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VOL 27 (5)

JAN 2014



IN CONVERSATION Mario Botta, Mario Botta Architetto ARCHITECTURE Delhi Public School, Bengaluru: Khosla Associates Lateral House, Bengaluru: Gaurav Roy Choudhury Architects HERITAGE Adaptive Reuse of Jal Mahal Bijolai, Jodhpur: Grup.ISM Pvt Ltd CAMPAIGN: Architectural Education Women Students, Culture and Pedagogy: Madhavi Desai DELHI DIALOGUES Dwarka is the Chosen One



RNI Registration No. 46976/87, ISSN 0971-5509 INDIAN ARCHITECT AND BUILDER


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


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

Chairman: Jasu Shah Printer, Publisher & Editor: Maulik Jasubhai Shah Chief Executive Officer: Hemant Shetty



EDITORIAL Assistant Editors: Maanasi Hattangadi, Ruturaj Parikh Writers: Rashmi Naicker (Online), Chandrima Padmanabhan Design Team: Mansi Chikani, Prasenjit Bhowmick, Kenneth Menezes Event Management Team: Abhijeet Mirashi Subscription: Dilip Parab Production Team: V Raj Misquitta (Head), Prakash Nerkar, Arun Madye

Bengaluru-based firm Cadence Architects’ design of the residence at

Jayanagar will develop through a synthesis of the client’s brief and as a

continuum of the existing suburban fabric.



Head Office: 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 SALES Brand Manager: Sudhanshu Nagar Email:

Residence at Jayanagar, Bengaluru

Architecture of the Spirit

Mario Botta discusses the intangible tenets of architecture; the importance

of emotion and spirit, and its relevance in the increasingly technical

contemporary construction of today.

MARKETING TEAM & OFFICES Sales Coordinator: Christina D’sa Email:


Architecture as Pedagogy

Mumbai 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:

The design of the Delhi Public School in Bengaluru by Khosla Associates is an

evocation of a space that inspires learning through its fabric, showcasing the

capacity of design to add value to life.


Tranquil Realms

Away from the hustle of the city, on the outskirts of Bengaluru,

the Lateral House by Gaurav Roy Choudhury Architects integrates nature and

Delhi: Preeti Singh / Manu Raj Singhal 803, Chiranjeev Tower, No 43, Nehru Place, New Delhi – 110 019 Tel: +91 11 2623 5332, Fax: 011 2642 7404, Email:, Gujarat: Nisha Pipaliya Mobile: +91 9099963930, Email: Bengaluru / Hyderabad: Sudhanshu Nagar Mobile: +91 9833104834, Email:

the lifestyle of its residents, in the sentiments of its built environment.


Chennai / Coimbatore: Princebel M Mobile: +91 9444728035, +91 9823410712, Email:

The restoration of a 200-year-old palace complex and its adaptive reuse as

Kolkata: Sudhanshu Nagar Mobile: +91 9833104834, Email:

the Water Resource Centre, headquarters of the Jal Bhagirathi Foundation,

Pune: Parvez Memon Mobile: +91 9769758712, Email:

on the banks of the Bijolai Lake, opens up the historic site for community use

through its architectural and ecological revival.

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

Jal Mahal Bijolai, A Resuscitation


Architectural Education in India:

Women Students, Culture and Pedagogy

In her essay, Madhavi Desai elaborates on the need to question the

traditional framework of architectural education in India, and creating an

environment that empowers women in their practice.


A tribute to the memory of Vimal Jain, an architect and a friend.



Landscape Architecture in India – A Reader

In a comprehensive orientation to landscape architecture, the book traces

the lineage of the subject in its theory, philosophy and practice.


Architectural Guide Delhi

Taking one through the architecture of different eras, relating its

transformation to its history, the book chronicles the known and not so

well-known architecture that has made Delhi what it is.



Dwarka is the Chosen One

In the eighth instalment of the series, curated by the arch i platform, the

DELHi2050 team initiates a discourse between the original planners of

Dwarka and its amassing population, allowing them a stake in its future.



A Chapel on the Hill

In this edition of Space Frames, Ruturaj Parikh captures the Monte Tamaro

Chapel in its monochrome essentiality, articulating its elements of order

and hierarchy.

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.


, at i l J P h t n a m a s s o c i ate s h S ge: Š Khosla A a m I y r Cove cour tes



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Category Type Deadline

National Open to all January 25, 2014

The ArchiDesign Awards, being organised by ArchiDesign Group, in its 6th edition invites participants for its four main categories – 1) Architecture and Design Awards, 2) Infrastructure and Development Awards, 3) Critics’ Choice Awards, and 4) Engineering Services and Consultants Awards – which include many subcategories. One can send multiple entries for a subcategory or a single project in multiple subcategories. For further information, log on to:

Louisville Children’s Museum Competition Category Type Deadline

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International Open to all February 10, 2014

Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) are hosting a competition for designing Louisville Children’s Museum. The museum is dedicated for children between the ages of 2 to 13 years. It is an international ideas competition; upon realisation to be located next to the city’s main public library to draw large number of children accompanied by their parents visiting the library. The competition is open to individuals and teams of design professionals and students currently registered in accredited schools of architecture programmes in their country of residence in the areas of architecture, landscape architecture, engineering and planning. Student teams should include no more than six members. There will be three prizes of $6000, $3000 and $1000 to be awarded as first, second and third prize respectively along with three honourable mentions. For further information, log on to: LouisvilleChildrensMuseumCompetition.html

Swedavia Airport Innovation Challenge 2014


Category Type Deadline

: : :

International Open to all February 28, 2014

India Art Fair 2014 Date Venue

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January 30, 2014 – February 02, 2014 NSIC Exhibition Grounds, New Delhi

India Art Fair was first held in the year 2008 and is now in its 6th edition, poised to take forward its activities with renewed impetus for excellence and impact. India Art Fair 2014 is one of the the leading art fairs in South Asia for modern and contemporary art from across the world. It is being held at NSIC Exhibition Grounds, New Delhi and has an extensive schedule spread over four days from 30th January (Preview Day) to 2nd February 2014 showcasing the renowned Speakers’ Forum which is a rich mosaic of diverse thoughts and expressions. It is a significant event for encouraging art in the region, attracting artists, curators, gallery owners, collectors, museum directors, art enthusiasts and extensive media from around the world. Additionally, there are other Collateral Events, Art Projects, Art Book Stores, Curated Walks, Thematic eateries on site and much more. For further information, log on to:

INGLASS International Architecture Conference Date Venue

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February 04, 2014 Marriott Hotel, Warsaw

INGLASS International Architecture Conference, in its fourth edition, is about glass and glass construction, architecture and engineering, façade systems, energy efficiency and sustainability. The event that will take place at Warsaw on February 4 th, 2014 will be addressed to architects, engineers, glass producers, glass processors, equipment providers and end-users. The event, which consists of plenary sessions and a thematic exhibition, is likely to present the latest applications of glass in architecture, examples of best practice and architectural projects that bring out the importance of glass. The presentations within the conference merge the technical with the show. Awarded architects, with recent projects, representative for the built environment and leading companies in the construction industry will present solutions, products and state-of-the-art technologies. For further information, log on to:

Urban Spaces Date Venue

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February 07, 2014 – February 09, 2014 IIT Madras, Chennai

Swedavia Airport invites students and professionals as well as contributions from organisations and companies to express solutions for ground noise reduction at airports. The Swedavia Airport Innovation Challenge for the year 2014 allows participants from all over the world. For the Swedavia Airport Innovation Challenge 2014, participants within the fields of acoustics, geotechnics, construction engineering, architecture or similar could contribute with ideas. Participants can compete for the chance to receive a 100,000 SEK award and the opportunity to see their idea realised at Bromma Stockholm Airport. A team or individual with knowledge within these fields could be considered.

The conference organised by students of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras, will be hosting its third Academic Conference from 7-9 February 2014 under the theme of ‘Urban Spaces’. The three day conference will have a session each on Economics, English Studies and Development Studies. The event will host an array of lectures, paper presentations by students, workshops and movie screenings. The event is meant for undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as PhD scholars. The previous editions of the conference saw the likes of Dr Shail Mayaram, Ambai, David Dean Shulman, Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Robert Fogel (economic historian and Nobel Memorial Prize winner) delivering keynote lectures.

For further information, log on to:

For further information, log on to:

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


ArchiDesign Awards for Excellence


Ningbo City Library International Competition Announced Winners

The Rockefeller Foundation Announces Surat As Resilient City

Ningbo City Library International Competition announced schmidt hammer lassen architects as the winners; they are to design a large new central library in Ningbo as part of the competition. Ningbo is one of China‘s oldest cities with a population of seven million. Situated on the edge of a new ecological wetland area, the new cultural hub will house the library’s significant collection of over two million historic and ancient books and the open plan layout of the building will accommodate 3000 study spaces.

The Rockefeller Foundation launched the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge to enable 100 cities to better address the increasing shocks and stresses of the 21 st century. Building resilience would mean making people, communities and systems better prepared to withstand catastrophic events – both natural and manmade – and overcome faster.

schmidt hammer lassen’s most recently completed library is the Aberdeen University New Library, which received a RIBA Award in 2013. The library plan involves a 28m high central atrium, in the heart of the library, in the form of a giant book stack that would contain study desks, reading booths, internet stations and media spaces. It connects the marketplace at the ground floor level with a series of quieter research spaces and the historic collections above. The atrium would provide natural light to the centre of the building during the day and would act as an urban lantern at night; the atrium with the exposed concrete will optimise thermal stability during Ningbo’s hot summer months and cool winters.

On December 3, 2013, the Foundation announced 33 cities across the world as resilient cities, including Surat city in Gujarat, India. The selected cities would receive technical support and resources for developing and implementing plans for urban resilience over the next three years. Surat is among the fastest growing cities in the world and is experiencing rapid industrialisation and migration. It is also one of the world’s most climate change affected cities, according to the World Bank Sustainable Development Network. In the past 100 years, Surat has experienced 23 floods, including one in 2013. Its most pressing urban resilience priorities are building community and social resilience capacity for responding to floods, preventing vector-born diseases, and improving nutrition, water management and the electric grid.

Vatican Museum Organises ‘Santiago Calatrava: The Metamorphosis of Space’ Exhibition

Park Mansions Restored, To Be Awarded by KMC and INTACH

The ‘Santiago Calatrava: The Metamorphosis of Space’ exhibition took place on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 in the monumental spaces of the Braccio di Carlo Magno. The exhibition is sponsored by the Vatican Museums and the Pontifical Council for Culture, and curated by Micol Forti (Curator of the Collection of Contemporary Art of the Vatican Museum), and presents a collection of approximately 140 works of art to the public, showing the complex and multiform artistic productions of the famous Spanish architect and engineer. The art collection involve architecture models, watercolour paintings, sculptures – made out of bronze, marble, alabaster, wood, and more. The exhibition will remain open until February 20, 2014.

Park Mansions that was originally built in 1910 by Armenian jute merchant T M Thaddeus, had become quite dilapidated in the past years. The heritage structure looked healthy from the outside but had suffered great damages inside due to a fire that ravaged it in the 1990s. The staircases, lobbies, internal wiring and walls had suffered huge stress of imbalance because of the excessive heat. It had also weakened the building’s northeast corner.

Julia Morgan Awarded 2014 AIA Gold Medal The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced their decision to award the 2014 AIA Gold Medal to Julia Morgan, FAIA (1872-1957) – whose extensive body of work has served as an inspiration to a generation of female architects. Morgan was the first woman to attend the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and returned to her native state to become the first licensed female architect in California. She practiced for nearly 50 years, designing more than 700 buildings. Some of her most notable projects include the St John’s Presbyterian Church in Berkeley, Asilomar YWCA in Pacific Grove, and The Hearst Castle in San Simeon.



The Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in her recommendation letter mentioned that Julia Morgan is unquestionably among the greatest American architects of all time and a true California gem. Morgan’s legacy has only grown over the years. She was an architect of remarkable breadth, depth, and consistency of exceptional work, and she is widely known by the quality of her work by those who practice, teach, and appreciate architecture. Morgan’s legacy will be honoured at the AIA 2014 National Convention and Design Exposition in Chicago. Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014

It took a little over five years for the Apeejay Group, the present owners, to restore this 103-year-old building with Architect Dulal Mukherjee. The restoration of Park Mansions, the grand old building at the juncture of Park Street and Free School Street in Kolkata, has moved Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and INTACH (the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) to award the building ’s restoration. Not only that, KMC and INTACH have decided to make it an annual honour for owners of private heritage properties with an aim to encourage them to maintain the relics of built heritage.

Sir J J College of Architecture Celebrated Centenary With An Exhibition The Victorian Neo-Gothic building of J J School of Art, designed by architect George Wittet, was initially built to cater to the demand for Bombay Pottery – a style of ceramics invented by Wilkins Terry, founder of the pottery department in the school. Though the School of Art started a course in architecture in 1908, it was not until 1913 that a separate department was founded with Robert Cable at its helm. A hundred years later, Sir J J College of Architecture is celebrating its centenary with exhibitions of books and rare drawings from its archives and by inviting prominent architects to participate in a lecture series. The exhibition displayed archives of architectural renderings including that of Maharashtra’s ‘wadas’ or traditional dwellings of 1940s and the Jeypore Portfolio of architectural details, which dates back to the 1890s.



PI CHAIR Bamboo-made ‘Pi Chair’, designed to change general perceptions associated with the use of bamboo, by product designer Abhijeet Kumar is a fresh concept of an everyday object. Text: Sachi Atul Shah Images: courtesy Abhijeet Kumar


roduct designer Abhijeet Kumar is intrigued with bamboo and has attempted to change the way it is commonly perceived through a canny design – ‘Pi Chair’. Dendrocalamus Strictus, a type of bamboo that is grown in parts of India with low water content in the soil, is used to craft the chair. The unsullied and clean-cut form is constructed using the techniques of making turned wood furniture, wherein the raw bamboo was initially turned into a lathe and then assembled into the chair. The chair’s aesthetic appeal is further enhanced as it is coloured with a water-based colour and woven with cotton rope; minimalistic and fine-looking without compromising on its sturdiness due to the use of bamboo as basic material of the chair. The design was conceptualised by the designer for Rhizome. The basic inkling was to create a certain amount of dissociation with how bamboo furniture have been aesthetically perceived all these years, yet respect its physical properties.

Designer: Abhijeet Kumar Client: Rhizome Contact: Abhijeet Kumar Consultant Designer works from Ahmedabad and Pune. Tel: +91 86986 88650 Email: Web: Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014





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Front View

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46.99 87.23

Top View

Rear View

Fusing functionality with comfort, product designer Manpreet Singh designs ‘Seating with Table’, enhancing the ease and comfort of a coffee shop and at the same time providing another example of how traditional materials and techniques could be combined to innovate newer designs.











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Side View

Side View

Section View of Seat The frame has been constructed using Cane of 2.5cm diameter. Upholstery has been done using Foam & Cloth. The table surface has been weaved using cane.

SEATING WITH TABLE Text: Sachi Atul Shah Images & Sketches: courtesy Manpreet Singh


rmed with a fresh and detailed understanding of the need-gap, furniture and interior designer Manpreet Singh, blends comfort along with functionality to craft ‘Seating with Table’ for Coffee Shops. The aesthetically appealing ‘Seating with Table’, perfectly complements the relaxed and informal setting of a coffee house. The out of the ordinary design converts one armrest of the chair into a small table, where people can keep their coffee mugs close to their seat while deliberating on a conversation; eliminating the need for one to bend down time and again to reach for their mugs. The frame of the chair, designed to be curved, needed a strong yet flexible material. Hence, the designer decided upon using cane – a material produced from peeled-off bark of rattan, cut into strips of uniform width and depth – for its construction. Challenging the traditional way of making cane furniture – it has been handcrafted by cane craftsmen in Shahpur area of Ahmedabad, Gujarat – effecting the craftsmen to innovate newer ways to craft. To construct, the frame of the seat was made and upholstered. After that, the cane rods were coiled around the frame and then shaped to form the armrest and the backrest of the chair, which then go on to form the table surface. The table has been created by weaving cane to form the surfaces, adding a modern twist to an age-old handicraft. For use in coffee shops, a place-mat (in acrylic) formed in the same shape can be placed on top of the table to protect the weaving and for easier cleaning purposes. The furniture combines aesthetics with casual comfort and a sense of functionality.

Designer: Manpreet Singh Contact: Manpreet Singh National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India. Tel: +91 9725295712 Email: Web: Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


A rendered image of the house with its playful exterior as would be seen from the street.

Residence at Jayanagar, Bengaluru With an ‘introvert’ design concept, a house designed by Bengaluru-based firm Cadence Architects, would be a physical manifestation of its clients’ aspirations and an extension to its humble suburban context. Text: Shreya Shah Images & Drawings: courtesy Cadence Architects


midst the hassle of a very busy residential fabric and a typical Indian neighbourhood within Jayanagar, Bengaluru-based architectural firm Cadence Architects is actualising a simplistic residence. To maximise the use of the allotted space and to craftily manipulate the planning to shelter the intimacies of domesticity, the design was rooted in an ‘introvert’ concept. Recessed slightly from the main road, the visual identity of the house would be starkly pronounced with a closeted wall, extending as a sculpted sinuous form on its Southeast corner. “The contrast between the blank wall and the sculpted object is articulated in terms of materiality and form which helps stage one against the other”, explained the architects. A cantilevered roof of 5m will shelter both the elements in a singular dramatic gesture. Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014

The use of plaster and paint for the fluid object and laporte finish granite for the cladding of backdrop wall will create a striking contrast on the front façade with a dispersion of openings on the blank emphasising the reticent nature of the house. Being constructed on a site of 4050sqft with built up area of 5700sqft, the ground floor of the house will comprise of the foyer, living room, family room, 'puja' room, kitchen, store, dining area, master bedroom, courtyard and servant’s room. The courtyard, as a design element, will help in bringing the ‘outside’ inside the house and will subtly wrap the functional spaces around it, whilst serving the users with open spaces within the enclosed fabric. The family room and the living room sit on the two sides of the courtyard facilitating the third side with a glass façade along

construction brief


The use of plaster and paint for the fluid object and laporte finish granite for the cladding of backdrop wall will create a striking contrast on the front façade with a dispersion of openings on the blank emphasising the reticent nature of the house.


RENDERED IMAGE OF FIRST FLOOR PLAN Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


The courtyard, as a design element, will help in bringing the ‘outside’ inside the house and will subtly wrap the functional spaces around it, whilst serving the users with open spaces within the enclosed fabric.


The fluid object being constructed out of steel reinforcement bars.

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


Overhang roof and the nestled sculpted object which contributes to the elevation.

the corridor connecting the two bars of ‘H-shaped’ plan of the house. Double height spaces that are designed as the living room, corridor and the dining area will add to the dramatic interplay of light and shadow of the interior as the form would do for the exterior. The softscape patches along the western façade of the house are likely to be well-crafted and are designed considering the basic 'vaastu' rules, as they will help supplementing natural ventilation and passive cooling. The first floor will comprise of three bedrooms, of which two would open out to balconies overlooking the courtyard. Though conventional in nature, the construction techniques of the cavity wall shaping the front façade will act as an element of climatic concern and noise insulator against the tumultous busy street. Still in the stages of incremental construction, the primal framework has already taken shape.

FACT FILE: Project : Location : Architect : Design Team : Client : Structural Consultant : Civil Contractor : Initiation of project : Status : ↑

AB01 Residence Jayanagar, Bengaluru Cadence Architects Vikram Rajashekar, Naren Pirgal, Smaran Mallesh, Ajash Navin Arun Bohra Shivananda Ram Venkatesh March 2013 Ongoing

Steel sections used a building material. Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014



In conversation with IA&B, Mario Botta discusses how the architecture of the contemporary world must engage with the people who inhabit the space and the importance of theory and sociology over the tenets of technical construction. Images of the Monte Tamaro Chapel, Switzerland: courtesy Ruturaj Parikh

Born in Mendrisio, Switzerland in 1943, Mario Botta trained himself as a technical draughtsman before he studied at the Art College in Milan. From 1965 to 1969 he studied at the University Institute of Architecture in Venice. During this period he also worked as an assistant to Le Corbusier and then to Louis I Kahn. Commencing his practice in a modest way in Lugano, Switzerland in 1970 with his first single-family houses in Canton Ticino, he subsequently went on to build all over the world. His work has achieved international renown through exhibitions and important awards such as the Merit Award for Excellence in Design by the AIA for the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, the International Architecture Award and the ‘European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage Europa Nostra’ among many others. Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014

in conversation


IA&B: Which has been your most challenging project? MB: The most beautiful project is always the next one. IA&B: You consider your work on religious structures, such as the Monte Tamaro Chapel, to be your most important ones and you continue to build many churches in Italy and in other places. Is there something special about churches; something that draws you, in a way? MB: It is my favorite topic, because the function requested is beauty. It is neither a machine, nor a shopping centre, nor an office. There is only the human being who enters it, in search of the values of the spirit. For thousands of years there has been an altar or a mythical presence, and the devoted, alone or in the collective, and nothing else. The light which generates the space is the maximum. The subject of the sacred – from the Christian, the Muslim, or other points of view – is the topic of architecture – architecture talks about this space. If I could, I would do only churches. But then sometimes people ask me to also do offices… IA&B: Are there any Indian architects that you know, whose work you admire? MB: There are many. Charles Correa, Balkrishna Doshi, Studio Mumbai. Doshi wrote about my work. I met them. I cannot say that there is a true friendship between us, but certainly a collegial relationship. Indian architects are great. Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


IA&B: Your architecture has been an architecture of symmetry, of pure form, of monumentality, while nowadays there is more of an emphasis to oppose that. How do you engage with these limits? MB: The first act of doing architecture is not putting one stone upon the other; it is putting a stone on the earth. This is the action which transforms a condition of nature into a condition of culture. It is a monumental act. It is the prevailing of the raison d’étre, of the work, and of the spirit of the human being on nature. Buildings are monumental. Even a chair can be monumental, because behind a chair there is the idea of a throne. One sits in the spirit of a memory; there is not only the functional object. I like monumentality. However, today monumentality is not fashionable anymore because the society in which we live is fragile, it lacks values, it is a liquid society. IA&B: Who have been the biggest influences on your way of working? MB: I have had three great teachers: Louis Kahn, Le Corbusier and Carlo Scarpa. IA&B: You set-up the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio about 13 years ago. What is your idea of architecture and how should architecture be taught? MB: We created this school of architecture believing that for students, in order to face the complexity and the rapidity of today’s transformations, humanistic disciplines are more important than the technical ones. We made a school in which humanistic disciplines are the priority – philosophy, arts, history, etc. The students will learn the profession later on, while practicing. Instead, ideas have to be provided by the school. This is a school in which problems are more important than solutions. IA&B: Do you sometimes work with any of your contemporary architects? MB: I have many colleagues, we have work relationships, we exchange thoughts, but we have never done things ‘with four hands’. In the end, the pencil is one…

IA&B: What are the current challenges for an architect? MB: In order to understand the difficulties faced by an architect, one has to understand that architecture is the mirror of the society. In a society that is ‘poor of the spirit’, it is difficult to do good architecture. What does today’s society build? Not surprisingly malls, suburbs, offices, warehouses. Great institutions are missing. I believe that architecture is an expression of the spirit. Architecture, also in its simplest manifestation, has to provide an emotion. In the Campari Centre in Sesto San Giovanni in Italy, there are offices and flats. The topic is banal: flats and offices. Nevertheless, I believe that the human being needs emotions. So, there is this expressionistic charge which talks of the huge contrast with the old Campari. They are not anonymous offices, they are also images. IA&B: When human beings interact with architecture, when they are in a building, how does architecture affect their emotions and feelings, how important is architecture for the way they feel? MB: It is the aim itself of our work, it is the final aim: to gift an emotion. This is the reason why a church, a temple has that magic: because it talks beyond functions. IA&B: Could you tell us something more about your current project in India, the Knowledge Centre at Ahmedabad University? MB: I have previously done two buildings in India; the TCS Offices in Noida and Hyderabad. This library is a very important building for me, and I think when it is completed it will be our most iconic building. It will be the symbol of the university, and will be at the heart of it. Some of the detailing that has gone into it (referring to its latticework exterior) has been influenced by Indian design, which I admire tremendously. It is a new building but it has a lot of memories (in terms of its design, which has a resonance with old practices). Its soul is Indian, and I feel in my soul that I am an Indian architect. Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


ARCHITECTURE AS PEDAGOGY In a minimalist, yet intricately moulded organisation of spaces, Delhi Public School, Bengaluru by Khosla Associates is a testament to how an honest, contextual design of spaces can inspire a way of learning far more effectively and naturally than any conscious method of instruction. Text: Chandrima Padmanabhan Drawings: courtesy Khosla Associates Images: courtesy Shamanth Patil J

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014



Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


The 8ft wide single-loaded corridor with adjoining classes all around, effortlessly accomodates students, while offering an unobstructed view of the courtyard, drawing them into those spaces.


ducational institutions, more often than not, are planned to be strictly functional and cost-effective, with little thought given to the intangible intricacy of crafting an ambience that could encourage the environment of co-learning, heartening the quality of education in its turn. Students engage with the built environment, of enforced order of structured plans which school environments impose, more frequently and meaningfully than they do with calculus or organic chemistry. Yet the design of these places, meant to harbour an understanding of values beyond plain intellect, are themselves edifices of sole technical efficiency drawing the mind no further than the walls that enclose it. Perhaps we have lost sight of what education really constitutes of, which is to define our identity, drawing a relevant dialogue in an amassing context of tangency. Just as we relate to something as expansive as the concept of the solar system in its significance to our way of life, we similarly engage with our environment as interrelated pieces of a jigsaw that give meaning to the whole. And like the people we live, work and play with, the buildings that we live, work and play in everyday should ideally also form an important part of the narrative of our life. The Delhi Public School (DPS) in Bengaluru evokes just this feeling of continuity in an environment that otherwise constantly confines and isolates.

efficient modular design that could be replicated across several schools in South India, with minor amendments allowed for differing site conditions. As an ongoing construction that is to happen in stages, the present kindergarten facility of 35,000sqft that has been constructed has 25 classrooms, meant to house 40 children each, with the overall master plan, which encompasses a junior, middle and senior school block eventually catering to 4000 children. Further restricted by a time constraint of six months and a cost of `1200 per sqft, the building could have typically resulted in a dreary assemblage rightly associated with weary hours, meagre air and light, and a cramped infancy we have come to accept as the unquestioned norm of institutions. Though architecture is often wrongly dumbed down to a question of appearances, the DPS goes much further than just infiltrating an alternate and ‘pretty’ picture of schools that are different from the usual repositories of efficient square footage that accommodate ideological movement patterns. Each element that informs the Kindergarten, from the terracotta 'jaali' with its consequent play of light to the coloured corridors around the courtyard, goes beyond its aesthetic construct to root the structure in its context and account for its moral and social aspirations as an institution.

As a franchise for the Delhi Public School chain of institutions, the design brief of the DPS, Bengaluru required architects Sandeep Khosla and Amaresh Anand to conceive a modest and

The Kindergarten’s single-loaded, 8ft wide corridor that opens out into the central courtyard does what every long, double loaded labyrinth-like corridor is incapable of – the fostering of

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


The courtyard space is the soul of the design encouraging the use of the outdoor as a secondary learning and interacting milieu.

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


The large courtyard running the length of the building is delineated into two smaller, relatable courts, by an imposing stairway that runs across the space.

a stimulating and responsive learning space that is not zoned, blurring the dichotomy between spaces for learning and transit. There is a seamless sense of movement from the classrooms to the steps of the corridor and to the courtyard that draws a student to move through them, learn, linger and dream. The central, linear courtyard runs the entire length of the building, delineating into two smaller courts by a grand, intersecting stairway. The stairway itself, in the centre, transforms into another space to linger in, celebrating the transition from one floor to another, without being relegated to a dingy corner, lost in its utility. These spaces, with unobstructed views onto them from the classrooms, motivate an intrinsic desire, even in the most passive observer, to linger in them beyond timetabled classes. Countering the depressing trend of standardised school design, of classrooms full of students who would rather be elsewhere, the DPS creates spaces for the evolution of the concept of outdoor learning, on benches surrounding the frangipani trees in the courtyard or on the steps of the corridors. Subtly enforcing the Jane Jacob’s concept of ‘eyes on the street’, the constant visual continuity into these spaces, from the surrounding classrooms allow teachers and students to casually observe them, keeping everyone honest and accountable, discouraging petty transgressions such as bullying, and encouraging positive relationships. The classrooms surrounding the courtyard, punctured articulately in-between with communal breakout spaces to counter the order, Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014

All activities revolve in and around the courtyard by virtue of its constant visual presence.


are 700sqft (35ft x 20ft) and can easily be replicated horizontally or vertically atop one another, as the need arises; flexible enough to provide for the current and evolving way of teaching. Even through a simplistic enough design, the resultant spaces are a delightful combination of well-detailed and thoughtfully crafted materials that consciously manoeuvre the wind and light streaming into the place, illuminating the unadorned canvasses of exposed concrete and terracotta. The perforated terracotta screens on either side of the classrooms and across stretches of the building, go beyond its direct contextual reference to 'jaalis', exploiting the temperate climate of Bengaluru which breezes across the space and allows the students to relate to the environment outside, instead of being cocooned in the detached, air-conditioned, artificially-lit spaces reminiscent of the present-day mall culture. This continuity with the outside environment allows its users a lesson in the local climate; in a light that varies in pattern through the course of the day and the handcrafted workmanship of the


'jaali' itself, all of which engage the senses in a more realistic narrative of the place it resides in. The adjoining red-oxide flooring of the corridor, traditionally found in Chettinad Houses and typical of old South Indian households, is an attempt at reviving a dying art. This handmade oxide floor requires the least manufacturing, generates almost no waste and demands minimal transport of raw material; sustainable in every way, only to be usually replaced by sleeker, fancy mosaics and ceramics, a sentiment reverently not indulged in, in the design of the DPS. The coloured, corrugated metal sheets on the walls of the corridor also facilitate the speed of construction and capably weather the rigour of use, which a school corridor is subjected to. The use of bright colours add a dash of whimsy to the spaces; colours that children are naturally drawn to, that adorn their pictures and are associated with an instinctive sense of imagination and happiness that counter the sepia of dull,

The staircase itself, relegated at the centre and through its expansiveness, creates another place to linger in. Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014





6 UP







2 9


Pergola Above








4 5 5



2 Double Height Break Out Space







1. Nursery 2. LKG 3. Fire Exit 4. Adminstration 5. Office 6. Computer Lab 7. Boys Toilet 8. Girls Toilet 9. Electrical Room 10. Assembly Area 11. Stage 12. Sandpit 13. Courtyard 14. UKG 15. Class Room 16. Laboratory 17. Staff Room



14 10 ↑






2 ↑



The classrooms make proficient use of the 'jaali' which is naturally ventilating and lighting the space, to create a comfortable and lively setting for learning.

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014




The combination of the two different patterns of 'jaali' creates interesting designs on the building at different times of the day.

The break-out spaces open out subsequently more than the classrooms, as a space for group work and play. Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


The quality of the exposed concrete and terracotta animatedly respond to the changing light, activating spaces. Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


sterile hallways. The interspersed series of horizontal and vertical pergolas animate the contiguous spaces with interesting patterns at different times of the day, visually arresting in their simplicity and providing a natural environment that is easy and pleasurable to work in. The design of spaces prescribe a way of life, as they form a sequential experience from one setting to another, a responsibility that cannot be taken lackadaisically. It is unfortunate that children are first introduced to the spirit of learning, in the unlovely garb of an institution. In places where instruction looks unfriendly and cold, they unsurprisingly draw mean associations to the ugly confinements of education and the detached life it accustoms one to. What is education meant to bequeath, if not a sense of place, a set of values imbibed naturally? An important tenet of Montessori education is the encouragement of exploration and discovery, the freedom of movement that does not limit the place of study, and a process of learning through the senses and through perception. Most of these ideals can come naturally when the schools themselves are evocations of such environments. The design of space in the Kindergarten, by virtue of its composition, materiality, system of geometry and colour is no monument to a static institution of detachment, but a living manifestation of a responsive understanding of place and space which teaches and tells a story through its very fabric. A modest response to the requirements of a stringent brief, the richness of the design comes through in its performative method of engagement, which draws students to utilise its spaces just as street theatre draws the masses; the play here being orchestrated by the quality of the space itself. FACT FILE: Architects Principal Designers Design Team Structural Engineers Civil Contractors Project Management Landscape Completion of Project

: : : : : : : :

Khosla Associates Sandeep Khosla and Amaresh Anand Sandeep Khosla, Amaresh Anand, and Bijeta Bachaspati S&S Associates Gomini Constructions Pvt Ltd Kris Cooper Pvt Ltd Garden World Pvt Ltd 31st May 2013


The coloured, corrugated metal sheets of the corridor walls allow children a measure of playfulness with pattern and colour.

The ordered play of pattern and functionality makes a vibrant environment, fostering a joy in learning and working. Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014



Distinctive brick bond designed on the exterior. Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014



The house sitting in the tranquil outskirts.

Bringing in the essential elements of nature, the Lateral House designed on the outskirts by Gaurav Roy Choudhury Architects, camouflages the composite nature of the residents with a built environment away from the speedy lifestyle of Bengaluru. Text: Shreya Shah Drawings: courtesy Gaurav Roy Choudhury Architects Images: courtesy Tina Nandi


aught in the pace of the city, one forgets the experience of slowness and patience offered by a suburban home. With an inevitable growth of urban chaos, the need of a house that can serve as a refuge gave rise to the design of the Lateral House designed by Gaurav Roy Choudhury Architects. Designed for the young family, the house reflects the nature of the occupants as an expression of their everyday routine signifying their oneness with the house. On this, the architect elaborates by saying, “Lateral House has been built for a young family who wanted the house to mirror their sensibilities of honesty, simplicity and independence”. As the idea of a ‘home’ varies individually, the architect has maximised the available space through an emphasis of light and efficient planning for the family to stay and relax in. Positioned on the outskirts of Bengaluru, the House is an assembly of components made of stark raw finishes like exposed brick walls and the concrete ceiling, balanced by the dressed walls spreading over an area of 3600sqft. As an ode to creativity and to incorporate the desire of the clients, the design of the House grounds the relationship of human beings with the most essential elements of nature; sky, light, breeze and trees. The

idea is a result of thinking ‘out of the box’ with the house being closeted yet allowing the outside to penetrate inside the house. Symbolically as a layered house, it is composed of living room, kitchen, dining, temple, garden, utility, three bedrooms, study area and gardens. The spatial needs of stimulation, security and identity are finely defined in the planning of the house which exemplifies the privacy of the users. Brick, one of the most conventional materials in the field of construction is used with an unusual bonding pattern to create an impact of individuality for the house. The concept of openness is derived by drawing, as the architectural firm likes to denote it - 'imaginary concentric lines' - and segregating the spaces from the most public to the most private which makes the central space at the entrance as the most public gradually narrowing into the private rooms of the house. Continuing the experience of the ‘outside’, the central area has visual connections to other parts of the house. Essential delineations are made by the use of various textures yet reflecting the hues of an unconventional interior by fusing the exposed brick and concrete in controlled measures with Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


7 5 19







16 18

1 UP

1 23 4 5 6


1 2 34 5


14 131211 10 9 8 7

14 1312 1110

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17 UP

15 16 171819 2021


12 14

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LEGEND 1. Entry 2. Living Room 3. Garden 4. Dining 5. Temple 6. Kitchen ↑

0.2 7. Utility 8. Powder Room 9. Master Bedroom 10. Bathroom #1 11. Garden



Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014



LEGEND 12. Bathroom #1 13. Bathroom #2 14. Bathroom #2 15. Upper Porch 16. Study ↑

17. Bathroom #3 18. Sit Out 19. Servant’s Qtrs 20. Bathroom #4 21. Bathroom #3






Extruded bricks as a part of the wall structure on the façade.

Study area at the mezzanine level over the entrance; living room opening in the garden. Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


Exposed concrete ceiling blending with the subtle interiors. Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


the painted walls. This portion further opens into the temple area, kitchen and dining that spreads on one side of the doubleheighted voluminous central area with the other side containing the guest room on the ground floor, while the garden sits as an edgy expansion of the living room, becoming another important open space of the house. The intrinsic layout provides the visitor with a shelter owing to the extended courtyard at the upper level, over the entrance porch. Crisp placed openings and courtyards maintain the ambient temperature of the house as a fine cycle of air circulation occurs inside dramatising mezzanine levels. Self-sufficient, the planning facilitates the natural ventilation and recycling of rain water. The spaces are interwoven with structural elements connecting the different levels like the staircase. The architect describes it as, “The staircase weaves up and as it climbs, it slowly becomes the element which expands the space and reveals the other layers�. The staircase here becomes an element enabling the transformation of spaces than being merely used as a connector. As one moves towards the levels above, the sanctity and the privacy of the spaces increase.


Before the house ascends to the first floor, the study and a bedroom at the mid-level functions by the means of a low height slab over the entrance area with long slit openings illuminating the house from the West side of the plot. Continuous diligence in making a simple yet dramatic building is seen as a result of refinement that took place for about half a month to create the bond pattern on the wall along the courtyard. The slit openings along the study thus, become a code on the exterior creating a Natural light penetrating in the house through the skylight.

Wall perforations keeping the house lighted. Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


A Internal Garden B Entry at Main Door C Elevated Courtyard D Bedroom F Expansion of volumes G Continuous Ventilation





A Internal Garden B Entry at Main Door C Elevated Courtyard D Bedroom E A,B,C,D Combine to form the Courtyard






Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


rhythm of solids and voids, lending a sense of beautification to the house. The wall along the courtyard at the level above creates a milieu with the exterior wall which, when seen from the outside, adds to the viewer’s curiosity. The extruded bricks become a structural element which create reflections as per the movement of the sun on the façades. Another flight above, the layout opens out to a semi-covered seating area lying along a pocketed green patch, from where a shaft of light and air pierces through, invigorating every space within. Connecting the parts of the house, this area acts as a threshold in the transition, from which point the humungous central public space is visible. Inventive cut outs on the roof and perforations on the wall, infuse transparency. The first floor encompasses of a more private area with two bedrooms and upper courtyard. As a prelude, the spaces on the terrace courtyard on the first floor, the arty wall with extruding bricks make patterns of shadows throughout the day keeping the external façade naturally active. “The grid of the bricks,” explains the architect, “is derived from the internal space of the courtyard is expressed almost in a code on the outside, as a mark of the house's nature”. The house respects the family’s sensitivities and the entirety is kept reticent by the matrix of bricks on the exterior, upholstering the indomitable elements that compose it. The essential character of the design revels in a constant engagement of the habitable aspects of the house with a sectional experience of its context. There exists a semblance of symmetry, generated solely by

modulations of light and materiality, and within a hierarchical sequence of interventions, identifies with the nuances of the lifestyle of the family, as considered by the architect through minor gestures. In addressing the simple concerns of familiarity and convenience, the architects have unintentionally aided in directing a commendable spatial typology – a clever interstitial enveloping as a subterfuge to the disquietude of the context. Offering an everyday retreat to the residents, the house is a realm away from the chaos of the city thriving on the fact that nothing surpasses the feeling of being in a cocoon and the wondrous joy of spending serene evenings with family.

FACT FILE: Project Location Architect Design Team Client Cost of Project Electrical Consultants Civil Contractors Plumbing Consultants Carpentry Initiation of Project Completion of Project

: : : : : : : : : : : :

Lateral House Uttarhalli, Bengaluru Gaurav Roy Choudhury Architects Gaurav Roy Choudhury Mrs and Mr Mantesh `48,00,000 (Forty-eight Lakhs) ACHU P Enterprises LISA and Ravikumar Plumbtech Engineers Interiors Espania August 2011 January 2013

Slit opening on the façade at the first floor terrace courtyard. Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


JAL MAHAL BIJOLAI, A RESUSCITATION Surrounded by the Aravallis and the Bijolai Lake, the Jal Mahal Bijolai is an effort in restoration of a 200-year-old historic Rajput palace in the vicinity of Jodhpur, and its adaptive reuse as the Water Resource Centre, the headquarters of the Jal Bhagirathi Foundation, by a Delhi-based architectural practice Grup.ISM. Text: Anusha Narayanan Images & Drawing: courtesy Grup.ISM and Jal Bhagirathi Foundation

The Jal Mahal Bijolai in all its reinvigorated glory and splendour.


arwar, the most densely populated arid region in the world, falls in the harsh Thar Desert of Rajasthan, a land where life is a constant struggle for water. In Marwar lies the Takhtsagar Lake, about 11km from Jodhpur, which is a water body fed by a network of lakes, bunds and canals and connected to the Umedsagar Lake. Nestled in the Aravallis, in the catchment formed by the Kailana Lake, the Takhtsagar Lake and the Kalibari canal, is the Bijolai Lake, a historic water reservoir. The Jal Mahal Bijolai, a summer palace and a defunct hunting lodge built in the 19th century by Maharaja Takhat Singh (1843–1873), sits peacefully on a hillock adjacent to the sparkling Bijolai Lake in the backdrop of the hills and the bevy of swans that visit its shores in winters. The Jal Mahal Bijolai Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014

is topographically located in the watershed of Jodhpur. Every monsoon, the water from the Bijolai Lake would overflow and collect at the Kailana Lake almost 2km downhill, thus, acting as the source of water for the Jodhpur city. Owing to neglect by the people and the lack of regulatory authorities that would partake in the conservation of the palace complex, the Jal Mahal Bijolai went into a dismal state. In late 2002, the Jal Bhagirathi Foundation (JBF), an NGO which aims at providing an enabling environment to the communities of Marwar to leverage traditional knowledge and appropriate technology for their water sustenance, initiated the idea of restoring


the Jal Mahal Bijolai by identifying the 5000sqm site to house their headquarters, the Water Resource Centre (WRC). The task involved, was the restoration and re-use of the summer palace. In its nascent stages in 2003, Grup.ISM, a multidisciplinary Delhibased architectural practice, was appointed with the task to restore the Mahal complex and design the WRC. The project was designed and managed by the principal architect with a team comprising of architects, landscape designers, PHE and structural engineers, acoustics consultants as well as gardeners, masons and artisans, local villagers and NGO workers. What ensued was a constantly evolving programme that spanned over five years before completion and handover to the JBF.


Articulating on the inception of WRC, it was proposed to be built as a knowledge centre in the region and a conclave for exchanging ideas, knowledge networking and policy advocacy. Functionally, it had to include three major components, namely - (1) the training and conference facilities which included smaller training rooms, large multipurpose hall, outdoor spaces for leisure activities and administrative offices for the officials of JBF, (2) dining and kitchen facilities, and (3) the residential wing comprising of the guest house and staff housing, of which the guest house component was later converted into a self-sufficient revenue generating boutique hotel. Originally the palace complex consisted of three main buildings namely the palace, the royal kitchen and third, rather Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014





Night view of the complex.

Play of shadows in the early morning sun.

abandoned, building probably facilitating offices for the Maharaja's administrators. Alongside these were smaller structures like 'astabals' (horse stables), stores, guardroom, etc forming a campus of buildings of varying heights. The main palace building consisted of three floors of which one was subterranean and would be submerged in water during the monsoons. The royal kitchen was a simple beam and column grid structure built in local Jodhpur stones. The third structure was perhaps a Colonial Era insertion into the old complex. It was built in steel rails with stone slabs over it, similar in ways to the construction of the Colonial PWD building across the country in the late 20th Century. All the buildings showed signs of damage due to natural calamities, including in all probability, the Bhuj Earthquake which hit the Kutch region of Gujarat in 2001. Years of neglect had led to the cracking of walls and columns, precarious beams and falling of ceilings, buckling of arches in places, displacement of sunshades from the openings, vandalism of doors, windows and stonework and more such like. Among the structural elements that did withstand the damage was the waterproofing in the main palace building. The project began with a site visit by the principal architect and a team of specialists, to measure and map the complex and assess the damage to the existing structures. The existing Mahal complex also had numerous courtyards of varying sizes, some inward looking and some providing views of the surroundings. Each of the areas was earmarked for a particular function and thought was given to retain them without violating the vocabulary of open spaces. In the reuse of the spaces, among the three components (the training and conference, administration and residential wing) that were to be accommodated, the staff housing and the guest house with its dining facilities was the single largest built volume and required extensive servicing and waste management. Therefore, it was located on open land, away from the existing buildings. The

Landscape in levels developed from the topography of the site.

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


Complex viewed from the Bijolai 'Talaab'. Hills








To J o











Bijolai Mahal


Conference Hall


Admin. Block


Guest House


Dining E Hills

Water Body


Courtyard G F

Hills ↑

SITE PLAN - Jal Mahal Bijolai.

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014



D1 C





















D2 E

D3 A-D

Elevation C










D3-E D2-E Measured drawings documenting the series of large and small buildings.

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014





'Jaali' screen and a door retained from the old structure separating the residential from the conference facilities.

Landscaped forecourt for residential complex with geometrical stone features.

administrative and training/conference facilities, essentially used by the JBF were housed within the existing structures. The proposed zoning was such that the residential component comprising of the housing and the guest house was located on the northern part of the site across the rain water recharge area and an anicut (check dam) was rehabilitated here, in alignment with the topography of the land. The built area was restricted to the undulating, rocky part of the site and a pedestrian bridge linking the residential area to the main entry court was repaired to house the reception and a dispensary. An existing well was restored, cleaned and rehabilitated for providing water supply to the complex as well as for use as a percolation well. The next courtyard, which housed the simplest of the existing structures, was then carefully converted into offices which were interconnected through a new block to the entry court. This block was built over the existing embankment by the side of the smaller lake. It incorporated the derelict structure inclusively by providing toilets in its place. Similarly the ruined structure at the corner of the larger lake was reconstituted into classrooms. The adjoining existing pillared hall was repaired to


Forecourt leading to the administrative wing.

house the conference facility. Between these modifications the basic requirements of JBF were comprehensively fulfilled with minimum alterations to the original fabric of the complex. The phase-wise construction of the Jal Mahal Bijolai spanned over a period of five years. In its first phase, to facilitate the construction in a secluded place like Bijolai and be able to use the complex, a few offices, toilet facilities and a small living quarter for the staff were built near the entrance area. Successively, in the second phase the entire Admin Block was restored, water bodies cleaned and revived, and the 'bund' reconstructed. Next, the classrooms were added and the main part of the residential/guest house complex was completed along with the conference facilities. Finally the Bijolai Mahal was restored and the block comprising of the large dining hall was completed along with the forecourt of both residential as well as administrative buildings. In the process of restoration, many features and elements were retained or remodelled. The pergolas, stepped wells, elevated planter boxes, sunken water pools are examples of revival of the Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


historic architectural elements. The traditional arches and column features were used in the new building to ensure seamless merging of new and old, elements such as the main gate which was a discarded antique iron gate brought in from Mehrangarh Fort was remodelled and inverted to make an interesting feature which has been used repetitively. Parts of the complex that were unidentifiable in terms of their original designs were replaced with unobtrusive modern elements.

Entrance courtyard leading to the guest rooms using existing doors and stone 'jaalis'.

Outdoor dining in the pavilion on the terrace.

The main dining room.

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014

Furniture and accessories in the guest bedrooms were carefully selected to blend with the traditional Rajput style, using elegant beige tones. Similar ranges of colours and textures were followed for the public areas too. New buildings were built in locally available Jodhpur sandstone to match the existing façades. In continuity, the same stone was used in hardscapes and crushed Jodhpur stone was used for walkways in the landscape. Simple linear railings made with MS flats and rods were added to the terrace so as to not overshadow the existing decorative 'jaali' railings. The terrace was rebuilt with new arched pavilions and 'jharokhas'. The guest bedrooms were designed as boutique suites with a 300-600sqft footprint. Overall, the complex is a combination of outward looking façades and inward looking courtyards, at almost all times, providing views of the Aravallis and the Bijolai Lake. The site planning and landscaping were done keeping in mind the topography and hydrology of the site. As a method of upgrading the existing water conservation system, the water from the two lakes as well as the surface and roof runoff was proposed to be directed to underground tanks which were to form the foundations of the buildings. This system was meant to achieve two objectives. The first being that of water storage, with reduced evaporation or loss through seepage, as opposed to that which occurs due to surface transpiration. The second objective was that the submerged foundations would effectively cool the floor of the buildings in summer. This concept of the underground tanks was a derivative of the traditional 'tanka' system used in rural Rajasthan. However, over the due course of time, after much deliberation, this original scheme of water conservation was modified such that, the runoff from the hardscapes and the roofs is collected and directed to the existing well which acts as a collector of water as well as for groundwater recharge. Runoff from most of softscapes, from the unbuilt site, and the overflow from the well flows into the lake. The water supply to entire built and restored facilities is from the old well, which is filtered upon collection to make it usable. The idea of the submerged foundation was subsequently, not implemented as the need for using the 'tanka' system was felt to be unnecessary and harder to maintain, as the well and the anicut made for abundant water storage. Provisions were made in case a 'tanka'



The Bijolai lake flanked by the anicut on one side and the dining and the conference facilities on the other.

additions, wherever necessary, and in doing so adhere to the original vocabulary of architecture and to design with sensitivity towards the ecology of the site.


Play of light and shade in the harsh Jodhpur sun in the landscaped court.

was to be added at a later date if needed in the landscaped area. As a part of lake and anicut restoration, dredging was carried out to clean the silt accumulated at the bottom of the lake, thus increasing its depth. This, along with the implemented water drainage and storage system, has had positive implication on the ecology and microclimate of the site. It can be observed today that the lake, which would usually dry up in the peak of summers, still has water reserve perhaps owing to the dredging and raising of 'bunds'. Visible affirmation of the ecological restoration is the flourish in the flora of the surroundings. Ecology and Architectural Restoration, on a site located in such proximity to a natural water body, are inseparable. To a great extent the restoration approach, modified at various stages, targeted the three main aims, which were to respect the historicity of the older complex and maintain it during restoration, to make minimal

Bringing water to the thirsty desert is a sacred task, like the penance of the revered king Bhagiratha who, according to ancient Indian mythology, brought the holy river Ganges from the heavens to the earth. The Foundation, named after the legendary king, has worked with the neglected rural communities of the Marwar region with this singular aim. The Jal Mahal Bijolai has been revived, not as a mere souvenir reflecting its past glory, but to reflect the importance of restoration and adaptive reuse of the dilapidated structures and the depleting lake ecology, giving the villagers a space to discuss and advocate these issues. The Jal Mahal Bijolai is at the core, an embodiment of the functions of the Water Resource Centre.

FACT FILE: Project : Location : Principal Architect : Client : Conservation & Strategies : Structural Conservation & Strategies : Design Team : Landscape Architect : Structural Engineer : Plumbing Consultant : Electrical Consultant :

Restoration & Adaptive Reuse of Jal Mahal Bijolai Bijolai, near Jodhpur, Rajasthan Anil B Jain, Grup.ISM Pvt Ltd Jal Bhagirathi Foundation Snehanshu Mukherjee Peu and P K Das Chandu V Arsikere, Pushp Raj Singh, Preet Kiran, Vimmi Chopra and Vanya Jain Kakoli Sikder Rajan Abrol Umesh Rai Keshav Sharma

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014



In this edition, Madhavi Desai writes about the issue of gender in architectural education, in an attempt to decipher the growing proportions of girl students in the school as against very few practices led by women while trying to understand the dynamics of a learning atmosphere.

By Madhavi Desai


ducation is the corner stone of any discipline, including architecture, where it primarily combines intellectual rigor and practical skills. It is also a place where the students learn to think deeply about the interconnectedness of the culture, the built environment, technology and the world of ideas. The most significant and unique aspect of architectural education is that it is potentially infinite in its scope and subject matter. The discipline of architecture is deeply embedded in the cultural world and the culture of an institute is closely connected to its teaching ideology and pedagogy. “Architectural education, although obviously intended as vocational training, is also intended as a form of socialisation aimed at producing a very specific type of person. All forms of education transmit knowledge and skills. All forms of education also socialise students into some sort of ethos or culture. These two functions are inseparable."ii Institutional practices such as organisation of curriculum, the relationship between theory and practice and administrative set-up enable or constrain particular forms of knowledge.

Women architects have been participating in the field in increasing numbers as designers (and as teachers/researchers) in contemporary times. However, even today, there are very few large practices where women are the sole principals. In the past 25 years, many women architects have opted to establish successful partnerships with their architect husbands or male/ female partners.iii Some women work in governmental and municipal organisations. Many of them devise alternative models to mainstream practice or diversify into non-traditional roles. However, they are much less visible in terms of leadership, academic success and excellence in practice. “The absence of women from the profession of architecture remains, despite various theories, very difficult to explain and very slow to change. It demarcates a failure the profession has become adept at turning a blind eye to… If we consider architecture a cultural construct, both vessel and residue, we can but wonder what this symptomatic absence suggests about our culture and the orders that govern the production of its architecture. One thing

Women architects have been participating in the field in increasing numbers as designers (and as teachers/researchers) in contemporary times. However, even today, there are very few large practices where women are the sole principals. ↑

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014

The 1974 batch of students at CEPT, Ahmedabad (Photo courtesy Anjali Yagnik).



architectural education is clear however... The absence of women points to a profound gender-related crisis at the base of architecture".iv This statement is universally applicable, in varying degrees, including to the situation in India as women professionals continue to face hurdles at various stages due to their gender in glaring contrast to other design fields such as media, fashion, graphics and textiles. Many women graduates give up the idea of working for someone or independently practice after a while. Many others branch out in related fields. As a result, women in architecture have not yet developed a critical mass in practice. This is ironic because their intake has been steadily increasing – from two/four women students in the 1940s – in the 280 odd colleges of architecture for the past 25 years. The key question is: Can anything be done at the level of education? The popular opinion of this situation is that processes in architectural education are bias-free and give equal opportunity to all for success. However, it has been observed that – "… the socio-educational context of the university [or college], in which skills, knowledge and attitudes towards the practice develop, plays a strong role in restricting the potential of many women in this field."v Since this fact has not been recognised at the local, regional or the national levels in India, almost no attention has been paid to it in the discourses or corrective approaches. The women students' percentage of admission ranges from 50 per cent to 80 per cent today. Inspite of this fact, the number of women in professional practice drops substantially to about 15 per cent to 17 per In the West, for example, the RIBA, AIA and other organisations had already begun to address these issues many years back. This essay, then, attempts to unearth some of the hidden aspects of gender that have traditionally been overlooked as non-issues, while initiating a constructive discussion towards the processes that are beneficial for both – men and women. Ground Reality for Women in Architecture Extreme forms of violence such as dowry deaths, domestic abuses and foeticide are visible forms of discrimination towards women. In addition, there are invisible, often subtle, forms of conditioning, imbalances and inequalities as a whole in the society. They moderate the connection

The student intake in 2006 at R V School of Architecture, Bengaluru, (Photo courtesy Nancy Jaiswal).

between gender and the built environment. This invisibility is, perhaps the reason why gender is ignored in almost all colleges of architecture – in theory and design courses, even though feminism has been one of the foremost movements of the twentieth century and it has affected all disciplines to some or other extent. The barriers include perceptions and experiences in a patriarchal society, the dichotomy between the professional and feminine self-image and dealing with predominantly male clients, consultants, colleagues, contractors as well as construction workers. What, then, are the hidden barriers for women? First of all, there is the equality myth. Without gender sensitivity, the built environment is commonly treated as a neutral background. Most men and women designers strongly believe in the neutrality of the profession and the self. Choosing to describe and view themselves as gender neutral, the women prefer to call themselves ‘architects’ and not ‘women’ architects. In an attempt to be ‘mainstream’, most of them stay away from ‘women’s issues’ for fear of being labelled as feminists or not being accepted as a ‘true’ professional.vii This makes us take the situation for granted, adding to the marginalisation of the subject and its solutions. By contrast, in the USA for instance, by accepting the fact that there is direct/indirect discrimination towards women professionals, much has been achieved. “In the West, affirmative action has been entrenched for close to three

decades now. Gender equity and diversity at the workplace are embedded in systems and hiring processes in a mostly unobtrusive and constructive way.”viii This is a major intervention and is something that we can learn from. Generally, there is low visibility of women in the profession and the academia. Most famous and celebrated architects that students study and see in publications are male. There are relatively few women in high positions such as heads of departments of architecture or principals in firms. It is not often that women find representation in national architectural competition juries, in lecture series, as inauguration guests, on interview panels or on college inspection visits except as tokens. This results in a more masculine perspective and a vicious circle that is hard to break. Central bodies like the Council of Architecture (COA) or the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) also have very few women on their boards or in a position of leadership.ix This, in turn, affects media coverage (print, television, and internet) and the overall perception of the society. With long working hours and relative low pay scale, women architects find it difficult to balance work/life. All these factors combine to undermine the confidence of the woman, ultimately affecting her performance in practice. Unfortunately, though during the course of their education, because of the generally liberal atmosphere of colleges, women students anticipate no difficulty Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


Madhavi Desai is an architect, researcher and a teacher. She is an adjunct faculty at Faculty of Architecture, CEPT University, Ahmedabad since 1986. She has had Research Fellowships from ICSSR, the Aga Khan Programme for Islamic Architecture at MIT in USA, Sarai, in New Delhi and the Getty Foundation, USA. She is a member of the nominating committee of the Berkeley-Rupp Professorship and Prize at the University of California at Berkeley, USA (2012-2014). She has co-authored/authored/edited five books on Indian architecture, the latest one being The Bungalow in Twentieth Century India: The Cultural Expression of Changing Ways of Life and Aspirations in the Domestic Architecture of Colonial and Post-Colonial Society, Ashgate, UK (2012). Currently she is engaged in researching a book on Women in Architecture in India. in combining a professional career with women’s traditional family roles, this generally comes as a shock to the female graduates as they struggle after marriage and motherhood while their male counterparts’ careers go soaring ahead. In spite of this, most women architects view this situation as a personal issue/choice or a ‘social problem’ but not as a part of the larger context.x If gender awareness is there, it may benefit their career development in the long run. The Women Students and Societal Perceptions When India gained independence from colonial rule, the general view was that women’s top priority was to look after the household as well as children and then participate in the outer world.xi In fact, it remains the same to some extent even today. “Though higher education is socially accepted and taken for granted among the upper and middle strata in urban India, it is also viewed more as an investment in the daughters’ distant future rather than as an immediate goal.”xii The discipline of architecture is also affected by this attitude in the society. The architectural course is increasingly perceived as a ‘feminine’ profession with the assumption that girls will be able to work from the office and also handle the home front.xiii Both men and women graduates face difficulties in the real world. “The student-turned-architect invariably feels let down as he steps into the portals of professional work after five years of study. His contact with senior professionals makes him feel helpless and despondent to start with. With encouragement, more hard work, commitment to self and profession, Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014

things begin to look up but results are still inadequately rewarding financially. A look at student-architects' counterparts' financial and professional performance in other compatible fields heightens the inadequacy of the training after longer years of academic programme.”xiv At the same time, women students have restrictions imposed on them due to their social conditioning and strict family conventions. They often face an identity and cultural crisis, because of the disparity between the social freedom they experience in the ‘liberated’ architecture college environment and the realities of the outside world. This, at times, gets difficult when the student has to find a balance in her new dual existence. In addition, many parents in the Indian society, consciously or unconsciously, perceive the aims of higher education for women include finding a suitable match, being socially supportive to the husband, bringing up children appropriately and perhaps participating in economic activities if needed. Although this attitude has been changing in the last few decades, in most communities it has still not come to mean that women can become predominantly career/business oriented. In the past twenty years or so, a preference for ‘professional’ brides has been increasing in the society. The decision of working or developing a career is often left blank for the future; in other words, it depends on the attitude of the husband and the in-laws. Conduct of Design Studio Studio teaching is central to the pedagogy of architectural education and generally takes up maximum hours in a curriculum. It remains at the core of an architectural course all over the world. Men traditionally dominate the

teaching of design, as a result “...the culture of the studio in most of the architectural schools is decidedly masculine, rewarding competitiveness rather than collaboration, and emphasising the design of singular object – buildings rather than the potential context of buildings. This is anachronistic, since environmental design practice is almost invariably about collaboration and context.”xv The above quote stresses that design is not a solo activity but a collective process. Projects are rather large and complex in a globalising world and are often beyond the capacity of a single student, however talented. A team design project in advanced years will give a more realistic idea of how contemporary architecture is built. Collaboration which is the least nurtured skill in design education can be countered by emphasising group learning to diffuse the overwhelming competitive ethos of the studio. Then learning will shift away from self expression (read ego) and romantic individualism. “Rather than augmenting students’ feelings of inadequacy as designers, schools should reform the authoritarianism of studio pedagogy and broaden their view of the profession. The architects would feel less need for gurus, and those they turned to would be more responsible and humane.”xvi In practice, many other disciplines are involved such as social sciences, business and urban design which seem to be largely absent in terms of integration with the studio. Most colleges do not encourage direct participation with users which leaves a gap in the students’ training. More experiences such as dealing with clients (even mock clients) and consultants, use of role playing techniques, involving non-architects as user representatives and learning to converse


about architecture with all manner of people, are worth looking into to bring in the much-needed realism in the classroom, at least once or twice during the entire course. The element of reality will also help bring in some idea of cost and budget restrictions. Integration of lecture courses with the studios will avoid the traditional rivalry between the two where the student will be able to see building design as a composite whole as in real world situation.xvii With easy availability of cameras and videos, they can be far more immersed in live situations. Practice incorporates non-built elements such as the mode of organising an office, the tone of human relationship with clients, contractors and colleagues as well as participation in the building construction process. These and other shortcomings in education affect all graduates but more so to the women professionals due to the complex social and professional context they have to face. The jury system has been endlessly debated and its options explored. A discussion is beyond the scope of this essay but it should be pointed out that the disadvantages of the system often at times affect the woman student more. I personally prefer the ‘circular’ format, which promotes cross learning and encourages students to participate fully. In addition, on juries, women should be consciously invited to genuinely include a balanced view point through different experiences and voices. However, most of all, the studio teaching is silent especially when it comes to focusing on gender. It is often addressed marginally, if at all, by broadly being included in the ‘social’ or ‘cultural’ realm. It is an established fact that spatial arrangements of buildings reflect and reinforce existing gender, race and class relations because space is socially constructed and the appropriation of space is a political act.xviii Design teaching should also acknowledge the importance of feminist analysis by looking into the gendered use of space, including occasional projects such as a women’s health centre, a hostel, a crèche or a nursery. Theory Courses and Practical Training Theory is a fundamentally important part of architectural education, as it provides a discursive platform for the underlying ideology and basic knowledge of the discipline. “Architecture is inclusive of

allied and applied aspects of humanities, aesthetics, built environment techniques and skills, technology and engineering sciences and allied management systems. While utilising relevant information and knowledge from these disciplines, it goes beyond them to be a unique and holistic discipline of architecture.”xix Humanities, social and building sciences and structure courses that are meant to complement the designing process, end up being treated as ancillary, with limited integration. However, architecture is also about understanding people and dealing with complex interpersonal relationships at all stages in the practice. The assimilation of the various related courses with the design curriculum would help to create more holistic studios. This would help to ensure a greater interest, elevating them from merely secondary subjects to being more complementary to the design studios as helpful tools. For example, exercises of how to evaluate structure through site visits and case study analysis could be useful to give clarity of concepts rather than mechanical exercises of doing structural calculations. The stress should be on qualitative and logical understanding of the intuitive behaviour of structures. In the same manner, site visits for construction courses; particularly during the working drawings stage will go a long way. Courses such as building construction and professional practice can include hands-on experiences and site supervision exercises. Students could be introduced to interact with actual site contractors, site engineers and labour. There could be small do-it-yourself projects or intensive teaching

modules that stress on the construction process, market, materials knowledge and management. Most institutions also fail to approach architecture as a business (versus simply as a design and building activity).xx Four to four and a half months' practical training is not adequate for most of the students. The training semester needs to be better structured and guided. Voluntary summer vacation apprenticeship could be encouraged. On the other hand, the professional practice course should be made more realistic to include the nitty-gritty such as Floor Space Index and selling logistics in the market. Minimum three years of work experience should be strictly required before one is given license to practice that will help in developing professional confidence. These efforts may be able to deal with complaints such as this: “As a result of the emphasis on design, students graduate with considerable mastery of this area, but often without much know-how in building technology and construction… More disturbing is that this concentration on design skill leads to immense frustration among young architects. There are just not those many opportunities to do design work in the average firm. Several studies have shown that only 10 per cent of an architecture firm’s time is spent on this function in the building process.”xxi In short, we require proactive methods. Faculty and Role Models/Mentors The relative absence of role models and mentors is one of the crucial reasons why female students do not easily make

The social equality on campus, CEPT, Ahmedabad (Photo courtesy FAAA archives). Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


*Create a network of women in architecture, to reach out to other women students and professionals who are struggling to achieve success in the profession and make efforts at mentoring juniors. *Organise regular seminars on gender, profession and society related topics and plan on more conscious exposure of women in architecture through guest lectures and exhibition of works. *Design leadership opportunities for women students as well as look into encouragement to them through scholarships, travel grants and financial aid. *Till there is a greater balance in power, we may consider tools similar to affirmative action to enforce professional empowerment of the women in architecture. ↑

Practical experience at Smt Manoramabai Mundle College of Architecture, Nagpur (Photo courtesy Prof Ujwala Chakradeo).

successful strides into the profession. Their power and the resultant generation of aspirations cannot be emphasised enough.xxii Jobs in colleges of architecture are more secure, that are less vulnerable to market forces than architectural practice. This fact often draws architects to join as teachers. Women, in addition, are keen to join since it helps them balance home and work relatively easily. Therefore, in the past few decades more and more women can be found in the architectural academia, as opposed to the dwindling numbers in practice. However, women faculty are more often than not marginalised or not given crucial subjects to teach. “We found in our interviews that many women, even if they teach in studio on a reasonably regular basis, are seen as peripheral because their primary responsibility is in a non-studio area… [They got] course assignments that effectively denied them both advanced studio assignment and leadership roles.”xxiii Hiring more women as core faculty as well as increased involvement of women who are active in practice are obvious first steps. The visible presence and direct interaction of students with female architects may give them a tremendous sense of possibilities which would go a long way in bridging the gender disparity in both teaching and practice. Research Activity Unfortunately, so far, educational institutions in India have not become Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014

primary generators of research as there is no rigorous policy or awareness of its value. It is neither a compulsory requirement for faculty promotion nor is there adequate funding available. In fact, “Teaching, research or academic pursuits draw negative response and respect among architecture professionals, and interestingly, even among the academics. The full time employed teachers in most cases consider teaching as additional activity to their private professional work. Practice for teachers need qualitative as well as quantitative norms.”xxiv The absence of research is reflected in lack of theoretical development on gender. Ignorance of these issues in practice gets reflected in design. This is compounded by the fact that gender is not acknowledged in built environment history and in related contemporary publications. This lacuna has to be addressed. Conclusions The profession of architecture is changing in a positive way; it is much more collaborative, pluralistic and inclusive. New modes of practices are emerging where an individual has a much more networked role in the design process. Simultaneously, women are also increasing as primary clients and patrons as their money/social power rises in different fields. The following are my suggestions for how women students can be better prepared for the discipline:

This essay questions the current boundaries and traditional framework of architectural education in India, stressing on rethinking and paradigm changes. It urges the revamping of institutional premises/ frameworks and repositioning of the curriculum while critically looking into the issues mentioned above. There is a need for a new intellectual-academic sensibility and a pedagogical shift in viewing the role of women as creators and consumers of space. The suggestions given here are neither all encompassing nor targeting only the women students.xxv Given the fact that there will be a large number of women entering the profession in the present century, they need to become a part of serious discourse within the discipline. The young generation, in particular, is more determined than ever to make a dent on the professional scene. The question at this moment is no longer about ‘equality’ but of recognising the ‘differences’ and going beyond male/female duality. Both male and female students can be made more sensitive by a proactive approach. Thus, the challenge is to make sustained efforts that lead to a learning environment that empowers the woman architect along with their male counterparts and make the discipline more democratic as well as diversified in the true sense.

Madhavi Desai, January 2014


i. This article draws from an unpublished paper I presented at a seminar in CEPT University in July, 2012 titled, "Architectural Education at the Faculty of Architecture, CEPT University: Women Students, Culture and Pedagogy".

students in architecture.

ii. Evens, Garry, Struggle in the Studio: A Bourdivin Look at Architectural Pedagogy, Journal of Architectural Education (1984), Vol 49, No 2 (Nov, 1995), p 105

xv. Jennifer Wolch in Kullack, Tanja, (Ed.), A Woman’s Profession, jovis Verlag GmbH, Berlin: 2011, P. 186

iii. The partnerships work in different ways. At times, women handle independent projects on their own while sharing the office infrastructure, at other times, in a more flexible arrangement, both partners work together, the male architect often handling more of the site/travel interactions. The partnership mode of practice has its own advantages as well as disadvantages. iv. Hughes, Francesca in the Introduction, Hughes, Francesca (Ed) (1996) The Architect: Reconstructing Her Practice, MIT, PX-XI v. Ahrentzen, Sherry and Anthony, Kathryn, Sex, Stars and Studios: A Look at Educational Practices in Architecture, Journal of Architectural Education, September: 1993. vi. The percentage cited is largely based on the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) research in 2003 into the dropout rate of women from architectural practice. See: ribaprofessionalservices/education/discussionpapers/ whydowomenleavearchitecture.pdf. This is the first research of its kind in the UK. Carried out by the University of the West of England on behalf of the RIBA, the report found that a combination of factors, including poor employment practice, difficulties in maintaining skills and professional networks during career breaks and paternalistic attitudes, cause women to leave the profession (RIBA Website). 11 per cent of the total persons involved in the profession of architecture are women according to the website of the American Institute of Architects. Unfortunately there is no such study in India and all my efforts to get statistics from the relevant organisations have failed so far. vii. Desai, Madhavi (Ed), Gender and the Built Environment in India, Zubaan, New Delhi: 2007, p 16 viii. Ramdorai, Sujatha, Windows in the Ceiling: How to Create an Enabling Environment for Women in Science, the Indian Express, January 6, 2012. ix. Out of the total architects registered with the COA, 27 per cent are females. Women form 6.6 per cent of the members in the (governing) Council and 6.25 per cent of the members of All India Board of Architecture and Town Planning Education of All India Council of Technical Education. As per the Handbook of Professional Documents (2002), Council of Architecture, New Delhi, p xxi x. Desai, Madhavi (Ed), op cit. xi. When I was in the undergraduate programme in architecture in the late sixties/early seventies, the norm for girls was a degree in arts and then marriage after graduation, most becoming homemakers. The preferred qualification now is a professional or management degree but developing a career is not necessarily a path to be followed. xii. Chanana, Karuna, Subject Choices and Gender: Women in Higher Education in India, in Khullar, Mala (Ed) “Writing the Women’s Movement: A Reader”, Zubaan, New Delhi: 2005 xiii. Based on responses to my questionnaires of women

xiv. Chaudhary, Prem Kumar, Education of Architecture Students, in 'Workshop on Status and Future of Architectural Education in India', IIA, NEW Delhi: 1998

xvi. Dennis Scott Brown, ibid, p 132 xvii. Groat, Linda, Reconceptualising Architectural Education: The Necessity for a Culturalist Paradigm, Architecture and Culture Symposium, Canada. xviii. Weisman, Leslie, Discrimination by Design: A Feminist Critique of the Man-Made Environment, University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago: 1994, p 2 xix. Quoted from the unpublished report of The Board for Development of Post Graduate/Advanced Studies/ Research in Architecture and Allied Fields of Studies, The Council of Architecture, New Delhi: 2005 xx. Mazumdar, Sanjoy, Becoming an Architect in the Third World: A Study of Educational Cultural Values in IASTE Working Paper Series, Vol XXXII, 1-36:1991. xxi. Gutman, Robert, Redesigning Architecture Schools, Architecture, August 1996 xxii. One respondent pointed out that she longed to, but never found, role models because she needed them to have achieved a mental and physical balance in their personal and professional lives as she had been constantly struggling with. She failed because she never came to know about the family side of any of the women in the field, either in India or abroad. xxiii. Linda N Groat and Sherry B Ahrentzen, Voices for Change in Architectural Education: Seven Facets of Transformation from the Perspectives of Faculty Women, Journal of Architectural Education (1984), Vol 50, No 4 (May 1997), pp 277 and 279 xxiv. Quoted from the unpublished report of The Board for Development of Post Graduate/Advanced Studies/ Research in Architecture and Allied Fields of Studies, Op Cit. xxv. Crucial issues like protection from sexual harassment, physical safety of women students and support such as a crèche for women faculty are beyond the scope of this paper but cannot be ignored by the educational institutions. This column invites eminent academicians, ethical teachers, teaching architects, institution builders and design educationists to comment on architectural education (and design education as an extension) in the context of India. Concerned architects / academicians / educationists / teachers and students are invited to write to us / call us / email us for further discussion. Your deliberations / observations / critique / counter-arguments and agreements will be deeply valued. We must create a meaningful community of like-minded people to negotiate our future as professionals and responsible citizens of a globalising India. We must hold ourselves responsible for the quality of architectural and design thought in the coming decades. Please send your feedback / comments to IA&B believes that this issue is of prime (and unprecedented) importance at the moment for the future of architecture in India. Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


Vimal Jain

(1972 – 2013)


t is now just over a month since Vimal passed away.

Sitting with Sandeep and Manoj, his partners at Architecture Paradigm, I realise suddenly how odd it is to see them without Vimal around – in their beautiful new office, just three months old. He is not here now to begin his ‘second innings’ as he would often call the move. This was to herald a new beginning for the practice which over the past 18 years has been a crucial part of the much fêted Bengaluru ‘scene’. During the late nineties and early aughts, Paradigm was an important part of a shift in the way architecture was practised and produced in the city – bringing to the table an evolved sensibility with materials, particularly steel, thinking of architecture and form making as assemblage, seeing architecture as plan, section and elevation simultaneously and ingeniously accommodating the programme to address an internal logic and the external situation. Sandeep refers to Vimal as having been the spirit behind the practice – fearless, focused and persistent. Vimal was born on the 17 th of August, 1972. He came from a humble background, studying till his 10 th grade in ‘Kannada’ medium schools in Gundlupet and Mysore. He came to Bengaluru to do his pre-university degree and then joined the Department of Architecture in BMS College. Shy and unsure initially, dressed in 1970s Amitabh Bachchan inspired bell bottoms and tight polyester shirts, Vimal kept a low profile hanging out with other Hindi speaking students. Working on projects for NASA under the able tutelage of Nagaraj Vastarey (like many of us), Vimal began to discover the pleasures of long nights spent in drawing and discussing architecture. In Brian Eno’s words, we were all part of this ‘scenus’ – an incredible ecosystem at BMS which existed in spite of the crumbling infrastructure and absent teachers. We learnt from each other and Vimal, along with Sandeep, Manoj, Guru and others started to produce sophisticated, national award winning projects. Soon after college he worked for Jaspreet Kaur and Sagar Shetty for two years developing a real affinity for working with steel and imbibing their ability to rapidly develop alternatives, often producing full sets of working drawings for new options. Vimal considered this and his time at Nimish Patel’s office as formative experiences and continued to send both of Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


Photograph from the college: (L to R): Subhash, Vimal, Nagaraj, Sandeep, Bijoy, Manoj (seated) and Guru.

them drawings and photographs of projects for their review. Starting off with a small interior for a retail outlet, working out of Manoj’s garage, Sandeep’s bedroom and Vimal’s ‘penthouse’, the practice continues to operate with a sense of urgency. This is not a practice really considering restraint – Vimal’s core agenda was to experiment, to push boundaries. He did not have a favourite project but liked certain maneuvers in all their projects – in some sense the practice’s portfolio is not so much a series of individual artifacts but an evolving compendium of ways to deal with specific conditions. Vimal’s real interest lay in these details – the articulation of junctions, the design of stairs and the definition of planes, and a playful disregard for the simple clarity of an obvious order - going instead for the complex collision of a kit of parts. The success of the practice, both financially and critically was primarily due to their ability to persuade clients to take a leap of faith with them and in their propensity to produce a phenomenal amount of work to back their ideas. Vimal had an innate ability to communicate with people from any background. He was equally comfortable with the visiting Australian architect and the local plywood supplier. His humanity came across so strongly. Many of Paradigm’s early clients were small-time businessmen who were keen to make a splash. Vimal tapped into this nascent ambition and managed to create a series of critically acclaimed houses. He was able to articulate their aspirations in a way that did not compromise his own view of the world. These projects reflect a deep rooted collaboration with the client – producing an architecture that is both pragmatic and delightful. Vimal was also a skilful manager. He was disciplined with his time – charting out his day in the morning, prioritising the work at hand and systematically ticking off things on the list as the day wore on. With Vimal around, both Sandeep and Manoj could rest easy – he had it covered. He managed to find time for everything and everybody. The practice’s work on competitions is phenomenal – given that they were always busy with projects – they still managed to consistently produce prize winning schemes, fully realised and surprisingly articulated. I am not sure how they found the time. Sandeep told me the other day, that Vimal would often


Manoj Ladhad, Vimal Jain and Sandeep J of Architecture Paradigm.

get home late and would call Prachee, his wife and ask her to come down with the kids for a drive to have ‘lassi’ or ice cream – he made the time. As Paradigm became an established practice, Vimal began thinking of a larger agenda for himself and the practice. He began teaching at the University School of Design in Mysore. Just like his involvement at the office, his immersion in the thesis students’ projects was total. I was invited to be on the jury for their final review and he called me repeatedly that day to check on how his ‘kids’ were doing – getting into long discussions about their ideas and intentions. He was so completely involved. And this was his nature. He was also instrumental in starting a conversation amongst a group of us, practitioners in the city, to begin thinking of a way to engage with design challenges in the public realm. He often spoke about our larger responsibility and our inability to connect with society at large. I hope someday we can fulfill his dream of getting together as a community and addressing the challenges we face. Vimal Jain was my friend. He inspires me to be a better architect and a better human being. I will miss the chance to sit with him around the corner, sipping tea and shooting the breeze. I will miss being able to pick up the phone and talk to him at the end of a rough day – just to hear him say,”Master Bijoy” in that deep baritone of his. I will miss his sense of humour – he once suggested setting up a new firm together in Alibaug, much closer to the ferry terminal than Studio Mumbai and calling it Bijoy Jain architects (two architects for the price of one!). He was the real deal – a fine architect and a wonderful human being. Vimal is survived by his wife Prachee, his nine year old son Chirantan, three year old daughter Niral, the Paradigm family and his legion of friends. – Bijoy Ramachandran with Sandeep J & Manoj Ladhad Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


Front Cover.

Back Cover.

Presented as a concise compilation covering the comprehensive discipline of Landscape Architecture in philosophy, theory and practice and across timeframes from historic to modern, the book is a realistic orientation to the world of Landscape Architecture for students and future professionals.

Image of fluvial landforms by Tara Sharma. ↑ Page and image from ‘Natural Processes’: ‘Soil’.


s one opens the book, one’s eyes fall on the inner sleeve which bears a small note on the species of the leaf displayed on the front cover of the book – titled Landscape Architecture in India, A Reader – a feature that emulates the trademark style of the LA, Journal of Landscape Architecture magazine describing one tree species per issue. The book starts with a note of acknowledgement to all those involved in the making – Ayla Khan for the inception, Adit Pal for his constant involvement, Prof Prabhakar K Bhagwat and Aniket Bhagwat for their encouragement, Mohammad Shaheer for his contribution, Seema Mary Anthony for her illustrations, Upinder Singh, Akshay Kaul and Pradip Krishen for their inputs, Farhad Contractor, Akshay Goyal and Jitendra Pawgi for photographs, Ashok B Lall, Nikhil Dhar, Mohan S Rao, James L Wescot, Sriganesh Rajendran, Deepa Maheshwari and Shishir R Raval among many others for their critique and suggestions. In the introduction, Geeta Wahi Dua, who has co-edited the book with Mohammad Shaheer and Adit Pal, justifies the need for a publication that introduces people to the challenges and complexities of designing and understanding landscapes in the Indian context. She describes how the format and the agendas of the publication were decidedly inclusive. “This book”, as she articulates, “was not meant to be heavily

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014

theoretical but was curated to prompt the reader to acknowledge the presented facts and pretexts better”. The book is essentially divided into five sections – ‘Natural Processes’, ‘Culture’, ‘Landscape Architecture’, ‘India: Regions’ and ‘Gallery’. The first section ‘Natural Processes’ revolves around the theory of landscape as a science. It covers geology and geomorphology, climate, hydrology, vegetation, ecology and the relationship between various ecological systems, animals and human beings. The extent of this summarisation is vast, tracking the geological history from the evolution of life on earth and movement of the tectonic plates right up to the earth as we know it today. Since the time span covered in this section is far too long to be described in too much depth, this section serves more as a walk-through of the various scientific aspects that a future landscape architect must be aware of. The text is punctuated by panoramic images and diagrammatic illustrations explaining the respective subtopic. Each aspect begins by defining the key terms and includes a map indicating the geographical map, the climatic regions, soils and vegetation maps of India. It ends with a conclusive text elaborating on the

book review


Enlarged ‘Section through Riverbed’ (Original Source: LEAF Research Document).

relationship between the key concept and present-day practice of Landscape Architecture. The second section of the book revolves around ‘Culture’, tracing the history of landscape architecture through various civilisations and empires and finally travelling across India. This chronological history alongside the imagery and the indicative timelines illustrated on each page, make for an associative and organised read in one’s memory. Contrasting with the technicality of the first section, the second section reads more contextually and binds the reader to the strong narrative. The complexities of a different kind are elaborated upon in the second section which finishes with a note on the ‘subconscious’; the end narrative being on ‘Landscape and Humans’, investigates our attitudes, approaches and perspective of aestheticism in landscape.

Page from ‘Natural Processes’ (Original Source: LEAF Research Document).

Page from ‘Culture’: ‘Indian Landscape Design’).

As one traverses to the third chapter, the book reads as a sequential guide to the curriculum of landscape education and practice. It is here that one walks through the tools and processes of landscape architecture/design from conceptualisation to execution, beginning with soil and water conservation – which precedes the actual design, the Design Brief – where one

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


Memories of a Nation…’: a collage of the landmark events in the contemporary history of India.

learns how to read specific design problems, Site Analysis and Site Planning – where one identifies the words ‘analysis’ as a synthesis of knowledge, information and interpretation and ‘planning’ as the solution consolidating the design brief over a period of time ranging from short-term site level projects to long-term urban planning. The section on ‘Place of Plants’ has been curated and written by Mohammad Shaheer, one of the leading landscape architects of the country. The centrifuge of his essay is ‘plants’ and the significance that we attach to them, or rather the lack of it, and the long due respect they deserve. He also elaborates on his views, based on his research and experience, on the gross misplacement and misuse of the word ‘sustainable’ and its trivialisation into an aesthetic frame. The chapter ends with an introduction to Landscape Construction, a subset of Landscape Architecture which deals with construction details of civil works oft used by professionals. The fourth section again, arranges the map of India into a synopsis of various regions as they are usually referred to, based on physiography. It is interesting to understand this part, after having gone through the entire book, as at this point it feels like the book has deciphered the patchwork of the country and its landscape

Image: moths which mimic eyes of a predator (‘Landscapes of the Mind: The Psychology of Spaces’).

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014

Page from ‘Culture’: ‘Selected Historic Indian Sites’.

Page from ‘Landscape Architecture’; ‘Plants in Design’.


Page from ‘Landscape Architecture’: ‘Landscape Construction’ and ‘India: Regions’: ‘Western Himalayas’.

into understandable notes. Each region is explained with a small geographical map of India highlighting the area, and text describing major features like the constituting states, bullet points on climate, soil and vegetation and narratives on environmental issues, conservation and development, traditional landscape and agricultural practices in each region. This reads like drawing a map of the country and then compartmentalising each region with its own set of unique embodiments of nature. K T Ravindran closes this chapter with a curation on ‘Nature-Culture Continuum: the case of Kerala’. This journal of personal musing of the author on Kerala has a sense of tranquillity describing Kerala from the perspective of an informed traveller with an insight on the history of Kerala.

Illustration: ‘Rural Countryside of West Bengal’ by Mithila S Manolkar and Sushmita Paul.

The book concludes with a ‘Gallery’ of projects that provides a glimpse of the present landmarks and must-knows of Contemporary Landscape Architecture in India. Overall, the book captures episodes, theories, principles, phenomenon, regions and cultural narratives, both historic and scientific, unique to India, making a statement to its readers to acknowledge the complexity of designing in an Indian context while not detaching the broader world view of ecology from it. The tone differs from technical to conversational in parts, at times easy on the eyes and dense elsewhere. The composition is a balance between formal and informal. The content intensifies as one dwells deeper into the book and provides a framework of the process of landscape architecture, as a design approach that assimilates simple concepts and complex evolving systems. Overall, the book hopes to draw an honest picture of what a professional landscape architect needs to be equipped with today in India. FACT FILE:

Page from ‘Gallery’: ‘Works – Residence’.

Book Edited By Publisher Language ISBN Reviewed By

: Landscape Architecture in India – A Reader : Mohammad Shaheer, Geeta Wahi Dua and Adit Pal : LA, Journal of Landscape Architecture : English : 978-81-926254-0-9 : Anusha Narayanan Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


Front Cover.

Back Cover.

Aerial view of Delhi as seen from the Jama Masjid.

Architectural Guide Delhi characterises the magnificent buildings of Delhi, ranging from the historical architecture of Mughals to the buildings with most modern and minimalist approach, and in doing so, chronicles a remnant of history, an era of transformation and the status quo in a singular compilation.


rchitectural Guide Delhi’, by Anupam Bansal and Malini Kochupillai, dedicated to the common people of the capital city, highlights a cross-section of the buildings built across various architectural eras through about 450 visuals. As put by A G Krishna Menon in the foreword, “There are some guidebooks on ancient buildings, but none that present the total spectrum of Delhi’s architecture”. A constant guidance has been provided by him in facilitating access to the maps and articles commissioned by INTACH. The glorious history exemplifies the Hindu, Islamic and Colonial architecture while the modern architecture focuses on a vocabulary inspired by the Bauhaus School of Architecture and the modernist concepts. A simple and straightforward guide, this book is factual and describes well the legendary buildings. With the aid of maps and images, the architectural projects are chronologically presented by including the lesser-known buildings along with the famous ones. The book notably attempts in signifying the architects and elaborates the factors affecting their design decisions for each building and also serves as a compliation of the transformation in the building materials, styles and concepts, which took over the years in shaping Delhi. The essays on Delhi’s history by conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah titled ‘The Architectural Idiom of the Delhi Sultanate’ and history academician Meena Bhargava titled ‘Delhi under the Mughals’ are well placed in the introductory pages. The architectural history, in circumstantiated to the political background, is reflected in the text addressing to buildings belonging to respective eras. Beginning from the Historical Architecture, detailed presentation on the monumental buildings calls one’s attention to

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014

the elemental designs of ‘chhatris’, ‘charbaug’, ‘minaras’, ‘khirkis’, ‘jaalis’, ‘jharokhas’ and ‘darwazas’. The images give a visual impact in highlighting the factuality of the buildings, while also mapping the layout of old city of Delhi, Shahjahanabad. While writing about ‘The Native City’ and the Architectural Character of Delhi during the Colonial Architecture where the major shift was taken by Lutyens and Baker’s attempts in blending the styles of Indian and European architecture, Anupam Bansal mentions, “Aware of the fact that the local labourers had to be employed in the actual construction

Map of Delhi showing the metro lines - as covering the areas of the city, demarcated in sections.

book review

Wall of the Red Fort showing the synthesis of various arts.

Polyclinic for the Destitute sitting with a stark contrast of the old ‘masjid’.


One of the early office buildings of Delhi designed by Achyut Kanvinde.

process, the design adopted a vocabulary using materials and techniques familiar to them”. Pronouncing how the change in the political stands gave rise to the need of legislative buildings, the book takes a stance on how the new capital started to shape as an urbanscape that emerged as a cultural and architectural repository. Followed by it is the architecture of Post-independence and Regionalism; the book showcases traditional buildings with a contemporary touch by architects like Habib Rahman, the father of photographer Ram Rahman who has aided the book with many photographs of the city’s splendid buildings, as well as works by modernist architects like Raj Rewal, Achyut Kanvinde and Charles Correa. With the growing global relations of the nation, all major foreign embassies were built in this period. Modernism started to emerge in the urban fabric of the city state as the buildings started to shape as a result of applied research on planning by the architects. Featuring the buildings that came up in the Liberalisation and Post-Liberalisation era followed by the buildings from the end of Post-Liberalisation till now, Malini Kochupillai brings out the idea of global identity as a factor of major shift in the city. She says, “The growing economy and a new corporate culture also resulted in a demand for plush residential and commercial projects of global standards”. New concerns in design were brought in giving rise to energy conservation and time-tested building construction techniques. Architect Ashok Lall’s IRRAD building features the newest materials and techniques on the lines of LEED qualification. The book particularises on diverse perspectives in construction techniques and materials by profiling projects such as the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and five-star hotel, The Westin. The book concludes by illustrating chapters on the revolutionary works of the cities of Chandigarh and Ahmedabad by compiling the text and images of the commendable buildings of these cities that are contributed by Ashish Nangia for Chandigarh and Shahana Dastidar for Ahmedabad. Easily comprehensible by readers from all over, the images have footnote descriptions of its location flowing along the Delhi metro lines. The Delhi Maps in the book representing expanded locations under different zones of the city adds to the data of images that can also be tracked and further used by the QR codes provided for individual images. Favourable for all kinds of users to carry, the book supports one in travelling independently with detailed specifications of the transport system and maps provided therein

A typical page of the Colonial Architecture section, image with footnote and the QR code.

and the book is structured with an easily usable layout. Highlighted with colour codes for each section and a symbolic print of architectural inferences on the title page for each era, the book is suitably structured and is further strengthened by the foldout maps. The book is one of the finest products contributing to the architectural guides as proficient architects, researchers, historians and academicians have contributed in collecting the data, images and text pertaining to the architectural masterpieces of the city. Aptly phrased by A G Krishna Menon, “this book can, therefore, be read as a straightforward guide to the architectures of Delhi or as a critical commentary on the message the architecture conveys. Both will yield profitable returns.”

FACT FILE: Book Author Published by Language ISBN Images Reviewed by

: Architectural Guide Delhi : Anupam Bansal and Malini Kochupillai : DOM publishers : English : 978-3-86922-067-3 : Courtesy DOM publishers and scans from the book : Shreya Shah Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014



The eighth installment in this series highlights the dialogue, initiated by DELHi2050 team, between the original planners and the current half million residents while we take the work ahead for planning the future for another half million. Text: Kushal Lachhwani, Anne Feenstra Photographs/Graphics: arch i platform, New Delhi Edited by: Anne Feenstra


warka is one of the fastest planned and executed planning solutions that provide housing infrastructure to 10 lac people. Started in late 1980s, this 56.48sqkm of development is divided into two phases comprising of 29 sectors (grid of 900mx900m) and a recently authorised development for 1 lac people. The subcity is located in Southwest Delhi, bound on the West by the Najafgarh Drain (originally Sahibi R), the International Airport on the East, Gurgaon on the South and existing developments of Janak Puri on the North. The 29 sectors out of which 11 still remain to be inhabited are primarily consisting of co-operative group housing societies, schools, healthcare facilities and adequate open spaces. While the mathematical exercise of matching numbers with master planning guidelines is done successfully, Dwarka today lacks the essential elements of design, place making and long-term thinking to be able to exist. It is an example of the Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014

development which despite its challenges provides ample opportunities and clues to retrofit and demonstrate interventions. TEST SITE As a passionate architect, I joined arch i platform in December 2010 and travelled several times to Europe with the team while collaborating with global experts for DELHi2050. One of the most stimulating trips was in April 2012, when DELHi2050 got selected for the International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam – Making City. Representing the only selected project from South Asia, I travelled alongside Architect Ashok B Lall and my arch i colleagues Tanvi, Himanshu and Anne. While the Americans, Greeks and Italians talked about shrinking cities, the discussions at the IABR with planners from the Turkish, Brazilian and Dutch fraternity often ended up focusing on participation models and/or

delhi dialogues


MY STORY Like many other middle class families in Delhi, more than ten years ago, my family decided to invest in a property in this upcoming subcity of Delhi. From my first visit I remember three things: 1. A lot of dust 2. Construction activity going on, as far as I could see and 3. High frequency of aeroplanes in the sky above me. I asked my parents, "why are we buying a house so far from the city? In this desert? Will there ever be people living here?" Plagued by land scams, illegal land speculation, ever-changing policies from state government and water supply problems, we were finally able to shift to our apartment in Dwarka in January 2011. Now after almost three years of personal and professional interaction with this neighbourhood, my perception of time, space and people has changed dramatically.


Conflict and Symbiosis in Dwarka.

the idea of ‘TEST SITES’. Typical design solutions and theories often have failed. They have to be localised and improvised upon as per the context and challenges faced by the users of that specific neighbourhood. While Ashok B Lall, through his project Aapki Sadak, embarked on Malviya Nagar and its wishes for safe streets and better connectivity to public transport, we turned our attention (once more) towards Dwarka. On being questioned on the selection of the test site by a concerned citizen, architect Anne Feenstra replied, “this neighbourhood needs a lot of love and attention rather than retrofitting and firefighting the existing problems in Dwarka“. INFORMATION With the selection of our first test site, we got on board with an appeal to all those who experience future as a challenge and wish to dedicate themselves to the beauty of Dwarka. To work towards a better future for this subcity, the platform offered information. Past two decades of thoughts and actions have seen this city grow from seven small villages to a medium density concrete forest of apartment blocks. We, at DELHi2050 team, are keeping track of all the reviews in planning guidelines and update the numbers in form of smart visuals which help to engage with a wider audience. The facts and figures are often analysed for further interpretations, mapping the tangible and intangible both.

Commuting daily from this neighbourhood to work and back, I feel a lot of aggression among fellow travellers on the bus as they wait in traffic, but a sense of relief as they are zipping through the wide and windy roads of Dwarka. From the bus stop, it is usually a long walk on dimly lit footpaths with an occasional appearance of a roadside coconut seller. Born and brought up in a very dense mix-used community, I often got involved in impromptu conversations with the 'rickshaw-wala', street vendors and neighbours on my way from my house to the bus/metro station. These conversations had a backdrop of loud echoing streets full of cars, bikes, people and temple loudspeakers. In Dwarka, the narrowest street is 15m wide with only three temples for a million people (1) and large open spaces to absorb any kind of sound. The only discussions I sometime got engaged in, was of growing problems caused by quality and quantity of water available in Dwarka.

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


Movement: The subcity has extremely poor public transport within the neighbourhood. It remains connected via two jam-packed roads, a recently opened highway from Gurgaon and a metro line which has ten dedicated metro stations within Dwarka. The problem of ingress and egress still persists as the aspiring middle class neighbourhood has no option but to depend on an average two cars per family, suggesting these routes as no-go zones during peak hours. A lot of encouragement for bicycle users, provided the streets remain well lit at night with dedicated speed lanes.

resource crisis, of water, public space, speculation, etc. Architect Moulshri Joshi discussed the often overlooked informal development in Dwarka and how it is thriving, arguably more than the formal city. Both of them, along with the participants, helped to build an extensive matrix of opportunities to work on the scenarios to turn the tables inside out in Dwarka. The work in process and the feedback from the knowledge tours at multidisciplinary institutes was shared at the end of Step 6 with a mixed group of people via discussions, movie screenings, interviews and exhibition.

Water: With around 75 per cent of area in Dwarka as hard paved and no natural/artificial water catchment zones defined, most of the water from natural sources, such as rain, goes unutilised and the groundwater table is dipping at an astonishing rate of 3.5ft annually(1). The ground water is extremely saline making it impossible to even find tolerant bathroom fittings which could survive over a year. Adding to it, the demand supply gap is as high as 10MGD(2) for the current population which leaves the residents with no choice but to rely on water supplied by the tankers, pumping out illegally from fallow land around the Najafgarh drain.

Starting with the next generation, class 5 and 6 students at Dwarka International School, Sector 12, joined in for an exchange with an equally young and fresh team of DELHi2050. This involved screening of two water and sewage based documentaries, prompting students to think of 'where does their water come from and go?' The children, mostly residents of Dwarka, came up with their aspirations for 2050, pledges and their way of support in the process of taking ownership of their city. “The students realise the importance of water - River Yamuna now, and I am happy they will become teachers at their home when they take back the same message for their families today�, said Ms Ritu Sinha, Principal, Dwarka International School who was impressed by the inquisitiveness of her students after movie screenings.

Safety: The missing eyes on the street, absence of slow moving transport, inward looking societies has entitled Dwarka as one of the most unsafe neighbourhoods in Delhi(3). The space allocated for streets is as per correct standards but design, at the level of street, has failed and needs urgent attention as per the requirements of citizens during both day and night. ACTION Our professional interactions with Dwarka excelled during Step 6 of DELHi2050. In the Knowledge Tour (refer IA&B Oct 2013), Landscape Architect and academician, Dr Meenakshi Dhote, discussed the deliberate design of Dwarka that was made while foreseeing the

Dwarka at Night

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014

When the team set-up a pop-up exhibition on a stretch of an otherwise dead street, the amount of visitors was overwhelming. The exhibition coincided with the wettest day of the year, so the installation made from umbrellas as a metaphor of protection for the pedestrian worked very well. We encountered a lot of questions and enthusiasm from the onlookers who tried to understand the basics, systems and technologies available today for water harvesting and shared their aspirations for future as they wish for safe streets for their children. The stretch of street also ended up as a canvas where people chalk down their messages for Dwarka and children, women and the old enjoyed drawing with colours till late hours.


Facts and Figures

In 1989 “I can recall in 1989, the vast tracts of agricultural land lying fallow – seemingly waiting for the urbanisation to grow in. Peri-urban areas are vulnerable to development and unless we address them well before the pressure of development takes over, we stand the risk of losing valuable resources – mainly, mismanagement of land and water resources. We found ourselves planning for an area which would have water scarcity, airport take-off, landing funnels passing over one third of it, and a very narrow traffic entry and exit situation. The plan did make room for catching water through its open space structure following the natural drainage lines, leaving right on way for the Metro, much ahead of its planning, while restricting development under the air funnel area. I do wish that these open spaces, though often looked as devoid of activity/vibrancy, are looked as resource areas to trap water and establish greenery interspersed with small activity nodes – it may hold the key to a livelier and resource sensitive subcity.“ -Dr Meenakshi Dhote Landscape Architect, worked in capacity of Urban/Environmental Planning Assistant in the Dwarka planning team in 1989.

STEP 6.1

“We need to allow access to roof for people to acknowledge the vast reservoir of energy sitting right on top of us”, was a suggestion a RWA representative had to offer. In addition to water, the potential of solar energy, growing vegetables and reducing temperatures for top floors of buildings were also considered.

It may be too early to calibrate whether Dwarka is a success story or not as half of the subcity remains to be inhabited and more than 30 per cent of infrastructure proposals wait to be translated on ground, but with DELHi2050, the scenarios in different dimensions tries to: - involve the residents in further planning, resurrect and take ownership of the city - make the planning strategies more robust and adaptive - fundamentally rethink and encourage decentralisation of resources.

“We came to Dwarka with a question rather than a statement about water and as we see from their feedback, each individual has different aspirations but a common thread that binds us all is a society looking for better quality of life”, concluded Anne Feenstra, Principal, arch i platform after the three days splash with residents of Dwarka. While the ground work and our homework gained good momentum, our online platform - became an active pool to collect, distribute work and proposals from the team and similar exercises done globally.

With appreciation and support from Indian Government and private stakeholders, the DELHi2050 extended platform now in a collaboration with two Dutch experts Rianne Makkink (Studio Makkink and Bey) and Matthijs Bouw (Dutch Water Design) will work on Step 6.1 which is focused to make the residents rethink water for Dwarka and prepare scenarios in the months of December 2013 – April 2014.

Activating Dwarka

ABOUT the AUTHOR Kushal Lachhwani is a graduate and gold medalist from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. He has a wide array of experiences, particularly in the field of landscape and urbanism. Working at arch i platform, he has developed a keen interest in working along with the community. Parallel to working on an exploratory exercise Delhi2050 which is an attempt to investigate alternate scenarios for the future of Delhi, he is currently in quest of expertise in landscape design and execution in Bangkok, Thailand. He is part of DesignXDesign team, the first such platform in Delhi, for design discussions, exposes and roundtables. He is also a theatre artiste and enthusiast. 1. emergency/2011/dwarka 2. 3. Delhi Police in response to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act - 2012

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


A Chapel on the Hill The beautiful Chapel on Monte Tamaro by Mario Botta sits on a vantage point, overlooking the valley. Botta exercises an incredible command as he manipulates scale, terrain, articulations, circulation and order, eliminating the inessential and rendering the making of architecture... effortless. Text and Photographs: Ruturaj Parikh

Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014

space frames


Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014


Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014



here is a certain appeal to monochrome images that capture architecture. It comes perhaps from the same source as all great work comes – an art of elimination. Mario Botta’s work draws from the formal and structural order to make buildings and built environments that impress. The ideas of scale and monumentality, of light and shade, and concepts of order and hierarchy, dominate his work. Elements that can immediately be identified with his architecture complement elements that surprise and at times – provoke. His work invariably instigates a reaction but refuses to be loud or dominating in modern sense. Botta is a master of articulation – through simple gestures; he composes complex experiences – going up and down, walking, touching, listening, revealing and hiding all at once. It is in this mastery that we find beauty and simplicity – finely balanced and in right proportions. You do not have to be a believer to experience the spiritual quality of the Chapel of Monte Tamaro. Built with seeming ease, the structure has a natural presence at one of the vantage points on the hill. With panoramic views of the lesser Alps and the valleys, the Chapel is a robust stone structure with a metal ornament which is composed of the bell and the cross. “And all the effort... all that effort goes into making something that is essentially effortless” – Andy Goldsworthy

Space Frames investigates issues of architecture and environment through the medium of photography. To contribute, write to us at or to the curator Dr Mathew at Indian Architect & Builder - January 2014

Profile for Rashmi Naicker

IA&B January 2014  

Indian Architect & Builder's January 2014 issue featuring projects by Khosla Associates, Gaurav Roy Chaudhury,an interview with Mario Botta,...

IA&B January 2014  

Indian Architect & Builder's January 2014 issue featuring projects by Khosla Associates, Gaurav Roy Chaudhury,an interview with Mario Botta,...