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RITA JOHN

P O R T F O L I O


“Subtext” - 100 sq.ft, Acrylic on MDF handmade art installation, Noida, India


RITA JOHN rj9za@virginia.edu EDUCATION & QUALIFICATIONS

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA Master of Architecture (prof.) I 2018 - 2020 (expected)

Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, UK Master of Science in Sustainable Environmental Design I 2010 - 2011

Indian Council of Architecture Registration Registration. No. CA/2011/53697 I from 2011

Sushant School of Art & Architecture, GGS Indraprastha University, Delhi, India Bachelor of Architecture (prof.) I 2005 - 2010

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

Also Architects, Delhi, India | www.alsoarchitects.com Founder & principal architect I Jan 2016 - present

Zachariah Consultants, Bangalore, India Architect I Oct 2014 - Feb 2015

Orproject, Delhi Architect I March 2014 - July 2014

Development Alternatives Group NGO, Delhi Project Consultant I Jan 2012 - May 2013

Design Plus, Rajendra Place, Delhi Intern architect I Apr 2008 - Dec 2008

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA I Graduate Teaching Assistant I Sept 2018 - Dec 2018 School of Planning & Architecture, Delhi, India I Visiting Faculty I Aug 2017 - Dec 2017 Sushant School of Art & Architecture, Ansal University, Delhi, India I Visiting Faculty I Aug 2016 - Apr 2017 University School of Architecture & Planning, GGSIPU, Delhi, India I Assistant Professor I Aug 2015 - May 2016 HONORS

Merit Scholarship | University of Virginia | 2018-2020 School of Architecture Study Abroad Fellowship | University of Virginia | Fall 2019 Venice Semester Abroad Project selected for annual exhibition | Design Advocacy: An exhibit of inclusionary practice, Univ of Virginia 2019 Product Design Award for Built Project | Delhi Architecture Festival 2017 SKILLS

Design | Proficient in AutoCAD, Rhino, SketchUp, Photoshop, InDesign, MS Office Design | Some experience in Revit, ARC-GIS, Corel Draw, Ecotect, Thermal Analysis Software (EDSL TAS)

Presentation | Free hand sketching, painting, digital & physical model making & V-Ray rendering Language skills | Proficient in English and Hindi | Can speak Malayalam


The Bar Cat Jazz Bar, Delhi, India, Photo Credit:Suryan//Dang


SELECTED WORKS

ACADEMIC PROJECTS 01 Common Ground Affordable Housing and Public School, East Harlem, New York City

02 Repose & the River Ganpati Ali Temple Pilgrim’s Hostel, Wai, Maharasthra, India

03 State of Play Nandnagri Children’s Centre, East Delhi, India

BUILT PROJECTS 04 Youth Ki Awaaz Office Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India

05 The Bar Cat Jazz Bar South Extension Market, South Delhi, India

WORKSHOPS TAUGHT 06 Climate Resilient Construction Workshops Mason Training in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh & Himachal Pradesh, India

ART PROJECTS 07 Sermon on the Mount St. James Church, Old Delhi, India

08 Seeing Through Drawing Travel Sketches

OTHER PROJECTS NOTE: All images in this portfolio have been created solely by the author unless otherwise cited.


The Urban Cave, Los Angeles - Ongoing Spring 2019 studio work


ACADEMIC PROJECTS Projects done as a student at University of Virginia & Sushant School of Art & Architecture, India.


01 COMMON GROUND ROLE: Group work alongside Barrett Weaver M.Arch Sem 1 Year 2 at UVA INSTRUCTORS: Felipe Correa, Katie Kasabalis SITE: East Harlem Triangle, Manhattan, NYC PROGRAM: A Public-private-partnership model for densifying an exisitng Manhattan public school block to include affordable housing plus other public amenities DESIGN INTENT: “Common Ground” is a cohesive urban scheme that creates a new live-work-learn lifestyle that fuses together the functions of housing and a school and with an expansive library program linking them. The proposal has a clear urban edge and a landscape tail extending towards the East Harlem river enveloping 2 existing parks with complementary public program and activating zones that are currently isolated traffic islands. The idea of urban life in “in-between” spaces is a strong theme explored at all scales. Four built fingers with in-between public zones achieve high building density while maintaining porosity. At the scale of the individual class room or housing unit, much of the life of buildings lie in their amenity spaces zoned for specific shared functions.


SITE SECTION

TAXONOMY OF NYC PUBLIC SCHOOL TYPOLOGY

MANHATTAN’S GRID

LINEAR BAR

East Harlem Triangle

L (1:3)

L (1:1)

H

U

T GRID

CLUSTERED CENTRALIZED RADIAL

BUILDING TYPE WITHIN URBAN FABRIC wall

corner

wall hybrid

object


EXISTING PUBLIC SCHOOL SITE

PRECEDENT STUDY

MASSING EXPLORATIONS

Introverted

Bridged

Open corner

Corner “L”

Longtiudinal

Tower+Plinth

F.A.R 6

F.A.R 12

Hybridization

In context


EXPLORATIONS IN A POROUS NYC BLOCK Massing strategies through scaled site insert models

Section across housing and school blocks connected by a public library function


Final site insert massing


SITE RESPONSE

STRUCTURAL SYSTEM

LANDSCAPE STRATEGY

CIRCULATION NETWORKS PUBLICLY ACCESSIBLE ACCESS VIA SCHOOL INTERNAL ACCESS


PROGRAM DISTRIBUTION HOUSING LIBRARY SCHOOL

COMMUNITY SPACES


SITE PLAN


1ST FLOOR PLAN

TYPICAL FLOOR PLAN


A NEW WAY TO SHARE A MEAL The housing typology addresses the issue of affordability in fast-gentrifying Harlem through shared cooking and eating utilities suspended in well-lit spaces above a public avenue in a series of staggered encolsed bridges. The ground below remains public with a rich commercial pedestrian connection to the parks. The private and public apsects of city dwelling overlap spatially in terms of vistas and vertical mixed use.


02 REPOSE & THE RIVER ROLE: Individual architectural design studio work - B.Arch Sem 4 Year 2 at SSAA, Gurgaon, India INSTRUCTORS: Amrita Madan, Shivang Patwa & Rajat Ray SITE: Krishna River Bank, Wai, Maharashtra, India BRIEF: Low budget dharamshaala (resthouse) for pilgrims who annually visit the historical Ganpati Aali temple and ghats (stepped banks). PROGRAM: A 600 sq. mt pilgrim’s hostel and a 200 sq.mt meditation centre. DESIGN INTENT: A contextual extension to the Ganpati temple complex on the Krishna river ghats, designed in the local Wai vernacular architecture system, the hostel attempts to blend in with the rich cultural environment. The hostel and meditation centre are both inwardly accessed buildings whose elevation try to remain submissive to the soaring temple shikhar. The design process involved a detailed rural settlement study of the entire township which a focus on the vernacular construction system prevalent in Wai. Locally prevalent architectural elements like the thick load bearing masonry, wooden columns and beams, deep double doors/ windows and sloping roofs have been utlilized while keeping in mind the structural grids generated by the spans they allow. The architectural elements were understood in relation to cultural practices like the daily religious rituals, the occurance of the annual pilgrimage on the river front and the overall agrarian lifestyle of the people.


CONTEXTUAL RESPONSE Building in the shadow of the Ganpati Ali temple required a subtle elevational response and a fragmented massing strategy that would not take away from the cultural significance of the tall temple structure. A series of inward courtyard linked with paths leading to the river allow for a progression of carefully scaled spaces for the pilgrim pedestrian.


LAYERS & NETWORKS The hostel complex is set on a clear structural grid based on the prevalent contruction methods and has a clear urban response in alignment towards the Krishna river ghats. Programmatically, the more private functions of the hostel and the meditation centre are split by a unique descending pedestrian approach to the river.


KRISH

NA RIV

GF PLAN

1ST FLOOR PLAN

ER


HOSTEL 1. LOBBY 2. RECEPTION 3. COMMUNITY PAVILION 4. LADIES ROOMS 5. GENTS ROOMS 6. LADIES TOILET BLOCK 7. GENTS TOILET BLOCK 8. DINING HALL 9. KITCHEN 10. PANTRY 11. STORE MEDITATION CENTRE 12. ENTRY COURT 13. COVERED MEDITATION PAVILION 14. COLLONADED HALL

FLOOR PLANS

DHARAMSHALA TEMPLE STRUCTURES EXISTING BUILDINGS RIVER KRISHNA FLOOD PLAIN RURAL LANDSCAPE

CONTEXT PLAN


Public path to the river ghats


DECODING VERNACULAR CONSTRUCTION Wai’s rich local masonry and timber construction technique was adopted as a contextually appropriate system to employ in response to the historical temple precinct. The construction system was studied in detailed and used to generate a series of spaces that hark an earlier time in terms of materiality, scale and atmospheric quality.

Community pavilion in courtyard


03 STATE OF PLAY ROLE: Individual architectural design studio work B.Arch Sem 3 Year 2 at SSAA, Gurgaon, India INSTRUCTORS: Amrita Madan, Shivang Patwa & Rajat Ray SITE: Nandnagri Urban illage East Delhi, India PROGRAM: 600 sq.mt of covered multi-purpose play spaces, library, exhibition space & learning centre DESIGN INTENT: This project was a reaction to the living conditions of children in Delhi’s urban villages and how they face the brunt of poverty rampant among immigrant worker families in the city. Addressing their mental well-being through a Children’s Centre, the informal components of play and movement have been used to generate an organic bulbous multi-purpose form. Envisioned in earthen cob construction with bamboo reinforcement, this labour intensive technique using local materials, breaks away as respite from the rough, ad-hoc material palette and often precariously built environment the children of Nandnagri are used to. The children’s centre is an intervention in the open space between an existing charitable health clinic and the urban village. Starting with a photo essay documenting the daily lifestyle and acitivities of the children of Nandnagri, the design process aims to fill gaps in their mental development through spaces of leisure & respite.


CONTEXT PLAN Nandnagri Urban Village settlement

Existing clinic Area of intervention

1st FLOOR PLAN

AN ARCHITECTURE OF PLAY & RESPITE

2nd FLOOR PLAN Ephemeral memories of natural forms

Web like structure generating soft amorphous volumes

Non-linear paths within existing physical framework


VIEW B Walkway between trees and other structures

VIEW C Entrance from clinic


SECTION ACROSS CHILDREN’S CENTRE Public pedestrian zone at ground level & library + exhibition space functions on 1st floor

ADDITIVE TO-SCALE CLAY MODELLING PROCESS

1. De-lineating an amorphous soft edge against the rough existing built fabric

2. Continuing the pattern of the existing trees in amorphous branching columns that act as nodes


3. Meandering pedestrian public realm on the ground with curved walls & tree-like columns

4. Closed built space on the first floor level with inward looking functions within earthen bubbles


VIEW A Entrance walkway to the children’s centre


“The Calming of the Storm” - 168sq.ft Stained glass installation St. Stephen’s Hospital Chapel, Gurgaon, India


BUILT PROJECTS Projects done as principal & founding architect at Also Archiects, Delhi, India.


04 YOUTH KI AWAAZ OFFICE INTERIORS ROLE: Independent design work in colloboration with Architect Ruchika Lall. Individual tasks included design development & drawing, client management, material sourcing, supervision of fabrication/installation, independently painting 3 artworks in acrylic medium on MDF cutouts. SITE: Rented office floor plate, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India BRIEF: Interior design including furniture and artwork for a 1080 sq.ft office space for Youth Ki Awaaz, a digital media platform run by young entrepreneurs DESIGN INTENT: Upcylcing waste material into usable products was the main design challenge in this project. The aim was to create an economically viable production system that would allow for urban waste to be sourced cheaply, crafted with labour intensive processes and put to use in day-to-day design products. This system was so successfully set up that more Delhi companies adopted the same fabrication cycle use in the YKA project. Pallet wood and other urban waste materials were used in customized funiture units and the space was designed to integrate these with 3 large scale art installations handmade by the architect. The project created a unified brand image for the organization that speaks about environmental issues and problems faced by the youth actively on their digital plaform. This space was captured by the Obama Foundation in a video shared on their Facebook page on 30th Nov 2017 as an example of successful and much-needed entrepreneurial ventures by young Indians.


Open collaborative office layout with integrated furniture & hand-made art installations

UPCYLCED MATERIALS PALLETTE PALLET WOOD PACKAGING MATERIAL disposed from MarutiSuzuki industrial unit

DISCARDED GLASS BOTTLES One time use high quality alcohol brands

ROPE FROM PLASTIC PACKETS woven using waste plastic

BAMBOO SECTIONS Fast growing local material

JUTE ROPE locally woven


Conference room with upcylced furniture and handmade artwork “#tree”


“The Calming of the Storm” - 168sq.ft Stained glass insZtallation St. Stephen’s Hospital Chapel, Gurgaon, India

Upcylced furniture piece for entrance lobby


View from market street

05 THE BAR CAT JAZZ BAR ROLE: Independent interiors project in colloboration with Architect Arsh Sharma. Individual tasks -site supervision , all concept & design development, all working drawings & all presentation drawings & independently painting one artwork in acrylic medium on MDF cutouts. SITE: 3rd floor rented commercial space, South Extension Market, Delhi, India BRIEF: Interior design of 3000 sq. ft jazz bar & fine dining restaurant that provides a public avenue to Delhi’s upcoming jazz culture DESIGN INTENT: The Bar Cat is a recently opened prohibition era inspired jazz bar in Delhi. An interiors project with a large architecture and furniture design component, the design is derived from the 1920’s Art Deco art style and interpreted as geometry that is layered across the space in different scales. Every surface and element, from the window grills to the flooring pattern to the zoning of the space, follows the rules of this geometry. The design process involved appropriation of the Art Deco style, generating unique anthropometric configurations leading up to a performance stage and accommodating the functional requirements of a fine dining restaurant’s gourmet kitchen and cocktail bar. Many conventional Art Deco symbols, like the sun-burst, were used in a new material palette of marble, granite and painted metal grills. Located on the 3rd floor of a rented commercial space in a with a bank directly on the floor below, one of the focusses of was detailing and building adequate sound proofing and also the acoustic design of a low height space for live jazz performances.


Cocktail bar

Photo Credit:Suryan//Dang


THE LINE AND THE CIRCLE The circle and the line are the primary elements used in a design process that layers geometries generated by these elements at various scales and in differing configurations. As these compositions are superimposed onto the planes / surfaces that enclose the space, they are further interpreted as architectural elements: the flooring pattern, the window grills, the railing details, etc. The result is a space that is a three dimensional lattice of lines and curves, physically or visually linked and articulated through a distinct but simple material palette in black, white & grey.


Photo Credit:Suryan//Dang


Multi-level seating for fine dining while watching live jazz performances

Photo Credit : Frpzen Pixel Photography


Fly-ash brick and CSEB jaali masonry techniques, Mason training workshop, Rural Orissa, India


WORKSHOPS TAUGHT Construction workshops conducted as a project consultant with Development Alternatives NGO, India.


06 LOW-CARBON CLIMATE-RESILIENT CONSTRUCTION WORKSHOPS ROLE: Full-time consultancy for Development Alternatives NGO, Delhi on a 4 member project team. Individual tasks included designing and managing all the communication material (both digital and printed manuals, brochures, posters and case studies), participant moblization with local partners, conducting workshop lecture sessions, design studios and on-site mason training on demo-buildings. LOCATIONS: Small towns and villages in rural areas of 3 Indian states - Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. BRIEF: Developing 9 unique training kits and conducting 9 workshops for policy makers, buidling professionals and masons in relevant sustainable techniques. ABSTRACT: In this capacity building project, funded by the Climate Development & Knowledge Network, Low-Carbon Climate-Resilient (LCCR) construction workshops were held across 3 example climatic zones of rural India. This grass-root level community involvement focused on disaster prone areas- cyclone-hit coastal Orissa, drought-hit semi-arid Madhya Pradesh and landslide/ earthquake-prone hilly Himachal Pradesh. Through the three-pronged approach (policy-design-technology) of these workshops, hands-on training in many alternate roofing, masonry and sanitation technologies were given in demo-buildings. Teaming up with partner organizations like various institutes and building technology centres, the work conducted involved not only teaching the participants new methods, but also engaged in depth with the issues they face at the local level in using alternate methods, epecially at the policy level. Another focus was the revival of labour intensive craft skills that are increasingly dwindling amongst mason communities.


POLICY MAKERS/ GOVT. OFFICIALS WORKSHOP

ARCHITECTS/ENGINEERS DESIGN WORKSHOP

Panel discussions with local ULB members

Design studio exercises for practicing professionals

ARTISANS/ MASONS TRAINING WORKSHOPS IN ALTERNATE BUILDING TECHNOLOGIES ON DEMO BUILDINGS Ferrocement channel

Mason certification on training completion


“Fractal” - Emuslion paint on wall, 325 sq.ft. Handpainted mural at Honeymoon Inn, Manali, India


ART PROJECTS Projects done as an independent mural artist in India.


07 “THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT” (HAND-PAINTED MURAL) ROLE: Pro bono project as professional mural artist. Tasks included measured drawing the chapel, conceptualizing the idea digitally & single-handedly executing the entire mural manually. SITE: St. James Church, Old Delhi, India BRIEF: A 540 sq. ft oil-painted new artwork layer within one chapel of this heritage monument using only manual techniques ABSTRACT: This mural is painted on the altar, side walls and ceiling of an entire chapel of St.James Church- Delhi’s oldest church built in 1826 by Colonel James Skinner - a mercenary in the colonial English Army in India. As a theme for the new artwork layer, the very people oppressed during India’s problematic and violent colonial history where shown in detail - the common Indian people. The “Sermon on the Mount” scene was chosen for this as it also fit in with other historical bliblical artwork in the rest of the church. The process combined modern digtal layering of photographs with age-old manual oil painting techniques. The representation style is photorealistic and, inspired by many European precedents, the illusion of a “room without a roof” has been employed. The coffers in the ceiling and arches have been accentuated in contrast in this illusion, rather than hidden, and create dynamic visual experiences as the viewer moves around the chapel.


Hand-painted coffered chapel ceiling - Photo Credit : Suryan//Dang


ADDRESSING HISTORY Indian Christianity has a complex history which ranges from ancient Christians who date back to the 1st century to the violence of colonialism, compulsion and conversion in the 19th century. St. James Church, the first to be built in Delhi, is a part of that latter history. Built by a ruthless mercenary of the British East India Company, St. James telescopes us into a socio-historical site that tells the story of a triple erasure. The erasure of the historical voices of natives under the violence of colonialism, that of their contemporaries under threat today from majoritarian radicalism and the voices of those multitudes whose indigenous lifestyles are still being effaced. “Sermon on the Mount” problematizes these alienating erasures by physically introducing visual imagery of these voiceless masses onto the poignant canvas of a controversial piece of architectural heritage.

“The City of Delhi Before the Siege” published in The Illustrated London News Jan 16, 1858


Main altar piece - Photo Credit:Suryan//Dang


SILENT SUBJECTS The painted scene, framed within the arches and coffers as frescoes on ceilings and walls, attempts to affirm believers through familiar representational tropes of Western Christianity. However, a closer look reveals the scene is not a classic Trompe-l’œil, but slightly flattened and without a clear visual focus on Christ or a hierarchy of people. The people are painted from collaged photographs and of indigenous hill people that appeared in a Google search of ‘Indian people’ (c 2014), thus provincializing the visual norm and retaining a trace of contemporary culture that brackets such people, their beliefs and notions of beauty as ‘impoverished’, ‘backward’ and ‘exotic’. Embedded within the Himalayan landscape, the disenchanted hill people, look slightly warily at Christ – another ‘well-meaning’ agent of history in a long line of actors representing regimes, religions, sciences and political movements


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1. Shujeendran Temple, Kerala, India 2. Corsa d’Italia, Rome, Italy 3. Jantar Mantar, Delhi, India 4. The Pantheon Oculus, Rome, Italy 5. Old Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India 6. Hauz Khas Monunment, Delhi, India 7. Tempio di Antonino E Faustina , Roman Forum

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08 SEEING THROUGH DRAWING MEDIUM: Ink on paper 7

ABSTRACT: Through a consistent effort to capture everyday scenes and spaces, a drawing method of hand-drawing with ink has been developed. These drawings are made on-location, usually in under 30 minutes, in an attempt to quickly capture the essence of a scene in its totality and by filtering out unnecessary detail. The use of hatches, stippling and other line work techniques to dramatize reality and to define otherwise subtle elements of light and shadow gives a framework to formally understand the space. Since no real object actually has an outline, the idea of capturing an image through linework alone leads to very unique outcomes that create a new way of looking at the object. Developing this graphical language in black and white and within the canvas of an A5 notepad, many spaces travelled to have been captured with this way of seeing and in the end forms the the memory of the space itself. One of the elements critical to the draw style are the allowing of jitter and the consicous effort to not draw clean straight lines. Capturing a space of scene in its exactness would be the work of a camera. As a human being observing and drawing, the multiple steps of experiencing a space, discerning what to draw and translating it into a graphical representation need not be bound by a requirement of replicating the space as it is. The underlying idea is that the human act of drawing must reflect error, reality and incidental inconsistencies.


OTHER PROJECTS : C ACADEMIC al 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Group work 7. 8. 9. 10.

Individual Coffee shop kiosk Patel Family Residence, Ahmedabad, Gujarat Multi-functional Community Centre, Gurgaon, Haryana, 200-bed Hospital with Construction Drawings, Bikaner, Rajasthan Lattice Housing Proposal, Gurgaon, Haryana Revitalization Proposal for Rajendra Place Commercial District, Delhi Group work Redevelopment of Safdarjung Airport Precinct, Delhi Environmental Analysis of the Barbican Estate, London UK Pazo de Espino : Cultural Eco-housing, Santiago de Compostela, Spain Urban Settlement Study of a Commercial Town, Bikaner, Rajasthan

ROFESSIOL PROFESSIONAL

other firms: 11. 12. 13. 14. Owe t 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. t 28. 29. 30.

With other firms: Prestige Woodland Park Housing Project, Bangalore Brigade Orchard Commercial Centre, Bangalore Kama Store Interior Design, Galleria Market, Gurgaon Sanjeev Sarkar Residence Interior Design, Delhi Own practice Built: 4BHK flat Interior design, X-206, Regency Park 2, Gurgaon Squadrun Solutions Office Interiors, Noida Nishtha Sachdeva Recording Studio Interiors, Gurgaon Triangle Constructions Office Interiors, Delhi Jaipur Recording Studio Interiors, Jaipur, Rajasthan Janakpuri Dilli Haat Cultural Centre Traditional Crafts Proposal “Healing touch” mural, St. Stephen’s Hospital, Gurgaon “Elevation”, Honeymoon Inn, Manali - Ink Mural in hotel lounge “Fractal”, Honeymoon Inn, Manali - Painted Mural in reception area “Flapper girl”, The Bar Cat Jazz Bar, Delhi - Painted installation “World view”, Travelease Office, Patparganj - Painted Installation “The Calming of the Storm” Stained glass installation, Gurgaon, Haryana Swechha Green the Map Upcycled Furniture Project, Goa Unbuilt: India Gate War Memorial Competition Entry House in Forest Competition Entry Anti-library Competition Entry


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The Bar Cat Jazz Bar, Delhi, India - Photo Credits: Frozen Pixel Photography

Profile for Rita John

Rita John | Selected Works  

M.Arch University of Virginia

Rita John | Selected Works  

M.Arch University of Virginia

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