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All Posts on Architecture, Indeed

All posts on this blog, in order of appearance:

This is reverse of ‘Last few posts…’

I will come back and mark them in categories viz.: Most visited, most shared, most popular, my favourite, receives most spam comments, updated, and perhaps even add notes.

  1. Building, dwelling, thinking. on September 7, 2012
  2. Tenders and Bidding 101 on September 12, 2012
  3. A curious case: Project in a new place on September 13, 2012
  4. What has Rahul Gandhi done for me? on September 24, 2012
  5. Subversion at CEPT Campus on September 30, 2012
  6. Lower That Lowest Quote on September 30, 2012
  7. Underbelly of Museum Business on October 8, 2012
  8. When in doubt, show underarms on October 8, 2012
  9. Delhi Glows on WordPress on October 13, 2012
  10. Turtles in White China on October 15, 2012
  11. In Memoriam Louis I Kahn, State of Union and Roosevelt on October 22, 2012
  12. Mixing Education With Business on October 29, 2012
  13. Survival, Without Brain… on November 3, 2012
  14. God’s letter to Indians I (White Skin, Dark Hair) on November 7, 2012
  15. If Crime Doesn’t Pay Architects on November 7, 2012
  16. How to grab government land on November 19, 2012
  17. Rich Folks, Poor Folks on November 24, 2012
  18. If Honesty Pays Architects on November 24, 2012
  19. (How it goes) When you start young on December 3, 2012
  20. Countdown starts for SA50 on December 17, 2012
  21. SA50 is here… (Re-sign) on December 26, 2012
  22. More SA (Calender) on December 26, 2012
  23. Grand Alumni Dinner? on December 27, 2012
  24. Multi-percussion & Saxophone at Campus (27.12.2012) on December 28, 2012
  25. A headache is a headache, but Architecture is more complex on January 1, 2013
  26. Where are values? on January 6, 2013
  27. Values are at the back (of your mind) on January 7, 2013
  28. Eight Minutes at Tagore Hall (Multi Kulti, 28.12.2012) on January 8, 2013
  29. SA50 1st Day (26.12.2012) on January 13, 2013
  30. SA50 2nd Day (27.12.2012) on January 14, 2013
  31. 10 Architecture Firm Blogs to Watch in 2013 by Architectural Record on January 17, 2013
  32. SA50 3rd Day (28.12.2012) on January 18, 2013
  33. SA50 4th Day (29.12.2012) on January 19, 2013
  34. Have Faith in Unknown: Redirecting to an interesting view, and person… on January 20, 2013
  35. A headache is a headache, but Architecture is more on January 25, 2013
  36. You are your business card on January 27, 2013
  37. SP40 is here on February 9, 2013
  38. Century’s Worst Advert, TVC featuring Colgate on February 13, 2013
  39. Riverfront = Wall on February 15, 2013
  40. EMD, another name for extortion money on February 20, 2013
  41. More from SP40: Movies (10.02.2013) on March 2, 2013
  42. In memoriam: Henri Labrouste, Father of Modern Library on March 16, 2013
  43. Empanelment: Better Than a Business on March 3, 2013
  44. It is Ito on March 17, 2013
  45. Who is right? on April 6, 2013
  46. The why of it all (Internship for students of planning) on April 9, 2013
  47. Question of the day: To teach or not to teach on April 9, 2013
  48. Here’s What It Would Look Like If Paris’s Houses Could Fly on April 13, 2013
  49. Sympathy for Boston (and others) on April 16, 2013
  50. Ellis Bridge is not what Ellis Bridge was on April 29, 2013
  51. Architect, Developer, Father in law on May 16, 2013
  52. Story of CEPT Logo on May 16, 2013
  53. Dabbawala scam: Case of life imitating advertising on May 20, 2013
  54. Northwest Washington Bridge Collapse: Reminds me of Ellis Bridge on May 24, 2013
  55. In Memoriam: Beloved Brooklyn Bridge on May 25, 2013
  56. A month of SPAM, and how to get a closure: Learn from Peter Cartier on May 27, 2013
  57. More on Dabbawala Scam: Too many people are missing the point on June 11, 2013
  58. Cost of the Building: 155,000… Architect’s Fees; 8,000 on June 13, 2013
  59. Scavenger Hunt – MoMA Landmarks of Modern Architecture on June 19, 2013
  60. Toilets for women: mirrors of imbalance on June 23, 2013
  61. CEPT University Official Page on Facebook on July 4, 2013
  62. New New CEPT Logo on July 4, 2013
  63. In Memoriam: Kurula Varkey on July 15, 2013
  64. School is a place to give not to take (To teach or not to teach II) on July 19, 2013
  65. It’s been done by the women in academics on July 23, 2013
  66. Enough about Chennai Express on July 24, 2013
  67. No need to shout: M/s. Prabhakar B. Bhagwat on August 3, 2013 (Taken down, somehow came out wrong)
  68. Poster War is on at CEPT (Who supports B Plan?) on August 16, 2013
  69. How BHP Conquered CEPT: A similie on 67th Independence Day on August 17, 2013
  70. CEPT to CEPT CO PVT LTD: Shame on all involved on August 19, 2013
  71. Christopher replies to: An appeal from CEPT students on August 29, 2013
  72. Marissa Mayer controversy: Its all about perceptions on August 30, 2013

After finishing a year of blogging:

73. Remembering Rishi on September 12, 2013

74. Advertising creativity goes around in circles on September 14, 2013

75. Crime pays Council (of Architecture) on September 25, 2013

76. Garba garbad at CEPT: Part I on October 10, 2013

77. Garba Garbad at CEPT: Part II on October 11, 2013

78. No fun being a contractor anymore on October 17, 2013

79. This post on November 13, 2013 (Sticky – but not particularly popular)

80. Welcome Mr. Chhaya on November 17, 2013

81. New Google Search Adverts: Warm, fresh, after our own hearts on December 2, 2013

82. Amending Architects Act, 1972 on December 10, 2013

83. May be CEPT shouldn’t wait another 100 years on December 23, 2013 (Most liked so far)

84. Fees for project: 200 crores, Kickbacks: 50 crores on January 10, 2014

85. CEPT Logo Design Competition, Again on January 16, 2014

86. Garba Garbad Part III: The real story of CEPT Navratri on January 17, 2014

87. RIP, Piraji Sagara on January 24, 2014

88. MHRD’s Design Manifesto: Towards a better design future (And what about CoA?) on January 25, 2014

89. Architecture in Doshi Family on February 15, 2014

90. Now the Code of Conduct on March 5, 2014

91. Dirt on WAPCOS on March 7, 2014

92. CEPT Logo, Final Final on March 13, 2014

93. Shigeru Ban and Pritzker explained by Conrad Newel on March 25, 2014




The Best Architectural Websites 2014 by Bob Borson

The Best Architectural Websites 2014 by Bob Borson (of Life of an Architect fame)

The Best Architectural Websites 2014, recommended by Bob Borson (

Nice compilation… Although I wouldn’t leave out Conrad Newel and his funny take on the world of Architecture Bob!

Other interesting ones appear in readers’ comments, and there are a few in this list that I didn’t know about. And it pains me to think that Death by Architecture doesn’t appear in as many places as before. ( And how about Dezeen ( Same. So I would make my list two items longer, just for nostalgia’s sake.




Shigeru Ban and Pritzker explained by Conrad Newel

Shigeru Ban and Pritzker explained by Conrad Newel

Now I can’t think of a Pritzker winner without thinking of your analysis Conrad!

The link below is a latest post on the Pritzker win by the (already) famous and also Japanese architect, and is really a jab at Zaha Hadid @

Not fair Conrad. What would the world be if all the architects worked for only politically correct clients? How would you get the pyramids? Or the Louvre? Or the most beautiful of all, the White House?

Dirt on WAPCOS

Dirt on WAPCOS

After hearing a few officers complain about the quality of work turned out by WAPCOS, in fields as diverse as bridges and roads to dams and STPs; and since private consultants are anyway mentioning the chaos created by them, I set out to look at the bigger picture, trying my best to keep my views aside.

WAPCOS, who?

Water and Power Consultancy Services, with the mission ‘ To be a Premier Consultancy Organisation recognised as a Brand in Water, Power and Infrastructure Development for Total Project Solutions in India’ by their own claim, and a “MINI RATNA”.

On Emerging Markets Information Service (EMIS) website, WAPCOS Lts. is described as providing ‘Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services’, a Non-Listed LLP (Limited Liability Company). They further elaborate: WAPCOS Limited an ISO 9001:2000 Certified Company is a “MINI RATNA” Public Sector Enterprise under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Water Resources. Incorporated on June 26th, 1969 under the Companies Act. 1956, WAPCOS has been providing consultancy services in all facets of Water Resources, Power and Infrastructure Sectors in India and Abroad. 

Wiki has more @ (retrieved today, 07.03.2014) and from the links one knows they have projects in Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Bhutan and Ethiopia. WAPCOS is everywhere. Studies of river basins, catchments, large Hydro projects, master plans, regional plans. And also we figure out that the word DPR figures prominently in their deliverables. Studies, reports, assessments on which to get clearances of various kinds. 550 crore turnover: not easy for smaller companies to beat them, and not difficult for them to enter any budding field and ruin it.

Like any big organisation, it has some very driven and competent people. They are also responsible for giving a few small organisations a chance to work on a scale they would not otherwise imagine. For profit, of course. All big consultancies have the structures of extraction worked out very well, they make sure they take all the profit, if there’s any to be made.

What about the quality of their work? Shoddy, shoddy, shoddy. This is the word I hear from all sides. From those who are sitting on the client side; and have to get work from them, those who have to implement projects devised by them, and those who have a modicum of sense in them…

Who can be the judge?

Mostly people who are ‘working’.

Here’s someone with a real issue with WAPCOS… Repeatedly they mention that WAPCOS is unreliable in their quality and conclusions:

Shoddy EIA by WAPCOS Tries to Push Unjustifiable Bansujara Irrigation Project in Madhya Pradesh


Many writers here have taken to tearing apart the work in question. With sometimes apt and at other times juvenile observations on the copy and paste job that the report is @

A new one on the same blog, by another author:

Critique of Kalai II HEP’s Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Study and Environment Management Plan


Who is complicit?

So that is someone concerned about ‘How governments collude to violate laws’. And we know the state of mess out governance is. Water and Power are also some of the trickiest sectors, specially in developing economies with rich and endangered natural resources. Dams, development and shared resources pose some of the longest standing and most tenacious battles for our culture and politics. Hard choices have to be made, all the time. And justification for the same have to be given, even if it’s a scam. Technical matters, long range solutions are ever pitted against political urgency and the simplicity with which a non-technical decision maker would approach the issue. Citizens, who are capable of hugging trees, but not fixing their leaky tap, or pouring chemicals through the drain in an eco resort. Or plain contractors who need construction labour, often for corporates who need their industries to run. It’s a cycle, you see?

There are noises of Dam and Power Plant projects being approved without examining even basic data. This is not new, it has been going on and even for the project as big as Narmada Dam, with opposition from big people, and the battle being dragged to Supreme Court. Within the context of water crisis of five urban regions. The studies commissioned belatedly, with the threat on a consultancy that it will be blacklisted if they gave an unfavourable assessment. Its that elephant in the room. All consultants know how their work is created and sustained.

Everyone knows the people at Ministry (of Environment and Forests, MoEF) are no angels, and a developer is not interested in an impact assessment but rather in the result it produces – for a person who’s made up his/ her mind to execute an idea, this usually spells ‘clearance’. Dam(n) the environment. Build the apartment. (This is for future, on how environment clearances really work)

What is their context? It is primarily an Engineering Consultancy Organisation and they work with governments, at all levels, as well as with other semi government agencies, public as well as private companies and sometimes with groups of citizens. They are pitching for every kind of work that’ll come to them. And they are getting work through tenders and open bidding in most of the cases. That brings us to this question: should a company that does EIA Reports be more invested in the environment or in the report? Which one should you choose?

Now the Code of Conduct

Now the Code of Conduct

The code of conduct is enforced since 10.30 this morning. A lot of work is going to slow down – in fact, much of government decision making is going to come to a standstill – everything postponed till the new government comes in… Who knows whom they will appoint, and what that will change.

Quite a change from all the hectic activity of past couple of weeks, the crazy turning of the sometime sluggish, mammoth wheels of government machinery. Those in the service of government, even when not directly, are tired and worn out. Everyone was working round the clock to the same end: To close as many books as possible; Complete or start decisively as many works as possible. The number of tenders put out in last month is equal to all put out in may be 6 preceding months. The smaller the government entity controlling it, the more the lack in organisation. 

No more foundation stone ceremonies from government, no more dedication of public projects – from over-bridges to crematoriums. No more lotteries promising people poor and rich a house, or free education. Behind the curtain, no running barefoot for permissions scribbled hastily over files, inked on dates actual or past (back-dated is the word commonly used), no seniors working late, no frantic calls, no juniors burning midnight oil preparing notices or uploading tenders. And certainly no more consultants/ contractors/ vendors going bonkers collecting documents, putting together bids and having nightmares over who will win the contract.

Now the calm after the storm. Sort of a hush in offices government and private – at least some. Time to catch a breath and gear up for what happens after the new government is sworn in, takes hold, and is geared to continue or convinced not to continue a project, idea, culture.

Difference is obvious, from the haphazard shooting, to complete silence. The badgering, ‘setting’, aligning on small scale, to make tiny (ok, sometimes not so tiny as well) profits is over. So is the interface of citizens and government at minor scale. Now while the aachar samhita tells us the code of conduct it is time for big things. Big alliances, bid deals – living in hope, teeter totter. And from accomplishments, the focus will now turn to promises. Of better things, a corruption free nation, a just nation, a safe place, a place with a future.


Architecture in Doshi Family


Mr. Doshi is ever a delight to hear. And the family has come a long way from fighting for territories. They now stand united, and the sons in law now have clearer roles. They have made significant contributions to built environment, and to the world of education.

Come if you want to know the renowned family.

MHRD’s Design Manifesto: Towards a better design future (And what about CoA?)

Design education at IITs, a step towards a better future

The following came from a senior design faculty at a premier institute, as all are fond of calling it…

“I read through fully the draft of the Design Manifesto prepared by the MHRD for the introduction of design education in institutes of higher learning in India. I wish we had access to such a paper from the DIPP which has already put four stones in the ground without sharing any plans or vision document so far. I wonder when these administrators will learn that India is changing and that inclusive planning can indeed make a better offering in the age of the internet and social media. …the MHRD note was stimulating and very encouraging indeed for all in the design community. Hope to see the draft in an final approved for in the near future. …I was immersed in the very exciting MHRD Design Manifesto, full credits to the leadership at the helm of the MHRD who have moved design to centre stage at the IITs and NITs across India.”

The ministry’s page itself, @, is a sight to see. Design, in it’s broadest sense, is getting it’s due from the decision makers it seems. But even as you will find a better focus on design in general in MHRD’s outlook, CoA page is a stub. Neither any real vision, nor any attempt to pare architecture colleges with institutes like IITs and NITs is visible. I wonder with opening up of norms and lowering of criteria (To get more students, rather than through some enlightened perception of the Arts and Commerce students being worthy, in my guess), it will even be called technical education anymore.

And I wonder when the design related institutions will learn to put forth such vision. Some are new, bubbling with enthusiasm. Yet others are lost without a hope.

However, I will give it to these guys at Durgapur. If engineering institutes try to embrace design, why shouldn’t it happen the other way round? Most of the Architecture schools were strapped to engineering institutions anyway…

“Architecture engineering offer various career possibilities for qualified individuals. They can either practice from home or be actively involved in the following activities and/or industries:
The supply and distribution of electricity i.e. hydro-electric, coal-fired and nuclear schemes; basic industries like steel, mining, chemical and petrochemical; manufacturing and related industries like anti-pollution equipment, automatic control systems, medical equipment manufacture and mass production; measurement process engineering control; medical x-rays, ultrasonic scanners, electrocardiograph equipment and magnetic resonance imaging; microprocessors, personal and main-frame computers; aviation electronics; specification development/technical administration and management; technical training and education; computer industry i.e. fabrication, design and modification; microprocessor control of industrial systems; electronic systems used in steel works, refineries and large chemical plants; manufacturing or electronic components and equipment; air, sea and rail transport systems where electronic control or monitoring is involved; transmission and receiving of electronic signals; television and radio; communication via satellite, microwaves, closed circuit television and fiber optic links; military radar, communications and related operations.”

That came from Rani Rashmoni School of Architecture, of SET Group @

MHRD, please pay some attention to ‘Design’ in the narrower sense of the term too?

RIP, Piraji Sagara



To Piraji,

Painter and sculptor, the life of SA basement…

Garba Garbad Part III: The real story of CEPT Navratri

Garba Garbad at CEPT: Part II and I

Garba Garbad Part III

It wasn’t about fake passes, but forced passes.

800 odd cops wanted Garba to continue because they had a handle on CEPT…


Some lost soul certainly did try to bring in prohibited substances. And was caught red handed. Sure, there was a scuffle amongst students’ councils from various schools. And much time was spent in these meetings, so much so that the student leaders chose to miss out on classes and submissions… But the biggest beneficiary were the cops, who, in return to not punishing the student further and sort of underplay the issue, managed to blackmail students into allowing them and their friends free entry into the campus festivities – where else could you find a safe heaven like this without having to pay?

And when the councils wanted to shut down the garba, the pressure was not from students but from these freeloaders – “Where would our families go then?” they asked.  Those alumni who paid for the passes, those genuinely fond of the campus garba (or whose kids are safer here than elsewhere) protested too, specially when they didn’t know what was going on. But I say it was a good idea to stop the Garba and the fighting, and of course the blackmail.

Like I said, it is part and parcel of growing up. Hope the institute and the students evolve, and become better.

Fees for project: 200 crores, Kickbacks: 50 crores

With the elections coming up, corruption is finding a new high by the day.

And this is no news to anyone. Those 4000 people who called the helpline set up by Mr. Kejriwal have seen it. As they are part of the system, so are those officers who work hard all their lives and retire from small government jobs with meagre pension and benefits. But their life’s work is undone by those who don’t see it as a big problem. Till the time it IS too big for their pockets… Bhupati Shukla, a lone crusader against what he believes is wrong, and who fights everyday temptation to make his life easier, observes that: “There was a time when I thought our politicians are corrupt. My view has changed over the years. It is the people who are corrupt. As long as the common man agrees to pay, corruption shall continue to thrive.”   

So everywhere there are people who yield to small demands due to a dearth of time or simply because they prefer paying under the table than spend their precious time in running from pillar to post, in his words. But then there are others. More ambitious, with a lot more at stake, or with a lot more to gain.

These are not the people who will log onto I Paid a Bribe to report what they have to do. These are people who are given work to do. They have to run their offices, hire a huge staff, produce reports and work hard to get the money they are going to get. And provide for others’ money within that, all sounding legitimate. Start with ‘investing’ before getting the work order, and go on paying a percentage at every bill. It doesn’t matter who one is dealing with – a Junior Engineer, or SE. The clearance comes all the way from CE and the Minister (and in this case, the Chief Minister). It isn’t easy for them: There are competitors lurking, willing to do the same. There are transfers, added costs, and the pressure to deliver the work. They too are worried about making ends meet.


But they have one less worry. They don’t have to worry about where this world is going. They are leading it there.

The bribe analytics on showing a total of 41 lakhs paid as bribe make me laugh. If I don’t, I’ll surely cry.




May be CEPT shouldn’t wait another 100 years

This sculpture by Jaume Plensa, earlier meant to be on loan, is now gifted to MIT by an anonymous Alumni. MIT already has a rich collection of art and prides itself in it, even as it maintains it’s excellence in engineering fields.

Read the article here:

Alchemist at MIT, a gift of gratitude




















May be CEPT shouldn’t wait another 1o0 years… or wish it needn’t have to.


Amending Architects Act, 1972

This arrived bundled with something urgent. It invites your suggestions and feedback on proposed amendments to the Architects Act, 1972.,-1972

Also points one to COA Forum @  (Filed under the category of Profession of Architecture  Practice  Legal Aspects)

The title post says “Council of Architecture, India has proposed various amendments to the existing Architects Act 1972. Attached with this message is a draft proposal on the same. Architects are requested to send your views and suggestions to the Council of Architecture on:”


And there’s a lone reply stating that ‘The Architect’s Act needs to spell out clearly the following’:

1. Define ‘Equivalent Qualification’ for B. Arch, M. Arch and PhD in Architecture.
2. Define ‘Allied Discipline’ and provide ‘List of Allied Disciplines’.
3. Revised List of Recognized B. Arch or Equivalent Qualifications.
4. Revised List of Recognized M. Arch or Equivalent Qualifications.
5. Recognized ‘PhD in Architecture’ qualifications.
6. Designation of Faculty recruited from ‘Allied Disciplines’ in the Architecture Department.
The Act also requires clarity on the following questions:
Question 1: Can Faculty with B. Arch and Postgraduate/Phd qualifications from allied disciplines, be called ‘Professor in Architecture’?
Question 2: Can Faculty with B. Arch and Postgraduate /Phd qualifications from allied disciplines, be allowed to guide ‘PhD in Architecture’?


Some professionals are speaking up or are participating with their efforts. But very few. Despite some people being adversely affected and profession in general falling to never before low standards of everything, most architects seem to be happily carrying on with their work. Blissfully skirting the issues that have a larger impact on educational, legal and professional contours mapping their lives, and what will govern policy and perceptions of future.

Architects Act is such a misleading phrase.


New Google Search Adverts: Warm, fresh, after our own hearts

New Google Search Adverts: Warm, fresh, after our own hearts


New Google Search advertisement was recently released. It is already warming hearts, receiving kudos, and connecting audiences in ways they haven’t done recently. Talking about India – Pakistan friendship.


Reunion is outstanding in many ways. India and Pakistan are a thousand things to both sides, and there are innumerable ties between them, spanning from love and longing to unfounded hate. Everyone has their own portrait of who the neighbours are. There have been wars, real and proxy. There are flows of people, art, and products. Fact remains that whoever you talk to from either countries, a mention of the other side never fails to evoke emotion. Histories are intertwined, fates bound, land same. Cultures are more similar than different. The peoples are connected, by geography, politics, and in many many ways, by heart – and nothing can change that.

Age old concept, but well executed, well detailed, and it does justice to the subjects, the product and the audience. For me it was a surprise treat… It will just be dumb to admit it brought tears to my eyes (too)…

Nice track as well. (Although I watched it on and could hear the dialogues better – they are half the fun)

Watch without captions. 


There are a total of four ads as part of the same campaign. Equally lovely and with even more fun in delivery is this one:

Fennel Kya Hota Hai?


Apart from the creatives, I will give the credit to decision makers on both client and agency side. Wish for more and more such occurrences. 

For the advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather’s take on the campaign, go here:

O & M is winning my heart back. 


Welcome Mr. Chhaya

Welcome to the world of full fledged practice, Mr. Chhaya.

It’s  official… beloved of many, professor Neelkanth Chhaya is retiring from active duty as Dean at Faculty of Architecture, CEPT University.

A farewell speech on Tuesday the 19th at CEPT.

Invitation to Prof. Chhaya's talk at CEPT

Invitation to Prof. Chhaya’s talk at CEPT


A professional historian and wise ass considers the contemporary world and the past


Sculptor and a Web Designer


Making sense of the world through words

The Hub Review

Insights from an architecture practice

jeff stikeman architectural art :: blog

architectural illustration


Exploring the built environment

The Urban Junction

A Meeting Place for ideas on Indian Cities


travelogue, design, crafts, aesthetics, lyrics, sustainable, films, architecture, animation, amazement, celebration, critics, joy...


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