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Showing posts from June, 2018

From a Hall of Nations to a Pile of Rubble, will the Phoenix rise?

From a Hall of Nations to a Pile of Rubble, will the Phoenix rise?
With the demolition of the Hall of Nations, New Delhi lost a part of itself on Sunday, the 23rd of April 2017.

Both erasure and inscription are equal instruments in the production of culture. Both are tools through which the rich and the powerful inflict their will on a landscape. Both erasure and inscription are the vehicles through which we communicate what is important to us, in its absence and in its presence.

The demolition of the Hall of Nations sounded the death knell for an idea of India that had its roots in the ideals of the freedom struggle. Our fight against an authoritarian colonial power was rewarded with Independence in 1947. The embracing of technology, of art and science as tools in a democratic project, the vehicles for a nations development, was manifested (and continues to be) in both public policy and material form in the decades following Independence.

The loss of these structure is our collective lo…

How Crafting Architecture Builds Economic Resilience in the Construction Industry, some thoughts in response to Snehanshu’s article

Off the Cuff: How Crafting Architecture Builds Economic Resilience in the Construction Industry, some thoughts in response to Snehanshu’s article Dear Snehanshu As promised some thoughts that I would like to share with you after reading your article, “How Crafting Architecture Builds Economic Resilience in the Construction Industry.”
At the outset, I have to lay bear that economic resilience can only be achieved through education and so that’s where my vote lies.
That said, you quite rightly point out Modern Architecture was an import and spread its wings over a highly developed crafts tradition. It’s aesthetic traditions preceded the social construction that should have formed it, but the import served to give material form and aspiration to India’s Independence project. To that extent it served its role, and I think in hindsight, the Nehruvian project was not as bad as people have now made it out to be. 
But craftsmanship, has a lot to do with making for the sake of making, the process is…

If its Not Political Its Not Design

Off the Cuff: If its Not Political Its Not Design  Kaiwan Mehta’s article in Saturday’s (May 13, 2017) edition of Mint / Lounge was an unusual amount of newspace given to design and more specifically to architecture. It caught my eye because I am an architect and because of the title, 
“Is the Future of Architecture Political?  If It’s Not Political, It is Not Design.”
What compelled me to write this post, “Off the Cuff” was that it didn’t quite (at least to my understanding) offer an explanation / interpretation for architecture’s diminishing role as a cultural artefact in India, as an agent for social equality / mobility or the reason why it doesn’t capture the public’s imagination in ways that some of the other arts do. So here is an attempt to stab the beast……!
1. Architecture is Inherently a Political Endeavor
Architecture is inherently a political endeavor, it is a constructed …

25 Under 35

DxD: 25 Under 35
Thank you!
It’s not often that people want to hear me speak.
Even my three year old, Kabir, routinely says, “Papa Enough” !! But when Lakshmi asked, Rahoul can you say a few words, I thought the tide just might be changing …..!!
And so having been given sanction, and as the curator for a part of this show, I would by means of an introduction like to begin by talking about design as the articulation of intent and the beginning of dialogue.
As an act architecture and design are both culturally situated and situating, through its articulation and through its dialogue, it is an agency of both continuity and of change.
However, without tenacity and perseverance, without a commitment to design as a  field of practice and of inquiry, without the generosity of both spirit and mind, few things of any consequence or meaning can be achieved.
And when such commitment is demonstrated for an extended period of time, it becomes representative of its people, and its city, ultimately, finding…

A Battle over a War Museum

Off the Cuff: A Battle over a War Museum
I was deeply saddened when I read Shreya Roy Chowdhury’s article, “Bitter battle over design leaves India’s planned National War Museum in limbo”.It was published on the website on the 31st of May,2018 and while I would encourage everyone to read it, it is with a sense of shame.
Architecture is the product of optimism and the architectural competition is a public call to the profession to imagine new opportunities and new futures.
There are times when this involves critically engaging with history and precedent. At other times it calls for a radical break from the past. In either case a project such as the National War Museum on a site as potent as the one on the central vistas “C” hexagon will inevitably serve to comment on our attitude towards the creation of a cultural arti-fact. In its execution the competition would also serve to gau…