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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 simile 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

 94. The Best Architectural Websites 2014 by Bob Borson on April 21, 2014

 95. Are CEPT students smart? on May 12, 2014

 96. Pissing Tanker Advert: Missing the point by a mile on June 8, 2014

 97. Rishi (Remembering you again) on June 19, 2014

 98. Elena Shumilova and her lovely photos on July 5, 2014

 99. RIP Ajay Gandhi on July 14, 2014

100. New Idea TVC, Not So Smart on August 19, 2014



The city of bauhaus spirit

Newspaper article today about this exhibition, to be inaugurated by CEPT president. Hope we could stop sounding like politicians when we talk about architecture/ architects.

More details not readable. People behind curtains ought to be mentioned.

the city of bauhaus spirit

Beauty at CEPT: Navratri 2014

Navratri 2014 at CEPT

It is indeed beautiful at CEPT campus. Students prefer, as always, not to have intrusions by strangers, but the appeal of NID and CEPT garba continues.

Glad to see the lights – muted, subtle and elegant. Such a contrast to many other places around the city.

Lights beautifully captured by Vishal

Lights against brick wall, captured by Vishal

More photos on CEPT University fb page.

Coming Soon: B V Doshi at NGMA, New Delhi


This is so beautiful: Security doesn’t come with gates. It comes from relationships. Something Mr Doshi tried to achieve in his buildings, and stood for it. And for CEPT campus, despite the ghastly attacks, and despite the thefts and disturbance the students and faculty lived with during those years… His perspective is his gift. The article also talks about some of his buildings.

More on exhibition might get added here, starting with this reflection:

Original text:

Here it comes (on 9th(correction from 6th) October 2014): Retrospective exhibition of works by architect Bal Krishna Doshi at National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi.

Bal Krishna Doshi Exhibition NGMA

RIP Sunita

Dear Sunita Purdhani,

You will be remembered for this smile of yours. Loved by family, by friends, and by those kids to whom you brought so much joy.

Rest in peace.


This, I dedicate to Sunita….

Conversation between twins inside the womb:
Baby 1: And you, you believe in life after birth?
Baby 2: Absolutely. It’s obvious that life after birth exists. We are here to become stronger and to get ready for whatever awaits us next.
Baby 1: This is absurd. There is nothing after birth! What would life look like outside the womb?
Baby 2: Well, there are many stories about the other side. I’ve heard there is a blaze of light there, an intense and profound feeling of joy with deep emotions, thousands of things to live for…
For example, I’ve heard that we’ll eat with our mouth, there.
Baby 1: That’s silly. We have an umbilical cord and that is how we eat. Everyone knows that we don’t use our mouth to eat! And, on the top of it, no one has ever come back from the other world… Those stories are all coming from naïve people. Life just ends at birth. Period. That’s the way it is and we must accept it.
Baby 2: Alright, then allow me to think differently. That’s for sure, I have no idea what life after birth looks like, and I can’t prove anything to you. But I like to believe, that in the next world, we’ll be able to see our mother and that she will take care of us.
Baby 1: “Mother”? You mean that you believe in ‘Mother’? Oh! So where is she?
Baby 2: Everywhere, don’t you see it! She is everywhere, all around us. We are part of her and it’s thanks to her that we are living right now. Without her, we wouldn’t be here.
Baby 1: This is ridiculous! I’ve never seen any mother so it’s obvious that she doesn’t exist.
Baby 2: I don’t agree, that’s your way of seeing things. Because sometimes when everything quiets down a little bit, we can hear her sing. We can feel her hugging our world. I’m pretty sure that our life will start after birth.


The Omniscient Architect (Specialisation is for insects)

An architect has to be everything. Has to know everything.

Know how to think, draw, build, demolish, rebuild in part and whole, not build at all, restore, repurpose.

Know the by-law, know how to break it. 

Design a table, a temple, a tomb, even a town. Smallest to biggest, simplest to most complex. Concepts 5000 years old to newest materials in the market.

Build sustainable, cost effective, expensive looking, durable, opulent, not opulent, climate responsive or fully controlling the environment, for pedestrians and for cars. Beautiful, yet maximising the FSI. 

Keep away the destructive, criminal or just those keen on graffiti but involve the community. Don’t allow disturbing noise but make a lively place – easy to clean, safe, secure. 

Cater to children, aged, challenged and challenging, men, women, others.

Often in the same design.



Coming soon: New library at CEPT

A new library will be good to have. Not something that was made to fit into a dark space, accessible only by a see through stair right onto the entrance to the office and professors’ cabins. And better than one we have now, overflowing with books and reverberating noise, where it is not easy to concentrate.

About time they thought of a library building.

Very well if designed by a good designer. Even better if it’s by a past student.

New Idea TVC, Not So Smart

The latest Idea (telecom) TVC is a perfect example of how to ruin an excellent brand building attempt that was well received over time.

I mean, who’d think of killing such great brand recall; or of replacing all the good values so far achieved, with a single cringing audience reaction of ‘why’?

‘What an Idea, Sirji’ brand thought

With their Abhishek Bachchan TVCs, they had a good thing going. Every time someone saw them, they smiled and felt good about having spent a few seconds watching a thing well thought of and well made. They have continued to touch upon contemporary issues. (Even if using simplistic concepts sometimes, like but you can’t not love their language barrier one: As happens with the best of companies, there were some damp ones, but on the whole, people were happy to think of Idea as an innovative company, at least in their adverts. 

‘Ullu Banaoing’ 

These ads sort of tapered down to ‘No Ullu Banaoing’ (Loosely translating as: No Fooling Around) advertisements that intensified around election time this year. A campaign not exactly at the same level of excellence, but still with some spark. The campaign targeted the flavour of the time, and connected with youth frustrated with the ageing polity, perceived to be fooling the masses.

Then someone thought of continuing that in an anthem, which, as an idea, must have sounded great to everyone. It had a mix of continuity, nostalgia (of chorus songs during Independence Day in the times past), and timeliness (being released around India’s 68th Independence Day).

Where the buck falls in the ditch

However, in the latest chorus piece singing Ullu nahi banenge hum, Idea’s advertising has taken a nose dive. From start to end, through the never ending 30 seconds, the ‘Ullu nahi banenge’ song drags on. The action is so slow it reminds one of the 1960s. The choir group looks shabby and not vintage. So determined not to be fooled is the group, that while they are passing along the light of knowledge (actually, a smartphone) to others, they don’t seem to notice their viewers gone numb. Not speechless – mimed. And there is not one face that stands out in the bunch of the otherwise good looking group. Surprisingly, with this advertisement, Idea has chosen to destroy all that we loved about their campaigns – and they are so attached to it, that they are not even taking it down.

Bad idea, really.

Advertisements, specially starring the likes of Shahrukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan and Ranbir Kapoor, come with limited contracts, so it is not be possible to revert to the old ads. But please, at least stop running this one?

+ Here’s one more think-alike article about creativity of Idea ads @

+ To see the path Idea has taken, check out Idea TV Commercials at their media centre @

RIP Ajay Gandhi

Alumnus of School of Architecture, CEPT; Loving father and pioneer, with Neeru, of a design-build practice uncommon in your time…


Rest in peace.

Ajay Gandhi

Ajay Gandhi, Architect

Elena Shumilova and her lovely photos

“Children and animals – it’s my life. I’m a mom with two sons and we spend a lot of time on the farm” 

Elena says in her interview with Bored Panda @


If the photos and subjects were not stunning, and so, memorable enough, I noticed she said:

“When I graduated from school I entered Moscow Institute of Architecture where I practiced with sketching and painting a lot. I suppose it is sketching and painting that defined my feeling of photography and composition.”

Now that’s one more reason to think of you Elena. All the best with the photos, you get two thumbs up for your work!





Rishi (Remembering you again)

Update on August 12, 2014: 

In your loving memory, strength to your family. And make some robos, wherever you are.


Original post:

This came through fb, and brought back thoughts of two loving and brave parents. And of all the brave parents who have an abyss to cross everyday, yet they carry on with the small stuff like all others…

























It was sometime in March 2013, when I received a call from Loki… Loki? Yes Loki Balasaria my friend from CEPT days. Loki and wife Rini were visiting Goa with their two sons Rishi and Tanay and wanted to meet me and Raj. Of course I was more than willing to meet them after almost twenty years. Rini was doing her masters in planning while I was studying Urban Design at CEPT. We were this bunch of girls who hung out together, went for movies and generally chilled together. Loki at that time had finished Architecture and was faculty at CEPT. I opted for photography and therefore became Lokis student and I owe my foray into photography and black n white printing techniques to him.

Well, I went with my 16 year old daughter to meet this wonderful family at Taj Vivanta. Rini in her usual chirpy way introduced me to her 17 year old 12th grader son Rishi and a much younger naughty Tanay. We spent the entire afternoon chatting in her room over coffee and that’s when I got to know Rishi….. Rishi floored me with his sense of perception, observation and analytical acumen. For a while it was difficult to imagine that I was speaking to just a 17 year old. And the beauty is that to him the topic did not matter. It was as if he was an encyclopaedia. I could see the look of pride and joy in the eyes of both his parents as they recounted some of the recent proud moments. What also struck me was the connect between the two brothers despite the age gap, that lil protective big brother look. Later Raj my husband joined us and we visited our architect friend and sat through a presentation wherein Rishi again impressed me by the way he handled his lil brothers impatience to sit through. In fact I can describe Rishi in one word … And that is… Perfect…


16 June 2014…. While going the usual FB posts, I came across one by Loki mentioning about Rishis school having dedicated some event to him…. Dedicated… What the hell does that mean… It was almost as if I was doubting my senses and chiding myself for thinking negatively… My heart missed a beat and I kept saying, this can’t be true, no no it’s not true. After about an hour I got the courage to call our friend Amit and my worst fears were confirmed. Yes indeed Rishi was no more…. But how why…

Apparently it was in 2013 just after joining college at Manipal that Rishi had mild fall while playing basketball and we’ll that was it…. What??? Just a fall and the bright life gone…

To say I was stunned would be an understatement… By now my legs had weakened and I was going through the worst fears any parent has. OMG how are Rini and Loki. A silent prayer went out for them. Rishi was gone almost 9 months back and I did not know. I did connect with Rini a lil on FB but that was it… And that was before Rishi went. It never struck me that why wasn’t I seeing any fresh posts by Loki….

Losing a child is the worst nightmare for any parent and losing Rishi must have been worst than that. I met him for just that one afternoon and evening and he impacted my life in way that his loss became unbearable for me….

And to think that it was just a fall…. How many of us fall everyday…. How many of us tell our kids, it’s ok if U have had a fall, you are growing up. Our lives are indeed fragile.

Rishi has taught me something that I am going to remember for the rest of my life….


When it rains heavily and my arty sun roof leaks, I hate the puddles and fret till it is repaired….. From now on, those puddles won’t bother me…..

When I enter home after a long day at office and see the family room messed up… From now on that mess won’t bother me.

When I need to send that really important mail, and the net slows down, …from now on this will not frustrate me.

When I am trying to call someone and calls constantly drop…from now on this will not irritate me

When I have work goals and for some reason they get delayed,… From now on this will not despair me….


You know why ?

Coz losing Rishi was far far greater than any small problems….


From now on whenever I’m facing a situation of frustration, anger, …. I think of this angel Rishi and think ‘ losing you was a far greater loss…. And this problem at hand can be sorted but getting you back, I can’t.’…


Rishi you did your parents proud….. No doubt you are gone in physical form, you continue to live through us coz you impacted the lives of whoever you met….you brought sunshine wherever you went…. Maybe the God in heaven above wanted some more brightness and so he called you much before your time…. Will miss you son……


Sneha (Rano Aunty )


Pissing Tanker Advert: Missing the point by a mile

Pissing Tanker Advert: Missing the point by a mile

Pissing Tanker (by The Clean Indian)



This ad was recently shared with me and it did more than what it meant to do: It made me uneasy. Apart from how simplistic the idea is, and how oh-so badly it is executed, what surprised me is the abysmal awareness about issues it brings forth. Issues like sanitation, infrastructure and services, and societal attitudes and behavioural change.

If the makers had gone beyond the surface, they’d have figured out what people working in the areas of public sanitation have known for years: Outer means bring about quick, discernible change, but it is not sustainable. Change has to be from within. So Ms./r. Admaker: Take 5 marks for talking about an issue that obviously needs attention. But for the rest, give me a good reason to take you seriously.

Why does Pissing Tanker advert appear to be unreal? As answer, I repeat what I’d written about scams in a past post on Share My Dabba/ Dabbawala Scam…


Scam, in advertising lingo, is a fake advert: meant more for winning the awards and for the sake of superficial feel good social service, rather than for real circulation. It is an open secret within the advertising community that many ads with strong social messages are not backed by enough client money (often self commissioned by the agencies), not displayed or aired enough, and are mainly good for showing the maker in a better light. So they run for a token 7 or 10 times, or, if in print/ on billboards, are circulated/ displayed just enough to make them appear real. This is done also for new and unique concepts, harder to sell to the client, but likely to be valued highly by the creative community. Many have won Cannes Lions, and awarded at other high temples. So these scams, or fakes, have a purpose.

But it is not always served. The advert I just saw is, sadly, yet another example in my book of what not to do about what not to do.


Take the Gandhian path

I remember reading about an experiment carried out by Gandhiji at a Gram Bharati/ one of the Rural universities in my recollection. It described how a whole crop of roses benefitted from using the fertiliser made by ….piss. Why hasn’t anyone made a nice ad with that idea!


See the post about Dabbawala Scam advert @


My post about the state of public toilets, although can be better, is @
(A post about Toilets for Men will join, soon)


Are CEPT students smart?

Are CEPT students smart? Well, yes and no.

1. They all think, at least by the end of their term, that they are smart

2. They have had access to some good thinking – Others’, if not their own – and that is valuable

3. There is more stress on fundamentals and they have had a chance to learn strong concepts

4. It is a free environment, so people who have individual ideas have been allowed to explore them

5. Many who didn’t know they could explore, were probed or encouraged to do so

6. There is no spoon feeding or roto learning, and hence people ought to start using their brains

7. Students come through an entrance exam, and prefer CEPT over a bunch of other schools, so CEPT still gets the cream

8.  Be aware that there are many other great places of learning in the world, but not as low cost, easy to get in and stay in

9. For most of it’s life (shorter compared to JJ, MSU, even SPA), students from CEPT’s flagship school have had a slightly better starting pay


A. CEPT is not one class, it is a bunch of schools, run by different deans, even as a lot of integration is taking place at the moment

B. Not all students can take the pressure, so some break

C. Not all who come are responsible, and that’s a problem when the place is not strict

D. Not all faculty has the same calibre, even though there have been some remarkable minds around

E. There is more stress on basics and thinking through, and less on skills. So there’s that initial gap when they start working

F. Struggle is considered a virtue, not a sign of one’s lack of smartness. So many of them are late achievers

G. Infrastructure has been meager, so CEPT does not appear on lists that consider acres and A/Cs


Of course, students are smart everywhere



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?


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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