigarh for a short while and later went to Ahmedabad to supervise Corbusier’s projects. In a career that has spanned more than 62 years, Doshi has been instrumental in changing the discourse of architecture in post-independent India with CEPT, Vastu Shilpa Foundation and Sangath at Ahmedabad. Day 1: Lecture Synopsis: Chandrima Padmanabhan Images: courtesy Vastu Shilpa Foundation, IA&B

C

ities have evolved over time, and the decades of lineage in the built history of India, show a distinct change in context when comparatively analysed. In the 1960s, the main challenges in the city stemmed from the scarcity of materials and a lack of infrastructural development to meet the needs of the growing population, necessitated all the more by the crowding caused by the onslaught of migrants in metropolises. Today, there are the more pressing issues of responding to the pressures of globalisation and the infrastructural endowments made solely to facilitate the automobile epidemic and thereby exclude the pedestrian. The changes through the course of these years have been rapid, which though exciting have also been problematic. While there were around 10 schools of architecture imparting education then to teach students to respond to the changing times, there are more than 300 schools today which create quite an impediment in regulating the quality and values of instruction imparted. And the translation of identity across all these barriers becomes very difficult. This brings us to the question of defining ‘Identity in India’. A characteristic representation of our country is our celebration of festivals. During these days, there is an unspoken unity amongst the masses that is a delight to witness. People from across different states gather together in a spirit of community and gaiety, without the distinctions of caste, creed and economic background that usually define an indelicate line of hierarchy in day-to-day proceedings. There are many such instances, when a deep-rooted sense of identity that comes from place, religion or social structure outshines the bindings of imposed order, as prevalent as they may be. It is wrongly assumed that the internationalisation of design conquers intrinsic identity, denying the possibility of a negotiated coexistence of the two. The ‘Rabaris’ of Gujarat and Rajasthan today, may own television sets and solar cookers yet their strong belief systems and pride in their culture still makes them synonymous with the traditional garb that they adorn. Traditional Indian garments themselves, from the turban to the ‘dhoti’ are worn differently across various parts of the country, further emphasising the fact that standardisation and identity can exist together but are exclusive of each other. One of the major characteristics of India is this coexistence of cultures. We adopt and adapt, absorbing and evolving and eventually making them a part of our way of life. From the oldest of communities, whether from the North-east, Rajasthan or Kutch, their indigenous lifestyles Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


81

were constructs of their innovations with the materials available, each proffering a lesson in economic savings, climatic considerations and lifestyle. This creation of our own world within the means that we have, a sense of ‘jugaad’ is characteristic of India. Analysing older palimpsests of these constructions, one will find that they all have a generic form and the usage of materials is very similar, while the distinctiveness lies in the houses themselves. Each one is diverse, and modified and restructured over time to accommodate larger families and a variety in use. There are hardly any distinctions between public and private spaces; the accretive forms bringing in the dimension of ‘time’ to the nuanced parable. A prevailing sense of identity can make its presence felt in individualistic ways across three distinctive typologies, built extensively across the fabric of India. The first classification is when we build for ourselves, to suit only personal needs and aspirations as in the case of houses. Here it is possible to modify and adjust as families and circumstances change. The second division is for institutional buildings, which constantly grow to accommodate changes in economy and number, making them predominantly additive structures. The third typology denotes sacred space such as temples, which last much longer and change very little. Built the right way, these three typologies can pervade through time, giving us an enduring sense of identity and a relationship with the people around us. Architecture is not a stagnant circumstance. The buildings grow characteristically with each addition, garnering complexity much like an urban landscape. Center for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) was built in a way that allowed it to be relevant across decades. Leaving room for further construction on the campus, the first structure came up in the year 1962, with sub-institutions and other buildings gradually coming up, the last being in 2012. All the spaces on the campus have different views, and are located differently in a bazaar-like fashion, allowing the students to move through the entire space encouraging co-operation and interdisciplinary collaborations. The subsequent addition to the premises in the form of the Hussain-Doshi ni Gufa, which is dedicated to the city, acts as an intermediary with the public as well, preventing campus life from becoming introverted. Compartmentalisation was minimised even in academic areas allowing for a confluence of ideas and discourse to come together in the unbounded spaces that are both private and public. Though educational systems always categorise and separate, there are no Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


“ 82

“

India is diverse economically, socially, culturally and climatically. We need to stop talking about buildings and talk about a sense of community. That is what identity stems from.

↑

Doshi House, Ahmedabad.

boundaries to a wholesome education, a notion that must be supported by the design of multifunctional and open spaces conducive to it. It is important to understand that identity is not an isolated phenomenon, but a holistic one where the connectivity between the micro and macro context occurs seamlessly. Today with the changing Indian scenario, where the land prices are increasing, the population is rising and the use of technology is changing with the mutable awareness and aspirations of the community, there is a need for a unique yet constantly evolving identity, representative of the times. This characterisation quality of identity is also discernable in the bustling street square of Manek Chowk, in Ahmedabad, which is the old center of the city, housing a vegetable market in the morning, and transmuting to sell jewellery, clothing and utensils from afternoon. In the evening, the stalls cater street food just as effortlessly. The evolution of this marketplace brings with it, its own identity, a definitive point in favour of the metamorphosing definition of the term. We must take into account that architecture cannot be comprehensively discussed solely in terms of its specificity, be it styles or periods, and must also refer to the immeasurable qualities that truly define it. Another issue, which we duly avoid as architects, is our responsibility to society at large. Living as we do, in a country where a major section of the population lives below the poverty line, our sense of community is largely lacking. The Life Insurance Corporation Housing in Ahmedabad was an experiment to alter the equation in this regard. It was designed to accommodate 324 units, arranged in a duplex terraced scheme on 54 plots. The lower units are around 1000sqft, with the units above being 700sqft and 400sqft respectively, coalescing in a pyramidal structure. As each housing unit covers a different area, it is therefore priced differently, housing families of different income groups in a single duplex. The design was conceived with the idea that the houses would expand and be modified by its user as families and circumstances change. So, though there is constancy in the architectural form, each house is invariably different and becomes a natural extension of a way of life. Just as all living organisms grow and evolve to accommodate changes and renegotiations, similarly, buildings must be allowed to undertake a similar journey with its occupants, representing where and who they are. Identity is not something that can be defined or imposed by an architect. It is a gradual bartering process where the architects define only Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


83

↑

Inside CEPT University, Ahmedabad.

↑

Life Insurance Corporation Housing, Ahmedabad.

a broad guideline that allows the people to make the building their own, in the way they see fit. When an architect provides space that makes a sense of community possible, these ties and interrelations that people draw with one another give them meaning in the societal order from which they draw their own identity, thereby giving back identity to the place. This brings us back to the crux of understanding the term, not as a separate entity that can be discussed in isolation but as a way of celebrating life, celebrating diversity and celebrating co-operation and it is to these tenets we should try to respond as architects. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


84

WILLIAM J R CURTIS

The Perception of Architecture William J R Curtis is a historian, critic, painter and photographer. He studied at the Courtauld Institute, London and Harvard University and has taught at many universities around the world including the Harvard University and the Architectural Association. Curtis often sits on architectural juries, and has organised and designed exhibitions on diverse subjects. He regularly contributes to many critical journals such as the Architectural Review, Architectural Record, Il Giornale dell’Architettura, Architect’s Journal, El Croquis and others. Day 2, Lecture 1: Synopsis: Anusha Narayanan Images: courtesy William J R Curtis, IA&B

A

rchitecture and identity are deeply rooted in events of the past and the ever-changing present, and therefore, factors imperative to the evolution of architecture are the search for reconnecting with history and the vision to look towards the future. Architecture must achieve a resonance with the past through timeless elemental qualities that survive. ‘Metamorphosis’ at the heart of evolution of Indian architecture The greatest qualities of Indian architecture have been the fundamental elements of light, terrain, axes and order that have evolved from one period to the other and this metamorphosis is at the heart of the perception of Indian architecture. The identity of Indian architecture has often been associated with the ‘Mughals’, the Hindu temples and the Buddhist sanctuaries. However, looking back at the pre-colonial times, towards the end of the ‘Mughal’ era, it is evident that the architecture of India was on a severe artistic decline, amplifying further with the interventions of the British and the consequent imperial impositions on the indigenousness of the colonised culture that followed. Most architects of the post-independence era therefore struggled to reconnect with the inherent knowledge banks of the past. Through observations of the stepwells of Gujarat and the conceived identity of a post-independent India in the works of Le Corbusier and Louis I Kahn, the crystallisation of modernity in the ethos of Indian identity can be penetrated and understood in greater depth. As is illustrated by the architecture of Adalaj ni Vav, Indian architecture often seems to weave magic with simplicity. The subterranean rigidity, the spirituality of transcending deeper into the earth, relationships with water and light, and the simple trabeation were elements that floated across time. The systems of variations in space were based on a generic language which bore multiplicity in meanings of mass, of voids and the transformations in between. However, symbolically the identity of a newly independent India lay more in the simple gestures of a ‘lota’ of a villager or a ‘saree’ of a woman, which strongly indicated the rurality of India at the time and the need for it to quickly address the impending industrial revolution. Analysing post-independent India within its existing context and foreseeing its identity in the modern world was what Kahn or Corbusier attempted. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


85

If we talk about ‘identity’, we need to at least have the ‘myth’ of identity. We can never really know what happened but one of the jobs of architecture is to go forward while going back; which is the meaning of ‘radical’. Radical means revolutionary but also means returning to the roots.

Of the masters of modernity Le Corbusier and his invitation to plan Chandigarh was the advent of a Nehru-led modernism and internationalism in India, an identity which in its fundamental, went at loggerheads with the implications of the vast-spreading Gandhian philosophies of returning to agriculture, craft and a rural life. The architecture of Corbusier, standing at the crossroads of this friction between the past and the present, was sensitive to the levels of spirituality underlying the culture, and created a resonance with a dormant past underneath the perceivable modern form. The abstraction of spaces froze the “presence of a past and its presence in the present”. Derived from his learnings in architecture and the absorption of Indian culture, Chandigarh manifested a monumental expression based on two underlying principles: 1. An investigation of the substructures of historic Indian architecture and an attempt to tie modern architecture to these roots. 2. An agenda to look forward towards the machine age. With these principles at the core of Corbusier’s work, Chandigarh exemplifies the friction in identities through the tensions of the past and the present in his architecture, without evidently copying any particular case or attribute. Kahn, on the other hand, was an architect who followed a philosophy of building the ‘present in the absent’. “The notion of architecture” as Kahn once said, ”is the thoughtful making of spaces” which nucleates the entire doctrine of architecture. Kahn’s architecture crafted lights and shadows, as permutations of the absence or presence of either. His rigour of detail, control of the elemental qualities and an understanding of the history of architecture right from the Alhambra of Granada to the Acropolis, the Pantheon, Da Vinci’s sketches, the Islamic Architecture of Egypt and Mesopotamia, the Byzantine Architecture of San Lorenzo in Milan, fortifications of the Scottish castles, Palladio’s villas in Quattro Libri right down to Corbusier’s Capitol Complex served as the reservoir of memory and knowledge that drove his architecture. Although termed to be ‘Neo-Corbusian’ in his approach, the interpretation of his work reveals a congruent language in each building and an extremely consistent set of designing principles around which he designed. The Bryn Mawr Dormitory of Pennsylvania, the dormitories of IIM Ahmedabad, the Phillips Exeter Hall in Exeter and the Assembly Hall of the Parliament Building of Dhaka are direct examples of his spatial sensibilities in terms of orientations and dealing with the variations in themes respectfully, albeit maintaining some consistent elements like central communal spaces with fringes around them, a secondary layering of space, axial compositions, the use of primary and secondary axes, a consciousness of the geography and climate of the tropical regions and the apparent ‘architecture of voids’ portraying ‘shadow as the absence of light, or light as the absence of shadow’. As seen

Structures of Light (2007), Le Corbusier, Ronchamp.

View of installation of ‘Fragments of Invention’ at Hutheesing Centre, Ahmedabad, spring 1984.

through the case of IIM Ahmedabad, he brought in counter-attitudes to that of Corbusier’s, constituting solidity and robustness while providing finesse through the play of voids. Both these strong approaches to architecture had a dialogue with the history of Indian architecture that has inspired a generation of contemporary architects in India. Transmission of Kahn and Corbusier in contemporary Indian architecture The traces of the impact that Corbusier and Kahn left on contemporary Indian architectural practice can be seen through the works of Charles Correa, Anant Raje, and Dr B V Doshi. Correa’s Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad seems to have been inspired by the Sarabhai House and the Trenton Bath House, transfusing them with the rural Indian identity as cherished in the memory of Gandhi. Anant Raje in his Institute of Forest Management in Bhopal drew deep influences from Hadrian’s Villa but based the plan of the Institute on the Mandu Palace indicating the social topography of the region and marrying the East and the West. Doshi, as he often mentions, was inspired by the architecture of Jaisalmer, its street typology and culture, the types and variations in open parcels and their uses. This was epitomised in Sangath, which in many ways is the repository of Doshi’s assimilations of Indian architecture, craft, industry, culture, landscape and climate and the idea of the subterranean. As Kahn put succinctly, “Corbusier has succeeded in freezing the dream.” Architecture is an exploration of this dream and how one frames it in that particular time, connecting it to the past and the present of the place, by being mindful of the inherent, the degenerate and the evolving cultures and symbols that form the identity of the place. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


86

ANIKET BHAGWAT

Seven Conversations Professor Aniket Bhagwat is a third generation landscape architect practising in Ahmedabad with M/s Prabhakar B Bhagwat, a firm started by his father eight decades ago. Arguably one of the most influential landscape design practices in the country, the firm is known for its research legacy and an unconventional understanding of urban and natural landscapes. He co-edits and writes for SPADE, a chronicle on design, research, theory and narrative. Through his discourse and practice, he strives to bridge the gap between the profession and academics and evolve design through discussion and criticism. Day 2, Lecture 2: Synopsis: Anusha Narayanan Images: courtesy M/s Prabhakar B Bhagwat, IA&B

A

s culture evolved, generations of individuals searched for their identity in the fractals of their lives and aspirations, be it socially, artistically, spiritually or educationally. Architecture, much like the identity of an individual, is a melting pot of cultures that although may have been inspired by the vernacular and the international all the same, is only honest if it is ethical, effortless, emotive and unique to the culture it addresses and imposturous otherwise. Each building looks, connects with and feels different to the occupants. Architecture is about such conversations between the people, the spaces, the site, its history, urbanity, materiality, craft, cultural genealogy and built reality. Musings of a curious architect Coming from an era of transfusion of the West and the East, a time after Nehru’s philosophies of modernism had permeated and when identity was changing every decade, evolving, consuming itself and depositing into layers of natural, acquired and imposed tastes atop one another, a generation of individuals was comfortably poised, born after the struggles of a post-independence disillusionment had subsided and before the frenzied pressures of globalisation gained pace. Placed at such a position, architecture in the 1990s was handed over to explorers who designed with the freedom of mind, precursors of an individualism, spirit of discovery, conviction and frugality, and the courage to trace the unknown. Architecture in such times had to be conscious of the diverse cultures and crafts that existed and also had to be mindful of the future that lay ahead. It is from this curiosity, inquisitiveness and perhaps even ambiguity in the mind of young Indian architects that the brand of research-based honest work was wielded. It may have also failed in many ways, but it never stopped evolving and that is how our ‘identity’ survived and made its way into the present, the age of introspection. Conversations of a curious mind It is interesting to wonder what exactly is the meaning of being an Indian. At the junction of globalisation and an internalisation of a deep past that still remains embedded in our minds like flashes of visions from dreams, it is a constant struggle to design without the burden of history; not because it limits us, but because it leaves too many lasting impressions. Architecture in the Indian context should be wary of becoming a mere pastiche of a dead past, in the hands of architects who craftily sell soulless work, but Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


87

Sometimes, having a distinct ‘identity’ is being open to persecution or criticism of non-conformity and yet, however perverse it may be, the fact remains that the pride of having a distinct identity defines us. We live to be distinct human beings with a clear and discernible identity. ↑

Casa Rio Club, Palava.

should rely on one’s own individual sense of ‘Indian-ness’, which can neither be borrowed nor be explained. Unrestricted by ‘isms’, architecture must be conversant in using pure forms, voids, light, water, planes, perspectives, culture and landscape as its inspiration, like the Drum House in Ahmedabad does. In the banal urbanity and the monotony of the newly created jungles of uniform housing parched of any sense or context, architecture must be the tool that dares to do the sensible like in the Devi Art Foundation building in Gurgaon. In regions with tomes of associative history, like Jaipur where Devi Ratn was designed, it must be respectful and reminiscent and not a mimicry. In cities whose identity is eroding consistently, it must be the shell that holds within it the sands of the past, as was attempted in The Tank in Mumbai. In cities which have no distinct identity because of their mediocrity, architecture must be the chisel that carves out the ‘unexplored’ individuality underneath this so-called ‘uninteresting’ landscape and create an identity that the land takes pride in, as was intended with the Casa Rio Club in Palava. In places where the landscape makes stories of its own, architecture should be the bench from which one marvels at nature and finds a sanctuary, as in the case of The Bridge House in Baroda. Architecture must also add humour, joy and a smile to people’s faces in the density of urban reality, much like The Gala Haven in Ahmedabad. It must let the city breathe and create spaces which are the fulcrum of joy and respite for its occupants. Architecture, most of all, must have the humanity to dream beyond what can be achieved, to fall and fail, to live, die, decay, to be reborn and to be reinterpreted because it is but a creation of a mortal being. It should not be permanent, except in memory.

Deviratn, Jaipur.

Casa Rio Club, Palava. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


88

HÉCTOR FERNÁNDEZ ELORZA

Elements of Identity in Architecture Born in Zaragoza, Spain in 1972, Héctor Fernández Elorza studied architecture at Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (ESTAM). His postgraduate studies were continued in Scandinavia and he was awarded a grant by the Marghit and Folke Perzhon Foundation in 1999 and 2000. His work, understated yet refreshing, navigates across the complex layers of the programme and context through an intelligent usage of materials and technology. In June 2000 he represented Spain at the Biennale di Architecture di Venezia. He has won numerous awards and competitions and had his work showcased widely in Spain and abroad. Day 2, Lecture 3: Synopsis: Chandrima Padmanabhan Images: courtesy Héctor Fernández Elorza, IA&B

B

y way of metaphor, just as a capable work bench is supported on three sturdy legs, a good design practice can metamorphose only with adequate attention and effort being devoted to three imperative areas, namely thinking, teaching, and building, and in this way can also conversely inform one’s own practice. The three legs are jointed and understood through a systematic assemblage of an interrelated practice of sketching that constantly enlightens and develops the outcome. There are certain elements of design that recur time and again in the mind through these physical renderings and serve as points of reference that inform the design process. Proficient observation is paramount in understanding the ethnography of built spaces and in being a keen spectator of life. This is especially true when one works unaccompanied, wherein the design intones a personal negotiation of ideas imbibed over years of acquaintance and experience. In this way, there have been many inspirations and musings that were educed across a series of travels, that have manifested themselves in projects, in diverse and sometimes unconscious ways. The Woodland Chapel by Erik Gunnar Asplund is one such inspiring design in many respects. The Chapel brings together landscape and architecture in a metaphysical reunion that is difficult to create, and in the delicate balance it achieves between purpose and chance, darkness and light. Its use of ‘darkness’ especially, as a strong emotive quantifier, in the inner recesses of the building adds to its layered narrative, an aspect completely neglected in modern architecture today that only commends the expansiveness of light, disregarding its complementary protégé. The design of the Chemical Laboratory Building at the Alcalá University in Madrid can be explained from four different perspectives of design. The ‘context’ of the project involved providing space for the different faculties of the campus, and resilient laboratories to be used to experiment with relatively hazardous material. It was decided upon to develop a compact edifice, closed in its façade due to the lack of scenic vantage points around, but allowing for narrow courtyards that serve as secondary sources of air and sunlight, the diffused spaces disallowing the harshness of the elements to interact with the laboratory chemicals. Completely devoid of windows, the project still brings a generous amount of ‘light’ into its 42m x 15m span. This was negotiated through three pathways; the middle stretch spanning the length of the building, the second and third occurring on the Northern and Southern side, Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


89

Every time I develop a project, my old sketchbooks from my travels come to mind, where I have clarified different ideas on paper. And sometimes I have this feeling that I have to put them together to develop my architecture.

Chemical Laboratory Building, Alcalá University, Madrid.

with courtyards punctuating and dividing the spaces between the rooms. The ‘materiality’ of the capacious galvanised steel façade, in addition to being inexpensive, varies in pattern and colour at different times of the day and with the seasons, providing an animation in the otherwise starkly dull locale. The ‘gates’, though they may seem but a minor element, by virtue of the hefty scale make the building seem smaller than it is. These entryways when closed impact the spaces differently by making its verticality more pronounced, while when opened, the expanse around becomes the foreground that draws the eye. Another important project has been the Valdefierro’s Park in Zaragoza wherein the design process consciously utilised every opportunity presented by the context. Instead of transporting the residual debris off the site, which was previously a gravel pit and a landfill for construction waste, these materials were used in the construction of large monolithic walls geometrically positioned to utilise the slope of the topography and frame expansive platforms. In an innovative introduction of tactility, the walls were not left unadorned, taking into account their soaring mass. Road headers were used to create abrasions on its surface engendering a distinct personality to the space. The towering walls, apart from being strong design elements also allow both sides to be used efficiently for their own essential qualities; the Southern façade in summer to exploit the shade and the Northern façade in winter to maximise on the warmth of the sunlight, resolving the use of both light and darkness. The beautiful terraces on subsequent levels and the ramps and stairways between them create diverse and ambient places that can be used by the public to stroll through and linger; all the interrelated elements of the jigsaw crafting a large, simple and effective public space. In conclusion, it is important to understand that designs are usually enhanced by the simplest of understandings or even additions. From altering the size of pendant lamps in a double height space, which can make high ceilings seem less magnanimous, to refurbishment projects simply involving a removal of plastering from the existing structures can be more effective than large-scale interventions and complete redesign. Even textured, monolithic, horizontal and vertical wall planes in their individuality can create platforms, frame and delineate spaces in ways that are evocative of the landscape. These individual elements perform in their own unique ways, adding character to the space, and with every project a new layer of understanding and innovation is put together to eventually develop a personal interpretation and understanding of the evolutionary state of architecture. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


90

DOMINIC SANSONI

Imagery in the Ordinary Dominic Sansoni is a photographer born (in 1956) and brought up in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He has a keen interest in observing how people live and the intricate relationships between the built and the living. His work has expressed itself through various forms of travel assignments and documentaries. Since 2006, Dominic works with ‘ThreeBlindMen Photography’, a Sri Lanka-based collaborative with two other founding photographers namely Rukshan Jayewardene and Sebastian Posingis. Day 2, Lecture 4: Synopsis: Chandrima Padmanabhan Images: courtesy Dominic Sansoni, IA&B

W

ith a journey that began in the month of December, in 1972, on a road trip with a favourite aunt between Kolkata and Rameswaram, commenced another journey with photography that till today, continues to spur a pilgrimage across cities of India, visiting and revisiting, tracing the intangible through stolen instants of relevance and meaning in the ordinary. This tryst with the camera has from then on, been a befitting accompaniment to travel, a consequent walk and about simply chancing upon things. Nagapattinam became a part of this passage during a documentation of the Coromandel Coast in 2004 for an NGO, post the tsunami. The ravaged churches and boats along the shorelines illustrated the destruction all around, yet amongst all the disaster and sadness, there existed a beauty in the intrinsic practice of living, rebuilding and resettlement that was noticeable in the smaller negotiations made with the environment. From the thatched homes by the beach, smoke trailing its way out while its residents cooked, to people who conversed with each other from inside their homes, their voices emanating from the porous slats of the doorway – trifling things captured the imagination. There were also older homes that crumbled almost poetically, beautiful ruins of lifestyles that were once housed. The way people live, the private spaces of their homes with its eclectic assortment of curiosities, the jumble of patterns and hues tell stories of living cultures and societies layered in their ethnic and religious diversity. The town of Nagore in the Nagapattinam District had its own idiosyncrasies, the most fascinating being its fearless use of colour, pairing contrasts and tones as an inherent extension of the natural aesthetic sensibilities of its people. The magic witnessed in the personality of this colourful place exists in its purest form, unadulterated and comfortable in its presence, chaotic yet surprisingly harmonious. The homes are not built by architects, and are a true representation of its residents, like that of Mr Sultan Kader; vibrant and practical, their most interesting aspects are the shrines and collectibles that though diverse, string together an associative thread through the community. The inner shrine in one of the homes in Nagore is especially redolent in its illumination of the space with only the ‘diya’ (lamp) and a single glass tile above, sparsely lighting and evoking a depth and quaint beauty in the darkness induced. These simple negotiations with the environment have a charm of their own, as seen in Thittachery’s lovely stretches of buildings bearing a patina of accretions that have eroded with time and in the detailing of the columns and capitals in homes of Karaikal, which draw one to record them. It takes many repeated visits to recognise and capture the essence of these spaces; the layered nuances only revealing themselves through a prolonged association. These places, however, do constantly evolve, and on visits years later, may Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


91

I take off on a walk to find things and I constantly discover mystery, beauty and colour like nowhere else in the world […] and I just have to record it.

have repainted walls and sometimes even a different set of actors, all part of the constantly moving narrative of the place. Progressing from the South-eastern Coast of India to the pretty island of Sri Lanka, there exists a comparable yet divergent celebration of shrines, fires and festivals. With a rich and diverse history, culture and natural landscape to routinely surprise even an old resident, places like the harbour-front of Colombo and Sigiriya are continual works-in-progress in terms of documentation. While there are enduring traditions of temple architecture and paintings, there is also a trend towards commercialisation witnessed in places like the Galle Fort, a World Heritage Site yet now catering to an offshoot of boutique hotels. The legacy of Geoffrey Bawa, however, remains as untainted as it has been since its conception. His rubber estate near Bentota, which he named Lunuganga and transformed into a landscaped garden and home, is one of his most significant projects. As a tribute to the place, a series of black and white photographs of the estate was taken and brought out in a book, in collaboration with Christoph Bon. The lack of colour seemed befitting of Bawa’s sense of space and aesthetic, the expansive spaces captured showing no boundaries and delineations of colour and the palpable detail in the way the light brightens and dims emphasising the surfaces and textures of the materials. The old-world spirit of the place is reminiscent in the cobbled paving encroached by tree roots and in the recurrent terraces and verandahs that allow one to linger and stroll against the backdrop of the landscape. The murals designed by Laki Senanayake and the statues and views across the vista of the trees further add to the serenity in Bawa’s placemaking, allowing there to exist, in such places, an association with space that transcends time.

Lunuganga, Sri Lanka. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


92

KASHEF MAHBOOB CHOWDHURY

Commemorative Reflections Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury graduated in architecture from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) in 1995 and was part of Glenn Murcutt Master Class in Sydney in 2006. He runs his practice URBANA from Dhaka and was nominated for the Aga Khan Award for the Chandgaon Mosque in Chittagong. Kashef advocates that meaningful architecture is a product of patience and perseverance which are often diluted by the hasty attempts of most clients and architects. Day 2, Lecture 5: Synopsis: Shreya Shah Images: courtesy Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury, URBANA; IA&B

D

oes what you wear define your region? How can regionalism be defined? The quest of identity; knowing who we are or where we belong to must be left unanswered, loose in its own sense of reasoning and understanding as perceived by individuals. “Against the fast pace of globalisation, the question of identity must be considered at greater length, but nevertheless, in the context of a widening vision.” Globalisation is spreading fast, but, is it making us lose our identity? Do we really have one? Memories, Impressions, Inspirations Memories play the most important role in shaping our roots, shaping us as individuals and shaping us as professionals. Memories have a lasting effect – an effect which can be seen as an inspiration. Impressions from the past, especially those formed in the days of childhood, become our roots. The unprocessed nature of the city’s natural facets, the rivers and mountains, delta and the terrains suggest the character of the city. Capturing the essence of the locale are the materials of which the buildings are made. They reflect through poise of their being, their contributions to the individuality of the city. Remembrance of the seasons and their effect on the building materials; the effect of the sun and of the waters, gives them a stroke of life. A land of rivers and canals, Bengal’s land is moist and most alluvial that allows the greens to flourish whose fresh air lets one relax and release. The sky above is a motivation to discover and uncover the mysteries. All the elements of nature motivate and provide a new horizon to understand the gradual changes they incur in the city and the life of people therein. The shadows that are cast by the sun’s light through a tree or a column, perhaps justify the reason of light and are hence important. Memory of the sun; its light, colours and shadow informs the architecture of the National Assembly Building in Dhaka. The light from the sun and the water from rains are frozen in memory and time and again, these lasting impressions resurface. There is much love expressed for the land of Bengal and the ‘Bengali way of life’, aptly framed as an invitation - “Come away with me for an hour of the sarod and you will know what I mean.” An architect must understand the scale of the project that can inculcate the feeling of oneness with the building. With palpable and sensitive thoughts behind its manifestation, the Mosque in Chandgaon, Chittagong is a modern building. The space offering silence in its deepest sense is not only a place of worship but of realisation of one’s own self, Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


93

The strong sun’s light reveals the beauty of its nature. It falls on mountains, paddy fields and trees but the rest is spilled light – lost light. It is the architect who, by the design of apertures, brings this spilled light into the deep insides of his architecture.

Glass column bringing in a beam of light at the Museum of Independence, suggests a spiritual connection with the cosmos.

spiritually. What the project justifiably reflects are the memories and inspirations by the use of elements highlighting the affection for water and openings that let the structure be transparent, allowing the sun to seep in. As the culture and nature of the Bangladesh is, the project – Liberation War Museum and Independence Monument in Dhaka is sensitive. With an unforgettable history of war, the site, is a start point and an end point of affluent importance. Humane in its approach, the Cyclone Shelter for the sufferers of the cyclone massacre, is a result of intense research, yet perhaps, without a client. The emotion of serving the people is enriching. How can we as architects help the underprivileged? Friendship Centre is a physical paradigm providing the needful with employment and capital, and economy on a larger level. Impressions of India and Spirituality Rich in its culture and civilisations, India is timeless; ‘India is not a history; it is a culture. India is not a culture; it is a way of life. India is not a way of life; it is an idea. India is not an idea; it is an eternal spirit.” The impact of the traditions is widespread and brawny that holds the nation together through its memory. Multi-ethnicity is not a custom but a wealthy resource of secrets and myths. Lessons learnt from the heritage mould the spirits. All this is far away from being just the physical, it is in our soul. This wealth creates the architecture, that can be lived and remembered of. The new generation architects must attempt to create architectures that do not become objects of advertisements and prosperity. Beyond the physical presence of man on the earth, is the presence of his soul; how the soul thrives to unveil the cosmic energy. Yoga is means of finding deeper meanings spiritually, letting the soul communicate with the mind. Being in the Himalayas allows to converse with the soul, and the river Ganga apart from carrying water is much more, it invokes the spirit of eternity. It teaches us to go on and keep going, not to fulfil any ambition but to learn through the journey. Architecture is a continuous process of learning and experiences. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


94

CHANNA DASWATTE

Interweaving Landscapes Closely associated with Geoffrey Bawa and C Anjalendran, Channa comes from an architectural background that is anchored in thought and reflection on the place. Channa is a pianist, a writer and a skilled artist who advocates putting pen to paper to make meaningful design and prose. A traveller and a voracious reader with an interest in anthropology, Channa believes that architecture is defined by the definition of behavioural territories. Channa’s practice, MICD Associates is located in Sri Lanka and his work reflects his empathy and understanding of the landscape of Sri Lanka. Day 2, Lecture 6: Synopsis: Shreya Shah Images: courtesy Channa Daswatte, IA&B

B

uildings, in the starkest nature of their being, if retained as deemed originally by the architects, evoke an expression of awe leading to a sense of curiosity and comfort. Immensely beautiful and timeless, they conjure arcane emotions: of curiosity, as with the Mill Owner’s building in Ahmedabad, to know what it is about a building that has marked itself since ages; and of familiarity and simplicity, retained in the buildings embedded in the everyday, much like the small pavilions found in the countryside of Sri Lanka. Such buildings appear to stay physically, and in the remembrance of the visitors, of the users and the viewers. Architecture is about creating exuberant spaces in the simplest possible way. It should be like poetry – simple and beautiful and conveying the meaning of its existence through exiguous moves. And in these ideological aspects, can a building’s identity be construed. In the past, Vitruvius talked about commodity, firmness and delight which is followed even today as a design philosophy. This precept formalises the success of the architecture as a ‘tour de force’; not aesthetically but functionally. But along with these three features, there is an additional factor that a building must possess – sustainability. “You try to achieve a commodity and firmness in the building and while achieving it to see if these buildings can give you delight and also perhaps be sustainable in the long run”. Sustainable – not only in its literal meaning as associated with materials and technology but simply as the one that lasts long after the creators are gone. In this, lies the real notion of timelessness of a building. If in any case, the structure is purposefully brought down, there is something erroneous in it. The few concerns that shape the process of designing are shelter, structure, enclosure, materials, light, shade, landscape and memory. Complementary to each other, they relate to the context – the context where we grew up, the context where we work. The island of Sri Lanka is a context where the landscape is inescapable and where landscape is the source of inspiration. The core agenda is to provide shelter as a basic function. The roof is largely accountable for the building to serve its purpose. The Cinnamon Bey Hotel, supporting the large roof slab with an appropriate opening, defines the place for a large number of people gathering and celebrating the space. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


95

It is important that an architect begins to understand what might happen to buildings once they are out of the scene.

A transparent structure, part of The Cinnamon Bey Hotel, allowing the light and landscape to seep in; the structure yet reflecting a strong materiality.

A structure can be made with the most basic materials to support the building like an old verandah from the 18th century. The natural setting must not be disturbed by the structural design. The Kurul Ubedda Hotel is lifted above the ground and respects the natural landform and plantation of its context. Architects should create spaces and enclosures and relationships between the spaces. But we often forget to do that. Is that something that we tend to neglect while focusing on the purpose of the building? When these aspects come together, the loop created is greatly accountable for its reason of existence. The enclosures enveloping the building with a natural landscape clinging to the surface add to the beauty. Simpler the materials, more effective becomes the space. In the process of making a subsist space, the light participates the most. The solids and voids created allow the light to seep in and create a playful atmosphere inside. It is important to keep the building transparent and yet safe. The House on Longdon Place is a breathing house, actually letting the sunlight circulate inside. While the inside is enriched by the quality of light, the landscape adds to the outside and the in-between spaces. The climate is responsible for the kind of landscape a place flourishes with. There is a great tradition of building with and in the landscape. The water bodies, fountains and ponds of a designed piece eventually intersperse with the natural elements of the site. As the building ages, it creates oneness with the countryside. After a certain age, the built makes an inseparable relationship with the existing landscape. We then start to live in the landscape, an extension of the building. Spaces nurture memories – memories of the users, created by the users. One must keep into the consideration that the spaces are ultimately to be used by the people. An architect must not try and empower the building but foresee how the spaces therein would be inhabited. In the due course of time, the users innately enliven it by creating memories. Spaces inculcate the layers of changes transpiring with use and time and keep creating new images of their own. This indeed can be called the identity of a place. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


96

RICK JOY

Beyond the Perceptible Born in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, Rick Joy, originally a professional musician, decided to formally learn architecture from the University of Arizona after studying music at the University of Maine. Graduating in 1990, his architectural career began as a team member for the Phoenix Public Library. After three years with the team and Will Bruder Architects, in 1993 he established Rick Joy Architects in Tucson, Arizona. Having spent more than two decades there, Rick’s work has come to be known for architecture that belongs to the deserts. Over the years, he has equipped himself with the techniques to befit the context, as his architecture crucially rests upon the landscape. Day 3, Lecture 1: Synopsis: Shreya Shah Images: courtesy Rick Joy

I

nclusive union of the roots and the beginnings dovetails the complete thought process and the outcome thereby. Belonging to an unusual landscape, the core of the practice apprehends a remarkable profile. The circumambient starkly reflects the architecture and the architecture hence turns out to be the one belonging to the place. Learning of certain obsessions happens through a consequence of repetitive endeavours that shall not be a chapter in any curriculum. Travelling, questioning and understanding from everything around teaches more than any formal school. Outstanding, effective and referential projects mirror a set of design philosophies. Watchful insight and truthful experience With an appropriation of the contiguous, the boundaries must be washed off by looking beyond what the eyes see and understand from the insight, not the sight. The everyday objects in the contextual sprawl have suggested something outside of what they are meant to and have convinced one to correlate meanings and discover newness as a way of seeking new landscapes in a continuous cross. Simple in their being, these objects need not be monumental since even the minute entities in the atmosphere are teachers creating a direct relationship with the users. The contained use of space is defined by the people and their connection with the landscape. Analysing the lifestyle of people has helped in evolution of the architecture over the years. To design for a particular crowd of people, the prime research has demanded for the study of the daily routine and the likesdislikes, referring to the use of space as a prime magnitude. The built mass then evolves as a secondary purpose wherein it serves the needs of the people through the medium of architecture and respects the experiences that consequences the nature of the building. As seen in the Nomad House, the three units have perfect views and built mass for respective functional spaces within. In the crisp landscape of Tucson, the light seeping inside the house adds to the life of the residents. Concept, context and materiality Conceptual making of the architecture is elevated by the means of rather commendable ideas than only the prescribed programme given by the clients. As designers, the experimentation must be continued by seeing the projects as opportunities to discover ‘about the nature, natural phenomenon or about ourselves’. Generating possible niches Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


97

For me learning from artists, the works that touch me deeply – they somehow search for the ultimate revelation of the real; somehow looking for some precise consideration of or exploration of desire to learn from something more about nature, natural phenomenon or about ourselves.

The Amangiri Resort consolidated with the desert landscapes of the Grand Canyon.

in the building where the people can add to the designs is indeed more like art and articulation of nature with the architecture. Juhani Pallasmaa said it ideally when he stated, “It should be more about the verb than the noun”. The form and volume of the buildings are sensitive aspects that must be primarily worked upon, in context of their site with a careful decision that can sustain the concept of the project. Contextually in the desert landscape, the use of right material is of utmost importance. Architectural elements like a simple wall and a roof slab when designed in a vigilant fashion fetches the right amount of light while the spiritual aspect of the space is strengthened by light and shadows through which solitude is realised. Reverencing the nature and culture Have you ever felt the restriction to build on a piece of land with extremely beautiful landscape? Man has created harmonious composition in terms of planning, which in such cases emerges out of respect for the site and the culture of the place. The Amangiri Resort wisely explains this philosophy with its ground floor spreading in the pockets created by the mountains and undulated topography. The built environment of the location has gradually adapted to the changes over a long course of time. Traditional history serves as the source to understand the pattern of change and yet, the basic needs of building have remained constant. Working with the contemporary ideas creates a structure that has its own identity respecting the architecture from the past than merely being a replica. The Woodstock Villa, as it sits well in the lush green scene, is a response to the culture of the place as a large spaced house under a single roof achieved by a simple frame structure dressed with a stone finish. Sustaining a co-operative practice Depending on the taste of the client, the architecture serves its purpose; nevertheless excellent products must be sustained by working in depth for the users. In the process of doing so, all the hardships while dealing with a client are conducive for creating a finesse building. Assiduous back and forth of the minute variation leads to a satisfying result that also considers the art of construction. A flourishing team helps in sharing ideas and makes a stronger bond with work and eventually brings better results. The expanse of projects and progressive work help in nurturing the practice. “The education you are getting here is up to you. If I can do it at the age of thirty-five, starting a practice in Arizona, you guys can it too, easily”. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


98

PAULO DAVID

The Immensity of Nothing Eleventh recipient of the Alvar Aalto Medal, Paulo David is based in Funchal - on the Madeira archipelago in Portugal. After graduating from the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, David went to work for architect João Luis Carrilho da Graça. He followed it by working for ten years with Gonçalo Byrne, where he developed a number of projects in Madeira. His works, mostly in the volcanic island of Funchal, come across as his way of respecting history, time, place, culture and technology. His architecture is timeless and of diverse scales reflecting the power of Madeira’s tough physical terrain. Day 3, Lecture 2: Synopsis: Anusha Narayanan Images: courtesy Paulo David

T

o comprehend the complexity and the compactness of the world is a manifold process of understanding landscape and respecting the forces of nature that shape land upon years of chiselling and erosion. The land of Madeira emerges from the bottom of the sea and is fan-shaped spreading outwards, maintaining a rough mountainous terrain topographically engraved with crevices and deep valleys throughout. Invariably, this establishes an intertwined relationship between the natural and the built environment, between the existing physicality and the new architecture to be built upon it. Understanding architecture in Funchal Cradled between an edge of the sea and borders of high mountains on the other side, Funchal is a land of fierce coastal landscapes. It is an observatory of nature, landforms, geomorphic history, biodiversity, natural materials and textures. To build within this context, it is essential to understand the emotional ties between the land and its occupants. Architecture here really exploits the topography, the elevation and the vantage points and evolves into the ‘architecture of belvederes’ or architecture of horizontality that in its pure geometry, appreciates as well as contradicts the landscape. Dwellings at the lower parts of Funchal flow with the landscape and as the elevation rises, the buildings rise from it. This horizontal and vertical expansion and exploration of space inspires the creation of newer architecture anchored in the landscape, literally and metaphorically, tying the structure indispensably and deeply to the site. The valley regions of Funchal are very narrow, wherein building becomes a process of discovery from the stage of selecting the piece of land to build on, a process as meticulous as in Ancient Rome, where finding an appropriate site was equivalent of forming a conversant relationship with nature before building on it. This process unconsciously brings people closer to the intense landscapes of the region. While dealing with interior spaces, one must be aware of the consequences of choreographing the life of the occupants. Therefore, it is of primal importance, despite the constraints, to provide a good balance of light and air, visual and acoustic privacy, intimacy and openness just as one would otherwise. Occupying the edge of the site and providing views that stretch right upto the waters further humanises the landscapes within the built. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


99

A very important aspect of my work is to discover that architecture is a very significant mechanism to discover the slow or gradual movement of the landscape.

Salinas Restaurant and Garden - Câmara de Lobos, Madeira, Portugal.

Architecture in itself is also a tool to take a significant political position for instance, when designing for the strata of society which cannot afford luxury like the fishermen near the coasts. Herein, it is the duty of the architect to design such that no one is deprived of their due share of access to nature. Such architecture is a conscious reflection of the radicalism and vulnerability of contemporaneity within an erosive and unpredictable context of Funchal. Building with locally available stone or wood, scooping land to ensconce the structure in it, separating walls with a visual tension to frame aesthetic views, deriving forms from the landscape and spaces based on the fundamentals of light and acoustics, and creating a peaceful gravity have been the major challenges of practising architecture in this region over the years. Architecture is meant to be like an empty space placed between the wall and the mountain, much like the Spanish sculptor Chillida who said “without emptiness, there is nothing”. Of the loss of identity While building in areas where nature has been destructive to the identity of a place, architecture should be medicinal to the damaged fabric of the region like in the case the Laurisilva Forest of Madeira and the earthquake prone shore of Chile. In Laurisilva, a blazing forest fire destroyed a huge part of the flora of the region; in an initiative to reconnect with the forests after the incident, a programme was devised in collaboration with the natives of the region to build small pyramidal structures in the forest easily with wood and earth. Emerging from the soil, these simple structures would act like observatories of nature. In another example, the opportunity to design on the shores of Chile took us to a region devastated by a drastic earthquake, and consequently, of extreme poverty amidst the post-disaster landscape. Apprehensive of a relapse of the disaster, the population had relocated to other parts of the island, building a wall and planting a dense buffer vegetation between their settlement and the sea. The thengovernment, initiated a project inviting ten architects from around the world to design an educational centre which would act as a sanctuary for the people. The intention here was to build a ‘new gateway through the forests’ to the sea, symbolic of the beginning of a new dialogue between people and the sea, ridding them of their fears. Although it is impossible to completely leave nature untouched by human occupation, the duty of every architect is to be respectful of the landscapes of a region and its memories, which bears great social and cultural impact. The journey of practising architecture is like the dream of chasing a horizon, a horizon which is always intense but inaccessible; its attraction is in its elusiveness. It is with the same enthusiasm as this chase to touch the horizon that an architect should strive to capture ‘the immensity of nothing’. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


100

MINAKSHI JAIN

Perpetuating the Historical Assets Minakshi Jain, a prominent conservation architect in India, finished her undergraduate education in architecture from CEPT – Center for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad in 1966 and pursued her masters’ from University of Pennsylvania studying under Louis I Kahn for two years before returning to India. She has been involved as a faculty at CEPT since 1971. Minakshi Jain’s acclaimed restoration of Nagaur Fort won the UNESCO award of excellence and later was nominated for the Aga Khan Award in 2013. Apart from her professional quests, she also runs the AADI centre, an NGO for research located in Ahmedabad, alongside Prof Kulbhushan Jain. Day 3, Lecture 3: Synopsis: Shreya Shah Images: courtesy Minakshi Jain, IA&B

C

onservation architecture has experienced a paradigm shift in the scope of resurgence of the heritage of India over the past decade. Despite being knitted into the wider trajectory of architecture recently, and owing to the superficial experimentations and visual articulations in historical structures, not all conservation projects are successful. With the current status of sprawl of knowledge and actualisation of management of heritage campuses, the recent set of budding architects must endeavour to explore the benefits of regeneration, and cultivate a stratum of preservation and by extension, design. Extensive research, documentations and participatory processes with the local artisans lead to a concept of unified design, triggering an authentic restoration and refurbishment essential to reanimate the constructs. All conservation projects – finished as well as ongoing, are an outcome of immense diligence and a constant hold on the entire programme. Amid the increasing awareness of the rich repository of Indian culture and traditions, the focus on conservation architecture is validated and necessitated. Not solely about the charms of affluent spaces or pursuing the folksy aesthetic, it constitutes a vision of an environment that is extraordinarily rich in many sorts of potential experiences and of reframing relevance and meaning in an abandoned fabric. Exemplifying this context, is the Fort of Nagaur. Encompassing five palaces and sixty buildings, the Fort of Nagaur, a successful conservation project was started in the year 1993 and is still in progression. Owing to this evolutionary intervention, the Fort which was once a derelict ruin is now a celebrated remnant of an affluent past. Ahhichatragarh reflecting the Mughal and Rajput style of architecture has now regained the vernacular desposition and culture that it had displayed in the 19th century. With the help of the local labourers and artists, the project gradually regained its sense of belonging. Sandstone, the basic material used to compose the Fort’s roof, flooring and elements like ‘jaalis’ and ‘chajjas’, was majorly recovered from the debris. The conservation projects transverse incrementally with the passage of time, with much to teach, such as explorations of methodologies to respond to the regional climate and microclimates by channelling breezes, seasonal shades from the sun, thermal insulations, and preserving rainwater. Profound studies on the water collection and filtration and drainage system of the campus included survey of levels.The Baori step-well was redone as a major part of the project. The fountains and water bodies amalgamate seamlessly with the existing vocabulary while the use of bright colours adds joy to its use. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


101

In India, not many conservation projects are successful but the Fort of Nagaur is and it is satisfying to work on it since the last 20 years.

The façade of the rectangular ‘baradari’ of Nagaur Fort after conservation.

Minute circulation of water is taken care in the case of Abha Mahal by introducing custom designed vertical ‘chaddars’ that become the spine of dripping water from the roof that gets collected in the pond below. This creates a notable sound pattern when the water further runs through the horizontal ‘chaddars’. Deepak Mahal, literally meaning the palace of candles and light, was lit again by fixing the niches in the leaning wall. The campus here is now used for Sufi musical nights. Encouraging the historical gardens and the biodiversity, new plantation also includes medicinal plants. Most of the paintings on the walls of the Hadi Rani Mahal are intact and in good condition while the rest is conserved by the Courtauld Institute of London. The buffer zone design proposal of the Amber Palace is in progress. Documenting the errors in the existing structure the conservation of courts’ façade has already begun. At the Diwan-E-Khas, the annual redoing of the terracing made the lime slab porous and leakages were found. This became the core concern of conservation here. The museum inside was unfortunately not completed. Starting from the City Palace, the proposal apportions routes to the Jantar Mantar and the Hawa Mahal, in a precise attempt to activate the precinct as a tourist junction. Again, at the Bal Samand resort in Jodhpur, the levels for water transverse are accounted for by the design of water channels. Later the supporting structure of the channel was used as a stable. Now redesigned as a hotel, the structure continues the form of the section built earlier. The Fort of Gagron has been worked on until the level of development plan while the Ranthambore and Dadlpur forts have been documented in the form of report. The Mandore Garden is an ongoing project yet. With a wide range of tools and various factors available for reappraising the structures built centuries ago, conservation needs to be looked as contiguous reciprocal architecture; one that regenerates culture, legacies and rich contexts especially in a country such as India. With contemporary revitalisations currently on the rise, it can be also perceived as a dimension that intensifies experiences or dignifies social meanings. We must attempt and not let the stones be part of the ruins but endeavour to make the people a part of those structures. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


102

SPASM DESIGN

Creating Identity through Architecture Sanjeev Panjabi and Sangeeta Merchant lead a studio of 13 architects in Mumbai called SPASM DESIGN. Sanjeev and Sangeeta are both graduates of the Academy of Architecture, Mumbai and started their studio with their first commission in East Africa in 1997, growing stronger with additions to the team each year and graduating from interior refurbishments and interventions to architectural design by the year 2000. SPASM believes that design is an outcome of experience and a dialogue between spaces. Treating each project individually they believe in not overthinking a design and representing a truthfulness to a singular core value – be it materiality, texture, massing, expanse or enclosure. Day 3, Lecture 4: Synopsis: Anusha Narayanan Images: courtesy SPASM DESIGN, IA&B

W

ithin the convolution of the conditioned mind, a sensitive architect is the one who is minutely observant, intuitive, absorbent of the culture, the nature and the elements around him; the one who can freeze the beauty of a site, with frugal interventions, to the advantage of the design, and the one who has the capacity to get under the skin of every constraint, variable and influence that informs the project. ‘Identity’ is an existence in the present, based on the intangible and the tangible past of a place, however, representing the present with truthfulness and little fuss is vital, because ‘identity’ is about understanding the architecture (of each project) in its entirety, from all perspectives and in great depth. Identity as a peculiar sense of space Creating identity in spaces devoid of any content or connect from the outside is a challenge that seems incomprehensive, but in actuality it is a task that requires skill and restraint. An architect must always be conscious not to overdo a space just for the sake of projecting an image. It is wiser to just embellish select aspects of a space and render it unique and individual. As seen in the case of ‘Oorja’, a retail store designed in a waterlogged basement, the restrictions of the site were rather stifling. Once issues of drainage were solved, the design became a representation of the ‘torana’ – a temporary installation of lights that forms a light canopy frequently seen on Indian streets as the core concept furnished with copper tubular and focal lights, lending it the identity of light and of energy, and transforming the essence of the place. Identity as an icon While building in developing economies, the conditions of a short-sighted urban growth are commonplace. Architecture in such contexts acts as a tool to deviate from the stereotypical forms and spaces within each typology and venture beyond the tried, the tested and the unsatisfactory. Exploiting the geographical qualities of the site, one must provide spaces for people to unwind and interact with each other or just to reflect in silence, even within formal spaces. Addressing the climate, axial orientation, aesthetic frictions in the form, balancing the exposed and the shielded, allowing light and air to permeate in while considering the thermal load of the structures are fundamental. In the design of an office building in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, a coastal harbour city in East Africa, the effort was to consciously deviate from the existing stagnant architecture of yore. Its meaning was derived Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


103

You need to immerse yourself into the subject so deep that you become untraceable. Do not be traceable; be the phantom architect, be at the back of the scene and do the good work.

The House Cast in ‘Liquid Stone’, Khopoli, India.

from the native Baobab tree which spreads towards the sky and the attempt was to utilise as much of the sky from around the building as possible. In such contexts, architecture serves as a precedent in a place which lacks its own identity. Identity as the truth Architecture in the tropics is an interesting dance between light, water, nature, air and the seasons. Its beauty is in the diverse sensory experiences a single space offers during different times of the day and the year, indicative of the level of adaptability and dynamism that spaces must carry, especially residences. While designing houses, the approach was always to identify a single story that binds the building together, be it the story of stone (House cast in ‘Liquid Stone’, Khopoli) or that of brick (The Brick Kiln House, Alibaug) and remain true to it. It is not to be conspicuous but to be lost in the surroundings once built. It is to come so unnervingly close to nature that the thresholds between the outside and the inside disappear. An architect must use untried materials and acknowledge objects and sights that are usually taken for granted like the brick kilns in the villages or the basalt of the rocks in the hills. With these experiments, design gives birth to spaces that internalise the moment when the sunlight fades into the rain and when the terraces seem to touch the edge of the cliff. The lack of control on nature and how it sneaks into our designs is the magic of architecture and it is but the job of the architect to facilitate this movement, invite it, harness it and cherish it rather than conquer it. Identity as the untraceable Identity is as much perception as history, but architecture should never be ‘identifiable’. Unlike other professions, architecture is a social art and beyond that also a geographical, cultural and subconscious record of the transitions from the past to the present. It cannot be the signature of one person but is meant to be untraceable; that which cannot be dated. It is to get under the realms of the expected, with a firm hold of the past and a vision for the future. Architecture needs to just be a meditative platform for reflection and introspection. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


104

LARS MÜLLER

Analogue Reality Lars Müller is a graphic designer and a design publisher based in Switzerland. Born in Oslo in 1955, Norwegian by birth, Lars returned to Switzerland in 1982 to establish his own studio in Baden. In 1983, as Lars Müller Publishers, he started publishing books on typography, design, art, photography and architecture, working closely with the authors to present work of great independence, quality and content of the highest possible standards. Müller, since 1996, also partners with ‘Integral Concept’ – an interdisciplinary design group active in Paris, Milan, Zurich, Berlin and Montreal. Day 3, Lecture 5: Synopsis: Chandrima Padmanabhan Images: courtesy Lars Müller, IA&B

I

n thirty years of meaningfully interacting with the world of the analogue, as a publisher, designer and citizen, the book has always surfaced rightly as a revered cultural artefact. Up until the early 1990s, the digital revolution was in its infancy, its value never preceding that which the analogue medium of a book had to offer as a visual and tactile experience. Today the way we live, observe and interact with the world has transformed completely with technology, creating new commercial and aesthetic value. While the benefits of the adeptness of technology or digital tools that make life easier cannot be questioned, it is important to expound on the ensuing humanistic loss of experience, knowledge, skills and values of many generations through the easy rapidity of our submergence in digital technology in every aspect of one’s lifestyle. We must understand that this requires a gradual progression of thought; an understanding of what values deserve to be transferred and transformed in the digital future and what forms a part of its history and identity so as to relevantly transfer them. The potential of the analogue can never be iterated enough, especially in times when its prominence is gradually receding in favour of the mass consolidation of information. There is also a fundamental difference in the way we absorb data from these different mediums. The reading of a book requires the reader to turn the pages, perhaps make notes, pause, turn back if necessary, making complex systems of relations in the mind and ruminating on its content, allowing a wholesome sensory experience that occupies one’s entire attention. This is much unlike the mundane act of scrolling and the distractions of flashing advertisements and the detached sounds of incessant clicks and pings, connoting an alarming ambivalence towards the loss of curiosity in everyday sensations. Architecture, as a subject that involves the discussion of complex issues, is particularly suited to the format of a book. Drawings, similarly, are an immediate expression of the imagination. An architect’s personality finds an unvarnished representation in his sketchbook. Louis Kahn was a master of the medium, a fact exemplified in the book brought out by Lars Müller Publishers titled ‘Louis Kahn, Drawing to Find Out: The Dominican Motherhouse and the Patient Search for Architecture’. Kahn befittingly stated, “Drawings are expressions of one’s striving to reach the spirit of architecture”, for it is impossible to define something so intangible through a medium which, in its essence, proffers and begets detachment. The Dominican Motherhouse Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


105

Relatively speaking, we are still dilettantes in the way we deal with new tools and instruments, while at the same time have lost control of our analogue reality or are in the process of losing it.

project took three years in conception and though it remained unbuilt, it is epitomised in the pages of the book through sketches of the concept, and its development through various stages of the intangible design process. A series of five books on Steven Holl characterised a unique experience in publishing, wherein a family of books were created that depicted his work, the most recent being ‘Urban Hopes, Made in China’. The content that the publishing house takes on, is screened in terms of its content and relevance in the present context, a fact apparent in its recent decision to take on books that delve into Urbanism. As more of the population begins to live in cities, there is a need for expertise and knowledge in the field that could evoke the consciousness of the design fraternity to develop the requisite infrastructure such as social housing and public environments. These doctrines work especially well in the form of a book, serving as an instrument or manifesto to be referred to, and a realistic documentation of the situation at the time it was published. There is a lesson in observing urban life in its reality, an ideal that was taken forth through the conception of ‘Brasilia-Chandigarh, Living with Modernity’ in collaboration with Iwan Baan. This was brought out during the time of the 50th anniversary of Brasilia’s realisation. Though all suggestions for this book wished to celebrate the city with pictures taken at the time of its construction, it was an important publishing prerogative for the House to observe and document life evolving in them today. The importance of these small publishing decisions in terms of content and in the minor detailing of its size, typeface and cover design which mark the image of the publishing house are evident in certain characteristic traits such as the minimalist embossing of the covers to allow a tactile illusion of a relief and in complete doctrines dedicated to the evolution of the typeface ‘Helvetica’. The book ‘Le Corbusier, Secret Photographer’ further experiments with technology to incorporate QR codes which when scanned with a smart phone, directs one to a server with video clips. This understated discourse on the analogue which is consistently undertaken in every book published, also evolves in terms of technique to relevantly respond to changing times. The content touches on subjects of increasing relevance to correspond with the social context we live in today, its curation marking the publishing house’s small but definitive role in the whole system. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


106

EMRE AROLAT

Identity and/of EAA’s Architecture in the Turkish Context Emre Arolat established Emre Arolat Architects (EAA) with Gonca Pasolar in 2004 in Istanbul, Turkey, as a continuation of his practice with Arolat Architects. The studio handles projects of varying scales from residential to urban propounding its design philosophy that focuses on ‘situation’ and its potentials. In Arolat’s work, each context precipitates different responses defining an architectural practice that identifies with a conceptual and positional consistency rather than specific visual correspondences. Emre Arolat is a Chartered Member of RIBA. Day 3, Lecture 6: Synopsis: Chandrima Padmanabhan Images: courtesy Emre Arolat, IA&B

I

n Istanbul, and as in the case of most cultures operating in a capitalist milieu, the encroaching forces of globalisation ensnare society by flaunting flashy high-rises and other icons of prosperity as the new symbol of the city’s aptitude for advancement. Unfortunately, this has consequently wreaked complete havoc in the continuity of the socio-cultural landscape of its people, deriding the intrinsic ‘sense of place’ and becoming the exhibition ground of the prevalent neo-colonialist hold over the imagination. With changes in the economic policy, 2005 marked the onset of amassing numbers of new built projects that were realised without the idea of a master plan or a cohesive vision for the city, initiated by the new governmental frenzy. Architecture usually plays to the beat of the current political regime, becoming an agent of propagation of the same ideal. It is important, as definitive players in the practising field of architecture, that one take a critical position on the impersonal demands of the political climate that satisfy the qualms of extravagant imagery and instead strive to generate fresh ideas in the study of society, traditions, contexts, dialects and new techniques, all of which can be used to benefit society at large. In order to understand the socio-political climate, one must recognise the construed variants in the architectural dialect pursued henceforth. There are references that can be drawn between Istanbul and the London of forty years ago, when the Conservative Party came into power and the direct link of support between the central and local authorities waned. This led to a minimisation of public expenses wherein the Americanised liberal economy gave rise to a booming private sector and the increasing foreign capital influenced major urban transformations. There are many such parallels that can be drawn to the present scenario in Istanbul. The Turkish context is now governed by a dominance of spectacles, a product of the neo-liberal politics. But the most alarming debacle in this regime has been the passive and gullible acceptance of the society that continues to buy into the idea of superficial symbolism and gated communities, furthering the urban and social segregation. Emre Arolat Architects which was set up in 2004, has purposefully never sashayed to the call for attractive architecture that can be splashed on the covers of magazines. It was carried out as a divergent extension to the legacy of Arolat Architects, which was established by the family in Ankara in 1963. The benefit of the general public and the context of Istanbul have always been two important fields of study, as they ought to Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


107

At some point we must stop and ask ‘why’. What happened to the urban context? What about the spatial, sociological and historical layers of the city?

Sancaklar Mosque, Istanbul.

be. Once these come to define the foundation of the practice, architecture becomes a responsible response as opposed to an unconcerned mediator of the global norm. The firm has been involved in diverse projects with the pertinent knowledge that every construct has the potential for societal benefit. The Ipekyol Textile Factory, which won the Aga Khan Award in 2010 incorporated simple planning strategies that abolished differences between the administrative and working class. The office project in the business district of Kağıthane offers a befitting rejoinder to the usual high-rise towers, with low-rise fragments instead. Its façade emerged as an abstraction of the existing fabric of the city and the voids were designed as common spaces, providing a sense of place that is still tied to its context. The general passivity towards the evolving context, is also prone to manifesting itself regressively, as seen in religious institutions even today. Mosques continue to take on classical architectural undertones of the Ottoman, never evolving from the stereotype of its figurative burdens. Though their volumetric compositions and proportions make the silhouettes of Istanbul matchless, they cannot be expected to be a relevant rhetoric half a millennia later. The design of the Sancaklar Mosque involved a large amount of study on the origins of the ‘place of prayer’ in Islamic philosophy. With no formal description of a mosque in the Quran, the concept strove to define the essence of the ritual and the spirituality of praying instead of inventing a specific structural language. In discarding all the cultural burdens, the purity and substance of the natural materials and light serve as relevant adornment of the humility of sacred space. Interacting with the mild slope in the topography, the upper part of the Mosque serves as a courtyard without any disturbance to the field, following the natural slope as a cascade of stairs. The building seemingly disappears into the land as an inherent part of the place, with the main prayer space occurring below, a sole minaret being the only reminder of the nondescript place. The slits and fractures along the Qiblah wall augment the movement and allow daylight to filter copiously into it. Like old Ottoman complexes, it is a praying as well as a gathering space, becoming a communion hall in the truest sense. It is excessively important to disallow architecture to become synonymous with snobbery and iconisation, losing track of the people it serves, structuring a fragmented way of life devoid of the narrative layers of ‘place’ with which society feels no relationship. An Islamic epithet relevantly brings forth this point – ’Do not walk upon the earth breaking, you cannot clean the earth nor can you ever reach up to the sky.’ Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


108

CARIN SMUTS

Celebrating Diversity Born in 1960 in Pretoria, South Africa, Carin Smuts has closely seen apartheid as an ‘Afrikaner’- a term used for European descendants who colonised the country. Studying in an all-whites school, she was deeply affected by the racial discrimination and at a young age vowed to help the victims. She established C S Studio Architects in 1984 to work with the underdeveloped communities and learn from them. With her experience over the years, she has developed an interactive and participative style of architecture where the involvement extends beyond the social aspects into making. Day 3, Lecture 7: Synopsis: Anusha Narayanan Images: courtesy C S Studio Architects, IA&B

W

e live in a world of parallel realities. Upon examining the physical, social and economic constructs of the developed world and the underdeveloped, it is hard to look at architecture as a ‘timeless’ or even a permanent entity as perceived in the West. Buildings can be broken or ripped apart in sensitive societies such as South Africa, but what is important is that while they exist, they represent the people, fulfil their needs and empower them, as opposed to replicating an aesthetic perception of architecture which is alien to their aspirations or culture. Celebrating diversity in the global complex In an age of interaction and exchange beyond boundaries, ‘identity’ should rather be linked to cherishing the cultural diversities of the people in diverse contexts than to a rigid framework wherein the built environment defines identity. The rural African landscape and architecture is much different from the European perception of a house as ‘an enclosure with defined thresholds’. In the context of Africa, households are extended beyond the semi-open thresholds of every home, into the open community spaces, where the people, children and cattle meet in a celebration of life; the physical forms are just scattered huts over a patch of land tied loosely by linkages and smaller pockets of open spaces in between. When seen through the eyes of a western-educated architect, it is a struggle to deinstitutionalise the mind from the ordered perception of architecture. However, over time and through social collaboration, contemporary architecture evolves into the language used to alleviate the turmoil, the social and political instabilities, the identity crisis, extreme poverty, the lack of education, differences, loss and pain of the people and work for a common institution – their community. It becomes a tool of empowerment to stand up to the policies of a dysfunctional government. It gives voice to those who did not have any. It becomes about listening. ‘People’ as the context Architecture is about community participation, especially in regions where government or private support in building and maintenance is hard to come by. In the light of such stark imbalance which dilutes the priorities of governance, architecture, many a times, is reduced to a mouthpiece for personal gratification or a profit-making tool. In such situations, it Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


109

It is incredibly important that we realise the value of culture and diversity. We have got migration all over the world whether you are in Sweden or in Norway. But what is happening to cultural identity?

Guga S’thebe Culture & Heritage Village, Langa, Cape Town, South Africa.

becomes critical for architects to be activists and stand up to such misappropriation. Architects must have the courage to say ‘no’ to building where it is unnecessary. Architecture is a tool of the people and should rather be used to harness the creative energies of every individual. In projects such as community centres and educational institutions it was imperative to address specific problems which were hindering people’s access to health and infrastructure. The approach also had to be holistic, inculcating persistent dialogues with the educators, the caretakers, students, mothers and families, community leaders, service staff, councillors and sometimes even the delinquents, in short the entire community, to bring them on-board and ensure that the architecture remains intact over time through community participation. Building between generations At the inception of any project, it is always important to get away from the drawing board and understand human relationships and community dynamics. Communities, at times, suffer greatly from social deterrents such as drug abuse and gang-wars, and the incongruent aspirations of the old and the young. It is important to preserve and respect the memories of the past but in doing so, to involve the youth in the process giving them a sense of belonging through tasks allowing artistic and creative expression, or involving endurance and eventually train them to be economically empowered as well. Preserving the memories of the huts of the communities of Kommagas (the Eerste Treetjies Community Centre) was one such social intervention that saw the coming together of generations to build a new identity for themselves but in reminiscence of their traditional huts. Social and educational institutions that really benefit society are usually community-driven and thus, it was crucial that traditions and memories of the people were not compromised due to an oversight of a trained architect. An architect must never underestimate the intellect of the communities being designed for because the best judge of the buildings we create are usually the occupants who live within them. People do not have to be architects to identify themselves. It is our duty as to have an intellectual shift in the context of our work to realise their inherent identities. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


110

Epilogue

Architecture – A Discipline or a Profession?

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


111

T

he 361° Conference 2014 presented us with an uncomfortable situation that positions contemporary practice of architecture in the unclear haze of the global context. Being in India, we increasingly find a dichotomy between being an ancient civilisation and a young, inspiring nation. There are many questions that pertain to the nature of practice itself. The multiplicity that we find in the divergent global attitudes is as intriguing and inspiring, as it is unsettling. The attributes that one can take as an architect in contemporary times and the beliefs we subscribe to are constantly questioned by newer methods of doing, working, thinking and making. The fundamentals of a formal practice are in constant transition as new media opens up a plethora of options that – at the core – are constantly questioning architecture as a practice against architecture as a discipline. There were some common concerns and conflicting ideas. The Conference, although focused on core practice, revealed that architects have a constant investment towards academics and teaching – a pattern that we find encouraging. Owing to the presence of students from more than 100 schools of architecture, many of the discussions were focused on constantly changing ideas of teaching and learning. We find that the role of the practitioner as a teacher is critical in finding a common ground for the discipline of architecture to reconcile with its fundamentals. Another important observation from the Conference is the incredibly diverse approaches to practice. The studio-based model that was once at the heart of the profession is now changing. Independent studios indulge in research. Individual skills define the work and work itself transcends the prerogatives of traditional practice. New technologies are embraced and employed with regard and responsibility. New materials are celebrated and traditional materials are constantly reinterpreted in new light. This ‘newness’ is inspiring and will perhaps define the future of architecture in a country like India. A common thread throughout the presentations and discussions in the Conference is the concern for the context of work. The ‘context’ here goes beyond the traditional understanding of form and space and we find that the architect, the photographer, the critic, the publisher and the social worker can be the same individual. The ‘landscape’ of practice is now political, social, and critical as the practitioners engage viscerally with the realities of their work. From exclusive villas made for the elite to school-houses for the poor, ethical practice and responsible work with great amount of sensitivity and commitment to each programme, each demand, each situation, each case and every exception emerges as a core concern of the discipline. Traditionally, the architect is not a political individual but the paradigms of contemporary architecture are consistently being questioned by architects and individuals who work within the discipline. There is a greater acceptance for criticism and a deeper understanding of the realities of work. The Conference saw many individuals not only engaging with these realities but also addressing them in their work and their approach towards design. The contemporary architect is a thinker. Now the issue of identity is something that we all struggle with but from what we observe in the work and thoughts presented in the 2014 Conference, we are confronted with a very optimistic future, where the question of identity for a work of architecture, for a practice, for an architect, a designer, a student, a citizen and an individual will lie in the making – the process at the heart of the work. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


112

Front Cover.

Back Cover.

A book of reference, study and reason authored by Madhavi Desai, Miki Desai and Jon Lang brings together the magnificent history and living transformation of the bungalows styled in India. It is a complete guide to understand the complexity in the growth of housing type in India as an amalgamation of local hands and foreign ideas.

A

referential compilation of historical studies of the twentieth century that marked the styles of a bungalow, a ‘home’ aspired by the ‘middle class’ Indians, ‘The Bungalow in Twentieth-Century India’ authored by Madhavi Desai, Miki Desai and Jon Lang, talks about the patterns, architectural elements and forms of housing typology, in a lucid and simple idiom. Auxiliary investigation is carried out to understand the various housing forms such as row houses, gated community houses, individual weekend houses, housing schemes and puts forth intriguing questions as to which of these actually contains the meaning of ‘bungalow’. Divided into three major parts – ‘The Family House’, ‘The Evolution of the Bungalow’ and ‘Postscripts’, the book is a finesse product of research of the factors that gave rise to the smooth transition of the built form called a ‘bungalow’, a module of the house type. Inspired by the writings on bungalows by Anthony King (1974, 1976, 1995 and 2004), this book partially draws parallels with the study of houses by Gautam Bhatia’s ‘Punjabi Baroque and Other Memories of Architecture’ and focuses on the social and political past that brought changes in the use of spaces in the house. Colossal information comes together from Desais’ studies on the evolution of the bungalow styles, Madhavi Desai’s book ‘Traditional Architecture: House Form of the Islamic Community of Bohras in

Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014

Suryakaladi Mana, Kerala.


book review

Dev Dholera Village, Gujarat.

George Atkinson’s house at the Waterloo Airport in Sierra Leone, 1941.

‘Curvilinear huts’, a bungalow and a European country residence in Bengal.

Gujarat’ and Miki Desai’s exhibition catalogue ‘Architektur in Gujarat, Indien’ (1990) and the studies of culture and housing by Jon Lang. The authors share their fascination of having grown and stayed in bungalows and the experiences in their memories, with the readers through this book. The journal begins with ‘Introduction: The Bungalow: Its Origins and Its Evolution in The Twentieth-Century India’ where the authors have explained the meaning of the word ‘bungalow’ as perceived in various cultures, majorly, Bengali and by the British East India Company followed by a detailed description of its meaning in India. The bungalow, in that era was a product of the Anglo-Indian ways of life, an amalgamated result of the political and economical system and, social and cultural setting. Courtyards and verandahs being among the basic elements of the nature of bungalows then, changed gradually, majorly with the shift from the colonial to the post-colonial society. The most interesting results were found as the labourers were Indians who were highly influenced by the British architecture and their ideas. At the outset, a list of detailed description of figures supports the quality of information comprehended by the content in the book.

A model describing the functions of buildings based on human needs.

Villa Shodhan, Ahmedabad, 1954; Le Corbusier, architect.

113

In the first part, titled as ‘The Family House’, the book portrays the history and foundation of the bungalow-type as a family housing. Typically a small house, the rural house and the urban house used different materials resulting from their social lifestyle and economic condition as well as the availability of materials. Rural domestic life is exemplified by the case of Dev Dholera village, the simplest of its kind with a loosely defined entrance containing a banyan tree and a temple, a square housing the units of the families with high status. Other examples cited for the same are Ramanathapuram, Thirunageswaram and Gangaikonda Cholapuram in Tamil Nadu, Coorg region of Karnataka, Suryakaladi Mana in Kerala and more. This section objectifies the characteristics like occupation, climate and regional importance that gave rise to the formation of settlements like ‘pols’ in Ahmedabad and ‘mohallas’ in Delhi. Progressively, the civil lines and cantonments were developed as city centres with the colonial rule owing to advancement in technologies. Hereby, the changes were seen in the roof patterns from hipped to lower hipped and finally, flat roofs started to appear. Façades were finely designed now and they showed the higher status of the families living in it and it also reflected the deliberate change in the lifestyle of people. Middle class Indians became the Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014


114

‘Postscripts’, the last part of the book, contains sets of conclusions and questions the need of people forming the mass housing market. It hence elaborates on the larger housing types – apartments and bungalows and, villas and ‘farm’ houses. Has the term ‘bungalow’ completely changed its meaning over the long run of this century? A house is now a pure reflection of the users’ aspirations while the least of their characteristics are taken from the past. India, a land of rich multicultural and multiregional communities, abodes variety of houses resulted by the individuals’ aspirations and economical status to fulfil their basic needs which then was garnished by the additional needs as and when the economy flourished. The book, in a nutshell can be used as a digest to understand the origin and transformation of the ‘bungalow’. It leaves a lasting impression on the reader, of the rich historical past and the multifarious perceptions of the type of houses. With concisely stated examples for each section, the data provided opens branches of further inspections to understand the roots of architectural styles and its reflection on the bungalow in India. The tremendous efforts of the authors echo in the chapters which provide a mass of information supplemented by relevant examples. This book surely is an achievement that speaks about the authors’ memories and the rationale of the time of their life spent in the bungalows. ↑

Spread from the book.

entrepreneurs and started to own such forms of residences. The book mentions the Maslow’s model of human motivations and how it was reflected in the formation of settlements back then in the twentieth century. Further, the second part, ‘The Evolution of the Bungalow and its Offspring in the Twentieth Century’, talks about the need of more space and the social influences that resulted into suburbanisation. Cosmopolitan population including Europeans, Anglo-Indians, Mangaloreans and Muslims started to stay together and more of a contemporary lifestyle was adopted. Ornamentation started to appear in the bungalows with a sense of style, a realisation for the ‘nouveau riche’. Now, the bungalow compound incorporated library and office as an extended form of the house campus. Attributes in the book are given to cities like Delhi – the construction of Rajpath by Lutyens, Mumbai and Bengaluru. A drastic change in the form and planning of the bungalow appeared in the fortieth and fiftieth decade of the twentieth century. The Shodhan House in Ahmedabad is elaborated upon as one of the examples. Contemporary houses stimulated the architectural style of bungalow design and predominant aesthetic styles thus, flourished by the houses designed by leading architects like Achyut Kanvinde, B V Doshi and Charles Correa. On this note,the authors have illustrated the major architectural movementsduring the first half of the twentieth century mentioning the Classical Inheritance, Indo-Classical, IndoSaracenic, Gothic, Art Deco Architecture, the ‘Swadeshi’ Movement and Architectural Exploration as chief cases. With collection of images, the authors state the influences of modernist architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier. Climate became the major factor by the end of the twentieth century; considering the same, the book details out the bungalows situated in regions with cold climate towards the end of the second part. Indian Architect & Builder - April 2014

Kamath House, near Delhi; Revathi Kamath and Vasant Kamath, architects.

Kundoo House, Auroville, Tamil Nadu, 1999; Anupama Kundoo, architect.

FACT FILE: Book Authors Published by Language ISBN Reviewed by

: The Bungalow in Twentieth-Century India : Madhavi Desai, Miki Desai and Jon Lang : Ashgate Publication Limited : English : 978-1-4094-2738-4 : Shreya Shah


IA&B April 2014