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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
  101. Coming soon: New library at CEPT on September 2, 2014
  102. The Omniscient Architect (Specialisation is for insects) on September 4, 2014
    After finishing second year of blogging:
  103. RIP Sunita on September 24, 2014
  104. Coming Soon: B V Doshi at NGMA, New Delhi on October 1, 2014
  105. Beauty at CEPT: Navratri 2014 on October 2, 2014
  106. The city of bauhaus spirit on October 7, 2014
  107. CEPT Logo (oops IDENTITY), ultimately final on October 18, 2014
  108. Swach Bharat ad: There is hope for a clean India on November 2, 2014
  109. Anti corruption clauses-hidden silver lining in government contracts on November 3, 2014
  110. How to clean up: Thanks Ugly Indian, Schools of Architecture at Karachi and Ahmedabad on November 10, 2014
  111. Tourism Ministry finally hits the bottom (with their new safai advert) on January 5, 2015
  112. Make in India: Is Indian Autodesk around the corner? on January 9, 2015
  113. Who’s the youngest of them all? (Its Smriti, again) on January 20, 2015
  114. The brewing crisis in architecture on January 31, 2015
  115. World Developmet Report 2015: Insights on Mind, Society and Behaviour on February 5, 2015
  116. Design and Architecture Awards, finally coming of age on February 26, 2015
  117. Ilha De Calma adverts, a thing of beauty on March 3, 2015
  118. Steven Holl Lecture and Kalp at Nirma University, new beginnings for many, many things on March 21, 2015
  119. Gender parity at CEPT: Better late than later on March 26, 2015
  120. Stop the Demolition of The Hall of Nations Complex and Nehru Pavilion? on March 31, 2015
  121. Demolishing Legacy – Learn from LACMA on April 16, 2015
  122. Why B V Doshi didn’t get Pritzker Prize on May 30, 2015
  123. Reblogging ‘State of Advertising: Why Brand Advertising Is an Industry in Peril’ on June 13, 2015
  124. IIA Elections, much ado about nothing? June 30, 2015
  125. US firm paid $976,000 bribe to win water project in Goa and Guwahati: What did you expect? on July 18, 2015
  126. The Gujarat Model of Corruption: Better than other states? on July 19, 2015
  127. Arrived: CEPT Archives: for Built Environment, Design & Culture in India on August 3, 2015
  128. RIP Prabhakar Bhagwat on August 14, 2015
  129. Lilavati Lalbhai Library: New CEPT Library in the making on Augurst 18, 2015
    After three years:
  130. Corruption in Architecture, what’s eating us from within on October 1, 2015
  131. Celebrating World Architecture Day at Nirma University: 5 October 2015 on October 05, 2015
  132. Garba 2015 starts today at CEPT on October 13, 2015
  133. Go in Faith, Pratyush on October 29, 2015
  134. RIP, Mohammad Shaheer on November 28, 2015
  135. Architects are never taught the right thing on January 14, 2016
  136. Massive Fire Destroys Natural History Museum In Delhi on April 26, 2016
  137. Opens today: Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden at Philip Johnson’s Glass House on May 1, 2016
  138. Correa in 2D: Can we expect more from those he left behind? on June 9, 2016
  139. New York architects to design Chicago library and museum on July 1, 2016
    Post four years:
  140. The book is out:The Architecture of Hasmukh C. Patel on September 10, 2016
  141. Bimal Patel reappointed President – Not really CEPT news on December 9, 2016
  142. Not so Smart and Liveable Cities at Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017 on January 13, 2017
  143. Good bye, Neeru Gandhi on January 29, 2017
  144. Alumni shortlisted for IIA Awards 2016 (School of Architecture CEPT Ahmedabad) on February 24, 2017
  145. Mahishmati, Amaravati, Culture and Cult: Symbols are important in Architecture on March 11, 2017



Reblogging: Let’s

“Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito’s wing that falls on the rails. Let us rise early and fast, or break fast, gently and without perturbation; let company come and let company go, let the bells ring and the children cry […]

via Let’s — Submitted For Your Perusal

Mahishmati, Amaravati, Culture and Cult: Symbols are important in Architecture

In the whole hue and cry about the design for new capital city of Andhra Pradesh, Amaravati, no one has asked this question: Why should the client not want to relate to the design?

Symbols are important for everyone. Common people use common objects as symbols, aesthetes use more evolved and more aesthetic objects, and architects who are forced to use trashy common objects use gray colored generic contemporary forms as symbols – that’s all.

The two aspects of design – First: Architectural Aesthetic and the Second: Associations/ Aspirations of decision makers and end users, are not always in sync. Architects often get esoteric, basing their decisions on their experience and interpretation of what is good. Something that is often not grasped by the other party. Or, they propose haute couture designs in terms that only other architects will understand.

In the case of design Amaravati, proposed capital city of Andhra Pradesh/ Seemandhra, there have been all manner of opinions. Half the people, even well informed ones, don’t know that a whole new city is being designed. That says something about how much a layperson knows and is informed about design. It is a reflection on our media’s depth of understanding too.

Of the bunch that knows and cares about what’s going on, many people- both architects and non-architects, have been at pains to stress that they don’t like any of the designs. In the aftermath of selection and award of the project, there are two major factions… One point of view is, that the designs are not suitable enough. That is client perspective. The other perspective is that client has acted callously and probably out of altruistic motives. That is the original winner’s position. More on that another time.

The truth, of why the decision has gone and will go on in this wayward manner, is somewhere in between. The constraints in front of client are huge. They have to do something no one in their knowledge or in India’s recent memory has done. They have to do it via democratic route, where every act is open to public scrutiny, and every step is open to questioning. They have tried their best to involve leading architecture firms, and to convey to architects the aspirations and expectations of people.

Let us remember that they have to do it at half the capacity – the primate city has gone to the other state during the splitting between Talangana and Andhra – Whatever social justice or political mileage there may have been, the bureaucratic machinery and all finances are also divided. And what was common, is now with the rival, or being rivaled. Oh, the burden of setting and becoming an example in full public glare. And they need an identity, quickly.

So when the Chief Minister roped in Bahubali’s director to help with the design, all hell broke loose in elite architects’ world. It horrified many that a film director was asked to imagine a city, and a Chief Minister could be so clueless as to not understand that a city is much more than an image. How filmy, many said. Just like Telugu people, some said. Even the guy in question, Rajamouli said that he knows only cinema and nothing about making of cities.

It is evident that in architectural community, this is interpreted as something reflecting poor taste. But let me ask: Why should the client not want to relate to the design? Ask if any of the firms gave a damn about Telugu culture or history of Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra.

Why is it so wrong to aspire to have a connection with local culture? Ultimately, the people who judge this are the masses, and their associations have to matter. And this is from the guy who brought some of the most progressive concepts to fruition, not someone stuck in a twisted nostalgia about past.

Foundation Ceremony of Amaravati_yvapwwohhy.jpg

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister beside a model of proposed New City Amaravati

And why not the big colorful models and the dramatic presentations? Chandigarh had one too, with all the class and touch of the Swiss-French Modern Master, and the elite audience like the then Prime Minister who could appreciate houte culture.

‘Baahubali’ director to help design Andhra Pradesh’s new capital


“To its credit, Foster has designed iconic structures like the 50 UN Plaza, Singapore Supreme Court, Imperial War Museum (UK), Century Tower (Japan), the Ireo City (Gurugram), Cyber Port (China), Bloomberg headquarters (UK), The Index (UAE), International Airport (Kuwait), to name a few.

“The Chief Minister insisted that Foster first go and meet Rajamouli. Foster’s architects met Rajamouli in Hyderabad the other day and shared their thoughts,” a senior official of AP Capital Region Development Authority (CDRA) said.

Municipal Administration Minister P Narayana, CRDA Commissioner C Sreedhar and other officials, too, had a “session” with the film director in Hyderabad last week wherein the latter gave them a talk on the “history” of Andhra Pradesh and the “Dravidian architecture”.”

And the guy was upfront about it: “Designing a set for a film is different and I have no expertise”

Even when a good number of architects design sets and animated cities (Even cities-in dreams-in movies), the person with not having a qualification is sneered upon by the elitist community that has not bothered to serve the very masses the city is going to be filled with – Class three and four workers, petty officials, vendors, shopkeepers – Basically, people with no class, and no money, to hire architects.

I also wonder if this is much ado about nothing because at personal level, I don’t think any of the three designs aimed to be contextual in terms of culture. Only Vastu Shilpa Foundation, led by Rajeev Kathpalia, have demonstrated their ability to respond to context in a way that lay persons can recognise the connection. And the client’s desire to hire an international firm was evident from their scouting, the structure of the competition and their selections. But this response to Andhra Culture? Neither it was part of the brief, nor highlighted in early stages. And now it has become the deal breaker. Much has been written and explained, but nothing has changed the decision, and I am not even sure anyone other than architects have even deliberated it.

In my humble opinion, the architects have missed an opportunity somewhere, because the sudden need to have appropriateness hits the client only when a design is featureless in a way that it can’t be distinguished by lay people, and can’t therefore become a symbol.

Aesthetic, taste, sustainability, design excellence, cost, all matter. But symbols are important. Identity that binds the masses is still much in evidence in everyday objects people choose, and the pride in an ancient culture is one important part of Dravidian identity. So objectifying an image of Andhra was and will be a design mandate. The more designers believe that only beauty of form and function can satisfy the deep rooted desire to connect to what you own, the more they are risking their own profession. And the less a person can relate to designs objectively, the more they will base their decisions on imagery and other subjective parameters.

Good luck Seemandhra!

Note: This is a rough cut, I hope I can come soon and update this. Thank you for reading.

Additional reference article:

An architect explains why turning new Andhra capital into ‘Bahubali’ sets is a ridiculous idea


“A cursory glance at the many appointments of planners and architects that submitted their plans and designs for Amaravati does little to articulate any central vision for a new city.” and “…look at the designs of the main government buildings in the capitol complex, for which the government held limited competition between Tokyo-based Fumihiko Maki and associates, UK-based Roger Stirk Harbour and associates, and Ahmedabad’s Vastu Shilpa Foundation led by Balkrishna Doshi.”

“We do not know many details about these entries, but relying on the few images posted on the official website, one can say that they fail to inspire (my emphasis).”

Alumni shortlisted for IIA Awards 2016 (School of Architecture CEPT Ahmedabad)

Updated with winners:

The Awards were declared on March 16th 2017.

Category: Public and Institutional: Chitra Vishwanath (’82 Batch), for The Altier School at Bangalore

Category: Unbuilt: Girish Karnawat (’86 Batch), for Bamyan Cultural Centre at Bamyan

As both are recipients of several earlier awards, the wins don’t surprise. But for sure, it is a reason to celebrate! ….Congratulating all winners in 10 categories: Together with architects and designers who keep striving for better, continue to inspire others!

(The FAAA events and recognition page @ is not very extensive, but for more: @—chitra-vishwanath)

For some more details, see IIA Awards page @, and now the compilation of all shortlisted entries is published and available with IIA Mumbai like last year.


SA Alumni are shortlisted for IIA Awards 2016

So glad to see the Alumni of School of Architecture featuring on several honours & awards lists slowly. Lightens some of the frustration of dealing with our routine, underpaid, stressed out long work hours, where no one seems to value what one stands for.

Only an architect in today’s India will feel the pain of another. And if a Jury of 14 of them shortlists 56 architects for excellence in design, including a few seniors who themselves were inspiration for the new generation, one can’t help but notice that a handful of them are ex-CEPT, ex-SA. And more than half are women.

Christopher Benninger, who participates frequently in IIA Awards, is one such name with whom at least two of the younger lot have worked. On a lighter note, one of them is even named KIDS. Along with him Prasanna Desai, Shahrukh Mistry and Sonali Rastogi’s offices have been the ‘go to’ places for whole batches of architecture trainees and freshers. Sanjay Puri, who started his office when half of the selected kids were in high school, is a much awarded presence with two IIA Awards, and have designed a few buildings in our surroundings as well. Tony Joseph’s name too appears on the list and at least one of his works, Madhuban Resort and Spa, Anand is close by to experience.

Shortlisted architects for IIA Awards 2016: Congratulations and wish you all the very best!

Good bye, Neeru Gandhi

Dear Neeru,

SA Alumni mourn your loss. May your journey henceforth be without pain, and may those you have left behind find peace.



Say hello to Ajay:

Not so Smart and Liveable Cities at Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017

‘The Smart and Liveable Cities’ Seminar, that had a good start, watered down quickly, and as expected. Apart from the problems the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit is mired by this time, it is also a topic that no one – really, no one seems to be able to explain clearly.

The seminars were drab and so many of the attendees were just roaming around, again, as anticipated by many. A good number of those who came, came because they were forced to. Without interest or anything real to gain. From chaos raging in Capital’s corridors of power to the confusion created in lower ranks by the slow and lacklustre decision making at various levels of leaders and officers in not such a distant past, there have been goof ups before and during the summit. It may be that new set of officers behind this event don’t seem to have as much of a handle on what works and what doesn’t. The move from near Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar since 2011 hasn’t helped matters, more so in the aftermath of demonetisation.

Urban Development, that found footing as a focus area since 2005, has had all kinds of projects being showcased. From private Industrial townships and Diamond City Surat to Sabarmati Riverfront Development to backlit acrylic models of GIFT City, the Global Investors’ Summit had it all. But the ‘Smart’ sobriquet is no use to any of the cities. Ahmedabad is doing its pilot in some godforesaken corner, and it is evident that even senior officers are still struggling to understand what makes a city smart – certainly, not 8000 affordable houses. If Riverfront Development is the showcase project for creating pedestrian facilities and green areas, imagine what the rest of the city has: Dug up roads, ugly buildings and gated developments.

The action seminars did not see enough action and participation was lukewarm at best. Even the municipal Commissioner of Ahmedabad spent a few quick and uneasy minutes. Smart villages, another hollow idea used by uncomprehending half experts, does no service to the meaning of “Smart’ not contributes to any understanding of villages by the crowd at the summit. Self proclaimed subject experts are not able to say anything that makes any sense to the dimwit reporters who then resort to taking random photos of people, and create negative headlines out of sheer desperation. If there were great speakers, I am yet to see any reportage of their explanation of Smart anything. Venkaiyah Naidu came, and RBI governor came, and many others came and went, but the void in the middle of this VGS is obvious.

But then again, I was told that Gujarat is better than most other states, and that cities here are ‘smarter’ than others. Only time will tell.

More about smart cities@


Image may contain: 3 people, people standing and indoor

Vankaiyah Naidu at VGGS 2017



Bimal Patel reappointed President – Not really CEPT news

Dr. Bimal Patel’s appointment as President, CEPT University has been extended for 5 more years.

This is not really news, as it was kind of expected.

More soon…


The book is out:The Architecture of Hasmukh C. Patel


Written by Catherine Desai and Bimal Patel, the book on Hasmukh Patel, one of the founders and for a while Director of School of Architecture, CEPT and an architect from Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU) Vadodara, is here.

Since he went about his work rather quietly, the volume of ‘Select Works’ will surprise some. But even without the show and pomp, and the razzmatazz of some of his peers, his designs just work/ ed.

Hasmukh Patel, Architect's Selected Projects

Book Cover ‘The Architecture of Hasmukh C. Patel’

In Architecture, happily, the deed counts.

New York architects to design Chicago library and museum


Presidential library to be designed in Chicago as a revitalisation project:

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien are selected to design the project, and will work with Interactive Design Architects.

More soon.



Correa in 2D: Can we expect more from those he left behind?

While reading a post on William Dalrymple’s Delhi farmhouse, I came across this tribute (or whatever) to architect Charles Correa. The first few lines have made me so angry that I had to change my decision to not write about Correa in a hurry:

Ode to Charles Correa, one of India’s most influential architects

Architect Abha Narain Lambah imagined Correa as the embodiment of Howard Roark from The Fountainhead—the bible for every student of architecture


I will come back and update the text, but this is frivoulous writing – and contradicts itself. He was no Roark, another character many architects think they understand and revere, and he personally would disapprove of words like Master Architect, Iconic Architectural Edifice, Reinvention of Indian Modernism, Quintessence, Bold Persona and such being loosely used.

Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, his first building, was in Ahmedabad, the very location where a good chunk of Indian ‘modernism’ was being attempted, without grand support from India’s Prime Minister or the resources of a national capital buoying it. If there is one thing people who have worked with him had to say, it was that he was humble, never angry on site, patiently resolved issues when something went wrong, and behaved professionally unlike some of his contemporaries.

The sense of humour that everyone thought fantastic (it was), came with a tinge of hidden anger at times but many failed to read it. He was a perfectionist, and it is frustrating for a perfectionist to create anything, let alone buildings. His attempts, of making buildings, townships, towns were often compromised by petty politics, and Mumbai and Delhi certainly failed to use his multifaceted (bold?) ideas. And he did see the end of respectful treatment that architects as professionals received when he began, and the advent of the present era where architects themselves are to blame for irreverent treatment they get.

And most influential? Unfortunately, there aren’t really many architects today who acknowledge to be influenced by him in any real sense, and are themselves doing work worth admiring. Abha, Crawford Market has turned out well, knowing the complexity of the project. But this ode, well, is mixed up with Page 3 words, architectural student jargon, superlatives that don’t contribute to the content, and is largely monodimensional.

Glad for someone doing it but I would expect more depth when one writes about Correa.

Note: Architectural Digest too shares the blame. Out of spite for their hunger for viewer traffic, I have reproduced all their keywods as tags, and added some.





Opens today: Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden at Philip Johnson’s Glass House


Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden at Glass House opens today…

YOUR NARCISSISM IS FOR SALE: The idea behind Kusuma’s work is more than allegorical of present times, but she saw it coming.

Kusuma Narcissus Garden

Set aside the politic and struggles of the client/ user of Glass House, this is still a work that brings us to question ourselves – if we want to.

Philip Johnson’s work, more in focus because of the discussion around closing of MoMA’s Architecture and Design galleries, in some way, curiously signalled more works like Glass House being celebrated and created at an ever larger scale.

More @

and @

And, if the famous debate around architectural plagiarism interests you,

(“I’m a plagiarist man — you see, you must take everything from everybody”
Philip Johnson)

then I recommend @


Massive Fire Destroys Natural History Museum In Delhi

Natural History Museum (National Museum of Natural History) at Delhi is destroyed by fire this morning: the fire safety system in the building was not working.

Even 35 fire engines couldn’t save it.


Architecture, or not architecture: this was a loss that could be prevented.

Nature, Ecology, the value of preservation, conservation and that of Memories, clashing with costs of adhering to Fire Safety and building by laws.

Massive Fire Destroys Natural History Museum In Delhi
News and photos @

Architects are never taught the right thing

Aravena has nailed it, and many have been feeling and saying the same thing: “Architects are never taught the right thing”

See his interview with Dezeen @

Further debate and discussion can come soon, now that you have found fame and more visibility, Aravena. Thank you for voicing this concern.

The confusion is apparent in new generation, only I feel that it relates to the entire education system, not just to architectural education. The disconnect is there, and I can see students desperately trying to figure things out, to know what is right for them, and for their times.

About a new generation of ‘Socially minded Architects’, I disagree, having recently met the older generation of socially minded architects, some of them even working in development sector against all temptations and with real passion.

More later.

RIP, Mohammad Shaheer

Rest in Peace Shaheer.

Mohammad Shaheer, landscape architect, former head of Landscape Department, School of Planning and Architecture Delhi, landscape designer of Asiad Village and other prestigious projects like Babur’s Garden at Kabul; owner, Shaheer Associates and partner, MSYK passed this morning.

SPA graduate from 70s batch, post graduate in Urban Design, Sheffield post graduate in Landscape, soul of SPA’s LA department, visiting faculty, guest lecturer and juror at various places, ISOLA fellow active in design till now… this is a good way to go, while still working.

Your expertise in Master Planning, Site Planning, Urban and Architectural Design, Landscape Architecture, and art brought out sensitive designs. Even if you were sometimes inflexible in your views, those are the very views that helped many of your students shape theirs.

Many of your generation are passing, leaving the baton into the hands of the next generation. Hope those you have nurtured and in turn those whom they have taught, will rise up.

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Go in Faith, Pratyush

Go in Faith, Pratyush
Pratyush Shankar is leaving the School. For a more fulfilling life in a more organised system, where there will be more respect, more recognition and more self satisfaction, apart from more work.
That is how it is. The politics that he endured, that tires the new dean and that he was also part of, will be behind him. And we have to give it to him for trying to and achieving some degree of success in changing the School for better before leaving. For being open to new and fresh ideas that people were not ready to hear about. For work with some of the same people, and bringing in and steadying some new people as well. In comparison to the other schools in CEPT, SA has been more successful in attracting good faculty despite the problems of system, resources and academic rivalry being similar as in other schools. Some of the credit for this is shared by Pratyush, even if he was quite a pain at times. Love him, hate him, but don’t you ignore him.
There may be debate about how much of the curriculum that was so painstakingly revised by him and Chhaya has found its way in the present syllabus. But there is no denying that when other colleges are struggling just to teach a 40 year old syllabus, School of Architecture CEPT, Chhaya and Pratyush were long debating the relevance of education, of architectural education, and an appropriate way of teaching architecture. This guy, along with some others, had the sense to question it, and act on it.
To students who could relate to him, who were unable to relate to more senior or more rigid mindsets, this is a loss. And for school too, even if we are now used to it. It may be easy to say now that the old system should have been changed by anyone with a little sense. But during the in-between times, a new system is difficult to glean, specially when people are nostalgic and resistant to change. It was not easy to navigate the dark space left by stalwarts with strong viewpoints & highly individual teaching styles, and an informal and questioning teaching atmosphere. Transition to an education preparing fodder for new age offices may have sounded like death itself. Demise of architectural philosophy that formed the basis of School’s teaching is a big one. Something the profession, the academia and the students are all grappling with. No one dare say that you didn’t try to resolve this.
These are the churnings: Being trapped in a cross current of changing times. Battling with the biases against ‘outsiders’. Dealing with complaints all over the market that School graduates don’t have the skills to translate their grand concepts into reality/ are too loopy/ take too long to settle down. Representing SA at public forums, and in front of other institutions. Expanding own boundaries and dealing with personal crises. You win some, you lose some.
Somehow the farewell note from CEPT sounds like obituary, but neva mind! More good things to you, Pratyush. Without doubt, CEPT is a better place because you came along.

Garba 2015 starts today at CEPT

Time to turn a new leaf. Navratri celebrations are here again. Beauty. Joy. A little bit of devotion too.

The campus is so beautiful around this time...

The campus is so beautiful around this time…

Photo courtesy: CEPT University FB Page @

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