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MUMBAI ` 200 JULY 2012 VOL 25 (11)

ARCHITECTURE Mahindra Research Valley – Charles Correa & Associates Restoration Architecture for ‘Homegrown Neighbourhoods’ – Marc Hood Narke Residence – Manthan Architects INTERNATIONAL The Holy Redeemer Church - Menis Arquitectos i.lab – Richard Meier & Partners URBANISM ‘Open Mumbai’ - P K Das & Associates ART ‘Pipeline Network’ - R&D Cell, KRIVA



In conversation with IA&B, Fernando Menis of Menis Arquitectos talks about the overwhelming potential of material research in his projects, while constantly searching for architecture that is emotionally evocative. Photograph: courtesy Menis Arquitectos

After studying architecture in Barcelona and practicing in collaboration between 1981 and 2004, Fernando Menis found his practice ‘Menis Arquitectos’ in 2004 in Tenerife and Valencia. Menis serves as Associate Professor of the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Associate Professor at the European University from Madrid and President of the Laboratory for Innovation in Architecture Design and Advanced Tourism of Tenerife. His highly acclaimed practice has won several awards including the National Prize for Architecture and Design. He has been nominated twice for the Mies van der Rohe Award. Menis’s works are presented consistently in publications around the world, and made the subject of many exhibitions. His biography and works are featured in depth in the volume “MENIS”, released in 2011 by the Korean editorial Archilife. Menis’s work evokes an elusive, poetic language of architecture through forms sculpted in concrete. IA&B: Tell us about Menis – as a practice, and as an individual philosophy. What can be identified as the central idea of your design? FM: The architecture that we do, I believe, is characterised by a signature; a very personal architecture that I have been improvising on over the years. Menis Arquitectos has an extensive curriculum of high quality. Our architecture is generated by focussing on common sense acquired in my education as an architect. I believe in constant conversation with an emotional component drawn from my personal experiences from the island I come from, with an emphatic landscape and a tradition in the use of certain materials such as concrete, which is capable of buildings of expressiveness. This way, we design “emotional-rationalist” buildings in which there is a tangible and intangible strength. In all our projects we start a dialogue with the project owners, trying to realise their wishes in our architectural Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

let’s partner work by working together. Also, one of the main objectives of our projects is to promote and support the local economy. IA&B: You spent a long time learning from architecture. What can you say about your academic interests? How do you put them into practice? FM: When I studied Fine Arts in Tenerife, the experience gave birth to a passion for physical work that remains unchanged as of today. This passion was to be enhanced and fine-tuned by a profound interest in rationality (use, functionality, structure, economy…) acquired after a period of intense training at the Barcelona School of Architecture. The subsequent development of many competitions such as the one for La Villette in Paris set the tone for this learning period and entailed the crystallisation of a personal working method, where the use of a ‘plasticine’ models and other means of drawing and working ensured a highly emotional, physical and intimate approach to the project. But my learning time doesn’t stop at this point. I am still learning a lot from professionals and students. My teaching in Valencia, Madrid and Paris helps me to understand the architecture from my students. Menis Arquitectos also organises a lot of workshops in Spain as the learning continues. IA&B: Concrete is your material. You have worked and experienced the forms and possibilities of concrete. Tell us about this fascination/interest. FM: Concrete allows you to adapt to any form. We like to use it in our projects for the emotional component we were discussing before. Besides, concrete is durable and has good behaviour facing fire. But not all solutions can be found by using the same material. Every location, every programme guides you to find unique solutions. Every project whispers to you on the way it wants to be materialised and the result must be a continuous dialogue between all the materials that shape the building. However, a common component in all of our projects is the search of solutions within the context. Also, concrete makes it possible to use lot of local workforce as people know how to work with concrete all over the world. This helps the project to become rooted to the place and allows the benefits of the building activity to go to the local population. IA&B: Research of materials, spatial and experimental, forms the foundation of your architecture. What can you say about the interest of Menis Arquitectos for research? FM: To get to the origin of things, it is necessary to investigate them - their function, their purpose to propose new solutions. In Menis Arquitectos, our concern has to do, in many cases, with the relationship between architecture and site. We defend the global knowledge applied locally, which means we keep the perspective upon the context of the project. Surrounded by a specific landscape, we try to imagine and research about the relationship between our architecture and the site. Eventually the project takes shape crystallising under the demands of a specific location and time. Each project gives us the opportunity to participate at the solidification of some of the people’s idiosyncrasies, giving rise to a tangible element that will become the part of its future development.


IA&B: The process of execution of your projects is complex. What are the physical and virtual instruments that help you execute these complex spaces? What is the process? FM: A project that changed the way to develop our work and its subsequent execution was the Magma Art & Congress design. During the time of the work, our knowledge was growing, as our ideas were changing continuously. Therefore, we were forced to constantly modify the project in the making - trying to make pillars disappear or redoing the roof - in the come and go, we were constantly rethinking the beginning of our working methodology. In fact, the curved roof, that follows a fully differentiated geometry from the base, but interwoven with it at the end, didn’t have a final design until the very end of the project. To carry it out at that time, we had to use computer programmes that were not as common as today. Right now in the office, we are combining the elaboration of manual models that are subsequently digitalised. IA&B: Menis Arquitectos is a team of more than 15 people. How does the office work? What is the workflow? FM: At the moment, we have 25 architects in the office where the projects are developed, but we also have various collaborations with other disciplines. We have a fundamental large team of professionals (engineers, biologists, historians, electricians, locksmiths, scenic equipment managers and acoustic professionals), in addition to collaboration with offices in other countries. This interaction that enriches the project and is therefore produced through new parameters that come out as knowledge is complemented. More accurate the data received from the team, simpler is the work. The exchange with other disciplines is an opportunity for experimentation to understand the environment of building materials - where do they come from, and the new uses that can be given intervening in their elaboration. It is a constant intervention. Solutions come from the nearest; the intention is to impress, to create states of mind. IA&B: You have been professor of architecture in many widely known universities. What is your opinion on current state of architectural education? FM: The teaching of architecture is like a lasagne, you add layers of knowledge as your knowledge evolves, it is about a continuous learning, you never stop learning. The architect is a great coordinator who manages to overwhelm. IA&B: If you had to choose one of your emblematic projects, which one would it be? Give specific reasons. FM: One of our current projects is the study of a high standing housing tower. It is a new challenge for us, given that most of our projects have a marked horizontality - while in a tower we try to move that character that the project emerges from the ground but with a severe verticality.

Menis Arquitectos’ work is chronicled in this issue in the article titled ‘a symbiosis of dualities’ on page 86. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012




LET’S PARTNER Solid States Fernando Menis of Menis Arquitectos discusses the notions of materiality in his projects and the constant search for evocative architecture with IA&B.

VOL 25 (11) | JUL 2012 | ` 200 | MUMBAI RNI Registration No. 46976/87, ISSN 0971-5509 Chairman: Jasu Shah Printer, Publisher & Editor: Maulik Jasubhai Shah Chief Executive Officer: Hemant Shetty


Assistant Editors: Maanasi Hattangadi, Ruturaj Parikh Writers: Rashmi Naicker (Online), Sharmila Chakravorty, Shalmali Wagle Design Team: Mansi Chikani, Prasenjit Bhowmick Event Management Team: Abhay Dalvi, Abhijeet Mirashi Subscription: Dilip Parab Production Team: V Raj Misquitta (Head), Prakash Nerkar, Arun Madye


Au courant updates on competitions, news and events.



MARKETING TEAM & OFFICES Mumbai Viresh Pandey / Parvez Memon 210, Taj Building, 3rd Floor, Dr. D. N. Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 001, Tel: +91-22- 4213 6400,+ 91 -22-4037 3636, Fax: +91-22-4037 3635 Email:,

Responsive to its locale and the idea of sustainable construction, Govardhan Eco Village in Wada by Biome Environmental Solutions emerges suited to its spiritual context.


Bengaluru: Viresh Pandey Mobile: 09833747615, Email: Chennai / Coimbatore: Viresh Pandey Mobile: 09833747615, Email:

regenerated from reusable materials and minimal concrete usage.


Informed by simplicity, efficiency and a unique work-culture, Mahindra Research Valley by Charles Correa & Associates creates an internalised productive environment.


restoration of ‘Homegrown Neighbourhoods’ in Mumbai.


Colours of Culture Balancing all aspects of design within the context of the cultural location it belongs to, the Narke Residence in Kolhapur by Manthan Architects is a subtle yet magnificent attempt at minimalist architecture.


INTERNATIONAL a symbiosis of dualities A sculptural form and stark simplicity enhance the expression of The Holy Redeemer

Printed & Published by Maulik Jasubhai Shah on behalf of Jasubhai Media Pvt. Ltd (JMPL), 26, Maker Chamber VI, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021

Indian Architect & Builder: (ISSN 0971-5509), RNI No 46976/87, is a JMPL monthly publication. Reproduction in any manner, in whole or part, in English or any other language is strictly prohibited. We welcome articles, but do not accept responsibility for contributions lost in the mail.

Two Tales of a City A unique collaboration of MARC, Italy and URBZ, India addresses the scenario of

Pune: Viresh Pandey Mobile: 09833747615, Email:

Printed at M.B.Graphics, B-28 Shri Ram Industrial Estate, ZG.D.Ambekar Marg, Wadala, Mumbai 400031and Published from Mumbai - 3rd Floor, Taj Building, , 210, Dr. D. N. Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 001. Editor: Maulik Jasubhai Shah, 26, Maker Chamber VI, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021

ARCHITECTURE The Void and the Envelope

Hyderabad: Viresh Pandey Mobile: 09833747615, Email: Kolkata: Sudhanshu Nagar Mobile: 09833104834, E-mail:

Pragrup Office Pragrup designs an extension of its office in a 60-year-old building in Bengaluru

Delhi: Preeti Singh / Manu Raj Singhal / Ankit Garg 803, Chiranjeev Tower, No 43, Nehru Place, New Delhi – 110 019 Tel: 011 2623 5332, Fax: 011 2642 7404, E-mail:,, Gujarat: Parvez Memon Mobile: 09769758712, Email:

CONSTRUCTION BRIEF Govardhan Eco Village

JMPL, 210, Taj Building, 3rd Floor, Dr. D. N. Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 001, Tel: +91-22- 4213 6400,+ 91 -22-4037 3636, Fax: +91-22-4037 3635 Brand Manager: Sudhanshu Nagar E-mail:

PRODUCTS Things, objects and designs for architectural spaces.

Head Office:



Church in San Cristóbal de la Laguna, Tenerife, Spain by Menis Arquitectos.


Subtle Compositions Richard Meier’s design for i.lab, a research and innovation centre of the Italcementi Group located in the outskirts of Bergamo, Italy celebrates a pragmatic approach to materials, openness and futuristic technology.





The Assets of a City P K Das and Associates, with the Mumbai Waterfronts Centre, through a recent exhibition and discourse titled ‘Open Mumbai’ present the unyielding struggle reclaim open spaces that are the foundation to city planning.


BOOK REVIEW Orchha and Beyond: Design at the Court of Raja Bir Singh Dev Bundela by Edward Leland Rothfarb Dr Catherine Asher explores the notions of culture, heritage and representation in Orchha and Beyond: Design at the Court of Raja Bir Singh Dev Bundela by Edward Leland Rothfarb.


ART Utopia for Desire ‘Pipeline Network’ by the Research & Design Cell, KRVIA (Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi



Institute of Architecture), a part of the Cinema City Project, explores the

Ghar : Home

relationship and fuses the possibilities between the two lived social realities of the

Anita Isola walks to her favourite ‘bazaar’ only to find things in disarray as the

urban present through visual-aural perceptions.

forces of development compel more people within the bracket of formality in this edition of Space Frames curated by Dr. Deepak Mathew.


YOUNG DESIGNERS ‘12 Idylls of Time The House for Mrs. Shahnaz Tayyibji in Alibaug by Riyaz & Roma Tayyibji of Anthill Design offers values of a design-led approach over a gradual passage of time.


Interiors The ‘third teacher’ for little learners Valmikee Tots by NBZ Architectural Consultants illustrates the potential of a curated environment and space to enhance child development.

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

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SPACE PRIZE 2012 - Architectural Design Category Type Deadline

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International Open to all September 07, 2012

Category Type Deadline

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International Open to all November 01, 2012

In this 30 th installment of the competition, Ben van Berkel of UNStudio has been invited to form the judge’s panel for the competition, with the topic being ‘Designing for the Inventive Economy’. Architecture, whilst enjoying a beautiful and rich history, must of course also look towards and design for the future. Therefore, to instrumentalise the systematic aspect of these organisations and adapt them to create an apparatus for architecture the competition is designed to educate the masses and provide an inclination towards innovative design.

The Spark Awards has now been divided into four competitions. “Spark:Space,” is focussed on architecture, interiors, urban design and landscape - work that has been built. The competition has moved on from its initial idea of including design work from the idea or proposal stage; it now has a dedicated competition called Spark:Concept. All competitions continue stay inspired from Spark’s core mission and criteria. The new Spark Awards will aim to allow for greater focus and dedicated resources for each type of design. Spark is international in scope and accepts entries from all designers, everywhere.

For further information, log on to: Web:

For further information, log on to: Web:

Mystery Build 2012 Category Type Deadline

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Architecture at Zero 2012 International Open to all September 16, 2012

Mystery Build is dedicated competition which aims to encourage creativity. The competition strongly believes in art, the competition also believes that the need for a healthy society requires art. Art helps one to empathise, to look at the world in new ways, to express ourselves, and to grow. Too often, when times get economically challenging, art suffers. Many believe art is a luxury and non-essential. The competition requires all entries to create an original work of art, construction, experiment, video, concept or other creative presentation, using only the Mystery Build Kit and its contents as the materials for the entry. For further information, log on to: Web:

14th Shelter International Architectural Design Competition for Students 2012 Category Type Deadline



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International Open to all September 28, 2012

Category Type Deadline

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International Open to all October 01, 2012

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) San Francisco chapter and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Pilot Programme, in partnership with the University of California, Merced, have come together to introduce ‘Architecture at Zero 2012’ zero net energy design competition. The competition aims to encourage the participation from advanced architecture, planning and urban design studios for this unique event that explores the cutting edge of energy-efficient design. The Architecture at Zero competition supports an action plan of the California Public Utilities Commission for all new residential construction in California to be zero-net energy by 2020 and for all new commercial construction to be zero net energy by 2030. For further information, contact: Web:

The Future of Architecture Category Type Deadline

: International : Open to Interior Designers : August 30, 2012

Shelter Corporation of Japan invites under-graduate or post-graduate students at universities or at tertiary institutions to participate in their annual Student Architectural design Competition. Ancient trees have an almost magnetic attractiveness that is beyond description. This attractiveness may derive from the mighty forms of the trunk and branches, or from traces of the times that the tree has passed through – such as part of tree being dead after being struck by lightning. For this competition, the Shelter Corporation of Japan requires entrants to design a house that has an attractive quality that is somehow similar to the attractiveness of big trees. The competition does not focus on the shape of trees but the entry is to be inspired by trees. Rather, it is good if the idea starts from the attractiveness of big trees and develops into an unpredictable outcome.

Every architectural attempt starts by making a representation of an imaginative situation or design, which will happen, or could happen in the future. In many cases an architectural design remains a future plan, and in times of economical and political crisis, the question of what comes next gains relevance. The comeptition aims to create an answer which reflects contemporary architectural thinking; the book has been divided into two chapters. The first part consists of the answers given by a selection of very interesting and innovative architectural offices, thinkers and historians. The second chapter is still open, and is up to the public to complete. By formatting the same question “What is the future of architecture?” into an open call, where one can participate and submit their own answer; an alternative approach to the same question is formed.

For further information, log on to: Web:

For further information, log on to: Web:

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012




Urban Waterfronts 2012: The Once and Future Waterfront Event Date Venue

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September 27-29, 2012 Washington, DC

The Waterfront Center’s 30th International Conference on Urban Waterfront Planning, Development and Culture will be held in the Mayflower Renaissance Washington DC Hotel. It is an all-day programme which will feature projects and plans that have received “Excellence on the Waterfront” Honour Awards selected by independent, interdisciplinary juries beginning in 1987. Preceding the conference is an all-day study tour and workshop featuring the multiple waterfronts of Washington, including Georgetown and Washington Harbour, plans for a totally new Southwest waterfront, early developments in the southeast along the Anacostia River, plus the historic Navy Yard. Conference presentations will feature ‘the best and brightest’ in urban planning, design and development plus grassroots citizen efforts. The broad subject areas are the artistic and cultural waterfront, the commercial and mixed-use waterfront, the environmental waterfront and the public realm on the waterfront. For further information, log on to: Web:

Delhi-Interiors 2012 Date Venue

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September 27-30, 2012 New Delhi, India

Delhi-Interiors is a specialised, leading international exhibition which covers the entire spectrum of products and services within the building and interiors industry. This exhibition welcomes key industry players, including furniture and manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers and retailers of finishing and fittings, kitchen and bathroom accessories, home and office automation products, exotic pieces, wall coverings decoratives and composites, along with interior design agencies and salons, floral interior and industrial designers, and the solution providers for this industry. For further information, log on to: Web:

Inside Outside Mega Show Bengaluru


Date Venue

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October 04-07, 2012 Bengaluru, India

Eero Saarinen: A reputation for innovation Date Venue

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October 06, 2012 Los Angeles, California

Born in Finland, Eero Saarinen (1910 – 1961) is recognised today as one of America’s most influential architects of the 20 th century. For this purpose the exhibition held at the Architecture and Design Museum will highlight his short but brilliant career beginning with the Smithsonian Gallery of Art Competition in 1939 and culminating with Dulles Airport in 1962 and highlighting his influence on design in mid-century America. He has built numerous corporate, educational, cultural public and private buildings with such recognisable icons as the St. Louis Gateway Arch, the TWA terminal at JFK, and Dulles Airport. Lost for 50 years, the discovery of the drawings twenty years ago and their secure place at the Smithsonian Institution confirms that architecture even when unbuilt can be influential, provocative and groundbreaking. For further information, log on to: Web:

Indarch-Mumbai/Index Design Date Venue

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October 18-21, 2012 Mumbai, India

Indarch is one of the biggest International trade fair on interior architectural products for the building industry. The exhibition will provide a unique opportunity to meet all the professionals from interior and architectural industry under one roof. Also around the same time and venue is the Index Design. In Index Design, companies with strong design competence, companies whose products and designs have pushed out the frontiers of the industry as a whole, industry leaders, companies who have an in-house design team as well as well-known product designers working with them, manufacturers of finished furniture, lighting, accessories and fabric only are invited to exhibit. For further information, log on to: Web:

Minding Design: Neuroscience, Design Education and the Imagination Date Venue

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November 09-10, 2012 Scottsdale, Arizona - Taliesin West

Inside Outside Mega Show Bengaluru is the leading event focussed on interior decoration, furniture, furnishing as well as building and construction industries. Organised by Business India Exhibitions, this premier exhibition serves as an outstanding platform for national and international exhibitors to launch their innovative products and interact with their target customers. Since its inception in the year 1988, the Inside Outside Mega Show exhibition has extended its exhibition centres regularly. The audience at the Inside Outside Mega Show Bengaluru 2012 will have opportunity to network with key players in the industry and to gather information about the latest design, products and services.

Ninety percent of all biological beings spend their life inside a building. Though their senses and neural systems have developed over million years, the understanding is very little. The built environment shapes our thoughts, emotions and intiates well-being. Breakthroughs in neuroscience help us to understand the many ways our buildings determine our interactions with the world around us. The symposium, Minding Design: Neuroscience, Design Education and the Imagination, a collaborative effort between the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, brings together architects Juhani Pallasmaa and Steven Holl together with scientists Iain McGilchrist and Michael Arbib to explore implications of these scientific advances on the education of those who design our built world.

For further information, log on to: Web:

For further information, log on to: Web:

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012



Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei Design Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012

SDeG Invited to Participate at Venice Architecture Biennale

Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei have created the 2012 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. It is the 12 th commission in the Gallery’s annual series, the world’s first and most ambitious architectural programme of its kind. The design team responsible for the celebrated Beijing National Stadium, which was built for the 2008 Olympic Games has come together again in London in 2012 for the Serpentine’s acclaimed annual commission, presented as part of the London 2012 Festival, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad. The Pavilion is Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei’s first collaborative built structure in the UK. This year’s Pavilion takes visitors beneath the Serpentine’s lawn to explore the hidden history of its previous Pavilions. Eleven columns characterising each past Pavilion and a twelfth column representing the current structure support a floating platform roof 1.5 metres above ground. The Pavilion’s interior is clad in cork, a sustainable building material chosen for its unique qualities and to echo the excavated earth. Taking an archaeological approach, the architects have created a design that will inspire visitors to look beneath the surface of the park as well as back in time across the ghosts of the earlier structures.

Architectural practice, SDeG, has been invited to participate at the Venice Architecture Biennale (starting august 29 th). They were initially in a shortlist of over 100 architects and were selected by a panel of experts that advises the Biennale office. The Venice Biennale is a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place once every two years in Venice, Italy. The Venice Architecture Biennale is widely known as one of the most prestigious international architecture festival that brings together the most famous designers and promising young design firms from around the world. SDeG, a Bengaluru-based firm aims to promote contemporary architecture and young architects from India on a global platform; the Venice Architecture Biennale having proved to be the perfect one for such a promotion. Ever since the foundation of the Venice Biennale in 1895, it has been in the avant-garde, promoting new artistic trends and organising international events in contemporary arts. The theme for the 2012 Biennale is ‘Common Ground’ the ambition of which is to reassert the existence of an architectural culture. For 2013, the board of the Venice Biennale appointed Italian curator Massimiliano Gioni to the post.

Morphogenesis wins AIT Award 2012 New Delhi-based firm Morphogenesis won the AIT Award 2012, Germany for Chettinad Health City Auditorium, Chennai in the Public Buildings (Interior category). This project was selected from 1600 entries from across 42 countries. The award ceremony took place on 19 th of April in the Congress Centre at Frankfurter Messe. The AIT Award has emerged as one of the largest competitions for architecture and interior design worldwide. The Architectural Magazine AIT, by Stuttgart-based Verlagsanstalt Alexander Koch ranks among Europe’s most renowned architectural magazines and, at the age of 122 years, is also one of the oldest. The award ceremony took place at the Congress Centre at Frankfurter Messe. The project also won the 8 th Saint-Gobain Gypsum International Trophy, London. The Saint-Gobain Gypsum International Trophy is a unique gypsum-industry event and, is one of the largest international competitions.


CTBUH Names Best Tall Buildings for 2012 Dramatic towers in Canada, Qatar, Australia and Italy have been named the best tall buildings in the world for 2012 by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the international not-for-profit association. The four regional winners include the Absolute Towers in Mississauga, Canada (Americas); 1 Bligh Street, Sydney (Asia and Australia); Palazzo Lombardia, Milan (Europe); and Doha Tower/BurjQatar, Doha (Middle East and Africa). The Al Bahar Towers in Abu Dhabi won the CTBUH’s first Innovation Award for the project’s computer-controlled sun-screen. In addition to ground-breaking designs, this year’s award winners demonstrate the continued renaissance of tall building development around the world. Palazzo Lombardia is the first tall building in Italy to earn CTBUH recognition and 1 Bligh is the first building in Australia honoured. A record number of towers of height greater than 200 metres were completed in 2011 - 88 compared to 32 in 2005, according to CTBUH data. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

China replicates Austrian Village The Chinese have done it all from knock-offs of brand-named handbags, electronic gadgets but this time they have taken it to a whole new level. A small, UNESCO-recognised village in Austria, Hallstatt, has been recreated, brick-for-brick, in the subtropical region of Guangdong, China. The residents of Hallstatt initially disapproved of such cloning, but most have now come around the idea. This cloning will be first of many, when you consider the ever-improving 3D printer and the increasing idea of sharing data. There is a possibility of a day where an entire city plan can be downloaded and recreated anywhere in the world. People would wonder if this is an advantage or the contrary. The Chinese seem to believe otherwise. Perhaps in the future, architects will work purely in the conceptual realm, designing plans that consumers will then produce.

Budget Cuts Threaten US Capitol The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and 10 other groups have sent a letter to Congressional leaders warning that cuts to the Architect of the Capitol (AOC)’s budget could lead to further deterioration of the US Capitol and wind up costing taxpayers more in the long run. From the projects that are by at large in risk, is the ongoing renovation of the US Capitol dome and its supporting structures. A House-approved USD7.5-million cut to this year’s USD36-million budget for operations and maintenance of the Capitol threatens to stop work on the cast-iron dome’s multimillion-dollar restoration project. The letter was also signed by the American Society of Civil Engineers, ASHRAE, the Glass Association of North America, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, Ingersoll Rand, the Institute for Market Transformation, the National Institute of Building Sciences, AEC Science & Technology, Ecobuild America and The Stella Group, Ltd.


Israeli product designer Ron Yosef creates potatoBOX, a piece of furniture that grows. As abstract as it sounds, potatoBOX’s concept is predicted to be essential for futuristic homes. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012



potato Box Text compiled by: Parikshit Vivekanand Images & drawings: courtesy Ron Yosef


ood for thought in the literal sense is what could have possibly been on Israeli product designer Ron Yosef ’s mind. A project of the most abstract nature could also be another possibility. The brief for the project was ‘cibo’, the Italian word for ‘food’. One would wonder what food would have in relation to product designing except for the fondness for food during work, as explained by Ron. If one considers typical present-day homes with lacklustre spaces and microscopic living areas, it will not be difficult to grasp the basis for this product’s design - think tiny one-room apartments with no furniture or any superfluous decoration, not even flower pots or space for pets. These gruel conditions led to the idea of growing food plants at home. After much research and experimentation with the most radical ideas such as homegrown mushrooms in the shower to lobsters bred in the flush tank, the idea of potato-growing furniture combined with a light fixture came into being. The idea is not only efficient but also eco-friendly and meant for the futuristic households. One potato can yield up to 35 new, homegrown, nourishing potatoes. The cost for developing and maintaining such furniture is bare minimum. The thought behind such furniture is much broader in ideology and progressive thinking. Ron Yosef elaborates that the simplicity of the type of agriculture that comes with such furniture helps to maintain and practice tolerance, while the potatoes within the furniture grow. He believes that this type of furniture will help to bring a little piece of nature into modern households. This design thus helps to solve a part of space-related problems existent in the quintessential modern household.

Designer: Yosef Ron Contact: Tel: +972-545-878255 Web:

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Mumbai-based architecture and design studio RooshadShroff breaks away from the traditional Indian screen with the ‘Pasolini Screen,’ which hosts a thoughtful graphic design. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012



PASOLINI SCREEN Images: courtesy Rooshad Shroff


ooshadShroff is a multidisciplinary research and design studio founded in June 2011 in Mumbai, India. While the practice remains dedicated to the realisation of interiors and buildings, the studio also operates in areas beyond the traditional boundaries of architecture including furniture, product, fashion, publishing and graphic design. Their presence in a wide array of designing forums led to the creation of the ‘Pasolini Screen’, a simple and traditional Indian room-partition; a design which also has three verses of Pier Paolo Pasolini‘s poems in Braille as the underlying graphic.

The traditional room-partition substitutes the conventional and medieval metal hinges which could only pivot around 90 degrees with the introduction of a smaller wooden panel sized 1/3 rd of the main panel with hand-drilled holes along the edges. This type of hinge introduction now allows the screen to pivot at a much larger scale of 180 degrees. The screen is designed in such a way that it gives a box-like appearance when it is arranged in the closed position. The Braille graphic on the screen is created by hand-drilling over 100,000 holes in 1-inch-thick panels along the pattern with a variation of small 1/16 th-inch and 1/4 th-inch holes according to the Braille text. The most exhaustive challenge of this entire design was when the craftsmen inlayed a lighter-coloured wood into a 1/4 th-inch hole diverging from the traditional inlayed pattern familiar to the craftsmen. All pieces in this furniture are made from old Burma Teak wood that was retrieved from construction sites and old bungalows to contribute the increasingly environment-conscious world.

Designer: Rooshad Shroff Contact: RooshadShroff 302 Dalamal Chambers 29 New Marine Lines Mumbai 400 020. Tel: +91 22 2203 7745 Email:

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


View of the Govardhan Eco Village.

Govardhan Eco Village Located in a largely spiritual context, Govardhan Eco Village in Wada by Biome Environmental Solutions is a retreat with site-specific, sustainable construction solutions. Text compiled by: Sharmila Chakravorty


onceptualised as an ecological retreat to be built upon the idea of sustainability; the Govardhan Eco Village achieves a balance in the architectural design between what one needs and what one builds. The project plan is to provide accommodation, allied conference and auditorium services, admin facilities and cowsheds in a total area of 64 acres. The project keeps in mind the needs of the community and the reduction of ecological footprint in a cost-effective manner. The construction of the project is rather time-bound and hence standardisation of elements has been done in order to reduce the time required for execution. The site planning involves hydro-geological mapping of the land, where buildings are placed on areas which were tested to be non-cultivable, creating no hindrance for surface or ground water drains. The design strategy also takes into account climate responsiveness, so as to facilitate internal comfort as well as rainfall and earthquake-proofing. Openings and other construction details are made so as to resist heavy rainfall and seismic activity. The mangalore tile-cladded double roofing ensures better indoor comfort due to the presence of an insulation cavity. The buildings are designed as load-bearing structures, while arches have been used to reduce the RCC elements, giving the architecture a definite sense of aesthetic appeal. Composite PCC consisting of aggregates, soil, quarry dust, fly ash, cement and lime slurry is used to reduce the cement content in the concrete. The region is abundant in small boulder stones which cannot be used as a bonding stone in the foundation masonry. To overcome the problem, precast concrete elements placed horizontal, vertical and diagonal

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

Arches reduce the need for RCC slabs.

construction brief


at regular intervals are introduced in each course. Being located in seismic zone 3, the entire structure is tied at the plinth, sill, lintel and slab levels. For these ties, RCC band running through U-blocks are used, further reducing the need for concrete and eliminating formwork. Arches in the design reduced the need for RCC lintels which are replaced by thin RCC tie beams. Arch panels made out of mud blocks are used for slabs, instead of RCC slabs. The RCC bed blocks placed below the rafters of the roofing distribute load evenly on walls. In some places, thatched roofs made from sugarcane leaves available on the site itself will be used. The material palette is simple, and very local to the site. Compressed stabilised earth blocks made out of soil, composite concrete and mortar, fly ash, mangalore tyles etc., are used, while taking special steps to ensure the reduction of RCC in construction. Local techniques and labour too is employed, with skill transfer being ensured by employing a mix of skilled and experience local and non-local labourers, also helping to speed-up construction time. Alternative technologies and building materials including some that were developed during the project to respond specifically to the site conditions are incorporated, so that the embodied and operational energy of the building is reduced considerably. Problems relating to availability of sand have resulted in a unique solution – the use of quarry dust to replace sand. Since the IS code has no provision for such a substitution or the use of quarry dust, Malaysian code was referred to, while a number of tests were performed to test the strength achieved. The project is currently on-site, and is expected to be completed soon.

Brickwork on-site in progress.

FACT FILE: Project Location Architect Design Team

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Client Civil Contractors

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Govardhan Eco Village - Sustainable Retreat at Galtere Village Wada Biome Environmental Solutions Pvt Ltd Chitra K Vishwanath, Sharath Nayak, Anshu Ahuja, Smitha S, Archana Narendran, Rohit International Society for Krishna Consciousness Ravi K

Stabilised earth blocks being used for construction.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Pragrup Office As an extension to a 60-year-old building in Bengaluru, Pragrup’s office will largely reuse materials and minimum concrete for its construction.


stablished in 1993 by a group of architects, Pragrup is recognised as a progressive group with offerings in the architectural, structural, utilities engineering, facility and project management realms. The firm is based in Bengaluru and the project, Pragrup’s office, lies on a 40ft x 60ft site in Jayanagar 8 th block, Bengaluru. The idea of the project is to provide for an extension of a 60-year-old load-bearing G+1 building with three additional levels, all in steel and timber with minimum interventions.

View of the building - Pragrup Office.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

The existing floor space is 2100sqft and an addition 2500sqft is to be added, making the entire project a total of 4600sqft. The design to add the extension was drawn keeping in mind a large tree that is present on the western side of the building, considered to be an important asset to the building. The design was modified to preserve the tree and its spread. Load tests have been carried out to assess the bearing capacity of the 2 ’6 ’’-wide masonry walls and footings. The new structure is planned to


Relationship between the different levels within the building.

be as lightweight a structure in steel and wood as possible, reducing the additional load in the existing footings. The steel to be used for the structure is rerolled steel. The wood procured for the project is partly from Indonesia, which will be Plantation Wood instead of deforestation wood and the rest will be used-teak wood procured from the demolished buildings in and around Bengaluru. There are also plans to use railway sleeper wood, which were meant to be disposed from the railways, by treating it for external flooring. Very little concrete is intended to be used for construction. The project is currently on-site, and is expected to be completed soon.

FACT FILE: Project Location Architect Design team

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Client Built up Area Landscape Area Civil Contractors Carpentry contractors

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Pragrup Office Jayanagar 8th block Ravindra Kumar Ravindra Kumar, Shilpa Sambargi, Karthik Reddy, Deepti Bansal, Neetha K N Ravindra Kumar 504sqm 50sqm Muthaiah Starwood, Indonesia Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


The Void and the Envelope The Mahindra Research Valley is a simple, efficient building in Chennai. Designed for productivity and a unique work culture, the building aids efficiency while creating an internalised, ‘synergetic’ environment. Text: Ruturaj Parikh Essays & Excerpts: Charles Correa, Mohammad Shaheer, C.N Raghavendran, Sachin Agshikar, Rajeev Vishwasrao, CRN Architects, Sudhakar Nadkarni Images: courtesy Prashant Bhatt, Sachin Agshikar, Charles Correa & Associates


he buildings where we work are machines. The architecture of contemporary workspaces, with its emphasis on efficiency and clarity in design, fails to appreciate the culture inherent to a workspace. Focussed on getting the job done, these modern machines fail to realise the human element in work – the need to take a break, meet someone, talk, stare out of the window, appreciate the time that goes by and relax.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012



Staircase at the entrance. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


A brilliant red marks a pause in the continuous form bringing in light and air. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012



In the new MRV centre, the SYNERGY generated by the many different disciplines working together is of crucial importance to the quality of the output. And so the architecture must, through its very configuration, help generate and sustain that synergy. This is why the main Design Office has been placed in the centre of the project - connected by overhead bridges to workshops on three sides; and on the fourth, to the Main Entrance and driveway. This Design Office has three main levels. Along the periphery of each floor plate are workstations laid out in an organic fractal pattern. As one crosses the floor plate and approaches the garden in the centre, this strict geometry dissolves into a loose casual pattern of glass walls - defining meeting rooms, cabins and break-out spaces, all focussing on the central garden. The perimeter glass planes along the edge of the garden have been set at varying angles - so that the trees and greenery are continuously reflected in random and kaleidoscopic ways. This sets up many occasions and places where the various disciplines involved in MRV can interact - not only in formal meeting rooms, but also in the casual spaces that lead from one department to another, and in the open-air retreats located in the very heart of the garden itself. - Charles Correa Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


“In the new MRV centre, the ‘SYNERGY’ generated by the many different disciplines working together is of crucial importance to the quality of the output. And so, the architecture must, through its very configuration, help generate and sustain that synergy.”

A set of cutouts bring light to the foyer.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

Light percolates from the court to the passage at the entrance level.


Overlooking and intersecting spaces.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Graphics in the landscape and in the centre designed with the Mahindra Ethos.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


The MRV Design Centre - the synergetic node.

Discipline of Function The Mahindra Research Valley is a modern workspace. With its workstations and conference rooms, the architecture of MRV ensures productivity. But there is more to architecture that goes farther than creating a functional space – architecture that understands the ethos of a work culture. As a plan, the MRV project is simple – the design workplaces at the centre where many disciplines meet, the workshops and test labs are placed at the periphery and linked to this core, expressing the essential pattern of flow of work. For design and prototyping of automobiles, the design centres, test labs and prototype labs have to work in a system. The master plan essentially establishes this system.

A dash of red dominates the painted surfaces of a carved cube - view from the approach.

The design centre at the core of all activities is organised in three levels. Within a rectilinear grid, 8m x 8m, the levels are staged and staggered to create patterns of double-height spaces, circulation moments and working spaces. In a regular grid of circular columns, the flow of internal spaces is independent and liberated from the restrictions of the walls. Even the façade is free and the grid enables endless permutations in interiors. A pattern of workspaces and formal meeting spaces overlap a free layer of nodes and places that afford accidental encounters and informal interactions. The design enables such interaction by delimiting the floor space through an open-interior layout. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012




The Design Centre at the MRV campus.

SECTION A-A Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012




ENTRANCE LEVEL PLAN Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Workspaces within the MRV centre. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Double-heights and split levels enabled by the 8m grid.

The office building, designed to accommodate 1800 workstations, cabins and conference rooms, has a fairly large footprint split into three floors with a central courtyard. This courtyard, which is designed as a rain forest, is the main source of natural light for this building. The workstations are arranged keeping in mind the 8m x 8m grid the building follows. So each table has a customized size of 2m x 2m, which are then placed together to form a clusters of 11, 22 and 33 tables. These clusters also help in demarcating areas for various MRV teams and a special table for the team leader is provided accordingly. A path has been created within the building to approach these clusters of workstations placed around the outer periphery of the building. The cabins and conference rooms (enclosed spaces) are kept next to the glazing overlooking the courtyard. Some of the areas between the enclosed cabins have been opened up as break-out spaces for the staff, where they can relax on a sofa and look at the wonderful garden. These break-out spaces not only give wonderful glimpses of the courtyard (like picture frames), they add a surprise element to the overall interior layout.

A basic colour palette is used for the flooring, and furniture is black (for the floor and storage units), beige (for the partitions) and cherry (for the table tops). This allows us to use varied colours such as red, orange, brown, yellow, blue and purple for specific walls. The rest of the volume is kept white. Full-size murals have been put up on some of the walls which act as landmarks for people to find their way within the huge building. The library has a wonderful double-height volume facing the garden and is approachable by two bridges at the Entrance level. There are two cafeterias, one at the Garden level and the other one on the terrace. Both have the option of using outdoor areas for spill over. The reception which is at the entrance level is partly double-height and has a spectacular view of the courtyard as well. This space is also used to display some of the Mahindra cars and tractors. The main aim while designing the interiors was to keep the focus on the garden and use the natural light which filtered through the glazing around it, as this mini rain forest is the heart and soul of the project. - Sachin Agshikar Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


An envelope that surrounds the court, glass walls bring in light act as permeable membrane for vision.

The Work Ecosystem The design of MRV aims to bring the complete workflow of automobile design in one cohesive campus. With an eye for every detail, the experience within is conducive to an efficient and productive work culture. Surprising dashes of yellow and red identify the built form. Bright colours and murals on the walls generate many points of interest. The grid of the built form dissolves in the internal layout which is fractal and free from associations. The sense of light and time is never lost in MRV. As sunlight permeates the court, an ever-changing and omnipresent sense of time prevails in the building. Many small niches and hidden spaces allow getaways and retreats. The experience in the building changes with time and season. As a system of sun-breakers filter direct glare, many intricate details interact with the built form – a strip of green, vertical glass signage systems, full-height glass openings, and ellipsoidal skylights. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Looking at the court from the glass faรงade within - light and a sense of time.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Landscape with water. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


A montage from Mohammad Shaheer imagines the central space as a dense, vibrant ecosystem.

Inside-Out Inward and discreet, the architecture of MRV centre opens up from within. The design is not introvert but responds to the rich tropical landscape within. The central courtyard is where the architecture unfolds. Independent from the structure of the building, the free internal façade affords dynamic views of the vegetation at the core of the built form. As the day goes by, the changes in light and shade, brightness and weather are registered within as light permeates to the innermost spaces through this glass skin. The fractal faces of the internal glass walls create a kaleidoscope of direct and reflected views. Bridges that are suspended over the landscape connect internal spaces. The central landscape creates many opportunities for brief escapes from work. The court becomes a space for encounters. Richly landscaped in granite and tropical plants, this space designed by landscape architect Mohammad Shaheer, becomes a refuge. It opens the architecture of MRV to sun, wind and rain. The non-formal garden will eventually become a forest-like dense space at the heart of the built form – a secret garden! Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

A connecting bridge from the space in the centre.


Mr Correa’s idea about what the landscape should look like was simple. He said that he had imagined the central space as a mass of green with the appearance of a lush tropical forest, the foliage dense enough to evoke a sense of mystery and something unexpected within its verdant recesses (just like a real forest). So that when you looked out from your office into the courtyard through the generous expanses of glass, you would see not the architectural façade across the space, but a luxuriance of foliage filling the frame. Now that it’s built and the plants are flourishing, it’s easy to see the very sophisticated architectural intent of this landscape design brief. From inside the courtyard, the effect of the angled panels of glass is to make the façade withdraw in significance, its place almost completely taken over by the visual illusion of depth produced by innumerable reflections of closely planted trees and shrubs. To speak figuratively, the architecture ‘disappears’, but in a very nice way, as it was intended by the architect. That’s an interesting counterpoint to the outer faces of the building, where the architecture is unmistakeable and confidently assertive in its meaning and presence. And that is how the building speaks; it tells you quite clearly something about itself as you approach it, and reveals another (like a secret?) when you enter the lobby and are surprised by the forest view. The courtyard is a refuge, a possible retreat whose constantly changing views give pleasant distraction from the austere spaces within. Purposely, there is a minimum of geometry or focus; the eye may wander and not be held to a particular view or ‘feature’. There is design, certainly; in the creation of spaces and enclosures, in the alignment of paths and water bodies, and of course in the simulation of the vertical structure of a rainforest by selecting appropriate plants, but it’s all largely directed towards giving the impression of very little formal organisation. All the external landscape detail is in local granite: rough-hewn granite fence-posts used as cladding to landscape walls create an unusual scale and texture. The paving and outdoor seating are in flamed or polished granite with occasional carved patterns and motifs. Sun-breaker pergolas cast shadows on the landscape within the void as a bridge overlooks the space.

- Mohammad Shaheer Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


CONCEPTUAL SKETCH WITH IDEAS Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012




Mahindra Research Valley is a simple, modern and efficient workplace. It resembles the sense and sensitivity with which our modern workspaces are to be imagined. The underlying idea for design is to create and assimilate a pattern of work – a culture rather than an office space. The built form, the spaces within, the forest in the centre, the landscape of the master plan and the organisation of spaces are meant not just to aid productivity but to substantiate the pleasure in working.

Graphics and murals on the wall.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Graphics and murals on the wall.

Signage and graphics have more to them that just guiding people with arrows. It helps enhance the environment with additional visual inputs and can create an interesting ambience. Mahindra Research Valley is an enclosed guarded area, away from public vandalism. This is one of the reasons I used glass sheets extensively in the graphics programme. Glass has an interesting illusionary character. It is very tough and can stand against natural calamities like strong winds or rain storms provided it is well anchored. The campus is very big, but the roads are linear with few branches. All signs appear to be floating, creating an interesting visual experience. En route to the main building, which is a short distance from the main gate, oversized

glass murals are placed, depicting vintage cars with the people. This has created a theatrical setup and that makes the journey interesting. To avoid the defacement of the surfaces, all building signs are put outside on a low glass pedestal near the buildings which are illuminated during the night. We used individual elements of cars such as headlights, grills and handles juxtaposed in a composition. Selection of these elements was based on their formal qualities. To carry the ‘family look’ further, all inner hanging signs were made in transparent acrylic material, avoiding conventional chains or cables. Similar to the external signs, these signs also sport a floating look. - Sudhakar Nadkarni Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


The space within. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Notes on Planning There are three concentric work zones divided by two ring roads. The central zone houses the Design Office with the large garden. The second ring consists of main R&D Centre, Test Lab and Prototype areas for Farm Equipment Sector, Automobile Sector and Common Laboratory. The third ring consist of all supporting services and utility building such as electrical sub station, LPG and CNG fuel store, water tank, pump room, STP, ETP, scrap yard, Product Libraries and Data Centre. The inner road encircles the Design Office, giving access to various staff entrances to the office and workshop. The outer ring road has heavy vehicular access for loading raw material, trailers and maintainace vehicle. The common Test Labs like Engine Development Centre, Noise Vibration Heat Lab and Fatigue Labs are placed on southwest corner of the plot along with electrical sub station, ETP and STP so that the heat and foul air is carried outside the plot. The northeast zone of the Design Office is reserved for future workshops and all existing workshops, Design Office etc. have been provided with scope for future expansion.


FACT FILE: Project : Location : Architects : Graphic Design & Signage : Client : Site Area : Built Up Area : Civil Contractors : Carpentry Contractors : Project Estimate : Initiation of Project : Completion of Project :

Mahindra Research Valley Mahindra World City, Near Chengelpet, Tamil Nadu Charles Correa & Associates, Rajeev Vishvasrao & Associates, Architect Sachin Agshikar Sudhakar Nadkarni, Satish Raut Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. 125 acres 8,00,000sqft M/S CCCL M/S Ocean Interiors. Furniture by M/S B P Ergo Chairs by M/S Herman Miller POSH `384 Crore 2007 2011 Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


From Italy to India:



ike most other countries, Italy is peacefully going on to devastate its rich but limited territory, consuming its ground at an impressive speed. Every day the equivalent of, approximately, six Piazza Duomo’s are “urbanised” only in the region of Lombardy! Speculation and consumption of soil are widely criticised but still widely practiced. One good thing about Italy is that it is, more than any other country, taking care of existing buildings and towns and sees it as a necessity. It is quite obvious, tourism and culture are crucial sources of income for the country, and they are possible because of the variety, the richness and the unique quality of its landscape and historical heritage. At the same time, the Italian population has been stable if not decreasing for decades, so while speculation is still going on almost undisturbed, its numerous failures are showing with increasing clarity that quantitative growth is not the only option for Italian cities. Since most of new constructions are purely speculative and are not really looking for architectural quality, this is usually easier to achieve in restoration jobs, a field in which Italy has got a very advanced experience. Occasions of designing new buildings are few, so Italian architecture is (on an average) somehow less competitive than other countries when it comes to contemporary architecture. This static situation can be an interesting starting point for new reflections and approaches to architectural design. There is already a certain amount of scepticism to unchecked growth, and a moment will come when cities in the world will resent growth and will have to think seriously about what to do with what is there. These are of course the most straightforward cases of restoration: everyone understands the need of preserving important relics of the past – especially when the global appeal of the country relies on them! But restoring important buildings is just a small part of a broader and more interesting work: extending the knowledge accumulated in the restoration of monuments to more conventional existing buildings and neighbourhoods. Most of the time, restoration is not about important buildings, they are just simple existing buildings: their value is their very existence. It is just cheaper or easier to restore them or extend them than to demolish them and build something else. This design problem will be the real working ground for architects in the future - not new constructions on a tabula rasa. Restoration is sustainable. We already have more than enough buildings and we now have to think about what we should do with them. We see a link between our interest in bringing new functions and design to existing buildings in Italy and the condition of unplanned settlements in India. It seems to us that experience in dealing with existing structures can be useful for working in those neighbourhoods and vice versa. It is increasingly accepted in debates on neighbourhoods such as Dharavi in Mumbai that wholesale redevelopment is not the answer. The extreme spatial constraints that shape Mumbai’s homegrown neighbourhoods have produced urban formations that are also relevant to Italy, for it is becoming a worldwide necessity to deal with existing fabrics, optimising space, resources and scale.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

Michele Bonino & Subhash Mukerjee (MARC)



Architecture for Homegrown Neighbourhoods


omegrown neighbourhoods are not usually known for the quality of their architecture, but one cannot avoid comparing their urban fabric and the small scale of their buildings to ancient cities, especially Italian ones. Besides the obvious problems that unplanned neighbourhoods face, they are full of potential: smart use of resources, including space, pedestrian circulation, a lively integration of commercial, social and residential activities. Mumbai’s homegrown neighbourhoods are not static at all. They are constantly changing in an incremental way. Their continuous development is a necessity and the way to go about it is through a restoration approach rather than a tabula rasa approach. The graphic comparisons between Koliwada and Italian neighbourhoods from cities such as Florence, Capri and Naples echo visual arguments similar to those between Dharavi and some neighbourhoods in Tokyo. This methodology of comparisons that emphasise the structural and formal similarities of incrementally developed habitats across cultures, geography and history should be an integral part of the approach. It is essential to understand processes of urban formation, as well as the way homes are built through vernacular practices. We want to understand why a city like Mumbai, in spite of the rich aesthetic culture of India, does not accept processes that are acceptable in Italy.

Matias Echanove & Rahul Srivastava (URBZ)

The relationship between the form and the larger political economy of housing in the city reveals that vast populations of the city, living in settlements designated as slums, are now being trapped in a speculative spiral of real estate development projects. In spite of a lack of recognition from the general public and the authorities, homegrown neighbourhoods continue to see a high level of construction, reconstruction and improvement of existing structures and infrastructures. It is essential to reject the idea of “informal” settlements, choosing instead to look at their morphology and uncovering the meaning and functions of existing forms as they emerge in unplanned contexts. The urban typologies of unplanned neighbourhoods are shaped by different logics of space-use, wherein, structures often fail the live-work relations in a building and the neighbourhood itself becomes a live-work, interdependent network where streets, homes and shops and workspaces make the whole condition affordable. The relationship to public space is also completely different than in places which have been planned. The street can switch from being a busy pedestrian artery, a playground for kids, a market place or a festival ground. Sometimes, it can be everything at once. In many ways this process is echoed in the incremental growth of historical towns and villages everywhere. The argument is that such housing stock is produced rather quickly and improves over a period of time, including improvement of civic infrastructure. It is possible for such settlements to be functionally and aesthetically integrated into the mainstream urban fabric. This will of course only happen if their economic value is appreciated and they can use the land, which they presently use, legitimately without bureaucratic harassment. The entire construction process involves design practices that are based on local communication, which is often oral and face-to-face. Maps and graphical representations as tools for ideation are necessarily complemented by oral systems of knowledge practices, a sort of ‘un-mediated design’. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


A dialogue between MARC, Italy and URBZ, India investigates the scenario of ‘restoration’ in Italy to interpret the term in a slightly different but equally significant manner in the Indian context. With a clear understanding that, in such a context, minimum intervention is a powerful design strategy in itself, MARC and URBZ form the entity ‘Marc Hood’ that engages in the study and improvement of ‘Home-grown Neighbourhoods’ in Mumbai. Text: Shalmali Wagle Images & drawings: courtesy the architects


discovery and organisation of scattered episodes in time-cycles of the world, history can be truly said to have begun only with the evidence of human activity. Hence, the historical fabric of a city necessarily becomes an assorted collage of not just the events that significantly impact its course, but also memorabilia in the form of its period structures and the role of its human sector in animating it. With these strands firmly knotted, each city prides its own parables, its own aura and its own identity. In order to maintain this backdrop of uniqueness in a city, it becomes essential to preserve the different but parallel concerns of its heritage; its architecture, its populace and its culture. House in Mathi, Turin, Italy: Restoration of Period Structures Italy has an exceptionally rich architectural heritage. Monuments of all varieties, from museums, palaces and churches to statues, fountains and heritage houses, adorn its skyline. Being fragments of significant eras in architecture, more often than not, they are valued as historic monuments and protected. Hence, a

A powerful design strategy of working at the level of aesthetics. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

general observation deciphers that, in such and similar frameworks, ‘restoration’ of period-structures becomes more of an approach in design, as opposed to the initiation of ‘new’ construction. However, changing times and, therefore, changing aspirations cannot be disregarded altogether. The House in Mathi by MARC recognises the potential in stagnation and adopts a powerful design strategy of working boldly, yet tastefully at the level of aesthetics. Historic monuments get preserved or restored inevitably due to their tourism and cultural value. It is the inconsequential residences and ancillary structures that are lost in the tryst with modernity. The House in Mathi, in the Province of Turin, is the transformation of one such dilapidated 95sqm-house and its barn-set into a residence and studio. Minimal and modest, the design explores the possibility of reinventing the architectural theme by working merely on the section lines of the built-space, extending it to a lavish 260sqm residence. Fusing into its site, a shallow excavation into the earth negotiates between adjacent gardens and interior living spaces, defining the relationship between architecture and landscape, while


The transformation of a dilapidated house and its barn-set into a residence and studio.

In order to maintain a backdrop of uniqueness in a city, it becomes essential to preserve the different but parallel concerns of its heritage; its architecture, its populace and its culture.

provoking an immediate visual and functional link between the interior and the exterior. Highlighted with bold yellow, the trench pierces the recessed ground level, extending from the frontyard to the backyard, visually linking the entire length with a single colour and accommodating an additional floor without any alterations to the building outline. The result is a micro-world with well-defined contemporary elements in a historic envelope, heterogeneous, but neutralised by the dominant aesthetic interventions. On the first level, a suspended volume contains a swimming pool offering an ideal positioning for sun exposure. Enclosed with glass, the rooms surrounding the entity engage harmoniously with the dynamic area in the centre. The work studio is contained within a brick building next door directly connecting to the dwelling. A later addition, the house in front establishes a modest Bed-&-Breakfast connecting to the main residence. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012



Architecture of historic significance in Italy is restored to adapt effortlessly to contemporary needs and find acceptance as indispensable fragments of the city’s heritage. Montages composed of photographs from India and abroad link the morphological similarities between the contexts.





The relevance of the term ‘restoration’ is in reference to architecture of nostalgia in this context. It is a subtle testimony to the concept of ‘living heritage’, wherein elements of historic significance blend in with contemporary trends, becoming a part of the present and adapting effortlessly to its needs. An architectural idea evolves, grounded to values like minimum and economical interventions, bold aesthetic mediations, reinvention of functions through simple sectional alterations, cordial co-existence of workspaces and residences, balanced negotiations between exterior situations and interior objects, and more importantly, the preservation of crucial strands in the fabric of history, preventing their disappearance due to negligence and accepting them as indispensable fragments of the city’s heritage. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

FACT FILE: Project Location Architect Design Team Collaborators Engineering Consultants Photographer

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House in Mathi Province of Turin, Italy MARC Subhash Mukerjee, Michele Bonino Lucia Baima, Mi-Jung Kim, Tommaso Rocca FRED Beppe Giardino


One City: Many Worlds Closer home, Mumbai is a city of urban schizophrenia. Completely different urbanisms expressing completely different attitudes have developed here in reaction to its complex intertwined issues. Its heritage is a montage of Gothic Revival architecture, festive celebration and informal settlements. User-generated neighbourhoods in India, regardless of their legal status, plead ‘restoration’ owing to their sheer number, visibility and disorder. Streetscapes composed of two places that are worlds apart,

historically and geographically, but closer than assumed, morphologically, help eliminate the presupposition that ‘informal cities’ are mere resultants of desperation and chaos. The following montages composed from photographs from India and abroad link the morphological similarities between the contexts. They initiate the possibility of conceptualising informal settlements as neighbourhoods similar to those in other parts of the world and thus capable of improving with adequate expert input.

Dharavi-Perugia (Photo-montage by Matias Echanove) As in many medieval towns, the urban fabric of Perugia, Italy (left half ) densified incrementally within the city’s wall. This produced a maze of narrow pedestrian streets. The growth of Koliwada in Dharavi, Mumbai (right half ) is constrained by the expansion of the city around it. Small plots have incrementally expended with growth. The result is a dense and low-rise urban fabric with narrow streets similar to that of medieval European towns.

Venice-Koliwada (Photo-montage by Subhash Mukerjee) Koliwada in Dharavi, Mumbai is a complex habitat with a complex class and ethnic composition. It can be seen as a part of a broader story of habitats like neighbourhood in Naples, Italy. Such neighbourhoods thrive on the importance of street-life, markets, vendors, loiterers, pedestrians and other users of public space who maintain safety, cultural vibrancy and economic support.

Dharavi-Tokyo (Photo-montage by Matias Echanove) Similarities can be observed between the user-generated habitats of Tokyo (right half ) and those of Mumbai (left half ). Many parts of Tokyo have been incrementally improved over the years by residents and local builders. Unlike the scenario in Mumbai today, Japanese authorities not only respect the social character of these neighbourhoods but actively support residents by retrofitting infrastructure without redevelopment. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


URBZ Office, Mumbai: Neighbourhoods




More often than not, social housing developed for informal communities is made affordable by lowering construction costs, minimising footprints of individual units and scaling up sizes of projects. However, expectations still remain far from being met, both in terms of quantity and quality. What results are structures that, within a few years of construction, look and function worse than those they were meant to replace in the first place. Inspired by the similarities between Dharavi and other user-generated habitats in the world, the URBZ Office in Dharavi, Mumbai by URBZ is a part of an incremental ‘Tool-House’, which breaks away from such self-defeating logic to focus on a much-overlooked aspect of its context, the ability of neighbourhoods to produce their own homes.

Home-grown Neighbourhoods possess the ability to produce their own homes. What becomes essential is integrating them with the mainstream urban fabric.

The URBZ Office in Dharavi, Mumbai is located in the top-most floor of one such user-generated ‘Tool-House’ on the crowded M.G. Road, also used as a market place, a playground for kids from neighbouring homes, a prayer space for resident Muslims on Fridays and a festival site on Hindu holidays. The structure demonstrates how the conviviality of the live-work dialectic actualises itself in the context. Conceptually located between Le Corbusier’s ‘House as a Machine for living’ and Ivan Illich’s ‘Tool for Conviviality’, the ‘Tool-House’ is an intervention responding to the urban poor, catering to their economic and sheltering needs. One of the most enduring artefacts of the post-industrial society in contemporary times, it is a dominant architectural typology that forms an essential part of the city’s heritage symbolising autonomy and entrepreneurship. This can be related to the fact that Dharavi, became a hub of disbanded workers turning to home-production after the mills in Mumbai were shut down and hundreds of tiny workshops emerged in ‘Tool-Houses’ connected by common amenities. A fundamental characteristic of the Tool-House is the manner in which it is embedded in its environment. The street seamlessly flows in and out of it, and users experience freedom of movement. It is almost never a stand-alone structure, and is shaped more by its relationship with its surroundings than by any internal force. Versatile and networked, ‘Tool-Houses’ tend to cluster around each other to achieve an effect of scale, their planning being governed majorly by functionality, incremental in nature. They combine history and biography, form and function, needs and aspirations, to produce an unpredictable template of a constantly morphing urban fabric. Elemental in social-housing, one observes the cordial co-existence of workspaces and residences, balanced negotiations between exterior situations and interior objects and a well synchronised user involvement, community network and local economic dynamic. A typology thus developed as a model can be duplicated incrementally by communities themselves with minor architectural expertise. Public amenities, then supplemented where required convert them into well-functioning communities that can integrate themselves into the mainstream urban fabric. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


FACT FILE: Project : Location : Architect : Design Team :

URBZ Tool-House Study Dharavi, Mumbai URBZ Rahul Srivastava, Matias Echanove, Miriam Bodino, Fabio Ucci, Masoom Moitra, Martina Mina, George Carothers


The various stories that circulate in the ‘Tool-House’ which houses the URBZ Office in Dharavi.

The relationship between the structure and the street. (Collage by Ben Parry)

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Cultural facilities supplemented can widen possibilities of well-functioning communities, merging them with the mainstream urban fabric and recognising their rightful significance in the city’s heritage.

The mosque is conceived as an iconic structure in its modest context.

Jamat Ahle Sunat Masjid & Madrasa Faizan-E-Raza, Mumbai: Architecture and the Cultural Fabric Amongst other civic utilities, it is common to find innumerable shrines, temples and minor votive sites catering to unmediated neighbourhoods. Owing to ethnic diversities and lack of controlled construction, these functions are rather haphazard. Self-generating dense development patterns and continual migration and settlement of residents demonstrates the ability of the community to develop their own homes to a certain extent. What requires expert intervention then, is the typology of auxiliary amenities that bind these together as functioning communities. The Jamat Ahle Sunat Masjid & Madrasa Faizan-E-Raza by Marc Hood combines architectural expertise with locally generated in-situ design inputs and local craftsmanship to ‘restore’ structure and culture in the heart of a modest home-grown neighbourhood. View of the mosque from the street.

View of the entrance to the mosque.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

Deonar-Govandi grew in the 1980s around an abattoir and a dumping ground in Mumbai. The area is around 135 hectares, out of which half has a grid layout and the other half is organic. In 30 years shops, educational institutions, religious structures have developed in the area and several parts of the neighbourhood are abuzz with commercial activity. The Jamat Ahle Sunat Masjid & Madrasa Faizan-E-Raza is proposed in a busy street in Baiganwadi, Govandi. The mosque is conceived as an iconic structure, developed through constant dialogue with its future users, allowing for flexibility and adaptability that may be essential during construction owing to fluctuating user-inputs. One enters the 8896sqft-mosque from between an elaborate restaurant and a series of shops. These not only act as important sources of income for the members of the community but also form a subtle link between the activities on the street and the mosque contained in the restored structure. The ‘Vazu Khana’ or the ritual ablution tank greets one into the mosque. An underground tank captures and stores rainwater to feed this tank. Within, the mosque maximises the prayer space by providing three levels for the purpose. The typical sectional lines of a mosque are well-utilised to achieve natural stack ventilation and the arched windows provide sufficient light and



















cross-ventilation. The ‘Mihrab’, the semi-circular niche in the wall that indicates the ‘Qibla’ is placed to allow believers to face the direction of the ‘Kaaba’ in Mecca when praying. A massive dome shelters the spaces within, typical of Islamic architecture, creating a serene and peaceful ambience. Modest and embracing interventions as these anticipate the possibility of ‘home-grown’ neighbourhoods as being recognised for their rightful significance in the social framework, and being perceived as portions of the urban fabric that can be suitable restored, both functionally and aesthetically. It hopes to integrate them with the mainstream urban fabric without derogatory presuppositions about their existence, and with due respect to their role in a city’s history.





FACT FILE: Project : Location : Architect : Design team : Client :

Proposal for Jamat Ahle Sunat Masjid & Madrasa Faizan-E-Raza Govandi, Mumbai Marc Hood Subhash Mukerjee, Michele Bonino, Rahul Srivastava, Matias Echanove, Roberta Mazzoni, Masoom Moitra Jamat Ahle Sunat Masjid & Madrasa Faizan-E-Raza Trust Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


View of the Narke residence, with the inconspicuous wicket gate.


Balancing all aspects of design within the milieu of its cultural location, the Narke residence in Kolhapur by Manthan Architects is a subtle yet significant attempt at minimal architecture in the Indian context. Text: Sharmila Chakravorty Images: courtesy Sachin Patil; Manthan Architects

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012



Shahabad stone-clad wall

Legend 1. Garage 2. Store 3. Entrance Deck 4. Garden 5. Living room 6. Dining/Family room 7. Study 8. Kitchen 9. Master bedroom 10. Master bedroom Court 11. Rear Entry 12. Music room 13. First floor court 14.Children bedroom 15. Guest bedroom 16. Terrace


Shahabad stone-clad wall

Pergola Pergola


Teak wood pergola with polycarbonate sheets

FIRST FLOOR PLAN Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012



here are aspirations, and then again, constraints that limit these aspirations. This holds especially true in the context of architecture where the bigger challenge lies in understanding someone else’s aspirations and then translating them into a tangible entity, without being watered down by the limitations. Shilpa and Ajit Narke’s residence in Kolhapur is one such manifestation of desires translated into an architectural form. On approach, from the lower road level all that is revealed of the house is a small wicket gate. As one enters this inconspicuous door, a flight of rough ‘cudappah’-clad steps lead to the real, more elaborate entrance to the house; a welcome deck with wood-finish tiles under a polycarbonate sheet-covered wooden pergola overlooking the courtyard that runs parallel to the formal and informal living areas. Beyond this deck, the space opens into a formal living area where one meets and entertains guests. The large space continues into a more informal living and dining area. Separating these two spaces is a frosted etched-glass partition, allowing for customisation as per the situation; the family can enjoy a private meal even if there are guests outside once the partition takes its place, while the entire space can become one endless entity for large social gatherings once the partition is done away with. Fanlights and glass provide ample natural light, and at the same time, allow for the perfect amount of discretion and privacy; not too stern, neither too fickle. The entire formal and informal living area opens into the courtyard - making the gardens an essential part of the interiors - separated by clear-glass doors, imparting grandeur in terms of space, as well as uninterrupted ventilation and views. Beyond the living areas lies the master bedroom which, once again, as if a design thumb-rule, opens into the garden. The architecture dims the lines between the inside and the outside, creating subtle changes in spaces.

SECTION Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

The wooden pergola at the entry deck overlooking the green courtyard.



The upper level houses two bedrooms on either side, with a family room in between. The staircase to the upper level is illuminated with a wash of warm natural light by a skylight, and opens into the family room. The space is an austere one, with a very personal, ‘family-only’ feel to itself. Here, the central visual attraction is that of the Indian classical instrument ‘Veena’, while sitting arrangements are subtly scattered around it. The guest bedroom on the west has an adjoined terrace, which can also be used to access the courtyard below via the rampart wall which acts as a stairway. The children’s bedroom on the other end, in contrast, has a balcony which overlooks the garden below. The room is intentionally devoid of a terrace, perhaps as a safety feature. The site plan of the house is open and linear, allowing for large unrestricted spaces. Even the interiors have been kept starkly minimal, with most of the walls cream or white in colour, complemented by a central dramatically coloured dark wall. Wooden finishes dominate the design, with light-coloured flooring for aesthetic contrast. There is nothing loud or pompous about the house, which is a pleasant change from the otherwise ostentatious architecture that one sees around regularly. Being the residence of a political figure, the house is fittingly approachable, while being as austere and devoid of any pretence as possible; the design

does not seek to overwhelm visitors from nearby towns and villages with its grandeur or magnificence, instead it intends to exude a warm, hospitable charm with its genuine and humble simplicity. Sited in the temple city of Kolhapur, the cultural influence of the city is evident in the design. For instance, the house stands out from the rest of the buildings in the vicinity with its unique roof structure, while still managing to be a part of the inherent fabric of the milieu; the structure doesn’t seem alien or out-of-place. Even the rampart wall in the courtyard which acts as a stairway to one of the terraces places the architecture and design philosophy firmly in the context of its site, while adding a touch of raw harshness to the soothing green of the courtyards. Inside, the placement of the ‘Veena’ in the family room depicts an inclination towards adhering to Kolhapur’s musical cultural and tradition. There is a sense of continuity in the design, instead of little clusters making up the entirety of the residence. Large clutter-free spaces - customisable to one’s preference with an etched-glass partition - that blend into the green courtyards outside give the design an unchallenged, unobstructed feeling of movement and openness. The skylights and large windows also bring in ample natural light, furthering this feeling. The high-walled courtyards Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


The informal living area and formal dining space separated by a frosted etched-glass partition.

Large cluster-free spaces with minimal furniture define the interior design of the house.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


The dining area flanked by the staircase which throws washes of warm sunlight through the skylight.

The kitchen, with an island counter top.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


The master bedroom opens into the courtyard, as do the other rooms on the ground level.

The rampart wall becomes the central focal feature in the courtyard.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


The architecture dims the lines between the inside and the outside, creating a seamless flow of spaces.

The family room on the first level between bedrooms on either sides.

nevertheless provide all the privacy and security the political leader and his family require. The design is an example of ‘how to balance’ elements that make for delightfully simple yet effective architecture. There is a sense of balance in every aspect – the interior spaces blend into the courtyards, private spaces within the house can be turned into public areas by sliding away glass partitions, the fanlights and skylights bring in just enough light to keep the interior spaces warm and cosy, and the rusticity of the rough cudappah steps that lead up to the urbane and chic interiors of the residence, amongst other aspects. There is contrast, no doubt; but the elements do not attempt to overpower in order to attract attention. One’s attention is drawn towards the collective whole – the objects and surfaces subtly offset each other. Every element within seems to be one with the house, without demanding individual attention, which is perhaps a fine attempt at creating minimal yet expressive work in architecture.


The skylight over the staircase; ample natural light gives the house a bright, fresh look.

Project Location Architect Design team Client Project Area Civil Contractor Carpentry Contractor Initiation of Project Completion of Project

: : : : : : : : : :

Shilpa and Ajit Narke Residence Kolhapur Sachin Patil Sheetal Patil, Viraj Sarnaik Shilpa and Ajit Narke 3500sqft Ajit Narke Balasaheb Sutar Dec 2009 Jan 2011 Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


a symbiosis of dualities Discovering a mystic dimension within stark simplicity, the Holy Redeemer Church in San Cristóbal de la Laguna, Tenerife, Spain by Menis Arquitectos is an expression of poignant religious architecture emerging from an impeccable harmony of synergetic dualities. Text: Shalmali Wagle Images & drawings: courtesy Menis Arquitectos


vangelicals believe that the conception of light was the primary step in the creation of life. It is said that with the utterance of the words, “Let there be Light”, a formative spirit travelled through material and vacuum which, until then, uselessly existed in darkness and desolation. The spirit penetrated the soundless nights of the world guiding the process of creation to completion. What resulted was a combination of sphere and soul – a perfect ‘yin yang’ equilibrium! Just as nature responds to matter through anti-matter for this equilibrium, an oppositional interplay of the tangible and the intangible provides balanced Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

ground for imagination in architecture. The unseen parts of a design equation inspire intuitive and synesthetic responses. Be it the voids between volumes, the shadows behind light or the invisible spirit of a space, it is the articulated dialectic, the unbroken tension of opposites that holds all creation together. Odd, almost obscure intersections of such and similar essences vaguely echo behind the design of The Holy Redeemer Church in San Cristóbal de la Laguna, Tenerife, Spain by Menis Arquitectos. There is both spirit and creation as the powerful interactions of light and shadow within multiple layers of volume and void foster profound emptiness and timeless emotion.



Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Carved in concrete, an expression of poignant religious architecture.

A dominant visual reference within its urban milieu, the Holy Redeemer Church is located on a rather restrictive 550sqm site with intense topographical variation. Countering this sufficiently, an elaborate entrance ramp surrounds and swings around the seemingly impenetrable concrete composition, allowing access to an austere outdoor square and the levitating upper floors of the church housing an elaborate Cultural Centre. Volume & Void Conceived as a disorganised organisation of large independent rocks, the 1050sqm Church and Cultural Centre comprises of four substantial

Module 1: The volume accommodates the dependencies supporting the Cultural Centre. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

reinforced concrete volumes, roughly lined with crushed volcanic rock and separated from one another by sliced openings. The four modules are treated as independent entities and built separately in phases. While the first two modules accommodate the Cultural Centre, the Library and its dependencies, the other two encompass the main Temple and the Altar. The building stands blatantly stark, stripped of any superfluous elements that may possibly distract from its inherent spiritual essence. Its minimalist exterior rejects any traces of religious paraphernalia, besides the two overlapping cracks in the end wall which abstractedly reminisce the traditional cruciform.

Module 2: The Library and Cultural Centre intersect a part of the silent temple.


Concrete volumes separated by sliced openings.

“There was emptiness more profound than the void between the stars, for which there was no here and there or before and after, and yet out that void the entire plenum of existence sprang forth.� - Heinz R. Pagels The voids between the concrete masses speak as much about architecture as the masses themselves. The hollows add depth to the otherwise crude and bulky volumes, connecting them as a structural whole, encouraging and limiting vision from within to what is beyond. The juxtaposition of these solids and cavities make the composition interesting, allowing the creation

Module 3: The volume encompasses the Temple and Meditation Space.

of a sensual space within from pure imagination. The design exploits the properties of concrete, its thermal inertia ensuring energy efficiency of the design. The hefty outer composition purposefully ignores the conventional notions of scale and proportion to create an effect of divine supremacy, a symbolic reference to the dominance of the highest authority. The balanced volumetric impact of the building along with its simplistic materials and textures thus, not only reflect the inherent design intent centred around sacred beliefs but also allow the optimisation of resources. The exterior, interior, structure, form, material and texture are inextricably fused by a complex study of concrete.

Module 4: The Altar instills a divine spirit in the space. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012




Legend 1. Temple 2. Altar 3. Meditation Space 4. Storage 5. Dependencies 6. Bathrooms 7. Stairs 8. Cultural Centre


Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

The church comprises of four substantial concrete volumes separated from one another by sliced openings. The building stands stark, stripped of any superfluous elements that distract from its inherent spiritual essence.


Discovering an experience in sheer ‘nothingness’, the main entry to the Church and Cultural Centre is an adroitly carved sliver between the concrete masses, transformed vividly with natural light and ventilation. All spaces are oriented towards these illuminated ‘in between’ slices created, making them ideal as connectors and circulation corridors. Cocooned within is an intrinsic meditation space encouraging reflection, where an individual can engage in holy-communion at the Temple or indulge in socio-cultural exchange with others at the Cultural Centre. While the main Cultural Centre and Library levitate on two floors above the main temple, the first module entirely houses the dependencies that support the Cultural Centre. Gabion walls create partitions between these appropriately segregated functional requirements in the interior.

The drama of depth, darkness and mystery.

Physical & Imaginary The wonder of the space is not constrained merely to the visual realm. Rather, the combination of geometrical properties with lighting and acoustics creates an environment, which, though channeled through vision, manifests a complete sensual experience. Void and presence now entwine to surround one with attributes, though equally stimulating, distinctly different from the exterior. The translucent slices of void and the purposefully uneven juxtapositions of solids visually demarcate the separations, crafting a confident drama of depth, darkness, and mystery. A mute stillness is instilled by the visual heaviness of concrete and sound absorption owing to the combination of concrete and local volcanic stones called ‘picón’. A blending of light and shadows with this composition brings the space to life, its revelatory aspect surfacing the intrinsic texture, depth, and form of the creation with all honesty. The space radiates raw beauty. It has a soul of its own that penetrates souls within, its noiseless walls creating an aura of serenity and conveying an intimate spiritual experience.


Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012



Light & Shadow One of the most important elements in religion being light, the design is conceived so as to allow zenithal light as an additional mystic dimension in each of its interior functions. An exhaustive and rational study of light works in coordination with the strategic locations of ceiling voids to achieve an interesting drama of light and shadow within. Light penetrates the space as if to signify a higher meaning and inspire a tranquil sense of spirituality. It emphasises the neutrality of the space as a platform on which shadows accentuate surfaces, both morphing and enduring with time. In Christianity, the seven sacraments or ‘signs of the sacred’ highlight what is holy, essential and important. The openings in the design synchronise with the movement of the sun to help emphasise each of the seven sacraments of the church, establishing deep theological roots. In this sense, at dawn, light filters in through the abstracted crucifix behind the altar symbolising the opening in the cave where Jesus was buried. This light illuminates the inscribed Baptismal font, ‘The first light of the Christian’. At noon, across the ceiling, pours in a cascade of light focussing on the Confirmation and Eucharist and soon after, a brilliant beam brightens the Confessional font on the Sacrament of Penance. The openings on the ceilings achieve a similar effect on the Anointing of the Sick, Marriage and Holy Orders. One observes a gradual transition from darkness to light through the day symbolising the divine power of resurrection; from death to life. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

The volumes and voids control light and shadow.






Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


“Let there be Light.”

Space & Spirit The main Temple and its Altar, contained in the third and fourth modules respectively, too follow the previous grimness of surfaces and refrain from typical religious ornamentation. There are no gothic ceilings with soaring arches, no wooden crosses or impersonations of divinity and no stained-glass rose-windows illuminating elaborate depictions and inscriptions. The continuing drama of solemnity culminates here with the brilliant violence of a single abstracted crucifixion on the end wall of the Altar and the natural light entering through it. Light appears to symbolise its own self, authored by the creator, who is sometimes perceived in a comprehensive sense, as light itself: “God is Light”. It imparts a sensation of divine presence, transforming the space with an indescribable spirit. What one realises is that, though religious architecture is a typology commonly associated with sacred geometry, iconography and the use of

endemic semiotics such as signs, symbols and motifs, it does not necessarily have to follow prevalent trends, as long as it serves its religious purpose. True to its purpose, the church provides a space that kindles faith, promises hope and touches the soul with its psychological metaphors for the very first words, “Let there be Light”…

FACT FILE: Project : Location : Architect : Design Team : Client :

Holy Redeemer Church Los Majuelos, San Cristóbal de la Laguna, Tenerife, Spain Fernando Menis, Menis Arquitectos Juan Bercedo, Maria Berga, Sergio Bruns, Roberto Delgado, Niels Heinrich, Andreas Weihnacht Holy Redeemer Parish Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Subtle Compositions The recently completed i.lab, a research and innovation centre of the Italcementi Group located in the outskirts of Bergamo, Italy and designed by architect Richard Meier reflects astute clarity of materials, efficient design and synergy between architecture and research. Text: Rashmi Naicker Images & drawings: courtesy Italcementi Group

With an expression that takes off from the floor, the cantilevered triangular roof rests on a pellucid structure underneath. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012




ontext defines. Yet identity often seeks to break free of it. Designed by the renowned American architect Richard Meier, the Italcementi Group Research and Innovation Centre, i.lab, is located in the Kilometro Rosso Science and Technology Park, a prestigious site that houses the new premises of prominent research institutes and businesses in Europe. Embracing the architect’s signature style with qualities such as light, transparency and openness, the building reflects the alchemy of architecture in its subtlety, quality and reverence for the human scale. The simple portal structure covering a surface area of 23,000sqm, is fitted with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, and operates in conjunction with a host of engineers, technicians and researchers. Adapting to the profile, of the site the building features a sharply cantilevered triangular canopy – its most striking element that juts across the outdoor entrance foyer. With an expression that takes off from the floor, the cantilevered triangular roof rests on a pellucid structure underneath, with glazed interruptions that comprises of two above-grade and three basement levels. The massive foyer leads to the atrium that incorporates the idea of a void acting as a connective tissue between programmes slotted in insular volumes within the structure. The building is divided into two wings; one that houses the offices and the labs while the other houses a 260-seater conference hall at the ground level and offices at the upper. The choice of materials as well as façade treatment is in coherence with the landscape and the function of the building. The smooth glazed surfaces add depth to the largely homogeneous surface whilst pronouncing the functions housed within. Glass was the solution to give the building the needed transparency in order to bind it with the surrounding. The design

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Glass was the solution to give the building the needed transparency in order to bind it with the surrounding.

The building effectively serves as a manifesto of Richard Meier’s constant endeavour to create vigorous urban architectural experiences that result by creating a rhythm of dynamism linked with qualities of space.

The atrium incorporates the idea of a void acting as a connective tissue between programmes slotted in insular volumes within the structure. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


and construction technology also focus on environmental and sustainability issues, and explore opportunities for natural light, passive ventilation and cooling, enabling the structure to save upto 60 per cent more energy than a building of equal dimensions. The sophisticated construction technology of the building fosters the use of curtain walls that allow the filtration of light within the building. Formed by an array of concrete blades resembling a geometrical sculpture, it is capable of creating an element that is both a definite formal statement and a tool to provide shade to the interior by intercepting sunlight.

Although the building adopts a formal style, it reveals a thematic consistency that transcends the site and creates a continuous evolution of spatial functions, establishing subtle relationships between public and private, interior and exterior and individual and community; dimensional organisation driven by detailed planning; while being aesthetically luminous and minimal. The building thus effectively serves as a manifesto of Richard Meier’s constant endeavour to create vigorous urban architectural experiences that result by creating a rhythm of dynamism linked with qualities of space.

FACT FILE: Project : Location : Architect : Client : Project Area :

Italcementi Group Research and Innovation Centre, i.lab Kilometro Rosso Science and Technology Park, Bergamo, Italy Richard Meier Italcementi Group 23,000sqm

The choice of materials as well as façade treatment is in coherence with the landscape and the function of the building. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


P K Das and Associates, with the Mumbai Waterfronts Centre, through a recent exhibition and discourse titled ‘Open Mumbai’ tell a story of a constant, unyielding struggle to reclaim our lost spaces – spaces that have the potential to be truly ‘public’ and democratic in the face of the developmental farce. Text: Ruturaj Parikh Data & Images: courtesy P K Das and Associates


Present condition of the waterfront: notice the drastic change in accessibility and character of the space.

A photograph of bandstand before the commencement of the project to enhance and reclaim the water edge.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

A street act on the bandstand - a democratic space for people of all classes.



View of the gateway and the landscape in front at present: cars come very close to the pedestrian zone.


ich, diverse and throbbing – Mumbai grows by the minute. With the influx of capital followed by humanity, the megapolis changes everyday – growing and decaying at a pace statistics can’t keep up with. What is truly public in a city that belongs to everyone? Her streets, beaches, sea faces, creeks, colonnades or ‘baghs’? In a city withstanding great pressures on land and resources, a truly public space is defined by accumulation of bits of open spaces, fringes, informal nodes and crossroads that substitute the necessary planned public spaces. While lack of planning ensures dearth of open space on one hand, on the other, the quality of public spaces the city possesses is in constant decline. The ‘democratic’ spaces of the city are shrinking. ‘Open Mumbai’ is an initiative that looks at every opportunity of converting a misused/residual, underused or derelict urban open space in Mumbai into a positive public asset. The ‘democratising’ of a space here does not imply making a space accessible – it implies making it friendly and familiar for any citizen.

Present view of the axis from the garden.

When a master plan considers land-use in development, in a classic Indian case, it generally overlooks the fringes – not-so-square and unclaimable tracts of ‘no man’s land’. As living spaces, the city goes to them; be it a road next to the sea or thick green foliage, a beach or a garden. The issue is not just access – in many cases it is the ‘quality’ of space that deters people from using it. ‘Open Mumbai’ looks at spaces that are and can be potential assets to the city initiating a thought process for rejuvenation. The project looks at some identifiable sets of open spaces: A network of public spaces, natural assets, waterfronts, promenades, sites affording vistas,

The overlay - an ‘ideal’ condition where the public pedestrian space expands and makes way for taxi stands and vehicular thoroughfare.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


A few years back, the Juhu beach had an incongruent edge with dumping, encroachment and uncontrolled informal activity.

historic precincts and sites degrade owing to public and government apathy. Through instigating dialogue and participatory governance by creating awareness, the plan aims to ‘democratise’ public spaces affording social, cultural and recreational opportunities. Outlined here are the elements of the plan: Seafronts • Beaches • Rivers • Creeks and Mangroves • Wetlands • Lakes Ponds and Tanks • Naalas • Parks and Gardens • Plot and Layout Recreational Grounds (RGs) • Historic Forts and Precincts • Hills and Forests • City Forests • ‘Open’ people-friendly Railway Stations • Roads and Pedestrian Avenues & • Area Networking Systems. P K Das and Associates have actively changed the image of some promenades; Bandra Bandstand and Juhu for example. Going beyond the physical design of a space, these places have seen a transformation in the general attitude towards them. Being more ‘usable’ and ‘enjoyable’, these spaces are nourished by activity from all social classes. With 16 running kilometres, Mumbai has one of the largest tracts of urban beaches. Constantly in pressure from abuse and encroachment, the beaches of Mumbai are damaged and claimed by illegal and informal claimants. By reclaiming these, the plan proposes not only to develop an urban resource, but also an environmental resource.

By making spaces truly public, a sense of ownership and thus concern is created amongst the citizens. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

After the Juhu nourishment and enhancement project, the present urban beach hosts a vibrant life at sundown.

With a total of 40km of river tract, Mumbai is missing out on a roughly 80 running kilometres of continuous, uninterrupted, linear public space that can effectively connect the island city transversely. If developed sensitively, these water channels (including the Irla Naala) can act as pedestrian arteries connecting the linear city across major streets and districts. The intervention can add great value and enhance the sluggish and speculative real estate of Mumbai. Other than the water channels of Mumbai, the city has many tanks, waterbodies and water precincts. These relief-points in the congested urban landscape act as urban open spaces. This proposal prompts us to take care of these natural and man-made assets through conservation and re-establishment of their significance in the context of the city. While the lakes like the Powai, Vihar and Tulsi are cared for, the smaller ponds and water tanks are generally neglected in the planning of the city. The same goes for the creeks and mangroves that the city possesses as invaluable natural assets and their protection against natural imbalance. Over 70sqkm area of the city can potentially become a 33km-long promenade. Increased positive activity around these places can contribute to increased awareness, vigilance, ownership and subsequent appreciation of these areas.


The issue is not just access – in many cases it is the ‘quality’ of space that deters people from using it. ‘Open Mumbai’ looks at spaces that are and can be potential assets to the city initiating a thought process for rejuvenation. The unchecked abuse of the Mithi River with illegal dumping, accumulation of waste and encroachment on the edge.

With ‘world-class’ developments of the BKC in the background, a crucial and rich natural resource like the river is apathetically polluted - shame!

A view of the proposed riverfront plan that treats the river as a great enhancer of urban life and a significant natural feature on the map. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


The Irla Naala is essentially a drain crucial to check floods in the Juhu-Vile Parle area.

Highly risky informal encroachments on the edge of the Naala. The retaining wall providing good structural substrate, the encroachments provide shelter to the residents of an alternative city.

Belts of negative space on either side of the Naala provide a brilliant opportunity to rethink the nature of this infrastructure feature.

View of the proposed development on either side of the Naala with cycle and jogging tracks.

Beyond the veins of creeks and backwaters, the wetlands of the city are a great natural resource. These wetlands preserve marine life, maintain an eco-balance by compensating abuse, support flora and fauna and attract thousands of migratory birds – including flamingos – to the coasts of this waterfront city. As a city built in layers of history, Mumbai owns many hidden places and spaces of its past. Neglected, underused and encroached, these hidden layers of history fall off the map and eventually lose their sheen against the aggressive development in the neighbourhood. Mumbai has six historic fort precincts. Being archaeological sites of importance, they are generally ‘protected’ but lack of thought and intervention eventually diminish these sites in importance and priority. The recently restored Bandra Fort Precinct was developed into a meaningful public space that enables individual citizens to appreciate and then care for the precinct. By encouraging activity through design, the ‘Open Mumbai’ project looks at developing these precincts as neighbourhood projects with government support. With citizens having a stake in development and protection of the city’s heritage, a change in attitude can be slowly brought about. “Residents of Bandra have not only Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

reclaimed the fort and its precinct, but have developed the contiguous area as a significant cultural space including an amphitheatre on the hill slope. Rich plantation has been a part of the development, thus, creating a forest-like environment. The citizens’ efforts have also ensured restoration of the fort walls by the state,” observe P K Das and Associates, who drafted the plan. Planning apathy and lack of awareness with initiative have ensured that almost one-third (5.3sqkm out of 18.98sqkm) of the designated open, recreational space in the form of gardens, parks, playgrounds and urban greens has been encroached upon in Mumbai. The per capita open space available in Mumbai is disastrously low. The lack of incentive to protect and care for the urban parks in an Indian metro like Mumbai robs the children and the elderly of their rightful recreational space. The pressure on land and resource should not justify encroachment and misuse of our greens. The plan proposes to protect, formalise, designate and enhance the condition and network of urban green spaces from ‘maidans’ to ‘baghs’ of this city.


The mangrove backwaters of Mumbai are a great natural resource that support biodiversity and detoxify the waters of this city.

Aggressive development and uncontrolled reclamation of land can harm the natural balance of life in the city. Insensitivity destroys our natural heritage.

Providing access to the inaccessible mangroves of the Malad creek will help generate awareness and concern amongst the citizens.

A view proposing an alternative urban landscape that will protect the mangroves through vigilant communities and aware citizens.

The intervention can create a physical barrier restricting encroachments within the creeks. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


The Bandra fort before intervention - a ‘protected’ but neglected historical site.

Present landscape on the Bandra Fort Precinct with an amphitheatre - an ambience unique to the site.

A public event in progress in the amphitheatre: interventions that can help generate funds to maintain and care for our historic sites. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

Built features in decay.


Unlike a New Yorker who prides in the Central Park, a ‘Mumbaikar’ lacks the appreciation of a much more bio-diverse Sanjay Gandhi National Park of the city. The hills and forests of Mumbai are the richest natural resource any modern metropolis can imagine owning. Still, relentless abuse, dumping, slow encroachments on the periphery and neglect have robbed them of the respect they deserve. This plan proposes to protect and enhance the crucial open space as urban forests. The ‘Open Mumbai’ proposal deals with the engaging reality of modern Mumbai – lack of truly democratic spaces. A holistic vision statement that this project proposes is essential and imperative for Mumbai and any other Indian metropolis considering the limited planning initiative in the public space. Looking at crucial policy decisions through design and pragmatic change might breathe life and sense necessary to resurrect our concern for our open public spaces.

‘Open Mumbai; Let’s Expand Public Spaces’ is a proposal drafted by P K Das & Associates in collaboration with the Mumbai Waterfronts Centre.

A holistic vision statement that this project proposes is essential and imperative for Mumbai and any other Indian metropolis, considering the limited planning initiative in the public space.

The incomparable natural wealth of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park - Mumbai’s unique urban forest. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Dr Catherine Asher explores the notions of culture, heritage and representation in Orchha and Beyond: Design at the Court of Raja Bir Singh Dev Bundela by Edward Leland Rothfarb. One of India’s most beautiful areas, Bundelkand, is often missed by tourists, Indian and international alike, with the exception of the famous temples of Khajuraho. While less known to many, this area is also home to the Gupta period temple of Deogarh, the Muslim monuments of 15th-century Chanderi, and the splendid temples and palaces of Datia and Orchha. The latter are the focus of Edward Rothfarb’s, Orchha and Beyond: Design at the Court of Raja Bir Singh Dev Bundela. This lavishly illustrated monograph, divided into six chapters and a conclusion, is a new venture for Marg as it is single-authored when earlier volumes featured essays written by multiple authors. As a result Rothfarb presents an in-depth analysis of the temples, palaces and gardens of Orchha and its vicinity provided by Raja Bir Singh Dev, which would not have been possible under the previous format.


Bir Singh Dev Bundela, best known for his assassination of Akbar’s confidant Abu’l Fazl at the behest of the future Jahangir, and his court are introduced in chapter one. Rothfarb focusses on this Rajput raja from a Bundela point of view, lauding him as a dharmic ruler and a masterful patron of architecture. He draws parallels between the richness of Bir Singh’s architectural output and the sophistication of the Brajbhasa work produced by his court poet, Keshavdas. Bir Singh Dev was a man who easily lived in both a Mughal milieu and his own Rajput one. This ability to seamlessly move from Indic Rajput culture to an Islamicate Mughal one is a focus throughout the entire text. Chapter two concerns the rise of Bundela authority. Claiming descent from the Suryavamsha, the Bundelas rose to power as Chandella authority weakened. By the mid-13 th century, they established themselves at Garhkundar not far from their future capital at Orchha. Atop a high hill, the Bundelas built an austere fortified palace adjoining their ‘kuldevi’ shrine. By the early 16 th century, the capital was shifted to the lush riverine site of Orchha marking “not only a Bundela claim to larger territory, but also their entrance into a larger political and cultural arena.” (pg.40) Those royal structures built in Orchha prior to the reign of Bir Singh Dev are the topic of chapter three. Rothfarb identifies the architecture of Gujarat and Chanderi as important sources for the emerging Bundela style.

Scans from the book.

The book is not only a pleasure to read, but also a visual feast. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

Bundela authority was further enhanced when Jahangir gave Bir Singh the Bundela throne greatly increasing his wealth. As a newly appointed raja, he began to actively build temples, the focus of chapter four. Temples were constructed not only in his ancestral land but also at major tirthas such as Mathura and Benares. His temples at those last two sites no longer survive, but travelers’ reports proclaim their enormous size. Rothfarb discusses a number of temples, mostly in Orchha, that he credits to Bir Singh, although exactly why he assumes they are imperial products and not endeavours of his nobility is unclear, since there is no inscriptional evidence. The largest one, the Chaturbhuj Mandir, he argues convincingly, is a product of Bir Singh’s reign, and its vast scale links him with the major temple patrons of the late 16 th century. Rothfarb concludes this chapter stating that Bir Singh, during

book review


the 17 th century was the “most significant patron of temple architecture in Hindustan.” (pg.91)

history when wealth, ambition and potent imperial connection spawned a Rajput style of great innovation.” (pg.147)

The topics of chapters five and six are closely related. Five focusses on the architectural style of Raja Bir Singh Dev’s palaces at Orchha and his last one at Datia. Each successive palace displays increasing signs of a sophisticated cosmopolitan awareness. These palaces owe considerable debt to earlier Rajput palaces, but features such as intricate net vaulting seen in Jahangir-period architecture are employed as well. The palaces’ decoration is the concern of chapter six. Rothfarb posits persuasively that the artists who were responsible for the murals on these palaces were trained in a Rajput style, but became conversant with Mughal painting as well. Hence, the architectural style of these palaces parallels its decoration. The three most significant points include: the innovation of Krishna imagery on Rajput palaces; the inclusion of portraits of Jahangir; symbols of imperial sovereignty. At the Datia entrance, images of the sun, dragons and hunters drawn from Islamic and Indic imagery form “a language more cosmopolitan than anything seen in the Orchha kingdom before Bir Singh Dev’s reign or reflects that moment in Bundela

Rothfarb’s text is accompanied by two maps, plans of important structures and 104 illustrations, almost all in colour. The book is not only a pleasure to read but, also a visual feast. I imagine that once this volume is widely circulated, tourism to Orchha will increase significantly. Orchha and Beyond is a welcome addition to the relatively few scholarly works that focus on Rajput architecture. Its intersection with earlier traditions of Bundelkand, Gwalior and Gujarat as well as with contemporary Mughal ones make this volume a compelling read for anyone interested in the cultural and political developments of 17 th-century north India.

FACT FILE: Book Author Published By Language ISBN Reviewed By

: Orchha and Beyond: Design at the Court of Raja Bir Singh Dev Bundela : Edward Leland Rothfarb : The Marg Foundation : English : 978-81-921106-1-5 : Dr Catherine Asher

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Utopia for Desire Project Cinema City, by Majlis in collaboration with the Research & Design Cell, KRVIA (Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture), recognises the parallel mobility and visual-aural sensations of a city and that of cinema and investigates the relationship between the two lived social realities in the urban present. Text: Shalmali Wagle Images: courtesy Project Cinema City

A widowed mother comforts her young son, injured in a fight against a bunch of bullies mocking his falsely indicted father. She assures him that they will forsake the village, never to return. The camera instantly shifts focus to a timeworn calendar on the shabby dismal wall of the wretched dwelling. The image: ‘Marine Drive, Mumbai, 1960’. One immediately anticipates the ensuing scene; the mother and her two children with a meagre suitcase, walking on the then-unadulterated stretch of Marine Drive in Mumbai. Half a century later, a young runaway couple discusses its hopes and desires in the ‘city of dreams’ as the Marine Drive continues to twinkle in the background, but much different from what the inadvertent camera had captured all those years ago.


hat one translates from this imagery is a deep revelation, that thematically the fortunes of cinema and the city are inextricably linked to each other on several levels. Being its inevitable framework, the city inspires the spatial complexity, diversity, and social dynamism expressed in cinema, while cinema influences and represents spaces, lifestyles and living conditions of a city through social and psychological permeation. Cinema is a continual unconscious recorder of the perpetual transformations of a city and this coincidental nexus between the two provides a rich avenue for investigation and discussion of city-related issues. The ‘Pipeline Network’ installation by the Research & Design Cell, KRVIA (Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture), displayed as a part of Project Cinema City at the NGMA (National Gallery of Modern Art), Mumbai, is the result of one such multi-disciplinary investigation. A set of enquiries into the anthology of routes traversed by ‘cinema-citizens’ and ‘cinema-goods’ across the metropolis reveals stories of migration, labour and aspiration that create the ‘Cinema’ of a city, and the ‘City’ its cinema produces simultaneously. Juxtaposed with popular impressions of cinema through the years, the installation commemorates a wide timeline and captures the transformation of the city metaphorically. The protagonists are the labyrinths that travel the city’s anonymous corners to accumulate into India’s most-adored public institution, via an assembly line of spaces of pre-production, production, post-production, distribution,

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

The memory of a city through visual-aural imagery.

display, archiving and recycling that co-exist in the urban topography. The ‘Pipeline Network’ maps the role of cinema in Mumbai, along with its production processes, ancillary cultures and its stations of reception and recognition that fabricate and sustain a complex web of networks; from the bazaars and streets that deliver its slightest prop to the resident’s memory that revolves around its imagery.



The network of crisscrossing PVC pipes with back-lit view-ports.

The ‘Pipeline Network’ acknowledges that a city resident, in part, lives the portrayal of the city in its cinema. In spite of his physical residency, there remain vacant fissures in memory where the city’s landscape has altered, where its excesses have changed direction, or where its ethos has shown a deviation. It is to these gaps in memory that the installation offers visual allegories as robust portrayals of the city, its architecture and its cinema. Unlike creative descriptions that prompt sensory expressions compatible with its own interpretation of the relationship, the ‘Pipeline Network’ derives its metaphors and more from the city it negotiates with on a daily basis. It depicts them with abstraction that evokes the imagination and revives the memory of Mumbai through one’s own familiarity.

The stitching pattern of pre-production, production, post-production, distribution, display, archiving and recycling.

Emphasising on individuals and small businesses that power the industry, the installation features a network of crisscrossing PVC pipes that represent the western suburbs of Mumbai. The network offers view ports with back-lit slides showing drawings and photographs of elements, central and integral to the industry, accurately represented by location and tied together by its lifeline, the local railway. This stitching pattern holds the ‘Cinema City’ together tracing pre-production industries, production units, shooting sets and studios, post-production requisites, exhibition theatres, locations of desires, utility and their interfaces. Each of these impresses significant Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Editing Rooms




Casting Directors

Casting Agencies


Model Coordinators

The installation depicts the infrastructure required for pre-production, production, post-production, distribution, display, archiving and recycling along a central spine of the city’s lifeline, the intra-state railway. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Make-Up Artists

Dress Designers

Hair Dressers

Film Associations

Set Material Suppliers

Digital Recording & Dubbing Studios

Still-Photo Studios

Animal Suppliers

Workers’ Demography: The City that is created by and creates the Cinema.

marks on the history and evolution of a city and its architecture through their own progression. For instance, while pre-production, based on artisanal practices, carpentry, prop-making, costume-making, banner-painting etc., are fragmented across small shanty sweatshops around shooting locations, sprawling campuses for film-studios and company-clusters as restricted zones for production grow in the outskirts of the city. With the advent of digital technology, post-production studios for editing, dubbing, sound mixing, sub-titling, mastering, duplicating, etc. shrink into small kiosks in the bazaars and residential areas. Display theatres, slum cinemas and tent cinemas become independent entities to an extent, but encourage associated architecture around them.

and entertainment, necessity and architecture overlap to become an undistinguishable mass in the conceived ‘Cinema City’. This network not only represents the city as it is, but also re-imagines it as a ‘city of desire’, the ideal city for all those displaced souls whose relentless desire to be a part of this chaotic matrix has influenced the city in numerous inconceivable ways. An acknowledgment of that undeniable impact, the ‘Pipeline Network’ salutes the era gone by; that of complex scripts and simpler realities, of the popularity of film posters depicted by intense strokes of the unseen hand, of nitrocellulose, nostalgia and near-satisfaction, and more than anything else, of the city that grew with it all.

FACT FILE: Maping ‘Cinema City’ simultaneously maps the duality of how the city and its architecture is influenced by the intangible cinematic image and the industry as a whole, as well as the tangible spaces where cinema is being produced, displayed and remembered. The sweat of labour and aspiratory imagination, the issue of migration and contested citizenship, livelihood

Project Location Design Initiative Curator

: : : : :

‘Pipeline Network’ National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai Research & Design Cell, Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture (KRVIA) Cinema City: Research Art and Documentary Practices Madhusree Dutta, Majlis Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Conceptualising a ‘Cinema City’ by Rohan Shivkumar


roject Cinema City is a multidisciplinary exploration on the relationship between two phenomena that have experienced tremendous growth over the past hundred years - the process of image production, distribution and consumption; and that of the rapid expansion of our cities. Rather than being separate phenomena these two processes are embedded within one another; each provides for the other to constantly mutate. This is especially so in the city of Mumbai - which has been one of the centres for the production of images - especially film - for the past hundred years and which has experienced a great amount of growth in that same period. Thus, the Project Cinema City - a brainchild of Madhusree Dutta, the Director of Majlis, was conceived of as a platform where issues and overlaps between cinema and the city in Mumbai would be explored by artists, architects, filmmakers, designers and theoreticians together. The outputs of the 3-year-long project have been many - seminars and exhibitions have been held in cities in India and abroad, a course on ‘City narratives in Cinema and Literature’ was held in collaboration with SNDT University, many films were made on the relationship maps and drawings have been produced, etc. As much as the project was an exploration of the theme, it was also an attempt to expand what constitutes multi-disciplinary practice. Dialogue and debate among the various partners was encouraged and fostered during the process. The Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies has been a key partner of this process of exploration - bringing in an urbanist and architectural perspective into the project. Through the process of dialogue and debate with other disciplines concerning the concept, conventional notions of cartography were challenged and reconfigured. What follows is the way in which we articulated this relationship through our discipline. We felt that it was important that the two terms i.e. ‘city’ within which cinema is seen/made, as if the city is somehow an empty container - a place where we live; or the ‘cinema’ as a space in which we imagine the city - the space that we dream, not be seen as separate from each other. We felt that the discourses regarding both of these can play off each other and lead to new ways of seeing the city/cinema. As cultural artefacts we dream and live in both – Architecture and Cinema. It was felt that the space of desire is what spans the space of cinema to that of the city. In both we make ourselves anew. In both we find utopias/dystopias that we attempt to inhabit within the parameters that exist within the everyday - our bodies, relationships, networks, buildings, machines, institutions etc. In that sense the technologies of cinema and the city/architecture can be seen as mechanisms that exist in the realm of the everyday as objects enabling desire. These technologies have enabled new ways of seeing ourselves over the years. A history of cinema and the city is the history of desire in the city. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

Architect and Urban Designer based in Mumbai, Rohan Shivkumar is the Deputy Director of Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environment Studies and the Coordinator of its Research & Design Cell. He has previously worked as a Project Coordinator for the Churchgate Revival Project and the Tourist District project with the UDRI and on studies concerning Slum Rehabilitation and Open Space Regulations with groups concerned with development in Mumbai. He was part of the Heritage Listing project with the UDRI, a project by the MMR-Heritage Conservation Society.


From the very first films where local trains were shown entering a platform, we have this urge to see ourselves represented. The image on the screen has been a mirror through which we reconstruct ourselves. Parallel to this, in architecture, urban planners have created many utopian imaginations of the city as methods of reconstructing the self and society. These ‘u-topias’ exist as imaginations to reflect upon who we are and what we want to become. In these imaginations, and the images that create them, lie whom we see ourselves as through what we want to become through the act of drawing. Thus, both the space of cinema and the space of drawings are involved in making ‘images’. These images are apparitions that are made to replace the ‘real’ over and over again until they are all that exist. Simulation becomes reality. Reality becomes spectacle. But these images do not exist and are not made or consumed in either. They are part of the world of concrete ‘felt’ relationships and spaces. They are enabled only by the tangibility of their modes of production and consumption. While the body of the city resists, the vectors of desire shatter. As architects, we practice in this space that emerges when the two collide - between the topographical or the ‘lived’ city; the measurable entities in the world and the topological, the vectors of desire that shape our environment. The Cinema City project attempted to map this relationship - between the tangible city and the way that images-drawings and/or cinematic images displace a location. In that sense we were interested in what happens to the city when overlaid with layers of images. If one is to map Marine Drive in Cinema City, do we capture its real topographical (measurable on a Cartesian scale) - or that which emerges within the imaginations through the innumerable images of that road in mainstream cinema and other photographic and/or visual mediums? It was this relationship across the past 100 years that we were interested in capturing. A timeline of the history of Mumbai and cinema parallel to each other was created. Archival research of architectural journals, planning histories and maps/images of the city created through history was carried out, along with research into cinema history, film technology, etc. These dovetailed into each other, creating ‘maps’ of Cinema City that looked at different locations and landscapes of the city and attempted to map them through the imaginations created concerning them through images. The city neighbourhoods were read through what the space of cinema wants it to become. These re-readings are based on a combination of the ‘collective memory’ of the city and the phenomenological nature of the spaces. The Gateway of India, Marine Drive, Dharavi, rooftops, dungeons, homes, etc. all become fodder for the frame to remake. The maps formed a terrain of images of real (the material city, the felt)/represented (these are spaces reproduced in media like official documents/policies writings

/images/media and cinema) spaces forming a map of Mumbai. In these we have layers of iconised images and the cartographies of everyday life intertwined with one another. The ‘map’ can become an ever-growing repository for desire in and of the city. They would include official documents/policies; writings; images; cinema across time. Pieces of the future of Dharavi as imagined by developers jostle for space besides the labyrinth of the slum of ‘No Smoking’ and the spectacle of the slum from ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ along with an acting school in the Koliwada within the neighbourhood. Another important theme within the Cinema City project was looking at Cinema as an industry in the city of Mumbai. An important centre for production, not only has the landscape of the city been used by filmmakers to tell multiple stories that have become part of the collective memory of the nation; there are also many marks upon the landscape of the city where films have been conceptualised, produced and consumed in the city. Over time, with real estate pressures and changing technologies these spaces have also transformed enormously - especially in recent years. With digital technology and mobile communication, large-scale industry has been gradually replaced by a de-centred network of relationships between spaces housed in tiny residential apartments or slums scattered around the city of Mumbai. We were interested in mapping this transformation in the spaces of pre-production/production/post-production/distribution/ display/archiving in Mumbai. We explored both the way in which they lie in the city today and also history. These ‘data-scapes’ were utilised in creating many ‘maps’ of cinema city. These maps are not only a representation of the city they are also interventions - a re-imagination of the city, a projection - an ‘image’ in which we dare to find us again. Cinema City thus became a terrain of self-representations - assembled by folding reality - an origami of mirrors and material. Somewhere within these folds lay the grid of the everyday - never separate from these planes of representation - but actually embedded within it. This terrain is made of many of surfaces - some of which are merely floating apparitions, while others are thick and heavy with everything in between. In Cinema City, the division between the material and the image is not clear. Each is folded, pleated, creased into another. Real spaces transform into desired and vice versa. In this origami of mirrors and material, with each fold some become graspable and some hover in nothingness. The Cinema City project aims to explore the relationship between the space of desire and the space of everyday life as intertwining stories or as a terrain within which we can make our own paths. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


ideas to innovate…designers to deliver

Idylls of Time Anthill Design, Ahmedabad

Anthill Design is a partnership firm that aspires to work as a collaborative design studio. It was started in 2005 and its primary concerns that determine design process revolve around ‘site’, ‘typology’ and the possibilities of contemporary expressions. It is based in Ahmedabad and its principal partners are Roma Tayyibji and Riyaz Tayyibji.

Suspended in relationship to elements, layers of time and memory, the House for Mrs. Shahnaz Tayyibji in Alibaug unravels as a continuum of exploration and planning by Riyaz & Roma Tayyibji of Anthill Design, an Ahmedabad-based architectural practice. Text: Maanasi Hattangadi Images & drawings: courtesy Anthill Design

The house is thoughtfully placed; unintrusive in its natural surroundings - an oasis of simplicity.


hafts of pale light break into a canopied edge of Alibaug. In the relaxed beach-side setting, clumps of forestry dot a small clearing. The light rolls unaffected to the portion amidst the coarse fringes of green where the House for Mrs. Shahnaz Tayyibji sits lightly becoming of the quiescent and soulful setting. “This is a project built in the old way, over time, incrementally, through a simultaneous process of design and being lived in,” say Riyaz & Roma Tayyibji of Anthill Design, an Ahmedabad-based architectural practice.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

As mother and son, the client and architect interact and personify the space with movement, light and meaning. In 1953 Louis Kahn said: “I believe in frank architecture. A building is a struggle, not a miracle, and the architect should acknowledge this.” This stands true for this house. Its character emulates a set of experiences and interpersonal relationships layered over a time of 12 years and four phases of



construction. The simple collection of spaces is reiterative, set in motion with the initial idea of creating an easy sense of place, yet a connection to the land inspite of norms that disallowed a permanent construct. sim•plic•i•ty: freedom from complexity; sincerity; naturalness

The planning reveals its naturalness evasively. It skilfully works out a philosophy of a hermetic extension of the context – a culture of open exchange. The genesis in 2000 found a way to repurpose an existing plinth. The ‘self made’-like dwelling, ‘jhopdi’ as the architects put it, was honest in its material and functional expression as a place of repose. Sunlit rooms look out through framed bamboo flaps that are angled to admit soft light and bring the immediacy of nature into play. The simplicity of the need brought the opportunity to reflect on and articulate traditional aspects like the use of a woven mat of coconut leaves known as ‘jhap’ or ‘jhowlis’ for the walls and roofing. ‘Bhendi wood’ lined the roofing and the framework of the main house rested on cement pipes filled with sand. The interiors embodied a feeling of ease, opening up to three partitioned spaces. The transparent layout envelops interconnected spaces of a living and kitchen area, an enclosed sleeping area and closed facilities like bath and toilet. The partitions slowly adapted to the ongoing flux of life over three years, imprinting the presence of the occupant

in the planning. Without having to stretch budget controls, the shack cost a nominal sum of fourteen thousand rupees. The idea is intimate and there is a kind of tenderness that is possible. com•po•si•tion: the act of combining parts or elements to form a whole

Three years down the line, the silence of trees still seeps through the house. Secluded steps lead up to the entrance of the house to a patio. Intrinsically

In 2000, the first stage involved the making of a modest dwelling - a ‘jhopdi’ made of woven mats of coconut leaves.

linked to its earlier spatiality, it contains the spaces within the same range of scales and moments. Finessing the plan, the plinth was extended to 1250sqft. The house borrows open spaces from the outside forming a west-facing verandah in the living that is used in summer, an east-facing verandah for the study used in monsoon and a dining and kitchen to the south. Continually, it unfolds gradually revealing closable spaces like a bedroom unit consisting of an attached study and toilet and a store adjacent to the kitchen. “In principle Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


A plinth of stonework articulated seamlessly to the sill level of the house renders a solid anchoring and negates the salinity in the soil.

An open and inclusive plan accommodates a verandah for the living to the west, an east facing study verandah and an open kitchen-dining to the south.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012



Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Windows composed of steel and wood with a reference to a design by Frank Lloyd Wright takes one to the light and views.

the entire living space of the house was designed as semi-open with no doors or windows,” the architects explain. “The two closed areas are organised diagonally allowing the breeze to move through a large rectangular pavilion under a voluminous sloping roof.” The spatiality is utilitarian and ordered. The timber structure cuts through the rectangular plan to release the three spaces. The openness of the common areas is generous and extends as the furniture and other household things are locked away in closed spaces when the house is not in use. The architecture responds to the site in an ineffable way in the sense of belonging to a place; fluidly wrapping the naturalness of the surroundings in its uninterrupted flow. The second phase was as closely involved; it was just seeing the familiar anew. The transition from the shack has been tactile, not subtle in many ways. The natural durability of the sloping timber roof is strengthened by grounding the house to a stone plinth integrated up to the sill level. The architect’s statement captures accurately what they have achieved in the structure, “The salinity of the soil demanded a stone plinth along with the local building language of a timber sloping roof in response to the heavy rainfall set up the basic play of materials. The plinth stonework is articulated seamlessly up to sill level giving the house the sense of a heavier base and greater repose, while the timber structure has been thought of as a forest of columns that formed the main volume of the house.” Spatially varied, the architects have established the ethos by paring the details back to the minimum. The walls above sill level are composed in brick, textured white with rough plaster. Though the constraints were specified, the laconic quality emphasising the inclination to the local typology aestheticises the outcome. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

The spacious living area as planned to be semi-open is devoid of any doors and windows.

ev•o•lu•tion: the gradual development of something

Air and light shape the main features of the house. So tangibly simple, the space is dominated by an open-yet-inclusive plan over 1250sqft. The project is not one of statement but of restraint. “However, over the following five years the house has been used more frequently, and with the commercialisation of the area, security had become a serious issue. It is no longer possible to keep the main space of the house completely open,” say the architects. Without compromising the sense of protection fundamental to a residential place, new inserts of windows and grills tie the disparate spaces together. The glimpses now tantalise one through grilled windows that trace the silhouette of the porous ‘jhowlis’ of the original shack. The design of the steel and wood windows styled with a tangential reference to windows by Frank Lloyd Wright frame a visual connect to the outside. The juxtaposition in the third stage is organic and all architectural elements arrive at a melange of two sets of buildings as their way of completing the design themselves. The relationship of the ‘old’ and ‘new’ govern the identity and purpose of the setting as much as the building itself. con•ti•nu•i•ty: an uninterrupted succession or flow; a coherent whole

The fragmented nature of the design comes together through the varied context of its history to present a formally based unity. It resolves into a singular architectural gesture in its fourth stage wherein the architects have conceived a “cluster” of additional units of an outhouse for the family over 600sqft, a garage with a guest room above around 400sqft, servants and caretaker’s quarters and a biologically treated swimming pool around the main house so that it reads like an entire residence. The architects have


The western verandah.

The eastern verandah is used as a study especially during monsoons.


The grill design admits soft filtered light remniscent of the porous ‘jhowlis’ of the original shack.

There is an understanding within this discipline that is resolutely contemporary and it emerges as a unity of experience rather than one of form. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


co-opted the materiality of the main house and the new spaces reconnect to the original negotiations. But the architects recall navigation of certain accommodations that led to the reinvention of the typology – “In the design of the outhouse an additional architectural issue arose. Due to the lushness of the garden and the increasing vegetation along the beach, the sea was no longer visible from within the site. It was thought that a terrace should be integrated into the design of the outhouse to create an upper level sit-out from which the sea is visible. This created the architectural problem of designing a flat slab in the same idiom of the existing main house (stone and timber). It was decided that a minimum of concrete should be used and that the traditional technique of wooden columns and beams should be spanned with cudappah stone planks to construct the terrace. The columns are 65mm square and in Saal wood (as in the main house) and are grouped in fours to integrate the door and window systems into the structural framing. Transoms are introduced above the doors and windows to avoid performance problems due to any deflection in the distributed structure. The staircase and the toilet are connected by a heavy stone wall to the east, which is articulated in a carved-out manner to accommodate sleeping spaces (window beds) for the children, built-in cupboards and a back to the main built-up double bed. The heaviness of the stone is played off against the slender wooden members that form the west side of this structure.” The light recedes into relaxed spaces where black frames are overlaid on the reddish tinge of the roof tiles above. There is an understanding within this discipline that is resolutely contemporary and it emerges as a unity of experience rather than one of form. Each space engages with the site – a derivative as if of the landscape itself. With the focus

The quality of light enabled by detailing the bedroom windows.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

steered inward, the architects also explored a shifted view of volumes like the guest room above the parking garage which were repositioned differently than the sea-facing ones. Weaving through the shadows of a ‘badaam’ and an old mango tree, the room now looks out to the dense forest-like space created by two massive banyans and a pepul, looking east towards the village road - all revealing a concern for how the building goes together. The same unexpected light fills the corners of the house even now. And as the house evolves, perhaps this is the constant. With the continual change in the perceived landscape, compound walls are being built altering drainage and other contextual parameters. The new building with seemingly effortless expertise transforms the reticent and earthy attitude of the original design into something more elaborate on the same principles. The added pieces of architecture hold on to the memory of the understood lifestyle and synchronise with the sense of the sea, sky and earth in one gesture. This symphony might never conclude. Each element offers an appreciation of the changing landscape and the architects reflect, “As aspirations for water harvesting, alternative energy and waste treatment take hold of the imagination (and hopefully funds emerge) one can imagine a fifth, and maybe sixth stage of development; each allowing for this house to be further lived-in.” ex•pres•sion: a manifestation of an emotion, feeling, etc.

Alighting in a series of manageable frames, the architecture is a fabric of modesty and balance. For a design idea that is not reliant on complex planning, the detail is well-resolved and appropriate, giving vibrancy and richness to the spare architecture. The setting is not an architectural ideal

Internal spaces of the outhouse - under construction.


Internal spaces of the outhouse - under construction.

but exponentially manipulates scale and lightness for comfortable human habitation. Subsumed in its surroundings, the house breathes in the idea of timelessness – caught up in a moment where it responds to the material and the individual. A refreshingly honest approach, it is not merely subservient, but mediates between the inhabitant and both culture and nature, and so roots her within these contexts. It is not just architecture; it is a way of life - a journey that moves from one state to another, from one condition of site to the next.


Views of the outhouse. (Top & below)

Project Location Architect Design team Client Civil Contractors Outhouse & Guest Block Project Estimate

: : : : : : : :

Initiation of Project


Completion of project


House for Mrs. Shahnaz Tayyibji Kihim Village, Alibaug Anthill Design, Ahmedabad Riyaz & Roma Tayyibji Mrs. Shahnaz Tayyibji Main House: Amit Mokal Satish Patil Main House (constructed 2003) `10 lakh Outhouse (Under construction) `8 lakh Guest Block & Parking (Under construction) `8 lakh Shack construction - 2000 Design of Main House - 2002 Construction commenced April 2002 Design of Out house and Guest Block 2011(under construction) Main House - January 2003 Out House, Guest Block and Swimming Pool - October 2012 Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


ideas to innovate…designers to deliver

The ‘third teacher’ for little learners NBZ Architectural Consultants, Nashik ‘Design solutions should inherently reflect the constant endeavour for search in expression’ ,with this belief, NBZ architectural consultants handles an array of architectural and interior projects spread across the country.

Children learn readily from their environment, and therefore the environment is the ‘third’ teacher’. Valmikee Tots is one such exciting design which aims to focus on the importance of space in child development. Text: Ritu Sharma Images & drawings: courtesy NBZ Architectural Consultants

Visual imagery allowing the mind to draw parallels between what we see and how we think.


he young of every species have basic needs that must be met for them to develop and mature. Children are no exception. For children, these essential needs include warm, caring, and responsive adults; a sense of importance and significance; a way to relate to the world around them; opportunities to move and play; and people to help structure and support their learning. An early childhood environment is many things. It’s a safe place where children are protected from the elements and are easily supervised. And it’s where the important activities of the day like playing, eating, sleeping, washing

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012



hands, and going to the bathroom take place. Beyond the basics, however, an environment for young children implements and supports a programme’s philosophy and curriculum.


Located in the developing area of Nashik, Valmikee Tots play school practises the playway method of education. With this method, each classroom has spaces for formal teaching, informal work, as well as a separate play space where children play and interact with each other. “Complexity and variety provide measures of interest and help teachers determine how long children can be expected to play.” - analysis, Kritchevsky and Prescott This philosophy relates to the space that is available and the activities that take place there. The overall space is well-organised, with open walkways clearly leading to activities where children manage on their own. They can move freely from one activity to another, giving the teacher an opportunity to attend to individual children according to their needs. The introduction of natural light and the need to induce natural ventilation were the two prime determinants in the space planning and design. Here, changing children’s sense of space increases children’s attention spans which further may help them process information more quickly with altering scale of their learning environment. There is definitely more to classroom design than meets the eye. A pleasing appearance is of secondary importance to how a design functions in a given situation. Classroom design here serves a tool whose flexibility is enhanced through planning. Purposeful, engaging, and beautiful environments blend and balance the best elements of home, school, and community life together. The environment being warm and inviting, makes one feel like a special guest as one enters the school. The open plan of Preschool interior has many distinct parts and yet multipurpose spaces that are rich in colours as well as materials.

The open terraces around two the external faces serve as developmentally appropriate outdoor play areas. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Classrooms have their own identity of floor colours and graphic panels conceived as ‘stories graphically told’ to kindle the lateral idea of transforming text to graphics. (Top and bottom)

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

The place can be experienced not only as a time and space for reproducing and transmitting established knowledge, but also as a place for true creativity.


The outdoor areas – an extension of the indoor environment with majority of the classrooms directly connected to it.

This environment for young children provides multiple sources of stimulation to encourage the development of physical, cognitive, emotional, and social skills; as it is planned with due consideration to places for developmentally appropriate physical activities, opportunities for hands-on activities, change and variety, colour and decorations. With creativity, small spaces are worked out very well, thus turning design challenges into design opportunities by making tough choices about how resources (time, money, and materials) could be used. The designer kept this going by knowing what joy these places will bring, not only for the children who are here today but for the children who will come tomorrow.

FACT FILE: Project : Valmikee Tots Location : Nashik, India Architect : NBZ Architectural Consultants Design Team : Ashfaq Aboojiwala, Noor Aboojiwala Client : Shiv Saraswati Foundation Valmikee Tots Area : 11,800sqft Time Line : Six months Contractors : Anil Viswakarma (Carpentry), Madhuri Electricals (Lighting), Rajshri Arts & Decorators (P.O.P)

The central activity area binds all the other functional areas together.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Ghar : Home

Anita Isola walks to her favourite ‘bazaar’ only to find things in disarray as the forces of development compel more people within the bracket of formality in this edition of Space Frames curated by Dr. Deepak Mathew. Text & Images: Anita Isola


s a student, visiting the ‘Raviwari bazaar’ - the Sunday Market, in Ahmedabad was a sacred ritual; one that brought with it joys of discovering priceless artifacts, and even more precious conversations. It was an integral part of my student life and a great source of inspiration.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

space frames


This time, on 15 th May 2011, the market and the experience was not the same, something seemed amiss. I was surprised to see what the place had transformed into, post the demolition, making way for the Sabarmati River Front Project. The insolent concrete construction has displaced and disrupted the oldest flea market, the slums, its people and their livelihood. I walked into the ever-bustling market with the hope of meeting the usual vendors and I spotted Mahesh bhai in his usual corner where he would sell second-hand books. This time, he was sitting with a group of disgruntled people amidst the rubbles of demolished structures, sadly with no books around him. I went up to him, and surprisingly, he recognised me even after three years of not being in Ahmedabad. In conversation, I was surprised by his philosophical comments more than once, especially when he said, “I prefer floods over bulldozers,� and laughed with sadness in his eyes - that is difficult to forget. He mentioned that they weren’t even intimated about Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


this action. Demolition of the hutments had started early in the morning while they were still asleep. Luckily, he heard the sound, awoke his children and wife, and managed to save whatever he could. In another part of Raviwari Bazaar, 75-year-old Kala ben usually sells goats at the market. She has been allocated a house on the fourth floor of a building by the government far away from this location. She lamented, “My husband and I can barely walk, how do we climb four floors every day and get to work. What’s the point of that house?” She pointed out at a temple that stood unaffected and untouched by the demolition and commented, “Stone statues have a roof, but living people don’t.” Irony seems to be floating around and settling on shoulders of all that has been a part of this market. The ‘homeless’ people who had found their bearings, are ‘home less’ once again. Out of 10,000 families only 6,000 have been rehabilitated. It is heart-wrenching to see people trying to trudge ahead with their lives shouldering the hope of being allocated a house while they nail makeshift tarpaulins to shield themselves from yet another torment; this time, untimely monsoons. A long struggle for a place to call home. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012


Anita Isola can be contacted on: Dr. Deepak J Mathew can be contacted on:

Anita Isola Anita did her undergraduation in Graphic Design from the National Institue of Design (NID). She proceeded to study Documentary Photography and Photojournalism from the International Centre of Photography, New York. As a designer, Anita has worked on may projects including marketing collaterals for C.R.Y (Child Rights and You), creative consulting for IndusInd Bank and Mountain Dew commercials, in addition to acting as production assistant for many more brands. In 2011, she was an Associate Researcher with NID to study and document indigenous textile traditions of Meghalaya, India, commissioned by the Indira Gandhi Center for Arts (IGNCA). She freelances as a graphic designer and photographer. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2012

Space Frames July 2012: Ghar : Home by Anita Isola Indian Architect & Builder Magazine

Anita Isola can be contacted on: Dr. Deepak J Mathew can be contacted on: EXPLORE

Anita Isola Anita did her undergraduation in Graphic Design from the National Institue of Design (NID). She proceeded to study Documentary Photography and Photojournalism from the International Centre of Photography, New York. As a designer, Anita has worked on may projects including marketing collaterals for C.R.Y (Child Rights and You), creative consulting for IndusInd Bank and Mountain Dew commercials, in addition to acting as production assistant for many more brands. In 2011, she was an Associate Researcher with NID to study and document indigenous textile traditions of Meghalaya, India, commissioned by the Indira Gandhi Center for Arts (IGNCA). She freelances as a graphic designer and photographer.

IA&B July 2012  

IA&B July 2012 issue featuring projects by Menis Fernando, Charles Correa, Manthan Architects, Richard Meier etc.