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Focus: Elemental Landscapes

VOL 24 (8)

APR 2011

10 IA&B - APR 2011

Manipulating Land

Martha Schwartz, Principal, Martha Schwartz Partners, talks about her practice and her ideology in a dialogue with Sarita Vijayan, Editor and Brand Director, IA&B, elaborating on the connection between landscape, art and urbanism. Photographs: courtesy Martha Schwartz Partners

Martha Schwartz is a Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and teaches advanced design studios focusing on urban sustainability. She is also a Principal of Martha Schwartz Partners, with offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts and London. Her practice works internationally on a wide variety of project types and scales, focusing on developing sustainable strategies and public realm design. The practice is at the forefront of working collaboratively to develop sustainable strategies for new and regenerating cities. Schwartz has over 30 years of experience as a landscape architect and artist and has worked together with a variety of world-renowned architects. SV. Your practice amalgamates landscape, art and urbanism. How do you see the three diverse and vast fields interrelated? MS. Having worked in the field for over 30 years now, I feel that the interrelationship between these three topics has come to me over time. I came out of art and followed the earthworks artists (like Richard Long and Robert Smithson), where I observed that their artistry and manipulation of land created monumental icons that reverberated into the landscape - that is how I got started on it. Now, when I have a greater and diverse experience with the scales of spaces, I can see how the whole suggestion of art inserted into a landscape, and particularly in that of the city, can have immense positive effects. As the world has become more urbanised and the quality of life has improved, it has become a subject of importance in sustainability that the emotional and psychological impacts our surroundings have on our individual psyches are tremendous and immeasurable. Therefore, in terms of making cities a place of choice for people to live in, the regard for design, art and artistry in making wonderful places to integrate socially and having a green environment for overall health of a city is extremely important. As a side note, I was told by a colleague of mine in China that the government has decided to focus on people’s happiness. In a cityscape, happiness is in fact a product of feeling of well-being, public open space and general landscape of the city. Thus, there is a great amount of inter-relatedness between landscape, art and urbanism. SV. Do you think landscape design can aid activation or regeneration of derelict or defunct urban centres? How? MS. Not only do I think it can, I know it can; because of the work we have done in the past. Redesigning an urban space is a great catalytic function around which things can start to happen. These landscapes can really play a big part in urban regeneration. For example, we did a project in Manchester, UK as a result of a bomb blast in 1995, where a series of left-over roads and spaces in between the buildings that were not really designed were converted into a public plaza. It is called the Exchange Square. It was designed to be a gathering place, having

let’s partner a generous amount of seating, and had a strong focus on an ancient trench that ran along the street, which was made into a water feature. After completion, it became a popular meeting place. Commercial stores started to come in, numerous restaurants opened up and people started to sit outdoors. The plaza became a living room for the city and helped attract people back into the city. People are getting similar results with park regeneration projects around the world. For example, Millennium Park in Chicago attracted 20,000 people back into the centre of the city. It is now a 24/7 city, as opposed to a city that used to shut down at night. Millions of dollars are generated from commercial activities and tourism in and around this park. The open spaces in the cities are not only regenerating urban centres, but are attracting people to the cities. Currently, cities are competing for knowledge-based workers; for people who have a choice. In effect, you want to make these cities a place of choice for people and that actually underpins various economies. SV. With projects across twenty countries, how do you work with site-specific issues? Do your designs focus on their social and cultural contexts? How? MS. Yes, that is a very important and central philosophy of our practice. We have a very strong focus on social and cultural context and how the spaces we design function in that setting. Before we get into any design, we do a lot of research and ask questions, take a series of snapshots for understanding and analysing a site’s hydro-geological underpinnings, its geography, social morphology, the politics surrounding it, its users, its neighbours, the kind of demographics that might affect the space, its potential future, where are people coming from, languages they speak as well as listening to the hopes and dreams of clients and the user groups. All this input is essential as it formulates a series of images, which when put together start to suggest things that could be derived from that site. After this, we go into design mode and come up with a number of directions. This enables us to get feedback from users and participants very early on; for not only the usability and functionality, but also the aesthetic direction they want to see us moving towards. In effect, we use the design process to get feedback from stakeholders before getting married to one idea. With various confluences of opinion, we come up with something different every time around. SV. The green concerns and sustainability-related issues are primarily discussed in the realm of architecture and not effectively in landscape design. How do you see the role of landscape architecture in an overall ‘green agenda’? MS. This is something that I have researched and written significantly about. I think that our green agenda concerns with the urban scale. When dealing with sites, the things that we learn as landscape architects, especially the ones that have always been applied to site design come into play. For example, we know how to site a building based on positive solar gain, how to get a building out of the wind, how to create sun and shade pockets; we know the requirement of permeable surfaces and know the requisites of creating a habitat. We know that we have to do all this as a part of our profession and there is nothing new in it. The real and powerful effect that we can have as landscape architects is to enable densification and urbanisation and discourage lower density developments like suburbs which, according to me, are the most inefficient way of building. We should encourage the building of healthy cities that people will choose to live in, as living collectively in higher densities is more resource efficient. Our biggest role as landscape architects is to underpin densification by creating healthy cities and advocating the building of and planning for robust public realm landscapes. This would mean making gracious sidewalks to promote walkability, planting trees in a systematic way, building bicycle lanes, encouraging public transportation as well as designing a series of different kinds of open spaces that are big, small, hard and soft. In other words, to create a city where there is an array of spaces for people to choose from. Furthermore, these spaces should act like a

melting pot for different cultures and allow people from different socioeconomic backgrounds to amalgamate as citizens of the city. So, the urban scale landscape and public realm that is needed to create healthy cities and citizens should be the focus of landscape architecture. SV. Why do you think that an investment in the public realm can help rejuvenating the cities at present? MS. It is clear that the state of a landscape or a park affects the properties that are around them. Any upgrade in these spaces upgrades the value of adjacent buildings. Therefore, investment in the public realm translates into an investment in individual property values as well as creating positivity amongst the people for being in the city. Many cities are competing for populations; in Europe, for instance, the urban population is depleting. The ex-mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, knew that to make London the top business capital in the world, he needed to attract people from everywhere; and get them to London by choice. Therefore, he focussed on keeping the public realm of London beautiful, green, accessible and attractive. When something is attractive, people want to be there. That is what creates value. SV. Your landscape designs make use of metaphysical elements and symbolic objects, like in ‘51 Ornaments’. How do you interpret their meaning in a natural setting? MS. Most of our work is in settings that are not natural. ‘51 Ornaments’ is not in a natural setting, it is in a garden; meaning that it is a human-generated space that has been planted with trees and grass, which are natural, but are manicured. We, by and large, create landscapes that we live and work in. In the US, there are national parks that might be deemed natural to an extent, but have parts that are still maintained to a certain degree. Agrarian, suburban and urban landscapes are not really natural settings. I would argue that we do not put elements and objects in natural settings but we do use different kinds of elements and symbolic objects in the landscapes that we design. I think it is important to make spaces that have a strong image and can be described. I feel it is important to have something ‘there’ that makes you see the landscape in a different way. Moreover, it is always fun to try and imagine what these elements are and could mean. At the same time, since there are so many people who participate in public spaces, you want anyone from any culture and socioeconomic level to be able to bring something of their own interpretation to it. That is what makes it truly public. These metaphysical elements and symbolic objects are usually there to create focus, visual interest, excitement and perhaps mystery; something that actually marks a place and creates a memory. SV. India has multiple high-density megapolices as urban agglomerations. How do you perceive the role of landscape design in India? MS. I do not really know enough about the practice of landscape architecture in India yet. But, I strongly feel that in developing cities, especially in developing countries such as India and China, landscape architects must have a very powerful voice to advocate the inclusion of the public realm landscape in the building of new cities and the extension of cities. Landscape architects should be on the table with the planners and architects, who are often tasked to do the master plans, to ensure a forethought about how to create an urban landscape; that, for example, it is not a car dominated environment, has connectivity on street level, has buildings that are placed correctly so people can walk easily etc. We have to become advocates for making cities healthy and beautiful places of choice for everyone. To know more about the work and practice of Martha Schwartz Partners, refer to the article titled ‘Rejuvenating the Landscape’ by Hina Nitesh.


LET’S PARTNER Manipulating Land In dialogue with Sarita Vijayan, Editor & Brand Director, IA&B, Martha Schwartz, Principal, Martha Schwartz Partners, discusses the connection between landscape, art and urbanism.


CURRENT Events, exhibitions, competitions and news on the most recent and the most interesting in architecture and design globally.


PRODUCTS Significant and innovative product designs from across the globe.


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CONSTRUCTION BRIEF Mantri Serene Designed by visionary architect Hafeez Contractor, Mantri Serene, a green haven, offers its residents natural surroundings in and around the hustle-bustle city life. Greenbay Golf Village Designed by world-renowned golf course designer Andy Johnson, Greenbay Golf Village offers residents a life which is truly gilt-edged. Signia Oceans Conceptualised by Dimension Architects, the 29-storey Signia Oceans is a tall symbol of otherworldly luxury. Neev Bellevue Designed by Mumbai-based architect Abhijit Mehta, Neev Bellevue elevates the lifestyles of mid-income group families. Low Carbon Future City Conceptualised by SBA Designs, Low Carbon Future City is a sustainable city of the future in Yinggehai, on the South Chinese island of Hainan.



Back to Basics The Educomp School designed by Chennai based KSM Architects adapts its essential nature from the context taking cues from the local climate.

FOCUS Elemental Landscapes


Rejuvenating the Landscape Whitewater Shopping Complex by Martha Schwartz Partners revitalises the derelict industrial region of Newbridge in Ireland.


A place for the Community Designed by the Office of James Burnett, The Lakeshore East Park in Chicago is envisaged as a place with increased interaction within the community.


Cultural Peripheries Mayslits Kassif Architects transforms a waterfront landscape of Tel Aviv through multiple contemporary expressions and interventions as a part of Tel Aviv Port Public Space Regeneration project.


Ribboned Realm The design for Zamet Center, the Croatian sports center which defines the role of landscaping in conserving energy.

TECHNOLOGY Living Infrastructure ‘Shinjuku Gardens’ by Hong Kong-based cheungvogl integrates infrastructure and landscape design to re-imagine a mundane building typology – an urban parking lot.

ARCHITECTURE Timelessness, Ethos, Culture An infrastructure project, a utility structure, a public building and a set of symbolic structures define a diverse range of Arya Architects’ work, highlighting common themes and essential variations.

POST EVENT DELHI 2050 A series of discussions and workshops throughout Delhi involving creative thinkers, architects, students and concerned citizens as a part of an initiative by arch i and the Dutch Consulate.



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Intersecting Geometries Roots Designs landscape the Mahindra Institute of Quality in Nasik in tones of formal design geometries and the discipline of modernist aesthetic.

ART Spontaneous Spaces ‘Motion Matters’, an installation by UN Studio as a part of the appointment of Ben van Berkel’s to the Kenzo Tange Chair at the Harvard University GSD, explores the significance of the ‘Pavilion’ as a transitory architectural model.


BOOK REVIEW Art + Architecture Christian Bjone’s book dwells on the whirlpools of conflicting ideas at the confluence of two related and diverse fields - art and architecture.


CULTURE COUNTS Cultural Institutions: Envisioning the Future Amita Baig and George Jacob co-author this month’s column, discussing the future of our cultural institutions from the point of view of management, identity and relevance.


SPACE FRAMES Lost & Found Dr. Deepak John Mathew, in this introductory piece for the column ‘space frames’ curated by him, explores the transformation of an object into an artefact through the medium of photography.

ERRATUM The March 2011 issue carried some spelling and proofing errors in the competitions by Mayur Plywood. IA&B regrets the errors and apologises for the inconvenience caused.

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18 IA&B - APR 2011

current Douglas Haskell Award for Student Journals Category Type Deadline

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International Open to all May 3rd, 2011

The purpose of this award is to encourage student journalism in architecture, planning and related subjects, and to foster regard for intelligent criticism among future professionals. The award is not intended as a prize for individuals, but is intended to support the ongoing publication of student-edited journals whose subject matter could include architectural design, history, and theory. Any journal (online or print) published by a school of architecture, landscape architecture or planning in the United States, that is edited by students, is eligible. The publication must have been produced in the current or previous school year. For further information, log on to: Web:

European Copper in Architecture Awards Category Type Deadline

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International Open to all May 31st, 2011

The European Copper in Architecture Awards is an excellent opportunity for all architects working with copper and its alloys to showcase and promote their work on an international platform, to an international audience. The awards will recognise excellence in architecture with respect to the use of copper, or its alloys like bronze and brass, for cladding, roofing etc. in all recently completed European projects. The jury will consist of some of the most influential European architects and designers. The awards aim to encourage innovative use of copper as an inspirational as well as sustainable material in contemporary architecture and convey the same to an international audience. Architects are invited to submit projects completed between April 2009 and May 2011. The judging and presentation of awards will take place in September 2011. All entries will be judged from submitted A1 boards with written supporting material by a panel of judges including Paul Finch, Editorial Director of The Architectural Review, Director of the World Architecture Festival and Chairman of CABE (Chairman of Judging Panel); Catherine Slessor, Editor of the Architectural Review, together with a selection from the standing panel of architects. For further information, log on to: Web:


Olympic Games information pavilion design Category Type Deadline

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International Open to all June 15th, 2011

This international competition, though not officially connected to the London Olympic games, aims to seek designs for a temporary, freestanding information pavilion within the world famous Trafalgar Square in the Heart of London city during the 2012 Games. The competition hopes to encourage and reward design excellence at a small scale which integrates function, structure, details and the spirit of the games. It also would provide a platform to research, respond to and highlight the unique aspects of designing an information pavilion that will be used by visitors during the games, while encouraging the use of sustainable design techniques. For further information, log on to: Web:

LOFT London Farm Tower Category Type Registration Deadline Submission Deadline

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International Open to all July 15th, 2011 August 15th, 2011

Population growth and the urban centralisation lead to an inevitable increase in the demand for both, real estate markets and food. One of the possible solutions for this problem is Vertical Farming. For these reasons, AWR proposes a competition to design a new skyscraper on the Thames waterfront. The new tower will be inserted into the city’s skyline. The competition requires participants to design a vertical farm with residential use. There is still a strong demand in the city for housing and public functions in the downtown areas, where the presence of public transportation makes the site extremely strategic. The competition offers the chance to build a real vertical city, which may include a public plaza, shopping areas, restaurants and residences. At the same time this project allows people to do many activities both indoors and outdoors, taking into consideration the unpredictable London weather. AWR gives participants a chance to confront these issues and problems at the LOFT 2011. For further information, log on to: Web:

Andermatt Swiss Alps Competition Category Type Deadline

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International Open to all August 15th, 2011

A new tourist resort ‘Andermatt Swiss Alps’ is to be developed in the centre of the Swiss Alps. Between the historic village and the new resort, roadways and railway lines border a tract of land forming a hub between the village and the Andermatt Swiss Alps resort. This land is of central importance for linking the two parts of the village. Attractive mixed use and spatial design concepts showing how this land will take on both a link and hub function for the Andermatt area are to be generated in the context of an international urban development and architectural competition. The competition will be conducted in two phases. Phase I will include urban development spatial structure, free space and landscape design on a conceptual basis; and Phase II of the competition will be planning, urban development and architecture including associated land utilisation assignment. For further information, log on to: Web:

World Habitat Awards Category Type Deadline

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International Open to all November 1st, 2011

These Awards recognise practical, innovative and sustainable solutions to current housing issues faced by countries of the global South as well as the North, which are capable of being transferred or adapted for use elsewhere. Entries are assessed by a panel of international judges and an award of £10,000 is to be presented to the two winning projects at the annual United Nations celebration of World Habitat Day. The competition is open to all individuals and organisations, including central and local governments, community-based groups, NGOs, research organisations and the private sector from any country of the world. For further information, log on to: Web:

IA&B - Apr 2011



current Fashionista Fashion & Lifestyle Exhibition Date : Venue :

April 30 - May 02, June 24 - 26, 2011 Kolhapur, Nashik

Fashionista Fashion & Lifestyle Exhibition - at Kolhapur and Nashik, will showcase trendy and designer products ranging from home furnishing, interiors, handicrafts, jewelry, clothing, accessories and much more in a variety of hues, styles, trends and designs with exquisite colour and contour, which shall beautifully blend Indian culture with contemporary styles. The client base will include top elite club members, housewives, corporate houses, socialites as well as a number of renowned personalities. The exhibition aims to add a tinge of fashion to average home-related products. The exhibition will take place in Kolhapur from April 30 to May 02, and at Nashik from June 24 to 26. For further information, log on to: Web:

European Architecture Master Class Date Venue

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May 29 - June 04, 2011 Ireland

The Architecture Foundation Australia is a not-for-profit organisation, the chair of which is eminent Australian architect Glenn Murcutt. The Foundation has presented the annual Glenn Murcutt International Architecture Master Class in Australia since 2001, as well as other professional Master Classes in New Zealand and South Africa and an annual Summer School for senior architecture students. This is the first programme initiated by the Foundation in Europe, using the Master Class format, a design based studio programme limited to 30 participants and undertakes a project design on a site within walking distance of the event. Since its inception, participants from over 55 nations have attended the Murcutt Master Class. It is anticipated that participants from many nations will travel to attend this first European Master Class in Ireland. For further information, log on to: Web:

Discover Architecture: Programme


Date Venue

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June 05 - 18, 2011 Washginton, USA

Discover Architecture gives current college students and graduates, who are interested in a career in architecture, an intensive introduction to the field. Throughout this two-week programme, students will learn about topics such as drawing, digital representation, architectural analysis, sustainable design, and design theory from Sam Fox School architecture faculty and experienced architecture professionals. The programme will prepare students to apply to professional degree programmes. The curriculum is broken down into two daily sessions: Digital Lab and Design Studio. Students will be given 24-hour access to their studios and computer labs. In addition, they will have full access to the Art & Architecture library as well as other University libraries and campus services. Discover Architecture is limited to a maximum of 24 students, ensuring close interaction with faculty and graduate architecture students. For further information, log on to: Web:

2011 ACSA Teachers Seminar: Performative Practices: Architecture and Engineering in the 21st Century Date Venue

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June 16 -18, 2011 New York, USA

The 2011 ACSA Teachers Seminar invites faculty in architecture, engineering, construction, and other disciplines to engage in a sustained exploration of new approaches to design and building practice and the education and research experiences that can advance them. The conference will be an opportunity to collect and publish peer-reviewed papers, while bringing speakers from these performative practices to the conference. For further information, log on to: Web:

India Build 2011: Exhibition & Conference Date Venue

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September 15 -17, 2011 New Delhi, India

Organised by the ITE Group Plc (UK), the India Build 2011 exhibition and conference will showcase the latest industry developments to industry specialists, architects and interior designers, helping them assess competition and network with market-leading manufacturers and distributors. The exhibition would display products, technologies and services suited for the construction, building and interior development industry. The exhibition and conference is anticipated to form a common meeting ground for highly focused and expert group of exhibitors, industry professionals and a targeted visitor base. A few key features of the exhibition would be addressing brand building issues in the construction industry, bringing together suppliers & seekers of latest products & technologies, technology transfer from across the world, highlighting the potential of the Indian industry in international markets and identification of new import and export destinations and options. For further information, log on to: Web:

Drawn to Art: French Artists and Art Lovers in 18th Century Rome Date Venue

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October 21, 2011 - January 02, 2012 Canada

In the 18th century, Rome was the principal crossroad for the European community, and an important source of influence for French artists who rose to prominence in the Eternal City. This exhibition highlights the flowering of French art in 18th century Rome, focusing on over one hundred works. Visitors will have the opportunity to view an exceptional selection of drawings and prints as well as a number of paintings by many important French artists of the period, including Hubert Robert, Jean-HonorĂŠ Fragonard and Jacques-Louis David. The event will be organised by the National Gallery of Canada. For further information, log on to: Web:

22 IA&B - APR 2011

current Philips opens light lounge in Gurgaon Philips Electronics India Limited, the country’s leading provider of lighting solutions, unveiled its first ‘Light Lounge’ in Gurgaon. Touted as an experience zone for customers, the lounge provides a ‘see, touch and feel’ experience of a diverse range of decorative lighting concepts from Philips like Living Colours, Ecomoods, Kidsplace, Ledino and Aquafit. The new Light Lounge will offer consumers a complete range of Home Decorative Lighting solutions under one roof. The Philips Home Decorative Lighting range is a unique offering in the market to cater to the evolving lifestyle needs of global Indians. The market for decorative lighting is currently inundated with unbranded, cheap imports that do not always satisfy energy efficiency and safety norms. Philips differentiates its offerings through innovation in design, energy efficiency and putting to use its global lighting application expertise. Philips has rather robust plans to expand its retail presence - to offer Philips Home Decorative Lighting range and to open more Light Lounges and Light Shoppes (Shop-in-shops) in the near future.

Design for national tax headquarters finalised The finance ministry has finalised the design for the proposed national tax headquarters to come up on Kasturba Gandhi Marg in central Delhi, an official statement said. The design of Mumbai-based Vistaar Architects and Planners has been finalised after holding an open competition, in which 58 firms participated, in association with the Council of Architecture, the finance ministry statement said. The new tax headquarters will be built on a 5.65 acre plot already allotted for the purpose. “The design of the building is unique in the sense that the entire building rests on nine vertical cores and is essentially hung top-down from a set of large trusses which span the cores,” the statement said. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had laid the foundation stone for the project in 2009.


IIT Bombay joins hands with Holcim Foundation to promote sustainable construction The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, and Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, will together champion the use of sustainable construction practices in India. Under their cooperation agreement, IIT Bombay has become the Partner University of the Holcim Foundation for the Asia-Pacific region. As Partner University, IIT Bombay will provide technical competence to the Holcim Foundation, host the Holcim Awards jury in the Asia-Pacific region this year, and also be the site of the 4 th International Holcim Forum for Sustainable Construction in 2013. The Holcim Awards competition is currently seeking entries. The Holcim Awards (main category) is open for projects that showcase sustainable responses to technological, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues affecting contemporary building and construction. Projects are eligible if they have reached an advanced stage of design but construction has not started before July 1, 2010.

Architect Hafeez Contractor looks to raise ` 500 crore for expansion Hafeez Contractor, the designer of iconic buildings such as the 23 Marina Towers in Dubai and Infosys Technologies’ IT Parks across the country and China, is looking to raise Rs.500 crore by diluting 40 per cent stake in his firm, Architect Hafeez Contractor. The Mumbai-based architect, who has been running his own practice since 1982, wants to expand his business and take it to the next level. The 61-year-old, who has designed almost every format of real estate, from residential townships to commercial spaces, hotels, hospitals and retail malls, will open more offices in the country and abroad. “I am looking at somebody who is interested in making an investment in the firm for its expansion into a larger firm. We are planning to open offices in New Delhi, Hyderabad, metros in the north and the eastern part of the country, which is our present line of focus. We also want to go and open offices abroad and bring in better talent from the international fraternity to work with us and accommodate them in flats. This entire expansion infusion will be on the equity side,” Contractor said. Contractor, who graduated from Columbia University in New York on a Tata scholarship, says, “I am not selling off the business. I am just trying to get a private equity fund to come in. We will not sell more than 40 per cent. Also, we received very good response, but they did not meet our expectation, and there is no point in doing a deal at a lower valuation because it would not make any sense with regards to the growth that we are eyeing.”

Consecration of Shiva Temple in North Carolina The consecration ceremony of the Sri Somesvara Temple, located in the mountains of Western North Carolina, is scheduled on May 12 to May 16. The temple is said to be a masterpiece, honouring the deepest values of Vedic architecture. Two ‘sthapatis’ from the lineage of famous architect V. Ganapati Sthapathi, and seven ‘shilpis’ from Tamil Nadu, have taken 50 tons of hand carved granite from South India to create the Sri Somesvara Temple. “The five-day event will see the inauguration of a purely Vedic Shiva Temple,” said the organisers.

New mosaics for Rock Garden To further enhance the aesthetic beauty of the world-famous Chandigarh Rock Garden and attract more domestic and international tourists, its master creator, Nek Chand is set to create new mosaics with the support of disposable cups and plates and place them on the walls of all the three phases. An international team of volunteers from USA led by Cory Philips, will help Chand. A trustee of Nek Chand International Foundation, Tony Rajer, arrived in the city to honour Chand and others associated in the making of the Rock Garden since 1976. Meanwhile, the Principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture has also submitted a proposal to UT administration regarding the upcoming night illumination across the garden. Principal Pradeep Bhagat said, ‘’We would be illuminating the garden sketches, rocks, narrow patches, gorges all across the three phases with lights, cyber optics and LEDs to make the place energy and environment-friendly at night. We are awaiting a reply from the administration.’’

24 IA&B - APR 2011

products Ardú Inspired by skeletal structures, Ardú is a piece of sculptural craftsmanship. Repetition of form creates a rib-like formation resulting in a piece of intricate beauty. The sculptural elements, reminiscent of delicate bones and brass spacers evocative of the human vertebrae, create division within the rhythmic pattern, in unison forming the structure of Ardú. Maple was chosen due to its light, delicate properties. Glass was selected for the table top so that visual connection with the configuration is maintained from all perspectives. Individual entities are combined to form one sculptural piece resulting in the Ardú. The overall length can be modified by adding or reducing the amount of legs for each table.

Design Firm: Martin Gallagher Furniture Design Contact: Martin Gallagher Gortnahowla, Ballintrillick Co. Sligo, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)87 6146166 Email: Web:

Spurt Lounge Chair


Spurt is a one-piece chair, made out of carbon-textile reinforced concrete. Inspired by the silhouette of a sprinter just about to start the race, the Lounge Chair combines strength and vitality. With its ergonomically shaped form, Spurt offers comfort that goes far beyond common concrete or stone furniture. Due to the complexity of its shape, the chair is handmade.

Design Firm: Paulsberg Contact: Andreas-Schubert-Strasse 23 Room A409, 01069 Dresden Germany Tel: +49 351 4623808 Email: Web:

26 IA&B - APR 2011

Random 8 Chair Symmetrical faces that make up the Random 8’s octagonal form display a spectrum of colours that shimmer and change by interfering with light wavelengths passing through. Similar to iridescent bubbles, light is not only reflected, but also refracted into a prismatic display of colour that changes as the viewer’s perspective shifts. The diachronic treatment of the Plexiglas provides the ambient floors and walls with original lighting effects dependent on the incoming light and surfaces on which the refracted light is cast. This chair is definitely unique in that it looks different from one room to the next, reflecting and changing as it takes in surrounding elements.

Design Firm: Pitaya Contact: Outdoorz Gallery Web:

Form Follows Function Sofa A three dimensional model of the sofa is created with a computer program. The model consists of three curved faces which can be virtually unfolded. Next, these faces are manufactured from steel plates with a laser cutting process. The plates are bent and welded together to obtain the final shape of the sofa. All functionalities of the sofa are created from one continuous line.


Designer: Daan Mulder Contact: Tel: +31 641047287 Email: Web:

28 IA&B - APR 2011

Filaments Lamp The Filaments series of lamps is a reincarnation of a 19 th century hand-made filament lamp. This modernist design incorporates the energy-saving properties of a CFL within the shell of a classic design. Multiple forms are designed. Though retro in design, the lamps have an unusually classy modern appeal, similar to the objects once designed by Bauhaus.

Designers: Scott, Rich & Victoria Contact: Richard Hartle 111 Dudden Hill Lane London, NW10 1BL, UK Tel: +44 (0) 7845 208806 Email: Web:

LINK Lighting System


The modules of the Link lighting system allow you to create silhouettes and volumes on the ceiling to suit every room and every location. The modules of the Link lighting system connect to one another on any of their four sides, requiring at least 14cm of overlapping surface area. All the shapes are electrically connected to each other, so that a single electrical connection on the ceiling is enough for upto 25 modules. Designed by Ramón Esteve, Link makes it possible to exploit the path of the light as it passes through the different angles in each module to create highly pleasant indirect ambient lighting, with an effect similar to that of natural light, as if the sun’s rays were shining into the room through the different volumes of the fitting.

Designer: Ramón Esteve Contact: APlaça Pere Borrego i Galindo, 7 46003 - Valencia, Spain Tel: +34 96 351 04 34 Email: Web:

30 IA&B - APR 2011

Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness ‘Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness’ is a new seating sculpture by British architect Ian McChesney for the Angel Building in London. The shape of the piece was generated by allowing treacle to fall from a spoon – the resulting form is then inverted. The unit comprises an oval seating area from which extends a narrow twenty 2m high spar – that’s over five double-decker buses. The title is taken from the motto on the Lyles Black Treacle tin which, in turn is a reference to a story in the Old Testament. It is fabricated from carbon fibre which is both strong and very light, enabling it to be incredibly slender. At the foot of the piece is a seating area upholstered in leather by designer Bill Amberg. The piece was commissioned by developer Derwent London for the Angel Building, a new office development near the Angel underground station in Islington, London. The building was designed by architects AHMM.


Design Firm: McChesney Architects Contact: McChesney Architects 7 Druce Road, London SE21 7DW Tel: +44 (0)20 8693 2738 Email: Web:

32 IA&B - APR 2011

products Metal Globe for Deutsche Bank “The sphere with the crossing bridges, like an art installation, is the new centerpiece of the whole. They represent an endless flow of energy, just like in a galaxy; forces rotating around a centre. It is a metaphor for the Deutsche Bank of today: nothing is static, nothing is symmetrical; everything expresses a dynamic attitude,� says Mario Bellini, the architect who designed this giant spatial element in the Deutsche Bank Headquarters in Frankfurt. Moreover, the two towers refurbished by Mario Bellini Architects are connected through a metal sphere, 16m in diameter, overlooking the square; a sphere you can walk through along two bridges; an art and engineering challenge that will become the new dynamic symbol of Deutsche Bank.


Design Firm: Mario Bellini Architect(s) Contact: Piazza Arcole, 4 20143 Milano ITALY Tel: +39 02 5815 191 Email: Web:

34 IA&B - apr 2011 Mantri Serene Project elevation

Mantri Serene Designed by visionary architect Hafeez Contractor, Mantri Serene, a green haven, offers its residents natural surroundings in and around the hustle-bustle city life. Text compiled by: Debajyoti Samal


estled against the backdrop of the Aarey hills in Goregoan (East), Mumbai, Mantri Serene will be a premium residential community spread across over two acres of land. It will consist of around 300 premium one BHK and two BHK residential apartments, outfitted with modern amenities and offering serene lifetime views of the verdant hills. One of the unique offerings of the project will be a double-height entrance lobby which will give a magnificent look to the entrance of the building. The whole project is situated on a podium which offers it a visibility and prominence unmatched by any other project in vicinity. The project envisages spacious and well-outfitted one BHK and two BHK flats and penthouses. What is unique about the flats is that the one BHK flats have two bathrooms for the convenience of guests and residents. The range of internal amenities includes vitrified tile flooring, wide French windows, premium bathroom fittings with skid-free ceramic tiles. Moreover, each flat will be equipped with intercom facility. Additionally, the project would contain a swimming pool with a paddle pool for children to

safely paddle around in, landscaped areas, a Club house, a fully equipped gymnasium, etc. Mantri Serene’s core advantage is that it is situated close to a major IT Park and is in the close vicinity of the burgeoning Powai and Andheri MIDC commercial areas. It is also a short drive of around 20 minutes from the domestic and international airports, making it a convenient residential hub for jet-setting businessmen as well as business executives.

FACT FILE: Project Location Architect Client Building Area Completion Year Photographs

: : : : : : :

Mantri Serene Goregoan (East), Mumbai Hafeez Contractor Sunil Mantri Group 2acres plus 2011 courtesy the architect

IA&B - APR 2011


construction brief

Signia Oceans Conceptualised by Dimension Architects, the 29-storey Signia Oceans is a tall symbol of otherworldly luxury.


ignia Oceans is a 29-storey, high-end luxury residential project in Airoli, Navi Mumbai, which has been conceptualised by some of the best minds who seek luxury. To ensure the highest quality of design and construction, one of the most reputed firms, Dimension Architects Pvt. Ltd., has been associated with the project. The location of the project, the size of the units, the targeted clientele, the intermediaries involved, the design of the apartments, etc. have all been kept the most exclusive. It is a one-of-its-kind residential project in India. The amenities that Signia Oceans offers are best-in-class, including a health club, gymnasium, indoor temperature-controlled swimming pool, coffee lounge, children’s play garden etc. One can heighten the quality of life at Signia Oceans, the tower, which cools down as you travel up to your exquisitely furnished abode, amidst the clouds. Feel the heaven every time you peek out of your window, down at the sky. The project, which was started a year ago, has been aesthetically designed to fulfil all the luxury residential requirements. The contemporary look of the entrance lobby, superior mirror-finish flooring, premium designer fittings, high-speed elevators and service lift are the popular features that this luxury apartment boasts of. The location of the project is another positive factor that attracts a lot of attention. Airoli is the nearest point of Navi Mumbai towards Mumbai. It has several open spaces and better infrastructure. As Mulund is getting saturated, people have started seeing a lot of value in this suburb and prefer Airoli for their homes. Also, the future of the suburb is bright with the new airport coming up. The presence of commercial activities have also triggered the demand for residential spots in the suburb. Companies such as Siemens, Patni, among others, have set up their offices here. These office projects and the subsequent employment generation have been acting as catalysts and influencing projects in the residential sector too.



A view of Signia Oceans, the residential tower, which symbolises other worldly luxury.

Project Location Architect Client Building Area Completion Year Photographs

: : : : : : :

Signia Oceans Airoli, Navi Mumbai Dimension Architects Pvt. Ltd. Sunteck 0.14mnsqft 2011 courtesy the architect

IA&B - APR 2011


construction brief

Neev Bellevue

Designed by Mumbai-based architect Abhijit Mehta, Neev Bellevue elevates the lifestyles of mid-income group families.


prawling across an area of 45,000sqft, the 15-storeyed Neev Bellevue truly brings in an optimum combination of quality, convenience and affordability, that is set to herald a new era of living in the Malad suburban market in Mumbai. Neev Bellevue is aesthetically designed and is one of the rare projects that caters to the mid-income housing within a prime locality of the city and offers amenities like a strategically built, well-equipped health club, a visitors’ lounge that boasts of luxury hospitality, a fully furnished society office and beautifully landscaped gardens etc. It will comprise of a total of 35 apartment units of which 32 apartments will be two BHK and three duplex flats of three BHK, ranging from 800sqft to 1500sqft. Neev Bellevue is consciously designed and positioned for the middle class. This is not just a dream opportunity for the common man to own a home of choice in Mumbai but also a great way to elevate the lifestyle of his family. The new property will also consist of an array of high-quality amenities, which include podium and stilt parking, a car lift and two passenger lifts, solar panels and water harvesting facility. Some of the group’s key real estate projects include Darshan Heights – a hi-end 19-storey residential tower at Elphinstone, Shree Jayant Darshan – a niche 24-storey residential project located at Nana Chowk, Ivory Tower – an elegant residential tower located near Prabhadevi, Excella Residency residential project at Parel, Neev Pallazo residential tower situated at Vile Parle (East), Darshan Pride – 19-storey residential property at Tardeo, Darshan Heritage at Colaba, a seven-storey residential tower and The Metropolis – prime commercial space at Sahar Road, Andheri East, among others on the verge of starting. With the burgeoning of the northern suburban market in Mumbai, the group has strategically planned to expand its presence with its initial offering to be developed in Malad. It has been one of the focus areas of many builders and holds an array of opportunities to cater to the need for mid-income housing. The factors fueling this demand are largely the fact that it is a key hub for the IT/BPO industry in Mumbai and has generated innumerable employment opportunities over the past few years.


The view of Neev Bellevue.

Project Location Architect Client Building Area Completion Year Photographs

: : : : : : :

Neev Bellevue Malad (East), Mumbai Abhijit Mehta Neev Homes 45,000sqft 2011 courtesy the architect

construction brief

IA&B - APR 2011



Low Carbon Future City Conceptualised by SBA Designs, Low Carbon Future City is a sustainable city of the future in Yinggehai, on the South Chinese island of Hainan. A bird´s eye view of the design.

Attractive meeting point in the district - the ‘Unit Center’.


he planning of the Low Carbon Future City on the popular tourism island of Hainan represented a complex specification for the architects and city planners at SBA. Yinggehai, the planning region, is located in the south-west of Hainan and in total covers an area of 176.2sqkm. The focus area covers 42.8sqkm; it is one of the most saline areas of the region and is mainly used for salt production by the use of salines. The main themes of the ‘low-carbon city’ are the storage and production of renewable energy and its distribution for use according to demand, in terms of a ‘smart city’. In addition, the aspects of a good work/life balance, low building heights, but high density and eco-tourism are incorporated into the concept. The expectations for a city of the future were set high: a better life, taking into account the sustainability factors of an economic, ecological and socially acceptable interaction with the countryside and the inhabitants/tourists of the new city. The architects developed authoritative guidelines for this. Ecological awareness shall characterise and continuously develop the city. The basis for this is provided by the urban design concept of a “theme city”. In addition to the common mixed uses such as living, working, shopping and leisure, the Master Plan provides for each district a center within the city, with nine “units” each and a defining district function, e.g. environmental-friendly industries and ecological living. The city districts shall operate independently on a daily level and be interconnected by special themes. The architecture of the individual buildings takes into consideration the context between the city and the country. Public and green spaces in the form of squares, parks, green axes and canals make life in a natural environment possible, which retains its urban character all the while. The transportation network closely follows the pattern of the salines. The network within the island-like districts is tailored for pedestrians. The road cross section favours pedestrian and bicycle paths, as well as bus lanes.

Hotel and residential resort on the islands.

The energy concept uses solar and wind energy, as well as rain water, recovery of water resources and energy generation from biological waste. Photovoltaic technology is particularly efficient in this area. With approximately 300 days of sun per year, an energy potential of 1628-1861KW is possible. The aim is to create a new urban, local and energy-efficient city landscape, by introducing new and appealing architecture. The city of the future resembles an organism - which continuously reinvents itself.


Master Plan of the future city - a city at and in the water

Project Location Architect Client Building Area Photographs

: : : : : :

Low Carbon Future City Hainan, People’s Republic of China Hong Li and Bianca Nitsch SBA design, Stuttgart/Shanghai Department of Housing and Construction of Hainan Province 176.2sqkm courtesy the architect

IA&B - APR 2011


post event

DELHI 2050, a refreshing initiative by arch i, a non-profit trust established in 2009 by Anne Feenstra in Delhi, along with the Dutch Consulate conducted two sets of ‘Public Days’ – a series of discussions and workshops throughout Delhi involving creative thinkers, architects, students and concerned citizens in a dialogue to envision the future of this great historic city. Text: Ruturaj Parikh Photographs: courtesy DELHI 2050


ELHI 2050 organised two sets of ‘Public Days’ from 5 th to 7 th March and 13 th to 15 th March this year in various interesting locations around the city thus establishing the dialogue in a relevant context. Public Days I – 5 th to 7 th March, 2011

Sitting in an empty ‘Kund’ in Sanskriti Kendra, a panel of experts including Sohail Hashmi, activist and Historian from SAHMAT, Dunu Roy from Hazards Centre, Bharati Chaturvedi, author of ‘Finding Delhi’ and Seth Schindler from CHINTAN shared experiences of their Delhi and its future. While Sohail Hashmi reminisced long gone days of his childhood spent in old Delhi and Kashmiri gate, Dunu Roy brought to light the plight of roughly 600,000 families who shall resettle in the city in the coming years. Roy criticised the lack of imagination of the master planners of the city through a moderated dialogue titled ‘MY DELHI’. Ton Venhoeven, government advisor for Infrastructure in the Netherlands, observed, that the city might need more sub-centres today to decongest and revitalise certain areas. Bart Vink from the Ministry of Infrastructure in the Netherlands, also Project Head of ‘Randstad 2040’, agreed with Venhoeven, adding that the master plans should not be made in offices but in public forums with high level of public participation.

On 6 th March, a panel of experts indulged the audience in a discussion titled ‘Delhi on the Move’ at India Habitat Centre, with a distinguished panel comprising of Dinesh Mohan, Director TRIPP (Transport Research and Injury Prevention Program), Ravi Agrawal, Founding Director of Toxic Links, an environmental non-profit organisation, Sudipto Ghosh, the Delhi architect who was invited by ARCAM, Architecture Institute in the Netherlands to make a future map of Delhi, Ton Venhoeven, Government advisor for Infrastructure in the Netherlands and Bart Vink, Project Head, Randstad 2040. The discussion was moderated by Ashok Lall. The discussion was followed by a workshop on the AIIMS flyover where a group of professionals from different disciplines met at one of the busiest traffic nodes of the city to model its future. Three teams led by Ton Venhoeven, Bart Vink and Anne Feenstra, and Anupam Bansal split up to look at Delhi through three lenses – People, Profit and Planet. On 7 th March, architect Ton Venhoeven and Bart Vink, from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment in the Netherlands, shared their ideas and experiences in a seminar at the auditorium of the School of Planning and Architecture in Delhi. The lectures were followed by an interaction on the roof of the Statesman House at Connaught Place wherein, a group of architects, students, professionals and government officials sat together with the Infrastructure Ministry officials from the


‘My Delhi’, an interactive opening session in the ‘Kund’ of Sanskriti Kendra.

Netherlands, to brainstorm the future of Delhi. The day concluded with tea and reception at the residence of the Ambassador of The Netherlands to India. Public Days II – 13 th to 15 th March, 2011 On the 13 th of March, an interactive session titled ‘DELHI DNA’ took place in the Chunamal Haveli in Chandni Chowk. With the help of Kanika Singh, scholar at the Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, the participants traced out key landmarks and the layout of Old Delhi on a map of the city from 1850 AD. Vic Cautereels, faculty at the Design Academy, Eindhoven, was quick to point out the need to identify a sense of respect and to explore why that reverence for Old Delhi does not translate into cleanliness and a better upkeep of the streets. Delhi DNA was an eye-opening experience for the participants as they permeated through the sections of society that bring Chandni Chowk to life. These opinions and insights will be vital to formulating and figuring out the place of the old city in Delhi 2050. ‘Studio Chishti’, a workshop that was conducted at SPA invited visions and interpretations from a panel of experts who worked in groups to depict an image of the city’s future. The studio director, Professor Iftikhar-Mulk

‘Delhi on the MOVE’ – a panel discussion in the India Habitat Centre Amphitheatre.

A discussion on the future of the city on the terrace of the Statesman House.

Chishti set the tone for long term future thinking and stressed on the need to design and ideate keeping the environment and our stake in it, in mind. Five groups led by Anne Feenstra, Madhu Pandit, Aditya Dev Sood, Vic Cautereels and Rianne Makkink emerged with an array of ideas that were later presented to the studio in a panel discussion. ‘Reducing Pipes’, an excursion guided by Sushmita Sengupta and Merajuddin Ahmad, both research associates with the Water Management Unit at CSE, made the group realise and think about the originating destination of water they drank or flushed a few hours ago. On March 14 th , arch i, with the support of KHOJ, organised a workshop with the children of Khirki village, to find out what they thought their village would be in 2050. When given the materials – colours, papers, pencils and clay, the children let their imaginations run wild. While some saw a jungle of tall buildings and web of roads as the future of their village, others made an exclusive “Khirki Metro”. From flying cars to dying river, their ideas covered the whole spectrum. They were assisted in their endeavours by Vic Cautereels, from the Design Academy, Eindhoven, Rianne Makkink from Studio Makkink & Bey, Bhaskar Bhatt and Binu Bhaskaran from National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. The eventful day was followed by ‘DRAWING DELHI’, an interactive session at


An interactive session titled ‘DELHI DNA’ in progress in the Chunamal Haveli in Chandni Chowk.

Delhi 2050 is a great opportunity to create and present scenarios for a long term vision to the people of the city. The open process of the exercise offers a lot of scope for debate and discussions. ‘THE ATTIC’ at Connaught Place. The participants were made to stretch their imagination to unrealistic boundaries through four different perspectives and attempt to forsee the city’s future. Designer Rianne Makkink brought an interesting perspective through her visuals for the citizens of Delhi. Asim Waqif, an artist working for water conservation projects in India, shared a wonderful clipping that exhibited his efforts

to sensitise people towards River Yamuna by assembling a “HELP” signal from junk plastic bottles and floating it in the river. Textile Designer Mayank Mansingh Kaul, on the other hand brought a local perspective stressing more on culture and nature through his slides. 15 th March saw a lecture at the Pearl Academy of Fashion where Vic Cautereels, Professor at ‘Man+Mobility’ Department at Design Academy Eindhoven,

A studio exercise curated by Prof. Iftikhar-Mulk Chishti in SPA initiated a creative process of envisioning the future of the city.


‘KHIRKI 2050’, an exercise by KHOJ and arch i in the village of Khirki involved the children in envisioning the future of their village.

Netherlands shared his experience at the academy. Rianne Makkink’s lecture drew from her own learning from a vast career as a designer and spoke about the potential of light infrastructure in Delhi. Delhi 2050 is a great opportunity to create and present scenarios for a long term vision to the people of the city. It is also a platform for all stakeholders from the city to come together and discuss alternatives for the city and at the same time, learn from the mistakes and successes of the west, via the active participation of players who are instrumental in shaping urban Netherlands. The open process of the exercise offers a lot of scope for debate and discussions.

Lecture and discussion at the Pearl Academy of Fashion.

Starting next month, four guest writers will share their thoughts and experiences related to the Delhi 2050 process via “Delhi Dialogues”, a reflection on the future of the Indian capital, curated by arch i platform. Watch this space for the opening piece by Ton Venhoeven, architect and National advisor for Infrastructure, Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, The Netherlands and Principal, VenhovenCS, Amsterdam.

IA&B - APR 2011



View of the proposed structure from the street.

Living Infrastructure Infrastructure and landscape, generally seen as two distinct domains of design, are explored in the design of Shinjuku Gardens by Hong Kong-based cheungvogl to re-imagine a mundane building typology – an urban parking lot. Text: Ruturaj Parikh Photographs: courtesy cheungvogl


he core areas of our cities, the world over, face almost the same problems - congestion, dense developments, vehicular overloading and pollution. Hong Kong-based architecture and design firm cheungvogl re -establish the idea of landscape as an amalgamation of environment and infrastructure through a proposal for conversion of a parking lot into an urban green. Shinjuku Gardens is a proposal to conver t an 80-car parking lot into an urban green feature to increase the parking capacity and to re -think a typical multi-level car park. The attempt is to replace the existing ground

parking lot by a greener, multi-functional and alternative design incorporating landscape design as an infrastructural element. Tokyo is a dense city. Green spaces for public access are few and far in-between. Owing to an acute scarcity of land in the inner city, the proposal aims to stack the car park by creating a multi-level concrete frame, thus freeing space on the ground. The idea is to accommodate 200 cars in place of 80, that the space is presently accommodating and taking the inter vention a level fur ther to create a green space for


FRONT ELEVATION: The structure blends as a landscape element.

Amalgamation of infrastructure and public space design – a composite space.


Section through the building with the terrace gardens.


Shinjuku Gardens is a proposal to convert an 80-car parking lot into an urban green feature to increase the parking capacity and to re-think a typical multi-level car park. public use on the roof of this highly rational structure. The concrete frame of the proposed parking lot will have ‘balustrades of grass’ as an ex ternal skin providing a soft cladding to the rigid concrete frame and compensating for the carbon emissions of the cars within. The skin is meant to blend the structure pleasantly in its surroundings. A ramp takes a pedestrian to the roof of the structure which is landscaped to form an urban park returning the space of the footprint of the structure back to the city. The structure, though an infrastructural element, acts as an urban landscape design contributing to the congested neighbourhood of the inner city of Tokyo. The architects also propose to make the walls and structural elements of the parking lot open to public ar t, making the entire structure a museum for street-ar t and graffiti and involving the people to make this mundane building type an interesting urban feature. As a number of automobiles infuse our cities and induce congestion, multi-level parking lots come across as the most obvious and practical solution to make space for the automobiles. Shinjuku Gardens propose a fresh alternative to the monotony of a structural frame of a multi-level car park integrating landscape design, urban infrastructure and

Present site condition as a parking lot.

public-interest design into an alternative, futuristic typology of an urban landscape.

FACT FILE: Project Name : Location : Architecture Firm : Use : Site Area : Bldg. Area : Gross Floor Area : Bldg. Coverage Ratio : Gross Floor Ratio : Structure : Landscape Area : Parking Space : Exterior Finish :

Shinjuku Gardens Tokyo, Japan cheungvogl Car Park 2,200sqm 1,800sqm 3,200sqm parking above ground 80 per cent 145 per cent Concrete Frame 400sqm Ground Floor + 1,800 sqm Roof Top Gardens 163 cars Concrete, Landscape.

Proposed urban terrace garden and the structure footprint.

IA&B - APR 2011



Timelessness, Ethos, Culture Arya Architects, an Ahmedabad-based architectural firm, marks a point in time for a city’s development by injecting a polarity of memory, materiality and change in the existential public fabric. Text: Maanasi Hattangadi Photographs: courtesy Arya Architects, Ariel Huber, Cyrus Mobedji


he parallel worlds of architecture and the public realm have always shared a varying middle ground in India. Slightly obscure in terms of purpose or functionality, the dreariness of the buildings reflects a basic architecture of minimalistic material applications. In this post-modern age of experimental spectacle, the genre has been recognised in a more exploratory context. Arya Architects seem to revel in this middle ground. Their work over the past decade rides this experimental appeal; slowly crescendoing into momentum.

Revisiting the vernacular and magnifying the contemporary, the projects delve into the public realm, manifesting a designer appeal. Threading one extreme to the other end of the spectrum, the following four projects, showcased from their folio represent their current design juncture; “On the threshold between young and old,” where experiments and philosophical concepts meet. With an attitude to forge their own distinct path, they have manifested the material in auxiliary creative spaces.


Revisiting the vernacular and magnifying the contemporary, the projects delve into the public realm, manifesting a designer appeal.

The Bus Station is centred in a separate lane, as a strategic intervention for free movement of the transit system, flanked by vehicular roads.


Bus Station, Janmarg BRTS


ontinuity between the public disciplines of architecture is a broken line—a take that varies from outright radical to the plain mundane. Sifting through the layers of history and crossovers of interpersonal roads, this piece of architecture holds relevance to the emergence of Ahmedabad, India. Ahmedabad BRTS, named Janmarg – the path for the people, is a transport strategy covering a network of 155kms. It delineates a median lane as a strategic intervention for free movement of the transit system, flanked by vehicular roads. Accentuating its dedicated corridors, the BRTS (Bus Rapid Transit System) Bus Station arrives as an identifiable element to this growth. The typology for the Ahmedabad BRTS, with CEPT University as consultant and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation as client, is placed at every 700m displaying a refreshingly honest and practical approach to everyday life. Despite the neutrality of the material and rectilinear forms, it exhibits a thought towards architecture responding to its location and differentiating from its city contemporaries. Extending the range of vision and versatility, the 174sqm typology was developed as a studious element of three types of structures. It was a process of several iterations and models. The interesting facet to this design is the intuitive exploration of the architects. As they put it, “This initiation was a great learning process. We understood the hitches that we would encounter in

the construction, made it open to government officials at all levels to express their opinions, invited the people of the city to come and have their say, and finally even the chief minister to give his approval. It was the most public scrutiny for an architect. We observed that at the level of the people, their negotiation of it, there were almost no problems. That gave us the confidence of continuing with the modifications that were required to ease construction and to make adjustments to local situations.” The primal structure was a fabrication of steel; the intent being a quick assembly composed out of manufactured components. The second typology was garnered as a more thoughtful response to the uncertain ridership in undeveloped areas. The motive delved in the scalability and light weight structures were installed with galavalium iron roofings. The quality alone merited good attention but to create beyond this sector of design involved consideration of materialistic underlyings of leaking roofings and bad workmanship. These nuances revealed an important design facet with a RCC structure ultimately taking shape as a major prototype. The site variations that emerged balanced, complemented and confronted the influence of alternative detailing further on. Confidently positioned in the trafficated city, it has departed from the petty commercialisation in the generic culture of state transport. The bus station

52 Gate 1

Gate 2


Ramp Gate 4

Gate 3


Two buses can dock simultaneously at the Bus Station.

Staggered access points prevent bottleneck

p R am

s for

B arr


em r - f re

o ve m

e nt

Diagram of Bus Station Accessibility

The light-weight typology of the structure.

The concrete neutrality is punctured in long voids threaded by tensile rods.

61 53

Longitudinal Section

The interiors are composed of tactile finishes and proper allocation bands for signage.

Cross Section

imbibes the users’ reactions as the interface for design, introducing people to a new wave of momentum. The bus stations are the median type, where buses dock on both sides. Most of them are designed to dock two buses on each side, with off-board ticketing and barrier-free access. Adapting deviant modifications, the architects eased into a new advertisement policy. The requirements have been met with simple bands at points of focus. The flexible logic of concrete forms a space of accessibility and comfort. Announcing the entrance, triangulated pillars rise up as signage spaces amidst an elevated green swatch. A ramp initiates the lead up to the elevated platform. Compounding on the boxy appeal, the interior pushes the external perspective to its limits. The solidity is punctured in long voids threaded by tensile rods. The flow thereon reacts naturally to the movement and position of users. Carefully placed openings sync in with the bus doors - a technology-led activity. Visually, the construct covers a small footprint across the width. Stabilising the precision of equal distance, stainless steel cables negotiate both the need for enclosure and transparency. Light slants in through the steel slats. Beyond steel, the place boasts of a Plantation Wood edge; a warmer material, entirely reciprocating human comfort and aesthetically relevant. Wooden cylinders play on a dramatic vertical band of colour and engagement, perpendicular to seating of the same material. The wooden cylinders string an appealing pattern—identifiable as the brand identity of the system. The Riverwash granite flooring is complemented by a texture, giving the fitout a tactile finish. The picture evolves as a multiplicity of images within a limited tonal range. The volume pieces together “earlier explorations of floating slab and dynamic form in the Jindal bus shelter, but in a more pragmatic sense, also concerns of vandalism, safety and security, equitable

access (ramps and tactile flooring), ease of movement and climate,” say the architects. The aesthetic overlaps nearby street furniture wherein a seating has been designed in concrete from L-shaped stands. The design overall extends the notion of a bus stand. “The process of BRTS,” Meghal Arya says, “was continuously evolving. It was very closely connected to the behaviour and reactions of the people—as a ‘People’s system’.” As Charles Eames has stated, “…the details are not details—they make the product,” the architects have elaborated on knowing how humans function when furnishing the experience of the interiors. The aura is impulsive—transitional yet symbolic for people to gather.

FACT FILE: Project : Location : Consultants : Design Team : Client : Project Area : Structural consultants : Electrical Consultants : Civil & Carpentry Contractors : Project Estimate : Initiation of Project : Completion of Project :

Bus station, Janmarg BRTS Ahmedabad CRDU, Cept, Ahmedabad & Arya Architects, Planning inputs from BRTS planning team headed by Prof. Shivanand Swamy Vijay Arya - Principal Architect Meghal Arya - Architect Urvi Sheth - Architect Dhaval Limbachiya - Architect Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) 80 Stations (174sqm each) Prof. V. R. Shah, Asim Shah Jital Jhaveri Nila Infrastructure, Ahmedabad `42 lac per station 2008 2010

62 54

Workshop, Janmarg BRTS


mbracing the quirks of an industrial enclave is challenging; especially with a public transport tangent to it. There are certain drawbacks to creating a workshop facility to cater to such an aspect in an architectural framework. For Arya Architects, the reading of the 3500sqm Workshop was through a set requirement of a maintenance, fuelling, washing and cleaning place for the BRTS buses. The intricacy of the detailing required thorough sequential logic areas and detailing like inspection pits, major pits, wash ramps, a fuelling station and a depot to park 60 buses. With studies of several bus workshops and armed with their own inputs, they developed an honest expression of ‘form follows function’. The revelations of the former studies warranted a column-free space. A thought that there is more to work than meets the eye established the designer rationale of the workshop. Amidst a neighbourhood that wears a forlorn industrial look, the approach is a gated entrance from which the spaces unfold onwards. Above from the gate, is a comfortable two-storey approach that extends to house the canteen, collection

room & toilets. The circulation spine traces the maintenance trajectory of the BRTS bus, diverging in accordance to the respective need. The clash of blue-painted metal and grey building palette offers a quiet contrast. The building is not a structure—it is an assemblage of functions. The site planning has evolved around three even spaces; the Inspection Area alongside the Fuel Stations, the cleaning structure and the painting-denting area, which is niched in the building containing engineering offices and an overhead tank. The buses, once past the entrance gate and the ticketing spaces, will curve alongside to align to four Fuel Stations. The projects’ signature feature is its form. Large tubular steel members spring up from the floor and branch off, cantilevering about 26m across the floor. The metaphoric reference of the arching shape lies in the anchorage of the foot to the floor. Beneath the parabolic shed, concrete columns twist linearly to divide the Inspection Area into various functions like delineation of trenches in the main repair area. A heightened balcony lines the steel sections provided for cyclic air-pneumatic lines. Angular terraces abut out onto the exterior from these. Carving out their spaces underside of the balcony, offices, storage and conference spaces are formed. Two building views

63 55

Located amidst an industrial neighbourhood, the entrance is a gated approach with three ticketing windows.


Legend – 1. Administration 2. Canteen 3. Workshop 4. Fuel station 5. Pump room 6. Control room

Ground Floor Plan

The Movement Plan of the buses

Anch or

Functional And Supporting Sustem

Column Free Space



Workshop Structure

The concept of the structure evolves from anchoring of the foot to the ground.


Four Fuel Stations are provided with a space for ten buses along each line.

57 are linked by a vast expanse of parking slots, wherein each structure terminates a long view to define a divisible axis in the site. The cleaning structure is composed of machines for two buses, replete with draining area for water that trickles down to filtration tanks for water recycling. The utilitarian plan wraps up with the last building that houses the Painting and Denting Area, Engineer’s Cabins and Overhead Tank. The ascent inside generates break-outs, semi-covered with ribs that filter in soft light.

The cantilevered roof of 26m shades the main Inspection Area.

Surrounding the two structures is a parking lot for 52 buses. Constructed in a low lying area, the primal step was to raise the ground by 2m. Taking advantage of this context, percolation wells collect rainwater and store it for future use. Sustainability has been considered as a balance sheet, wherein the planning is in sync with a climatic agenda. The entire construct fabricates a formidable looking but inhabitable industrial feel with a minimalist palette of M.S. fabrication with supporting system of RCC frame, with exterior aggregate plaster cladding and the flooring, a primarily trimix with rough Kota stone in some areas and aggregate plaster. The generative here is a new form of architecture unfamiliar to mainstream usage—an interpretation of the undecorated style of industrial architecture to produce an austere aesthetic to the space.

FACT FILE: Project : Location : Consultant : Design Team : Client : Project Area : Built up Area : Civil & Carpentry Contractors : Structural Consultants : Electrical Consultants : Project Estimate : Initiation of Project : Completion of Project :

Workshop, Janmarg BRTS Dani limda, Ahmedabad CRDU, Cept, Ahmedabad co-ordinated by Prof. Shivanand Swamy. Vijay Arya - Principal Designer Meghal Arya - Architect Dhaval Limbachiya - Architect Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) Plot Area: 14250sqm 3500sqm Shanti Constructions, Ahmedabad Asim Shah, Nitin Shah Harshad Jhaveri `6.50cr 2008 2010

Overhead balcony provides a niche for various activities beneath and provisions cyclic air-pneumatic lines above.


Veer Sawarkar Sports Complex


ar away from the hustle-bustle of the busy city of Ahmedabad, Veer Sawarkar Sports Complex, an expanse of 8500sqm, is almost invisible to the public eye, its interiors secretly unfolding. Setting a trend of speculative futures amidst a growing industrial segment of the city, the Sports Complex “was taken as an initiative to pump in development in that area.” The challenges started at the initiation of the project, as the architects put it, “in this case, we were dealing with a site that tended to walk around Ahmedabad. The project, even before starting construction had changed site three times across the city.” It deftly imposed an engaging personality over standardised government requirements. Innovations in this building do not talk about their ideas but the absence of them in the building of civic services in the present day. The prose is about light and shade, material selection, capturing views, tweaking the programme to portray the relevance of architecture. A rebellion to the absolute generalisation of the programme of a sports facility resulted in an altogether deviant vision. The agenda stretched to include more for the community; spaces like childrens’ crèche, a restaurant, a library, an internet cafe, an auditorium, conference rooms and a public garden. Modernist in appearance, the unexpectedly whimsical gate—a pivoting concrete plate with two wooden cylinders for handles, swings open to offer a glimpse of concrete walls winding down at a distance. The offset of the building owes to high tension lines cutting across the site. A serenity envelops the front space which was allocated as a public park with axial placing for lush green intrusions—parking on one side while the other leads to an amphitheatre at the far end. The open area integrates path for morning walks, jogging area, lawn and an area for public gatherings like marriage functions. A thin, tendril of a road for service of the High Tension Tower separates the main structure from the series of managed frames of concrete that form the amphitheatre. Free standing walls and benches align next to the steps. Alighting these steps, one can oversee the amphitheatre, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts. As the eye travels to the two-storeyed main structure, the immensity of the view suspends one in the act of arriving; the comparatively exposed building peeks out through steps and voids. Slabs warp inwards to accommodate trees. The

entirety was built in phases, A to E block, relative to the expansion joints and the functionality within. Two entrances slide along the picture frame. Wooden benches are ringed around huge columns in the entrance porch. The west-facing entrance leads to the reception—a patch of multiplicity suspended in the same relationship to multiple avenues; be it the Player’s lounge, auditorium, upto the courts or to the administrative blocks on the upper level. The ground floor drops dramatically between levels to unfold variegated things. Slow stairs descend to two separate flights to the auditorium. The interiors explode in textural finishes, with ribs carved out of wood, weaving in and out purposeful towards an acoustic and aesthetic understanding. The seating space holds a capacity of 166 people. A textual graphic on translucent glass obscures the Players’ Lounge that overlooks the football field. Along the same plane, seating spaces, badminton courts and circular cut-outs are arranged sequentially, tapering gently to a singular point. The end, being the apex, is framed in the E-block. At this end, a restaurant projects over the pavilion on the first floor. It captures vistas of the field through latticed trusses which are placed in order to make the seating and changing room areas beneath column-free. The restaurant is cool, crisp and clean. Sun rays send lines and hues of blue to colour in the white ceiling. The added celebratory facet being cloth chandeliers that diffuses light in. The planning directs one towards the indoor facilities. Panelled glass screens the gym in the interiors while a Card Room across the corridor dissolves as a routine element. Open corridors walk alongside the Badminton Court, ferreting the Court with glimpses from the Card Room, Administration and the corridors. Though sparse, the use of colours provide the added architectural eye. A circular cutout located midway, slants in light adopted towards to the Squash Court tucked in the basement. The administration, away from the view on the second floor, admits an ideal viewing profile. The seclusion comprises of a VIP lounge, a conference room and an office space. The classic plan breaks away from the main building to bring forth a different wing. The wing is lofty and connected by a singular beam to the main structure, evoking a double cube. An access for high-end chief guests is waylaid by its side. These officials can gain special entry to a VIP Resting Lounge which opens up to a Pavilion from wherein they can address a public announcement. The approach for the rest of the space is simple. A Créche is executed in the same honesty of the material. It settles into the programme with the concrete neutrality sculpted


The entire complex is a horizontal band of exposed concrete wherein voids and niches straddle a glass transparence.

Legend 1. Plaza 2. Parking 3. Arrival Porch 4. Reception 5. Liberary 6. Audio Visual Room 7. Auditorium 8. Player’s Pavilion 9. Squarsh Court 10. Cafeteria

11. First Ad 12. Badminton 13. Amphitheater 14. Lawn Tennis 15. Volley Ball 16. Basket Ball 17. Jogging Track 18. Childern’s Play Area 19. Classroom 20. Swimming Pool 21. Changing Room

Ground Floor Plan

Formidable-looking, owing to the solidity of concrete, the project hints at playfulness through graphic murals.

Movement is clear and easy with direct access to all activities

Movement Diagram

The building tapers to a point at the end of the concrete spectrum where all the spectator seating for various courts and the football field are located.


Audio - Visual Room Entrance Badminton Court


At the main entrance, wooden benches are ringed around columns making way for more communal spaces.

Elements like circular cutouts and skylights play an aesthetic role in the Complex.

Angular and tectonic, the flexibility of concrete and colours infuse warmth to the place.


A Crèche replete with concrete slides and swings scaled to childrens’ size emerges as an innovation by the architects in the Sports Complex.

to form slides, swings etc. The dynamic fractal pattern of the wooden cylinders that played an identifiable role in the BRTS Bus Station and the entrance gates are translated inventively into an abacus for the children’s zone. The exclusive vibrancy is read clean and clear through apt use of clocks, colours and glass brick partitions in the space. Overall, the scale threads the dialogue. Beyond the Créche, a parabolic blue roof arches over the horizon. Cantilevered and connected, the fibreglass roof bathes the swimming pool beneath it in light. A blue wall with square slits, concrete boards and glinting steel fish graphic dictate the design elements of the space. The building is a horizontal stretch of exposed concrete—formidable but infused with transparence and light. The walls are recombinant cavity walls, with concrete on the outside and brick inside. Wrapped in a grey tone, the materialistic thought drives the stability, style and confidence of the place; moreover, it acts against recurring vandalism in such places. It is honest, uncluttered architecture, with a distinct approach and a hint of playfulness by selective use of wood and colour. The details key everything into place, teeming with memorable events and spaces. The rhythm is elementary with the intent of the architects clearly captured in their words, “Most importantly, the quality of spaces, the human scale raised the benchmark for public spaces, giving dignity to that cross section of society which otherwise get ignored.”

The Swimming Pool is covered by a parabolic roof.

FACT FILE: Project : Location : Consultant : Design Team : Client : Structural consultants : Electrical Consultants : Civil & Carpentry Contractors : Project Estimate : Initiation of Project : Completion of Project :

Veer Sawarkar Sports Complex Memco Cross Road, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad CRDU, Cept, Ahmedabad co-ordinated by Prof. P.V.K. Rameshwar Vijay Arya - Project Architect Urvi Sheth - Architect Dhaval Limbachiya - Architect Snehal Nagarsheth - Interior designer. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) Kuntal Gajjar, Asim Shah, Prof. R. J. Shah Harshad Jhaveri P.C. Snehal Construction, Ahmedabad Actual Cost `21.0 Crores 2005 2010

The solidity and stability of concrete merges creative identities with glass to render a spirited atmosphere.


Composed of seven frames aligned to an arc, the Yudh Smarak is compact structure of local, rugged stone.

Mewar Complex


he thematic or formal expressiveness of an architect in favour of capturing memory in the form of a space is a matter of faith, conjecture, typification or a surprise. The spaces should evoke feelings as if to suggest that the presence continues albeit in an altered form. The extraordinary courage of Rana Pratap on the battlefield is legion. While stories and artefacts sealed his cultural immortality, a celebration in the form of a monument was still to be addressed. What act of design could possibly outshine the combined effect of the epic that was Rana Pratap? Undertaking the challenge to contain architecture within such restrictive boundaries, the architects have evolved the Mewar Complex to perform its poetic function as an answer to “How to establish architecture in its locale?”. The Complex gives form to a simple and moving statement through a composition of three main memorials around Udaipur, namely Yuddh Smarak, Vijay Smarak and Raj Tilak Sthal. The winged plan emerges from a striking concept. Each monument embodies a holistic reflection of a part of Rana Pratap’s life—“Tilak Sthal is the place of his coronation as a king, Yudh Smarak is where he won a battle against the Mughals and Vijay Smarak commemorates an important victory.” Inspite of ‘chattris’ and ‘jharokhas’ being the immediate recall of traditional Rajasthani Architecture, the architects have acknowledged a certain period of contemporary nomadism; a stark contrast to the grey palette used so far. The design dialogue is thus ambiguous— shifting out of classicism yet local. Raj Tilak Sthal, Gogunda Taking off from a different sensibility, this memorial commemorates Rana Pratap’s Raj tilak (coronation). The undertaking lies in the use of local stones clad in sepia tones, creating an effect that is atmospheric, both in image and tonal composition. Long corridors of stone are broken dramatically by large

Battle Memorial, Chhapli, Rajasthan


The memorial was framed from an understanding built over the years of studying Rajasthani architecture, the use of traditional skills available in the area and the landscape around. BATTLE MEMORIAL, CHHAPLI, RAJASTHAN

The rising walls reflect the undulating topography of the mountain range Sited on a plateau between the rising mountain and the ravine

Oriented towards a stream that flows in the ravine


Small openings align themselves in visual axis across the layers: points of surprise

Movement along the curve extends the vision without revealing all


Meandering path inviting the visitors towards the natural landscape Nature comes into the spaces between the walls

Th ma e so nm lid ad edg er e e a tow lm a r

The threshold between inside and outside is blurred and ambiguous




The seven walls representing the mountain ranges extend out into the landscape Walls anchored to the base and free at the other end

The solid base Meandering pathway


The high walls create a relationship to the sky

The design responds to the landscape as if an integral part of it.

Low, tunnel like covered space defines the horizontal view and holds one end


Undulating pathways connect one door to another.

64 Victory Memorial, Devair, Rajasthan

Site Plan

Lower Level Plan

Elevated atop a hill, Vijay Smarak establishes a stately disposition.

A stair cleaves the construct into two, framing a graphic element against the backdrop.

65 Victory Memorial, Dewair Low volume, rough surface with small low openings


Aligned with Kumbhalgarh Smooth, high volume with inclined surface E x te



d vi


Live flame

Movement along the curve for exhibition

v l mo A xia val arri


nt o



Movement on the viewing deck gives a panoramic view of the landscape all around

The inclined wall extends the vision beyond the building Perched on the top of the hill – a point of reference in the landscape

windows that carry the eye beyond the immediate to generate a grandness of scale. Moving beyond, an amphitheatre is integrated, an eclectic space gentrified to a moment for the visitors. Leading upto a flat terrace, a flight of stairs at the far end, renders a temporaneous feeling of loftiness. The design of the levels is to give an essence of a gradual incline. The terrace competes at the same level as the top step of the amphitheatre, facilitating a visual surprise. The traditionalism gathers largely from the local, rough cut stone with geometrics affording a simplified but grandiose presence. The engagement of the space impinges on the ‘feel’ rather than ‘stated’, fuelled in a continuum of local architectural culture and the revival of the memory. Yuddh Smarak, Chhapli The architectural intentions that evolve here are various and multiple. Yudh Smarak is shaped to communicate the victory of a battle against the Mughals in seven valleys of the mountains. An arced wall frames seven ascending walls along it, a take on the seven valleys. Fragments in this construct converge into a possible whole. The space is conceived as an exaggerated dispersion of objects—fragments converging into a possible whole. The

The project explores dimensions of construction and crafted traditions related to that area.


intuitive exploration marks a series of free-standing walls with doorways to walk through. Characteristic pathways float from one door to the other, “like pathways through passes in a mountain.” The abstraction of the story-telling and representation are not much in opposition here. The structure, compact and refined, emerges from references, objects and spaces to offer the pragmatic experience. Tourist Centre, Devair At the base of Vijay Smarak, the tourist centre maintains a sense of proximity and connection to the memorial. It facilitates a restaurant, information centre, admin office and parking. The patterned stonework is a welcome change of emphasis wherein the architects have emulated the same cultural values as the memorials. One key consequence is that the stairs allow views of the landscape and the memorial beyond. Vijay Smarak, Devair Clouds meander along the psychedelic blue sky as a backdrop while the eye halts at the abstraction of a blending image of a fort, dictated at the setback of a long winding climb that forces a contemplative thought of opulence. Like a stately disposition, it sits atop the rise, its elevation stretched across the width of the hilly rock. The sculptural exterior inclusive of the towers, in the scale of visibility, is divided into two by a balcony in the centre. Strong, simple lines of circular corridors make for a humble visual within. What negotiates a dual character is a long flight of stairs that cuts through the circular plan and leads upwards towards the surrounding sloping expanse. In recognition of the unique expression of Vijay Smarak, the architect says, “the staircase and the robust architecture definitely expresses victory – hence the tall stair. At this place, he is said to have killed the enemy by splitting him and his horse into two by one sweep of his sword, hence the stair splitting the bastion in two. Also, the stair points towards Kumbalgarh which was Rana Pratap’s dynastic headquarter but which he could never occupy. There is a lot of symbolism embedded in the architecture which is not overt.” The accent of the space is reverential and progressive. It is reflective of a depth of understanding of the timelessness that should be portrayed. The semblance, the quality and aura tabulate a narrative construction, striving for inclusion in one’s cultural life without labelling or sequencing any piece of history. Stone pieces were woven in not only as a structural material but with an aesthetic textured value. The idyllic symphony pushes thoughts beyond visual perimeters to provide a space for slow reinvention of the museum-‘esque’ idea of community heritage. The architects say, ”The projects were about the landscape; the tension between bringing the landscape into the buildings and taking the buildings out. They were about crafting architecture out of local materials and raw textures into the landscape, marking a point and then leaving it to the forces of nature.” As an embedded gesture, the staircase and the robust architecture definitely express victory.


The ascending staircase rises symbolically towards Kumbalgarh which was Rana Pratap’s dynastic headquarter but which he could never occupy.

FACT FILE: Project : Location : Architect : Design Team : Client : Project Area : Civil & Carpentry Contractors : Project Estimate : Initiation of Project : Completion of Project :

Mewar Complex Project Victory Memorial Dewair, Rajsamand, Rajasthan Battle Memorial Chhapli, Rajsamand, Rajasthan M/s Minakshi Jain Architects, Ahmedabad Vijay Arya - Principal Architect Meghal Arya - Architect Urvi Sheth - Architect Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) Landscape Area: Victory Memorial 170sqm Battle Memorial 140sqm Living Area/Circulation Area: Victory Memorial 270sqm Battle Memorial 170sqm Site Dimension: Victory Memorial 990sqm Battle Memorial 1010sqm Pandey Construction, Udaipur (Battle Memorial) Rajputana Construction, Jaipur ( Victory Memoial) Estimated Cost `500 lac in 2006 Actual Cost `450 lac 2006 2008

From a scale model of questionable possibilities to a versioning of a typified complex and retracing steps over a loop of history, it always remained an experiment of the humanitarian ethos. The outspoken features of all three projects are in a government setup, breaking deterministic forms in the public realm, away from the conventional form of buildings. Subtly and deliberately, they raise the benchmark of public facilities. The indulgence in concrete—as a flexible medium, lent itself to all sorts of discoveries. The subdued language of the architects is tacit. It is a matter of scaling. Not only does the quality of spaces alone merit good attention, but their natural capacity to create beyond the stapled sector of design reveals an multi-dialectic facet to their creative approach. The imperative of their contribution to the architectural character is entirety to acknowledge not only the subjective beauty of forms, but learning from their reactive and even interactive qualities; unravelling within the design culture of contemporary design. “It is about society – its expression.” Rather than creating material objects, the projects are about creating moments in time and visceral experiences—that promise of little change.

68 IA&B - APR 2011


ack to asics

The Educomp School in Coimbatore by Chennai-based KSM Architects has been designed with sensitivity towards the climate.

Text: compiled by Hina Nitesh Photographs: courtesy KSM Architects

A skin wall protects the interior spaces from rain and sun.


Schematic view of the building with material palette.



his school in Coimbatore, designed by KSM Architects, is exemplary in the way it has shown sensitivity towards the climate of the region. Located on the outskirts of the city of Coimbatore, the site for the school was adjacent to coconut farms and overlooks the surrounding Maradumalai Hills. The idea was to build the school over three phases. The architects also kept in mind the fact that the classrooms, which today accommodate about 3,000 students, would have some other functions in the years to come. Another factor to be catered to was the cost, which was to be kept to a minimum, with a focus on less maintenance expenditure. The design concept revolves around sensitivity to the climate. The city of Coimbatore experiences temperate climate for most of the year and

the rainfall it gets is quite minimal. These factors have been integrated in the design, which results in a comfortable space without taxing the environment. The built form incorporates maximum openings to the outside to allow as much natural light and ventilation as possible. As a result, the classrooms do not have windows, but just large openings with a safety grill. This feature also cut down on the electricity for lighting. To protect the indoor spaces from sun and rain, a three-floor high skin wall is placed 1.5m from the classroom walls. This wall is finished in exposed brick work and has pre-cast concrete louvers that beat the angle of the sun and cut direct glare. Also, the wall has a polycarbonate roof on top which prevents leakage of rain water during the rainy season. While on the outer side, the classrooms have a skin wall, on the other side, a 2.5m wide corridor shades them. As per the design strategy, the architects wanted to minimise on the painted surfaces and hence the building has exposed brickwork and unplastered concrete surfaces. The school has been planned as ‘fingers’ connected by a spine, which extends the open feel of the site in the building. The spaces between the ‘fingers’ are treated as landscaped courtyards and follow the same dimension module as the classrooms. These can also double up as outdoor classrooms. The single-loaded corridors along the fingers allow for cross ventilation in the classrooms. The classrooms are arranged such that the eastern and western façade are protected at all the times from sun while the other two sides are blank to accommodate the black board and avoid glare. The classrooms themselves have been designed with respect to the cone of vision and anthropometrics of a child. Built-in storage units have been designed along the corridor walls.


The classrooms have been designed with respect to the cone of vision and anthropometrics of a child.

The first phase of the school which will be built in three phases.

71 The vertical solar angle to beat 50deg

Sun Path Diagram against Stereographic Sunpath Diagram


Latitude : 11 N Hour lines are shown in solar time.


The parapets along the corridors are inclined inwards as a safety measure.

By staggering the walkways, the architects have achieved multiple height spaces along the spine of the building that also provide views of the hills beyond, in between the classroom blocks. A single flight staircase climbs up through the spine connecting the three levels. The parapet along the corridor is inclined inwards to ensure safety of the children.

The skin is finished in exposed brick work and has pre-cast concrete louvers that beat the sun angle and cut direct glare.

The school has been planned as ‘fingers’ connected by a spine which extends the open feel of the site in the building.


The space between the various fingers of the building has been landscaped and can be used as outdoor teaching area.

The building is exemplary in that there is sufficient natural light, good ventilation, reduced solar heat gain and a good interweave of outdoor and indoor spaces. The architects have successfully executed the concept they began designing with!

FACT FILE: Location : Site Area : Constructed Area : Construction Cost : Project Status :

Coimbatore 8.2acres 5000sqm (Phase 1)– overall to be 18,000sqm `60,000,000 (for Phase 1) Phase 1 completed. (Phase 2 ongoing)

75 IA&B - APR 2011


Elemental Landscapes ‘Landscape’ defines a field too vast and diverse. Ever since the French made it formal and the British made it romantic, design and planning of the open and the green have been fundamental to landscape design as a creative practice. With the advent of modernism, the idea of landscape has traversed many limiting brackets to define everything from elemental design to complex cultural relationships with the environment. Modern day practice and thought on ‘Landscape’ as a design practice integrates the physical and the metaphysical, establishing relationships to emerging ideas of sustainability, culture, public spaces, conservation, leisure, tradition and heritage, architecture and symbolism. Landscape design, thus involves thought and practice combining diverse approaches, attitudes and schools of thought. The April 2011 issue of IA&B focuses on the physical aspect of landscape as a design practice, investigating the fundamental ideas behind the architecture of the un-built and the open, and the real and metaphysical relationship it has with our built environment.

76 IA&B - APR 2011

Rejuvenating the landscape

Landscaped by Martha Schwartz Partners, the Whitewater Shopping Complex revitalises the derelict industrial region of Newbridge in Ireland. Text: Hina Nitesh Photographs: courtesy Martha Schwartz Partners

The paving is designed with two dimensional stepping stones which are replaced by three dimensional ones near the brook(water body).



ith numerous shopping complexes cropping up across the world, what is it that distinguishes one from the rest? While in some cases it is the built form itself that is a landmark statement, features like lighting and material used make others the talk of the town. Landscapes and shopping complexes might seem like an unlikely combination, but it is precisely this combination that has added charm to the Whitewater Shopping Complex in Ireland. The structure of the Whitewater Shopping Complex, along with its landscape, has contributed to reviving the region of Newbridge in Ireland. Sited in the town centre, the urban language of this region consisted of an array of derelict industrial buildings. This 80,000sqft complex, comprising commercial units,

apartments, parking and an extensive retail area, has not just revitalised the region but also added a vibrant tone to its urban fabric. The design has successfully created a sophisticated shopping environment behind a faรงade of residential and commercial units, and has integrated it with the existing urban network of streets. The architecture of the double-level mall continues seamlessly from the outside, creating a retailing environment that is dramatic yet legible, visually stimulating and characterised by the ample natural light within. The entrance to the complex is through a doubleheight space, with a pedestrian street and an outdoor plaza. With a contemporary architectural language, the landscape also needed to blend in, while providing the plaza with an identifiable


Steel and blue canopies are used as the signature elements. They scale down the space as well as serve the purpose of shade and shelter for the shoppers.

The reference to a brook, which once flowed through the site is kept alive through a water feature. Landscape strategy - A graphic perspective illustrating the landscaping strategy used in the design.


The firm was inspired by the belief that a brook once ran through the site and has recreated it in the form of a water feature, which appears and disappears as one makes his way around the place. feature. The landscape in this complex has been designed by Martha Schwartz Partners. The Principal of the firm, Martha Schwartz is a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and teaches advanced design studios focusing on urban sustainability. She is an internationally acclaimed designer whose works focus on developing sustainable strategies and public realm designs. The landscape at the Whitewater Shopping Complex focuses on a water feature. The firm was inspired by the belief that a brook once ran through the site and has recreated it in the form of a water feature, which appears and disappears as one makes his way around the place. The feature lends a sense of mystery, while also acting as a way-finding tool for the shoppers. The movement through the shopping centre is largely pedestrian and the design features provide pedestrian scale, way-finding and upscale

ambiance for its shoppers. Limestone and basalt have been used for paving, where stepping-stone patterns reinforce the brook metaphor. The pattern gives way to three dimensional stones as they “step” into the brook water feature. At the back of the water feature stands a glowing backlit green glass wall with water flowing down its face. The back-lit wall is flanked with “living planted walls.” To give an imageability to the Centre, eight canopies have been developed. These painted steel and blue fabric structures are supported by tapered steel masts, which appear to be piercing through them, sharpening to a point above. These canopies lend a scale to the complex and also provide the shoppers with shade and shelter during the day time. The curvature of the canopies contrasts with that of the pointed mast and creates a dramatic effect. This effect is further enhanced in the dark when the lighting

The landscape strategy showing the elements in context of the design.

makes them glow and they seem to be floating along the pedestrian walkways.

FACT FILE: Project : Location : Project Size : Landscape Design Team : MSI Principal Designer : MSI Director : MSI Architect : MSI Landscape Architects : Architect : Local Landscape Architect : Contractor : Water Feature : Signage : Lighting Designer : Lighting Systems : Year of Completion :

Whitewater Shopping Centre Newbridge, Ireland 80,000sqft

Martha Schwartz John Pegg Paula Craft Christian Weier, Fredericke Huth Henry J Lyons & Partners Tiros Resources Limited John Sisk and Son OCMIS UK Ltd. Wood and Wood Equation Lighting, UK Architen Landrell, UK 2006


80 IA&B - APR 2011 Looking east across North Park Drive. The park’s circulation system provides for easy access from all of the surrounding developments.




for the


The Lakeshore East Park in Chicago, designed by the Office of James Burnett is a part of a larger redevelopment project and is envisaged as a place with increased interaction within the community. Text: Hina Nitesh Photographs: courtesy Office of James Burnett

T The site which was once a 9-hole golf course plays an integral role in the community and demonstrates the ability of landscape architecture to spur growth and development today.

he proposed 28-acre Lakeshore East development in Chicago’s Inner Loop includes residential units, hotel rooms, 2.2m sqft of commercial space, retail space, elementary school and a 6-acre urban park. The latter, designed by the Office of James Burnett is the central amenity in this $4 billion redevelopment project that overlooks the confluence of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. The entrance to the park is simple free-flowing space which leads the visitors into the lush landscape. Spaces in the park have been designed keeping in mind the different kinds of visitors. There are places for the children, for dog-owners as well as for casual visitors – all within the



Water courts along the promenade draw visitors to the edges of the site.

same park. There is a peripheral boundary path which is interconnected with pedestrian pathways that makes all the corners of the park accessible. Inspired by the curves of the sailboats that dot Lake Michigan, two sweeping promenades serve as the primary east-west circulation across the site. These are lined with a series of fountain basins, seating areas and ornamental gardens. Chicago’s 3-tiered transit system resulted in a grade change of almost 25 feet from the south to the north of the site. To overcome this, the landscape firm created a stand which offers a view of the park and reinforces the axial connection. The paved north axis leads to a limestone staircase through the park which ends in a plaza at the north end of

the site. The plaza continues the form language of the axial connection and extrudes it into the third dimension, through the addition of seat walls set in plinths of decomposed granite and surrounded by mixed under-storey plantings. ‘Cleveland Select’ pears reinforce the axis and strengthen the formal organisation of the plaza. As a landscape feature, the designers have placed stainless steel weirs that pierce the red granite walls and spill water over the rough-hewn Lannon stone basin, into stainless grates below, allowing passers-bys to cool themselves on a warm summer day. Large basalt stones line the bottom of the basins, providing sculptural interest during the fierce Chicago winter while the fountains will lay dormant. The flora in the


park consists of a variety of ornamental plants that celebrate the hor ticultural diversity of Chicago and provide displays of colour with changing seasons. A series of botanical cour ts ex tend along the western water garden and echo the form and propor tion of the promenades. The children’s area is the place at the intersection of the promenades and the Nor th Grant axis. It is marked by a circular plaza with an interactive water feature and safe play sur face. Three smaller plazas with individual play themes are arranged around the perimeter of the plaza, allowing children to play and wander throughout the spaces. Small, intimate perennial gardens offer a tactile, child-scale garden experience while the surrounding lawn areas provide over flow space for additional activities.

The designers have also catered to dog owners by placing a dog park along the transitioning slope, near the south side of the park. The area offers a safe, secure area for owners to play with their dogs. Thornless Honey Locusts emerge from three sod-covered berms that emphasise the six-foot grade change across the dog park. Slicing through the highest of the berms, a low stone fountain wall spills water into a meandering runnel that collects at the base of the smallest mound. Dogs jockey for position at the drinking bowl and chase each other across the simple, geometric pattern of gravel, unit pavers and coloured concrete at all hours of the day and night. The landscape firm which became an integral part of the project, set guidelines for the open space, which would later guide the design and


Orderly bands of paving mark the former course of Field Street through the project site, terminating at a small plaza on the north side of the site.

Looking west across North Westshore Drive.


Basaltic rock in the fountain basins provides continued interest during the fall and winter months.

development of the park. The site which was once a 9-hole golf course plays an integral role in the community and demonstrates the ability of landscape architecture to spur growth and development today. The park, with its multifunctional areas, has become an integral part of Chicago’s open space network.

FACT FILE: Project Location Area Team Photo Credits

: : : : :

The Park at Lakeshore East Chicago, Illinois 6acres SOM, Master Plan, Site Design Group David Seide, Steinkamp Photography

Water sheets over the basins and onto stainless grates below.

86 IA&B - APR 2011 The seaside promenade is a striking reworking of an ancient urban wasteland, drawing inspiration from the undulating sand dunes upon which Tel Aviv had been established.

Cultural Peripheries

Texturing a sediment from Tel Aviv’s past, Israel-based architectural firm, Mayslits Kassif Architects, transforms a new look, character and vision for Tel Aviv’s waterfront—a contemporary intervention in the form of Tel Aviv Port Public Space Regeneration. Text: Maanasi Hattangadi Photographs: courtesy Adi Branda, Galia Kronfeld, Daniela Orvin, Albi Serfaty.



more than just a stylish and contemporary alteration of the original use as an operational docking port into a “vivacious urban landmark”. The plan is to restore this unique part of the city that underlies its quality, exhibiting a sophistication of form and geometry that calls to mind wider themes in architecture. The architectural intents are various and multiple. The project, a winner of an open competition held in 2003, pushes the limits of its engagement as a public space, by challenging the common contrast between private and public development. As the architects describe it, “It suggests a new agenda of hospitality for collective open spaces.”


he strength of a landscape design lies in its predictability. It belies an arrangement of spaces that wrests innovation from recognisable visual styles. A pile of rocks and flowing Zen gardens frame the conventional typology. It is rare that it delves into a deeper functionality such as regeneration of a derelict area—reclaiming old land by the sea, for instance. In this context, Israel-based architectural firm, Mayslits Kassif Architects, haSconceptualised the Tel Aviv Port Public Space Regeneration. Unimpeded by the usual design review, it takes advantage of being one of Israel’s breathtaking waterfronts and of some much-needed work that will be done on the unloved, neglected beachfront since 1965. However, it is

Rather than constructing a new identity for the place through urban transformation driven by building rights, it exists as an extension of a discrete built fabric. It layers the act of inhabitation into the existing hangars and involves them into the realm of public space regeneration. Stepping back from the street, the architecture, over an expanse of 55,000sqm, reacts very deliberately to its surroundings and to its restrained use of material palette. The presence commands interaction with a painted paved entry that removes the visitor from the street into a light, serene space, plunging into the depth of the site. Beyond wooden benches, a wood and glass railing effectively grasps the panorama of the space. It pursues a narrative construction of an undulating and non-hierarchical surface. The mounds contain every referent to the mythological dunes on which the port was built. It characterises various expressions of the user’s


The sensibility of the design borders on earthy tones, wood furnishings and painted graphics aligning with the makeover of the place as a cultural epicentre.

activities. The developed area, toned down to a subtle beige, rings niches of sand. The use of such contrasts has exponentially increased the scale and lightness. The spaces shift and play with eclectic furnishings of smooth white rocks and umbrellas, creating delightful spaces. Tracing a tangent around these design halts, the eye is redirected at the expanse of the vast open space meeting the sky. The unique landmark sweeps in a multiplicity of initiatives—ranging from public, social to artistic endeavours. As it continues its quest for architecture that delivers a fresher perspective of involvement of the user with the design, it attracts around 2.5 million people per year. This dramatic transition is “considered one of the most influential project of its kind in Tel Aviv” and has fuelled ambitions for more such projects that celebrate the city’s connection to the waterfront. Of the project, the architects say, “Alongside receiving international recognition and several prestigious architectural awards, such as the Rosa Barba European Landscape Prize for 2010, it receives great affection from the public and is ranked as the most beloved recreation space by the

The space over the years.

The deck overlooks the contextual scenery, dotted with parasols for people to relax.


The design is a vast expanse wherein mounds are created that move easily with niches and spaces integrated for seatings etc.

The regenerative environment shifts intersecting volumes—the built and nature to form playful contrasts.

The revolutionary transformation serves as a magnet for various activities.


The project revives a gateway for the people on a humanistic level.

The architects viewed the project as a unique opportunity to construct a public space that suggests a new agenda of hospitality for collective open spaces.


The space shifts and plays with the tones in accordance to the tones of the ambience.

“It suggests a new agenda of hospitality for collective open spaces.” inhabitants of Tel Aviv’s metropolitan area.” Catching every colour of the ever-changing natural light, the muted sensibility paints a picturesque hue over its tones of whites, beiges and browns. The space slides and revives scales on a humanistic level, opening up new avenues for and embracing the contingency that characterises the everyday lives of Tel Aviv inhabitants. The fragment reflects a cultural confidence in a modernist agenda of growth for the city—a gateway to marking a point in time for the people to know their place.

The design converses through a restricted material palette.


People flock to the space to enjoy the ambience, the scenery and the action.

Project Name


Tel Aviv Port Public Space Regeneration



Tel Aviv, Israel



Design and Strategy for Tel Aviv Port’s Public Spaces



Mayslits Kassif Architects

Design Team


Ganit Mayslits Kassif, Udi Kassif, Oren Ben Avraham,

Galila Yavin, Michal Ilan and Maor Roytman



Marine Trust Ltd.

Port Architects


Eliakim Architects

Project Management


Avinoam Horowitz

Graphic Designer


Hila Ben Navat

Construction Company :

Green Sky Ltd.

Initiation of Project



Completion of Project



Project Budget


`24 Crore (Approx.)

92 IA&B - APR 2011 Aerial view of the square.

Ribboned Realm Designed by Croatian architectural firm 3LHD, Zamet Center, the undulating Croatian sports center, is an urban design masterpiece which defines the role of landscaping in conserving energy. Text: Debajyoti Samal Photographs: courtesy Domagoj Blazevic, Damir Fabijanic and 3LHD archive


View of the hall from the east.

everal recent research works point that a global trend towards the standardisation of cityscapes is also a simplification in functions and habitats, which make cities less flexible to global changes and to new cultural attitudes.


Croatia is an exceptionally interesting and historic country with the pine forests in the north and the arid rock cliffs of the Adriatic. The Adriatic coast has the walled medieval cities of Dubrovnik, Korcula and Rijeka, which are unique with Roman roots and Austrian-Hungarian influence.

Cities are therefore becoming increasingly similar in their atmosphere, their lifestyles, their imaging, and a serial reproduction of landscapes. An expanding tourist demand brings a tendency of standardisation of tourist products and landscapes and is interconnected with the growth of serial reproduction of culture (iconic architecture, museums and art galleries as “consuming” landscapes), where cities borrow or copy one from another with less space for distinction.

This story revolves around Rijeka city, where it gives the readers an opportunity to explore, observe and study the city’s vernacular environmental design. The story takes the readers to a segment of Croatia’s modern and contemporary architecture, not associated with the more rigid, Euclidean architectural language, but with a constant stream of liberated architectural spaces, moulded together with the landscape and blended with it. This project represents the most recent buildings of Croatian architects, visibly present on the international architectural scene.

New low-cost geography is developing rapidly with an increasing number of multiplexes, shopping malls, outlet stores, low-cost airports; territory, culture and landscape are becoming “part time”. High mobility of people, information and goods and the increasing use of cars are nurturing a rapid consumerist culture and lifestyle. Though rich in multi ethnic history and culture, Croatia has managed to find common ground for both the consumerist culture and the age-old ethnicity.

As homeowners and architects become evermore conscious of energy consumption when building new homes or renovating old ones, it is important to consider the role of landscaping in conserving energy. The new Zamet Center in the Croatian city of Rijeka is a public square topped with a series of undulating buildings, interspersed with energy-saving green roofs. Croatian architectural firm Studio 3LHD designed this sports and


View of the hall from the square.

community center and developed some interesting houses, sports facilities and urban projects to allow full pedestrian access to the community spaces without overwhelming the neighbourhood with its scale. Now the news is that they won the private competition for this complex. The Center, a massive 16,830sqm in size, indulges its users with a host of exciting facilities like sports hall with 2380 seats, local community office, city library, 13 commercial and service facilities and a parking space to accommodate 250 four-wheelers. One of the main architectural elements of the Zamet Center are the ‘ribbons’ stretching in a north-south direction, functioning as architectural design elements of the object and as a zoning element which forms a public square, a link between the park on the north, and a school and B. Vidas street on the south at the same time. The ribbon-like stripes were inspired by ‘gromača’, a type of rocks specific to Rijeka, which the center artificially reinterprets by colour and shape. Stripes are covered with 51,000 ceramic tiles and manufactured specially for the Centre. Steel girders of 55m span and different heights enable the natural light illumination of the sports hall. The hall has been designed according to the latest world-class standards for major international sports competitions. The concept of the hall is based

on flexibility of space. The field is 46x44 meters in size, fit for two handball courts. The hall contains all the supporting facilities for professional training and competition. The auditorium, designed as a system of telescopic stands, enables the transformation for everyday use as well as for other activities such as concerts, conferences and congresses. Selected interior materials like wood and acoustic panels, make the hall seem like a large living room for athletes. The main access to the hall and other facilities is located west of the hall from the public square and from the underground garage. The public space on the roof is not only a feature of the building in the business part of the Center, but is also put into ultilisation as a kind of extension of the park situated to the north of the hall. The design of the hall has been conceived as a very flexible space. The auditorium has been designed as a system with telescopic stands, which open and adapt to the kind of competition and the number of spectators; at major competitions it is possible to seat 2,100 spectators by opening all the stands. The architecture of public facilities, the shopping centre, the library and the local authority stands out in the topography of the terrain, connecting the square in front of the hall and in front of the school, and integrating into the overall existing context of western Zamet. One third of the facility is located underground, and the rest rises in tiers of walkways and green roofs that flow though the campus. Inside are the library, retail and office spaces that are anchored by an international sports


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Square Utility court Entrance for visitors Entrance players Press entrance Vip entrance Local community Library Entrance shops


5 8 9


9 7 4

3 1


Site drawing




View of the hall during a chess tournament.

One of the main architectural elements of the Zamet Center are the ‘ribbons’ stretching in a north-south direction, functioning as architectural design elements of the object and as a zoning element which forms a public square, a link between the park on the north, and the school and B. Vidas street on the south at the same time. auditorium. The building extends the bounds of the bordering park while contributing to the area’s community life.

The hall interior.

The campus is sited on a slope, so access is provided by flights of stairs that ascend onto the lower roofs. Complementing the upper adjacent park is a


VIP lounge overlooking the hall.

series of green roofs that enable rainwater infiltration and help regulate the temperature of the building beneath. The plaza is covered in a unique ceramic tile, and the ribbon effect of the levels or ‘stripes’ is inspired by local rock outcroppings. The exterior flows easily into the interior, and the undulating mass scales the façade so as not to overwhelm the plaza—thus creating a more natural and inviting environment for assembly. Tucked-under parking and the project’s sizable subterranean development also helps give the project a human scale. Also, one third of the facility is built into the terrain, merging landscape and structure. With 3LHD know-how on waterfront development and sports facilities, we expect this project to generate a positive impact on Rijek.

FACT FILE: Project


Zamet Center



Rijeka, Croatia






Grad Rijeka/Rijeka Sport d.o.o.

Design Team


Sasa Begovic, Tatjana Grozdanic Begovic,

Marko Dabrovic, Silvije Novak, Paula Kukuljica,

Zvonimir Marcic, Leon Lazaneo, Eugen Popovic,

Nives Krsnik Rister, Andrea Vukojic.

Project Area



Civil Contractors


GP Krk

Project Estimate


EUR 20 million

Initiation of Project



Completion of Project :


98 IA&B - APR 2011 Multi-coloured vertical walls with cut-outs frame cinematic sequences of views.



The landscape design of the Mahindra Institute of Quality in Nasik by Roots Designs dwells on the idea of formal design geometries and the discipline of modernist aesthetic. Text: Ruturaj Parikh Photographs: courtesy Roots Designs; Girish Patil.


andscape designs are often viewed as a mechanism subservient to the design of spaces around architecture. Seldom is landscape viewed as a juxtaposition of architectural design on the canvas of a larger scheme of things. Roots Designs, a Pune-based landscape consultancy firm, have created a formal landscape design for the Mahindra Institute of Quality, restricting the expression to geometric exploration and a limited palette of green elements.

in essence, the conceptual framework of architectural design. The landscape design of this institute develops from a geometric juxtaposition of multiple elements and designed areas on the canvas of the site. Two axes, intersecting in a plaza define the overall organisation of the space. The primary axis connects the plaza outside the oval built form to a court, which acts as a gathering space. A covered outdoor gazebo marks the intersection of the two axes.

Contemporary notions of landscape design range from the romantic to the rational and the formal. The language of controlled landscape determines the philosophical orientation of the architecture reflecting,

The design aims to connect the functional segments of the site in a cohesive environment. This is facilitated by repetition of some basic landscape elements and plant palette as an overlapping, multilayered


Changes in textures – soft and hard-scapes; an integral part of design.

Ornamental / Sculptural Trees

100 Boundry Planting Co m

Ornamental Trees

po un d Wal l

Proposed Hostel Building


0 32000











Future Development Electrical Yard

Play Court Tiered Seating

Pathway to Play Area


Sculptural Planting Car Parking

Ornamental Tree

Boundry Planting

Road 6.0 m Wide


PLAN of the court with the amphitheatre and sit outs.

Hedges at the terminal end of the patch lawn.

Ordered Planting of Specimen Trees

Parking for Bus

Signage Wall


Lawn patches act as the carpet.

The design aims to connect the functional segments of the site in a cohesive environment. This is facilitated by repetition of some basic landscape elements and plant palette as an overlapping, multilayered programme. programme. Although the elements are restricted to minimum, multiple combinations and permutations are created to bring in variety. Two types of lawns are seen as a carpet composition forming the background to the design.

overlapping of multiple patterns and spatial gestures through a controlled palette of materials and elements. The composition on the whole is an exploration of themes, textures, colours and light.

FACT FILE: The design also creates sequential views of the site. Walls with oblique cut-outs frame the building and form cinematic sequences of views. Bands of lawn with foliage at the end work as a backdrop for the entire composition while use of subtle colours of the landscape against the bold colours of the built elements creates contrasting entities. Landscape design acts as a visual and thematic extension of the built in the court within the oval of the built form. Zig–zag steps act as spill-over spaces working alternatively as an outdoor gathering space – an amphitheatre. The landscape of the Mahindra Institute of Quality can be seen as a juxtaposed



Mahindra Institute of Quality



Nasik, Maharashtra



Environ, Nasik



Umesh Wakaley



Mahindra and Mahindra, India

Project Area



Horticulture Agency


Papaya Nursery, Nasik

Irrigation Agency




Vispute Project `40 lacs

112 IA&B - APR 2011

Spontaneous Spaces

UNStudio’s ‘Motion Matters’ extends the complexity of a diagram into a three dimensional space by exploring the significance of the ‘Pavilion’ as a transitory architectural model. Text: Ruturaj Parikh Photographs: courtesy UNStudio; Justin Knight.


Thematic pavilions in the space of the Gund Hall – non-standard architecture.


Walking into the illusory space of the pavilion.(Top and Bottom)



emporary pavilions today are what the Case Study Houses were after the World War II. Pavilions present an incredible opportunity to test architecture in real-time and thus become transistant models between the diagram and the building. In the age of non-standard architecture, the pavilion space serves as an experimental intermediate encouraging and recording user reactions. On appointment of Ben Van Berkel as the Kenzo Tange Chair at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, UNStudio designed an installation ‘Motion Matters’ as a transitory experiment, testing architectural and urban issues in a real manner.

Effects of perspective, light, colour, space and material at a real scale.

The space at the Gund Hall in Harvard houses six of UNStudio’s architectural installations, each one addressing a particular topic – Transitional Typologies, Urban Lobbies, Crossing Points, Kinetic Platforms, After Image, Switching On/Off – core concepts to UNStudio’s architectural and urban experiments. These pavilions, through interaction and dynamism, question notional, structural and experimental programmes to express the overall complexity of an architectural problem. The pavilions at the Gund Hall present a paradox of entering an illusory space with prototypical possibilities presented by an architectural model, but with an elaborate physical materiality and presence recording readings, interpretations and perceptions through shifting perspectives and “new & more dynamic materialisations”. The pavilion thus acts as a ‘short-lived’ form of architecture, somewhere in-between typological research and artistic production. It helps to ‘switch-off ’ the utilitarian mind and ‘switch-on’

The paradox of entering an illusory space - somewhere in-between typological research and artistic production.


Shifting perspectives, dynamic forms and colours encourage ‘optical investigation’.


The pavilions act as design models brought to life.

imagination tested in real-time space; acting as design models brought to life. Another significant aspect of the pavilions is their ability to generate an experience rather than a mundane analytical reaction. Effects of perspective, light, colour, space and material at a real scale combine to encourage optical investigation apparent as a space for technological innovation in architectural typologies. The pavilions not only put the idea of UNStudio’s non-standard architecture into perspective, but also serve a purpose of prioritising the historical dominance of the ‘image’ in experimenting with architectural typologies. The illusory space of the pavilion, as a medium, thus metamorphises into an architectural experiment similar to making a model; the difference being that this model reacts to gravity, pull, turbulence and vortex. As graphic representations of an evolution of a phenomenon, the programme for the installations departs from the need for architectural concepts to be tested in more tactile and experiential form. In an age where everything is converted into a flow of data, this experiment becomes a very versatile medium to negotiate the interplay between the real and the diagrammatic. When the floors, walls and the ceiling become a continuous element, architectural concepts are tested in a realistic manner to create an optical illusion of a real space - the experiential manifestation of the diagram.

The pavilions serve a purpose of prioritising the historical dominance of the ‘image’ in experimenting with architectural typologies.

On the occasion of Ben van Berkel’s appointment to the Kenzo Tange Chair at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, ‘Motion Matters’ was curated by UNStudio in collaboration with the Graduate School of Design’s Department of Exhibitions. Since spring 1984, 29 internationally recognised architects and urbanists have been appointed to the Kenzo Tange Visiting Professorship Chair at Harvard. In these 27 years, recipients have included Alvaro Siza, Enric Miralles, Peter Zumthor, Zaha Hadid and Kazuyo Sejima. In addition, several current faculty members, including Rafael Moneo, Farshid Moussavi, and Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron were also recipients of the Chair.


space frames

IA&B - APR 2011

urban villages

Lo St &





Dr. Deepak John Mathew, in this introductory piece for the column ‘space frames’ curated by him, explores the transformation of an object into an artefact and the spatial implications of this phenomenon through the medium of photography. Text and Photographs: Dr. Deepak John Mathew



rban villages’ will chronicle, through the medium of photography, pictorial evidences or interpretations of the transformation of one context into another and the way we carry our personal histories and memories as we move from one place to another. I have spent my childhood in a village. After I moved to the city, the idea of a ‘good life’ was always connected to the village.

As a personal phenomenon, we all carry a little of our past with us. We all try to recreate our idea of a ‘good life’ wherever we go. We carry that image around. One important aspect of this re-creation is the fact that some elements of our past become symbolic and representational. Functional objects become decorative items. My enquiry through this series is to look at the phenomenon of ‘carrying forward’ through the medium of photography and looking at objects devoid of or in a new context; to investigate the spatial implications of this change in context.





My enquiry through this series is to look at the phenomenon of ‘carrying forward’ through the medium of photography and looking at objects devoid of or in a new context; to investigate the spatial implications of this change in context.


LOST & FOUND The city keeps growing and alienating personal spaces. Objects are picked up and put in alien contexts, uprooting them from their original space. Objects thus become artefacts. From within the protection of the glass box, these objects seek attention of the visitor as things of amusement. Old and bygone cultures become exhibits, as our ancestors are put in a glass box as a frozen memory. As our cities grow, the objects of our past are ‘pickled’ and put in glass cages, devoid of context.

Dr. Deepak John Mathew Dr. Mathew is a professional photographer, illustrator and painter. He holds a PhD in Design Education and a Postgraduate Degree in Graphics. Dr. Mathew is a faculty at National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. He has an experience spanning 20 years in photography, graphics and painting. He has received numerous awards and his work has been exhibited in many national and international exhibitions. His recent book, ‘Principles of Design Through Photography’, has been published by Wisdom Tree. Dr. Mathew is the Curator of the column ‘space frames’ in the Indian Architect and Builder Magazine.

‘space frames’ will investigate issues related to architecture, space and environment through the medium of photography.

Space Frames April 2011: ‘Lost & Found’ by Dr. Deepak John Mathew Indian Architect & Builder Magazine

Dr. Deepak John Mathew is a professional photographer, illustrator and painter. He holds a PhD in Design Education and a Postgraduate Degree in Graphics. Dr. Mathew is a faculty at National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. He has an experience spanning 20 years in photography, graphics and painting. He has received numerous awards and his work has been exhibited in many national and international exhibitions. His recent book, ‘Principles of Design Through Photography’, has been published by Wisdom Tree. Dr. Mathew is the Curator of the column ‘space frames’ in the Indian Architect and Builder Magazine.

118 IA&B - APR 2011

Christian Bjone’s seminal work in the form of this book dwells on the whirlpools of conflicting ideas at the confluence of art and architecture.


rt and architecture have always found common territories of work and thought. Architecture has often borrowed its philosophical and thematic content from art, while art has looked towards architecture as an extended realm. Christian Bjone, architect and writer, in this book, explores a complex relationship between architecture and art, starting from 1914 to the present, chronicling works done in collaboration. The narrative takes you through a historical journey starting from the times of Walter Gropius and Bauhaus to the modern day collaborations between Frank Gehry and Richard Serra, recording various issues of the relationship between architecture and art. As the book progresses, a conceptual base is created to support the argument that the two fields have not always found agreeable grounds in terms of conceptual, ideological and ethical discourses. Some of the most remarkable works of the collaborative between the artist and the architect have been established in friction and at times, disagreement and oppositions. The book also looks critically at the role of an architect playing the artist and vice-a-versa.


The book illustrates many works in collaboration. In this case, between Meis Van Der Rohe and Alexander Calder.

With strong and intrinsic argumentation, the book departs and deviates from the idea of unification between art and architecture to present a reality of greater

book review

Through visuals and a narrative woven in nine chapters, the book examines various facets of the confluence between the two diverse fields.

With strong and intrinsic argumentation, the book departs and deviates from the idea of unification between art and architecture to present a reality of greater interest: that of conflict and friction. interest: that of conflict. Through vivid and intriguing graphical and photographic content, the book establishes parallels between the conceptual processes underlying both fields, revealing tension arising from different aspirations within the partnership. Through the book, Christian Bjone argues that the ‘anxious alliance’ on one hand reveals a deeper and a more fundamental connection, while on the other, produces diverse and intensely appealing environments; especially in the public realm. Other than narrative and the visual content, the book presents some refreshing insights both from the author and from various other sources. Allow me to present one such observation for Le Corbusier’s celebrated Ronchamp Chapel, wherein Christian Bjone records that, “We may never completely understand the entire symbolic meaning of the building at Ronchamp, but we can still be moved by its presence and experience sensations of inward meditation and outward aspiration through the architecture.” Art + Architecture is an interesting read, especially for those who have always found alliance to one and inclination to the other field, making the experience that of cognitive introspection.

Through images and arguments, the book investigates the relationship between art and architectural space.

Book Author Publisher Language ISBN Reviewed by

: : : : : :

Art + Architecture – Strategies in collaboration Christian Bjone Birkhäuser GmbH English 978 3 7643 9943 6 Ruturaj Parikh

120 IA&B - APR 2011

Cultural Institutions: Envisioning the Future Amita Baig and George Jacob, in this column curated by Amita Baig, co-author this insightful narrative on the current state of our cultural institutions extending their vision for the future of these institutions in the context of their management, identity and relevance. Text: Amita Baig and George Jacob

Museums and National Identity ndia of the 21 st century is bursting with aspirations of a middle class, who finally, after decades of rigorous control, have an opportunity for prosperity. Given the pace of development, there is almost no space for assimilation, absorption, adaptation or even rejection, of cultural influences and their impact; a process of filtering, which has over the centuries contributed to an evolving Indian culture. There are immense challenges facing the nation and frequent flashes of violence are often symptomatic of the challenges of societies in transition. The cultural heritage of the nation is its identity. It is, in effect, our cultural capital. It has less to do with buildings; it has to do with the social, societal values embedded in culture: how we perceive it also depends on how we present it.


As governments struggle with social unrest, cultural upheavals spread across cultures of the world, and as society grapples with the pressures of economic growth and startling inequalities, it is sobering that we have not been able to harness ideas which could become healing touchstones. It is extraordinary that we have never thought of strategic cultural interventions as affirmative tools for securing cultural plurality and valorising shared heritage. Japan, after the Second World War, used the restoration and validation of its cultural heritage as a strategic tool to rebuild national pride. It is a nation which has secured enormous cultural pride through their investment in their cultural heritage and became a critical building block in the post-war era. The dividends which they have reaped are clearly visible, in terms of safeguarding their culture as well as providing moorings for its people who went from the humiliation of defeat to one of the most powerful economies of the world in a very short time frame. It is perhaps only Japan which can boast of “Friends of the World Heritage” as a people driven initiative. Japan’s cultural policy secured its culture and heritage in the decades of phenomenal growth and change which redefined its landscape. Similarly, China, which in the 21 st century is one of the fastest growing economies of the World - a finely crafted cultural revitalisation strategy is validated by its people, once completely decimated in the Cultural Revolution. One only has to recall

how profoundly culture was used as a tool for destruction and now for reconstruction. Today, there is cultural resurgence stewarded by the State and embraced by its people. Cultural Globalisation With the world today in the turmoil of an unprecedented pace of change , and as the borders of cultures secured over centuries are severed in a ‘one world scenario’, it is time to take stock of how we mediate the future of a pluralist culture. “The exponential growth in affirmations of or claims to cultural difference has given rise to multiple ‘conflicts and tensions’ in recent years. These loom large in current anxieties. As we put it the ‘concern for culture’ that is increasingly evoked in contemporary public debate lurks the spectre of conflict: the cultural dimensions of conflict on the one hand, and conflicted dimensions of culture on the other”. Increasingly, across nations, we face a rise of ethnic, religious reaffirmation and inevitable divergence. Equally, the dissatisfaction resulting from huge inequalities gives rise to the reassertion of cultural identity as a buffer against such inequalities. The challenge and opportunity in India is that we have a vibrant and continuous living culture which has survived despite the colossal changes being wrought across the nation. We live everyday with increasing spheres of conflict in areas like Kashmir or the north eastern states, which has as much to do with cultural identity. In these situations, it is perhaps hard to fathom that cultural tools have not been mobilised to steward a revival of cultural confidence. The need of the hour is affirmative action. One must evaluate the massive cultural, economic and perceptional transformations which have taken place after the Guggenhiem Museum was established in Bilbao, in the much contested Basque region of Spain. In the early 90s Bilbao was a grimy industrial city with a rapidly declining economy and in a happy coincidence Guggenhiem were looking for a European location for a Museum. An extraordinary project at an immense scale has catapulted a poor unknown town in Spain into a global city of significance. Its Municipality and Government joined hands as Gehry’s now iconic museum was being built, they ensured strategic interventions which secured a dream partnership. Its vision document for 2010 states:

culture counts “Bilbao stakes its future on joining the ranks of localities in the global world where value is created, and on being an attractive city for people with ideas and a city committed to projects of innovation.” It mandates the creation of a ‘city for innovation and knowledge’; the holding of a Universal Exhibition as a way of projecting Bilbao internationally and as a catalyst for a score of public and private initiatives; the urban regeneration of the Old Quarter of Bilbao to consolidate its role as a space for citizens to get together, with leisure, trade and culture as its foundation; and the cleaning and recovery of the River and its banks, transforming it into the articulating axis for an open multicultural society, and making it an identifiable and unmistakeable symbol of Bilbao City and of the socioeconomic dynamism of the areas through which it flows. Now known as the Bilbao Effect… a new museum housed in a building already called-on its completion at the end of the 20 th century - the most important building of the 21 st century. From all reports, Bilbao is rapidly metamorphosing from a sort of one-hit wonder to a genuinely vibrant city with restaurants, nightlife, theatre, and art. Gehry’s radical, shimmering metal building has become a source of immense civic pride. This project exemplifies the ideals of culture and development. Equally, the Museum of Islamic Art recently opened in Doha in its vision statement says, “The Museum is one of the most important and monumental building projects of its type in the world today. In architectural terms, it is one of the most distinguished modern buildings in the entire Middle East. It is a structure of exceptional quality, designed by one of the most important architects in the world and will house great treasures. It represents cultural, scholarly and artistic achievements at the highest possible level. This museum, along with the other museums planned to be constructed in the area, and in the context of the major educational reforms and new university establishments being supported by the Qatari authorities, will transform the State of Qatar into a centre of world-class educational excellence.” The creation of a centre of excellence will inevitably garner cultural pride. The State of our Cultural Institutions The cultural heritage policy of a country addresses issues of national identity, directly and indirectly through its programmes. It examines aspects beyond the management of the multiple manifestations of culture to our shared perception of history, lifestyles, values and beliefs. These issues are not of mere academic interest, but rather more of a profound understanding upon which the sense of nationhood is based. To date, we have not considered that museums could become centres of excellence, where technology will draw in a young generation and where cultural knowledge must be the most accessible tool for national growth. No nation can build its future on mere economic opportunity. It is fallacious to believe that the challenges facing the country today can be addressed with injections of money for roads and electricity

alone. A continuous living culture such as ours requires much more investment intellectually and culturally. Effectively do we have the vision to herald a cultural renaissance? In say the Kashmir Valley, by valourising its rich heritage and creating a museum or a cultural centre in which the youth can have pride? In India the valourisation of our cultural heritage has unfortunately been orphaned, and realistically, the Government has offered no vision for India’s culture and its evolving contemporary manifestations. The vast majority of India’s population is under the age of 30 and is often regarded as the first generation who believes in themselves as Indians. Given how fractured the political environment is, surely the need of the hour is to nurture cultural values in these young minds. One should remember the energy created across India in 2007, when an online campaign to ‘Vote for the seven wonders of the world’ overtook the Indian imagination and galvanised a huge voting public and determined that the Taj Mahal would be listed. The Indian Government and UNESCO distanced themselves and quickly declared the exercise as a fraud. Were the mandarins of culture threatened by a popular movement? Shouldn’t we consider augmenting our cultural institutions to consolidate the cultural unity we can now see emerging in young India? If so, then museums, repositories and archives therefore, must become immensely powerful organs, which secure and showcase the past in the present. This paper does not focus on cultural institutions, which have failed to make to cut and compromise our capacity to safeguard our heritage as already referenced serious indictment in a recently published report by UNESCO. The essay addresses the need to have a strategic vision for our cultural institutions, which must be mobilised as a commitment of value for our heritage. Without which we could, as culture professionals, be working in a cultural vacuum with little acknowledgement and respect towards heritage as a contemporary asset. Post independence, there was a plethora of institutions created, which would secure and promote traditional cultures of India. This included the development of cultural institutions at the national and state level, designed to be the repositories of the phenomenal wealth, which we inherited in terms of movable and immovable heritage. Its rich legacy of literature, manuscripts etc. are testimonial to our vibrant past. Regrettably, in terms of vision or aspiration to attain benchmarks of excellence, they remain still born. Even as monuments are restored to address European norms and fashioned to tourist-needs, museums are now bhandars of ever-decreasing standards. Archives and libraries as repositories of vast knowledge, languish as few people today have the time or the energy to navigate their somnolent caretakers. On a visit to the National Library in Kolkata, an eminent historian recently remarked that as a regular user he had to wait a minimum of one week to access a book. In a world of technology

122 and where there is such a premium on time, are we frittering away our cultural capital? Even the two-hundred-year-old Indian Museum in Kolkata, which houses an extremely important collection of Indian art (most housed in reserve storage), reflects limited and archaic curatorial and display skills. In the 1980s when the museum raised a demand to build an extension over a lake adjacent to it, public outcry saved the open space, but lost the opportunity for effective, much needed upgrades. The National Gallery of Modern Art commissioned the adaptive reuse of the erstwhile Cowasjee Jehangir Hall to become an extension museum in the culturally vibrant Kala Ghoda precinct in Mumbai. Although there was a design competition for this, its realisation took another decade as public works departments and museum design were clearly antithetic and the final product was, as with most public institutions defined by the lowest cost and the cheapest material. This stands in direct contrast to cultural undertakings across the world where the finest minds are sourced globally and benchmark the achievement of excellence. Is it no wonder then that the National Museum and indeed so many others, have no directors, and continue to be consumed with their own mediocrity, unable to attract inventive and credible talented professionals. It is perhaps even more damning that despite a National Museum Institute housed in its precinct for over 20 years that should have trained a cadre of specialists, there exists an inadequate number of trained and recognised curators and there exists no clearly articulated strategy for building capacities. Worldwide, a museum curatorship is a coveted profession requiring academic credentials, curatorial training and continuous augmentation of interpretive and research skills. Celebrating cultural heritage of a nation requires mobilisation of the finest ambassadors of professional excellence. Whether it is collections management, research, interpretation, conservation, preservation or exhibition, we have fallen seriously short of establishing standards. Will the Museums, libraries and archives of India face the same denouncement as the Archaeological Survey of India; unable to augment professional skills or attract the finest brains, superseded by a National Monuments Authority, a curious creation which has appropriated decision making with no accountability. The protection of the cultural heritage of the Nation is a constitutional responsibility. With that aspect in rigor mortis, is it conceivable that we might articulate a vision for today, for tomorrow harnessing the aspirations of a burgeoning young India. Museums and archives require to be bright vibrant and interactive centres bursting with activity; a major educational tool all presented with cutting edge technology. Specialists academics and design specialists constantly require to reinvent the space and keep the institution at the centre of the cultural life of the country. Envisioning the Future With countless museums, heritage sites and immeasurably immense

resources, some on the brink of being lost, there is a tremendous opportunity to raise the bar, train and educate a new generation of cultural resource professionals to lead the change in transforming the way we appreciate and present our heritage. India ’s soft-power, in effect, is woven into this fabric. It is essential to recognise the issues at hand and engage in introspective thought to chart a constructive way forward on a multitude of fronts. It is equally important to be aware of the immense opportunity that the current state of affairs presents - to re-invent, reach out and bring about a renaissance of cultural institutions that will transform the way we learn, understand and present our living heritage in times to come. A five-pronged approach may perhaps be a good starting point to drive the resurgence and revival of our cultural institutions. These initiatives will provide the necessary platform for spawning cultural communication, education, outreach and research. A. An Effective Museum Policy Framework for Transformative Learning B. A Strategic Plan for 2020: Assessment and Rapid Implementation C. Establishment of a Private-Public Partnership towards a National Museum Foundation D. Indian Institute of Heritage Management and Leadership E. Museums as Regional/National Economic Engines Museum Policy Museums are evolving and transforming themselves and the lives of their diverse audiences. They are seeking new definitions, new approaches, new meanings and new opportunities to enhance learning and bring about sustainable change. The spectrum of projects, industry intersect, living culture and mixed use story-telling exhibit experiences offer a glimpse into the shape of things to come in the decades ahead, as museums continue to grow in myriad ways adapting to the changing needs of experiential learning and collective memory. What was traditionally within the domain of curatorial academe is increasingly being influenced by those considered “outside” the arteries of museology per se. A policy framework that addresses the current and future needs of our museums and allied cultural institutions is a fundamental requirement to set the mandate for custodians of culture and collective memory. Museum policy has to do with the legislative, financial and administrative arrangements made by central and state governments to establish and support museums, and also with the decisions taken by each individual museum to establish its own role among their stakeholders. The internationally accepted definition of a museum, in turn, is “a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and of its development, and open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for the purposes of study and enjoyment, material evidence (either animate or inanimate) of people and their environment.” The policy needs to address the need for survival, sustainability and success of our cultural institutions and embed it cohesively with collated functions such

123 as archaeology, research, tourism, copyrights, access, cultural repatriation, intangible heritage, movable and immovable assets, urban planning and evolving needs of a post-colonial society. For instance, working on an Art Policy (as recently tabled Draft by a Delhi-based law firm and consultants) in isolation may not be as effective as approaching this effort in tandem within the larger context of developing a comprehensive Museum Policy dossier that, among others, incorporates and integrates the needs of art galleries, involving leading museum professionals and internationally recognised museum policy-makers, practitioners and custodians of cultural resources.

outreach. Governed by a joint task force from the opposition and the ruling parties in conjunction with a rotating pool of museum professionals, leaders in the industry and community, the Foundation could offer the much-needed resource base of sustaining museum initiatives nation-wide. The Museum Foundation can also play a significant role internationally by providing scholarships, exchange programmes, dynamic private-public interaction and collaborations at various levels. Designed explicitly to allow for rapid mobilisation, appreciation of innovative thought and experimentation, the Foundation should herald a generational shift in the way business is conducted in the non-profit sector.

Strategic Plan 2020 As India lacks a comprehensive Museum Policy that addresses the changing needs of a globalised work-force and has an indigenous population base that is increasingly looking beyond the material measures of success, the time has come to turn this into an opportunity for revival and restoration. With the Prime Minister heading the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, central and state governments need to precipitate a nexus between corporations and individual resources to trigger a workable strategy for a 2020 vision in-line with the best in the world.

The Foundation may then take on the role of setting standards and recognising professional excellence through awards and citations of honour acts as an advocacy arm in conjunction with the Museums Association of India (which is in need of a serious introspection and realignment of its core priorities and tools of implementation).

The cultural landscape provides significant investment opportunities in capital improvement and new projects that could have tremendous public interest and support. Untapped subject fields of fashion, design, music, cinema, health awareness, culinary arts etc. can all be transformed into rich museum exhibit experiences with travelling avatars in circulation at international venues. Examples of such initiatives with investment opportunities, urban planning, community revitalisation and econometrics of success abound in various parts of the globe.

Indian Institute of Heritage Management and Leadership India needs a world-class museum studies-based training institute for excellence and much-needed cultural awareness for the people managing and leading its cultural resources. It is evident from the poor state of its national and state run museums floundering for budget and vision at many levels. Adequate awareness of best practices and international museum standards is needed for the bureaucracy that is often entrusted with caretaking as well as for those young professionals who will be the future cultural ambassadors to India’s heritage within India and overseas. The approach to both levels of training programmes, will address the growing need for effective management and leadership while leveraging cultural resources for diverse audiences and the overcoming challenges of addressing contemporary stakeholders through old methods and traditional practices. While organisations like INTACH generated community awareness, activism and implemented conservation programmes, there is a growing need, now more than ever, to address Heritage Management and its diametrical congruence with tourism, economic and regional development coupled with foresight and leadership to truly capture the spirit of “Incredible India”! If there was ever a solution to transforming India truly from inside out, it lies in awakening the ‘kundalini’ of its heritage, the unturned key to creating cultural capital with museums. It is an industr y like no other beyond the oft perceived in the myopic inflow of tourism dollars and increased footfall-related revenues. Its impact transcends the ver y perception of India – the land, the people and those who visit to be transformed or transfixed irreversibly.

National Museum Foundation Integral to the strategic master plan must be the establishment of a National Museum Foundation, a unique private-public partnership where the government commits to match funds raised from the private sector towards the building of museums, exhibits, programmes, projects and

Establishment of such an institution in private-public partnership will address the growing need for effective management and leadership while leveraging cultural resources for diverse audiences and the challenges of addressing contemporary stakeholders through old methods and traditional practices. It will assist participants in understanding

It is estimated that there are over 750 registered museums in India (including 131 under the central government, 238 state, 70 private, 86 university, 10 municipality and 80 trusts/society) and countless other private and corporate institutions performing similar functions. A conditions and needs analysis with projected potential for enhancement can offer the premise for developing a strategic direction for 2020 with hard implementation targets, accountability and bench-marks of performance measures and success including increased number of visits, employment potential, direct and indirect streams of revenue generation and sponsorships, while impacting regional economies. The Strategic Plan needs to address issues surrounding access, private-public partnerships, diversity, bridging the urban-rural divide in India, overcoming linguistic barriers while maintaining the integrity of unique ethno-cultural practices, innovation, and life-long learning.

124 cultural policy and help generate novel institutional arrangements to meet contemporary challenges, and teach new managerial practices that would enable participants to implement and sustain investments in change and innovation. The programmes must address needs at two levels and offer the flexibility of modular selection from a pool of specialisation streams: A. Executive Certification Programme (14 Days) Eligibility: Senior executive professionals, administrators, directors, career diplomats, secretaries, ministers from central and state government departments of culture, heritage, museums, archives, tourism, armed forces, external affairs and related fields as well as ngos and others in leadership and executive positions. Included in such a program would be a CEO Forum: Leadership Exchange Analysis - A flagship in-residence programme with world cultural sector leaders and programme faculty offering peer-driven learning on global challenges and compelling societal concerns. B. Post-Graduate Degree Programme (18 Months): Distance learning option with six month practicum Eligibility: Recent graduates and early professionals with interest inpursuing academic or career objectives in heritage management, cultural resources, museums and project implementation. The emphasis here is not only on museum theory, practice and the conventional rigours of collections, conservation, preservation and exhibition, but also the multi-billion global industry of museum/exhibition design and construction, project implementation and contracts. Multi-lingual course modules offered in this programme will trigger a more meaningful and dynamic interaction with students and professionals pursuing various levels of programmes. A flexible platform will provide for an innovative approach to heritage management and leadership streams. Modules may be offered in both on-campus and distance education on-line formats, transcending geo-political boundaries, language impediments and locational or residential logistics, with built-in flexibility for executives and professionals. With over thirty modules in the curriculum, it should allow for specialisation in museum studies, cultural resource management, project implementation and heritage leadership or offer courses from all four areas to develop a programme that suits particular needs and interests of applicants. Creating Cultural Capital Globalisation is beginning to affect cross-cultural dialogue at levels and their impact on the future of museums is yet to be fully discerned. The catalytic coordination of professional resources and implementation

dynamics is expanding possibilities of reach and outreach resulting in remarkable optimisation of financial and intellectual resources. Museum designers from different continents are cross-pollinating their creative rigours on to the creation of national museums obtuse to their own cultural backgrounds. Not only has the last decade seen an increased blurring of geo-political boundaries and national identities, it has experienced an unprecedented fluidity of resources that has re-shaped the manifestation of culture and heritage. From conventional leanings of curatorial practices to the frayed edges of neo-economic colonialism, museums face a plethora of challenges as they seek relevance while engaging diverse audiences. The seamless integration of communication between museum clients, architects, designers, curators, museum educators, fund-raisers, board-members, trustees and potential donors, is already generating a transformational impact in the ways museums are being conceived, funded and built. Museums, heritage centres, art galleries and similar destinations of non-formal learning and visual repositories, are vehicles of economic regeneration and societal inspiration in civil societies. Often leisure destinations with rich cultural history and heritage attract not only tourists, but other investment in allied sectors and industry keen on offering the quality of life that the ambience offers. Apart from generating direct revenues, employment, e-commerce, tourism and restaurant investments, museums serve as cultural ambassadors for political, strategic and a range of community benefits. With Facebook crossing 100 million users in 2008 and You-Tube logging in 350 million user-hits a month, the rising tide of shared learning is forcing museums to seek a fresh perspective on outreach beyond their walls. India as an emerging power, needs to recognise the enormous potential of riding this tiger in terms of investing in this realm and reinvesting the accrued commercial gains into the National Museum Foundation to fuel further transformative growth that continues to sustain and celebrate our culture in unimaginable ways. Understanding the immediate needs of institutional planning, while addressing the larger human needs to learn from our shared and unshared histories, our many pasts, our present and our collective future, will increasingly shape the mission of museums in times to come. With cooperation, collaboration, creativity and collective-sharing that forms the vanguard of the new age of digital consumption, seeds of inspiration will continue to be sown by museum professionals and those associated directly or indirectly with heritage, learning, and material culture. Resonance with the pulse of pluralistic societies in dynamic flux, will guide the process of exercising judgment, while advancing the continuum of museums as centres of education, equity and excellence.


References: Boswell D and Evans, J. Representing the Nation: Histories, Heritage and Museums, Routledge, 1999. Goodacre B. And Baldwin, G., Living the Past: Reconstruction, Recreation, Re-enactment and Education at Museums and Heritage Sites, Middlesex University Press, 2002. Jacob, George, Museum Design: The FUTURE, Booksurge Publishing, South Carolina, USA, 2009. Keene, S., Digital Collections: Museums and the Information Age, Butterworth-Heinemann, 1998. Kotler P. And Kotler, N., Museum Strategy and Marketing: Designing Missions, Building Audiences, Generating Revenue and Resources, Jossey-Bass Publishing, 1998. McLean, Fiona, Museum and the Construction of National Identity, International Journal of Heritage Studies, Volume 3, Issue 4, Routlegde, 1998. Ostow, Robin, Museums and National Identities in the New Millennium, University of Toronto Press, 2008. Rybczynski, W., “The Bilbao Effect”, The Atlantic Monthly, September 2002. Weil, S.E., Making Museums Matter, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC, 2002.

‘Culture Counts’, the column curated by conservation practitioner Amita Baig has, over a period of three years, continuously debated on interlinked questions of public-private partnerships, role of nongovernmental bodies, role of citizen activists and cultural institutes bringing into focus dialogues ethical discourses related to heritage, culture and conservation.

About the authors: Amita Baig Amita Baig is a Heritage Management Consultant with experience in managing conservation projects and the management of historic sites in India and the Asia region. She is World Monuments Fund’s India Projects Consultant and has been a consultant to the Gulbenkian Foundation, Taj Mahal Conservation Collaborative and UNESCO. She joined the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage at its inception in 1984 and was Director General of the Architectural Heritage Division from 1993 to 1999, where she was Project Director for major international collaborations such as the restoration of Jaisalmer Fort with the World Monuments Fund, Jaisalmer in Jeopardy and other international donors. With the establishment of the Museum of Christian Art with the Gulbenkian Foundation and later a Museum of Ecclesiastical Art in Cochin, avenues were opened for the first time in India for international agencies to participate actively in the protection of the heritage. This has also included the collaboration with the Government of France and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad to address conservation of historic cities as a management challenge. George Jacob : Born in India, George Jacob has planned, designed and established museums and award-winning exhibit experiences spanning 11 countries in his 23-year museum career and is among the leading museum thinkers of our times. Former Smithsonian intern and Canadian Commonwealth Fellow, he was educated at the Birla Institute of Technology & Science, University of Toronto and Yale School of Management. With a track record of over $200 million in museum projects worldwide, he is the author of the seminal books Museum Design: The FUTURE and the upcoming sequel Exhibit Design: The FUTURE. During these years, he has had the distinction of being the founding Director of two museums, Vice President of OMSI, OMNIMAX facility, Chair of numerous professional committees on museum ethics, standards and best practices and has been an Associate Professor of museology at various universities as adjunct faculty and was most recently, a plenary Speaker at the ICOM/UNESCO sponsored 2010 World Conference on Inclusive Museums in Istanbul, Turkey. He is, at present, the founding Director of the Khalsa Heritage Centre - India’s largest contemporary museum complex designed by the renowned Boston-based architect Moshe Safdie. best practices and has been an Associate Professor of museology at various universities as adjunct faculty and was most recently, a plenary Speaker at the ICOM/UNESCO sponsored 2010 World Conference on Inclusive Museums in Istanbul, Turkey. He is, at present, the founding Director of the Khalsa Heritage Centre - India’s largest contemporary museum complex designed by the renowned Boston-based architect Moshe Safdie.

April 2011  
April 2011  

VOL 24 (8)