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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

 

 

Lilavati Lalbhai Library: New CEPT Library in the making

Update:
It is a very subjective design. Or it was presented subjectively. The link to the recording is now gone, and the debate continues…
The architect who was a star and never really considered a person who cared for others’ opinion, is now subject to intense scrutiny from a small group of people who care. Funny how the lens has changed. He is the same person whose first design in Ahmedabad (Bandhej showroom), based on the old city street experience, was hailed as a big achievement – a tribute to Ahmedabad’s culture and context, and at the same time introducing a exclusive experience with introduction of new materials (actually, textures). So at least he was good at removing something from it’s original context, creating a rarefied design out of it, but somehow still leaving behind a sense of the original.
A little nostalgia
Recently visited with an alumni who came after many years, and we went to every space, corner and floor, and (together) realised that a lot of what the past users remember about the campus is mere nostalgia, when in reality a whole new life is happening there…
A lot of nostalgia

There are those who are lamenting the loss of ‘natural’ identity: The campus already has a lot of edges and is formalised at so many places. And those who feel that South Lawn’s importance is diminished by the boxy gesture this building is: Well, South Lawn already is a doormat.

The campus wasn’t always like this: It was young and vibrant, with some 300 souls. Then that started changing. Fast forward to 15 years ago. After a long and rather sluggish period in which CEPT campus mainly dealt with siting of new buildings and site development issues when the inside spaces where mostly ignored. The studios were, no doubt beautiful. The simplicity of parallel walls, great. The north light was a delight to all the users; terrace, great to sleep on and party. That building and its corners were owned by users in so many ways – Personalised tack boards, painted stools, dog shelters. The red bricks – hugged, felt, drawn, photographed – loved in all aspects.

But getting the short end of the stick was that the beauty was not uniform. There were not enough toilets. Not enough plug points, and people were hanging aluminum reflectors in single height spaces just to be able to see. There was frequent theft, and even occasional assault. Wars for display space, storage and the universally accepted issues like that echoing, claustrophobic auditorium, and leaky loos.

A lot of spaces subverted the dictum ‘form follows function’ that the academia and students lovingly espoused. So when small, functional additions occurred, users breathed relief. Generally an intervention was so delayed that people didn’t have the strength to question what came about.

The original library stood, on the first floor of the awkwardly operating administration block. The library was too dark, small, without requisite reading spaces. Accessed by a stair that was a really poor solution – almost everyone was uncomfortable climbing up or down it, no one enjoyed standing anywhere close to it. So when that changed to a library standing between two folds of the long flank that was added later, that didn’t really have a functional identity – it was variously an open space, a studio, a lab, above something, below something – many users welcomed it. It shook when people walked, and was still overcrowded; rainwater damaged books that librarians ran to save but couldn’t always accomplish.

Right, the little changes during this phase were sensitive, because matching was easier than making a drastic statement. And the people making it were also the last modernist bunch who could relate to the language and the structures in any deep and meaningful sense. Then there was the unwanted but celebrated gift that is sitting right next to CEPT campus, with a price paid by CEPT by renaming the campus. Without contributing even a little bit to the form, structure or activities of the campus. This phase of changes was followed by all the divisions and marking of turfs that spawned more ugliness in form of boundaries and completely random structures popping up without any scrutiny that this proposal will face.

Do not cry murder upon seeing a new proposal, the mauling started long ago.

Don’t forget

IIM’s new campus is a lesson in conformity (or, avoidance of unnecessary scrutiny by Ahmedabad’s architectural community – which by the way, is bound to happen). From a person who could have taken a stand against the old crumbling difficult to maintain and even if great but expensive past. It is rather a surprise for the project to have gone to a non conformist.

Original post:

Celebrate!

From the mishmash of random buildings and sub-divisions that the CEPT campus now is, one is going to go, for good:

NBO Hall, arguably the hottest (literally) building on the campus, is making way for the new library. From the time when we heard of it being designed (https://architectureindeed.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/coming-soon-new-library-at-cept/), to when the first images surfaced, to now, when Rahul Mehrotra is going to present it to everyone.

Tomorrow, at CEPT auditorium – ironically under the existing library – or rather purposely so.

New CEPT Library Rahul Mehrotra

Can’t resist comparing it to other library buildings (@ https://architectureindeed.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/in-memoriam-henri-labrouste/). But also with all the buildings crumbling on the campus at present… (Will those who are against changes please deposit a penny for every good thought they have in the fund for making this library. May be then the practice of attaching ghastly person-al names to new buildings will stop.

Poster – Presentation on the new CEPT Library by Rahul Mehrotra – 19th August

Reference, verbatim from CEPT’s message:

Dear All,

You are invited to a presentation by Rahul Mehrotra on the design of the new Lilavati Lalbhai Library at CEPT University.

Please see enclosed poster for the event.​
​Rahul Mehrotra
Lilavati Lalbhai Library at CEPT University

19 Aug at 5.30 pm
At Auditorium, CEPT University

The new Lilavati Lalbhai Library at CEPT University will address the growing needs of the University. Centrally located, in place of the exiting NBO block, it will act as an academic hub for the campus. Apart from creating space for larger collections, the new technologically proficient library will have specialized reading areas, exhibition and presentation spaces.

The new building is being designed by prominent architect & CEPT alumnus, Rahul Mehrotra. The design for the library has evolved over several meetings with a team of people including director of library services, senior library staff, campus office staff, and senior administration and  faculty members. The location and bulk of the building was first designed by Christopher Benninger, CCBA, who is responsible for the overall master plan of the University. Construction is expected to begin soon and the building is expected to be completed by Jan 2017.

Rahul Mehrotra is a professor of urban design and planning and former chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). His practice, RMA Architects, is based in Mumbai and Boston.

​Look forward to seeing you at the event.​​

RIP Prabhakar Bhagwat

Invitation to Prabhakar B Bhagwat lecture

We have lost PBB. There are no words that will do justice to all his work and all our emotions.

Last rites: Today at Vadilal Sarabhai Crematorium, 7.45 pm.

Prayer meeting at Residence, Monday, 8.00 am.

Rest in Peace, dear Prabhakar Bhagwat.

From past:

Invitation to Prabhakar B Bhagwat lecture

For this lecture, my notes didn’t come out right.

For their studio notes, see: https://landscapeindiapbb.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/archival-notestracing-roots/

Arrived: CEPT Archives: for Built Environment, Design & Culture in India

This is great news.

Painstakingly. Lovingly. Mindfully compiled architectural archives are here. Madhusudan Dhaky recently inaugurated CEPT Archives, a treasure trove of material that piled up with CEPT library, with more added on by an enthusiastic team, supported by architects, teachers, students and Alumni of Faculty of Architecture.

CEPT and School of Architecture are few of the places to always maintain a broad view of design, imbibing the ideology that built environment-culture-design are related and should be treated as part of one big whole. 

CEPT Archives: for Built Environment, Design & Culture in India

The bottle is new but the wine is old. The label is new though the love is old. The documentation, worth it’s weight in gold… The CEPT Archives will surely be a great resource centre, and make it easier to access the archival material, even with the scare it gave everyone during last monsoon. It was long in coming and a lot of pain in coming, but finally it’s here. Open, for all, at a time when 27 other schools of Architecture in Gujarat are admitting young minds interested and looking forward to more on Architecture and built environment.

Find more @ https://www.facebook.com/CEPTUniversity

Some more information@ http://inditerrain.indiaartndesign.com/2015/08/indias-first-architectural-archives.html?m=1

The Gujarat Model of Corruption: Better than other states?

This is all hear-say, but its shocking how many people are saying it, and how openly it is being accepted as bearing truth without much doubt (even if with disgust).

Heard that the present PM, by leaving, has ruined the semblance of governance that existed in the year before he left. From people who, at one point, were so blind in their hope that they wouldn’t hear one word of advice. So what happened? Let’s go over a bit of history:

Long before national election

Gujarat had a good feeling about it’s new CM because of the efficiency he showed in dealing with Earthquake of 2001 since his arrival in October*. Initially, many officers were heard mentioning that they had received instructions from the CM to process the files before papers turn yellow… seen as a good sign by many if not all.

A clean CM?

There was no mention of him or any channel leading to him when discussing kickbacks. Even as that was surprising, it lasted long enough to begin sounding credible.

Time and again people wondered if it was possible to go on like that, not taking, and not letting anyone else take, any money.

The complaints from traders, trade associations and businesses about BJP decreased. (That under Congress, at least work got done after paying a bribe, whereas when BJP came to power, they got so busy in amassing money that work came to a standstill in government)

Then came noises that the power was so centralised that the local level politicians had stopped mattering. All the power went to Babus, and local political structures were left shaken.

The work of centralising power at Gandhinagar was gaining momentum. And fewer people were actually heard praising the work than those organising/ noticing the propaganda events. But still a handful were talking about how the CM understands the need for professionals and quick decision making, and how he doesn’t tolerate nonsense.

Before National Elections

That number went down gradually and nothing of the sort was heard in the year leading up to national elections.

Before that year, and during that year, more and more people started complaining about their discomfort and about the need to know someone in Gandhinagar. Things slowed down, as they do in the run up of national elections. Even when not many anticipated the present government to get a clear majority, there were discussions about collectors being given quotas to collect and to send money up to Gandhinagar.

There were references to all norms and standards evaporating, and all those in positions of power doing pretty much as they pleased. The government that prided itself in putting capable (and often honest) people in key positions when push came to shove faltered, or was perhaps beyond caring, knowing this was a do or die.

New Government… and a year of placidity

Then came the new, majority, BJP government. And Gujarat was to have a new CM in over a decade. From the first day, there was anxiety over what would become of the state amidst a turf war between the supporters of two of the most steadfast deputies of the new PM.

Now, after a little over a year, there are complaints from all quarters about corruption and inability of the new structure to act, or reign in the rampant greed.

All the CMs like Jaylalitha, Vasundhara Raje, Pawar, Yadav and Mayawati were heard (long before the scandals erupted publicly) to have routes and channels. But nothing is heard about Gujarat.

Is Gujarat ahead of others, again?

*(The recovery after Earthquake needs to be compared to the pre-October scenario under Keshubhai Patel, and the way the Tamil Nadu government dealt with offers of help post Tsunami of 2004.)

US firm paid $976,000 bribe to win water project in Goa and Guwahati: What did you expect?

What did you expect?

US firm paid $976,000 bribe to win water project in Goa and Guwahati

Quoting verbatim from the article @ http://www.msn.com/en-in/news/national/us-firm-paid-dollar976000-bribe-to-win-water-project-in-goa-and-guwahati

A New Jersey-based construction management firm has been charged with bribing Indian officials several crores of rupees to win two major water developmental projects in Goa and in Guwahati.

The bribery of USD 976,630 for a Goa project by Louis Berger included that to a minister, the details of which have not been disclosed by the Department of Justice.

Yesterday, the company agreed to pay USD 17.1 million criminal fine to resolve charges that it bribed officials in India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Kuwait to secure government construction management contracts.

Two of its former executives – Richard Hirsch (61) of Philippines, and James McClung (59) of the UAE – pleaded guilty to the bribery charges.

McClung previously served as senior vice president responsible for the firm’s operations in India and in Vietnam.

Sentencing hearings for Hirsch and McClung are scheduled for November 5, 2015.

The Indian government, assisted by Japanese government, initiated the five-year Goa Water Supply and Sewerage Project to expand, rehabilitate and build water and sewerage facilities.

Louis Berger was part of a consortium for the project in Goa. The consortium included two Japanese firms and an Indian partner.

The team developed a project management information system and plan, evaluated bids, reviewed design and construction plans, and ensured quality work was done on time and within budget, the company says on its website.

Louis Berger maintained a detailed diary and account of bribery made to Indian officials. On August 26, 2010, “a consortium partner prepared a payment tracking schedule stating that the company had paid USD 976,630 in bribes in connection with the Goa Project to date,” federal prosecutors told a court in New Jersey.

(This is only the tip of the iceberg…. So more will keep coming.)

IIA Elections, much ado about nothing?

Dear IIA,

Kudos to you about the strong follow up for the elections this time, even as there are too many mails telling everyone to put the profession first, or to get it right. Whatever. All the recent initiatives are progressive, but technology, however advanced, can’t repair the haemorrhage that some old brains have. Was it possible to find a way to communicate with people without waving everyone’s email addresses and cell numbers all over the place? Next time, find representation from all ‘kinds’ of architects, including the shy ones, the non-conforming ones, those who don’t own a smartphone yet, those who work for non profits, and some women… Panels, except for their stated views, are similar in appearance, and somehow don’t look like representing the diverse community of Indian Architects. But well, a good start is a good start.

With over 200 schools of Architecture popping up in recent times, some of them without a single real faculty, please help CoA in making good decisions about students’ future. And architects’.

Hoping for a good end result.

Reblogging ‘State of Advertising: Why Brand Advertising Is an Industry in Peril’

This post was worth my time: Simple. Clear. Captures the problem and the potential. Yes, the only advertisements we love to watch on the internet are shared and recommended videos. Ones that engage us: show us an idea that we want to spread around, or the work we want to recommend.

State of Advertising: Why Brand Advertising Is an Industry in Peril

The way I see it, the difference between TV and internet is that in absence of TV, internet will kill the idiots in this business… So many of TV ads are insufferable (on top of being a part of what we hate anyway) that one would think morons to be the building blocks of advertising universe.

I do not know whether to lament the CarDekho advertising, literally gone to dogs, or to celebrate the Nissan ads of Terrano.

It may be true that often the client doesn’t know how to select a good agency. Or to get feedback about their campaigns in a way that they can decide to keep continuing or to discontinue their fabulous/ disastrous approach. But finding a way to measure and respond to this will benefit both sides.

So, success on the internet is for the ‘loved’ advertising, as opposed to the ‘hated’. People will readily rally behind an idea they can relate to, and a brand that engages them. Of course, while making one feel a useful, worthy component of the free world, in command of sharing  – to become an extension of the Brand itself. I remember seeing Amul’s hoardings shared by so many, and that is true for Google India’s last ads as well. For those I loved (Automobile ads and PSAs in equal measure) and shared, a special post will be up soon.

People won’t remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.

 

For more on the topic of Brand Advertising, see:

Brand Advertising is Dead-Long Live Brand Advertising @ http://nativeadvertising.com/brand-advertising-is-dead-long-live-brand-advertising/

…long live lovemarks @ http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/mar/03/advertising-is-dead-says-saatchi-saatchi-boss-long-live-lovemarks

Why B V Doshi didn’t get Pritzker Prize

Recently someone searched: ‘Why B V Doshi didn’t get Pritzker prize?’

Good question.

Despite the fact that he’s a pretty good candidate:

He has contributed fairly to the fields of architecture and design.

He has the international repute expected of a potential winner.

His philosophical breadth goes beyond or at least equals his peers.

He has a flock of admirers who appreciate his intellectual abilities… Even bitter rivals acknowledge his grand role in developing independent India’s architectural discourse.

He apprenticed under Le Corbusier, designed some prestigious buildings in Ahmedabad – still considered the Mecca of Architecture in India.

Notwithstanding all the limitations of Architecture practice in a newly independent country and a new city he has never been afraid to experiment, sometimes at a great cost.

He embodies his times and his country. Quintessence of Indianity in his persona and in his functioning; when a part of him can easily identify and connect with the rest of the world.

He co-founded the School of Architecture Ahmedabad and Vastu Shilpa Foundation, the research, documentation and publishing unit that was the light at the end of a tunnel for a long time.

He extended his reach to planning and social housing; his approaches proving to be right in time.

He’s been written about, filmed, photographed, exhibited and now has an aptly named autobiography ‘Paths Uncharted’.

He even wears the right black frame spectacles! (See Conrad Newel’s brilliant take on the role of black framed glasses in winning Pritzker Prize)

He is not only an architect, which is a big thing in itself, but a teacher, thinker, entrepreneur, and lot more.

Then what’s missing?

May be because he isn’t White, Western, or Japanese- apparently that’s a lucky pool. (Again, happy to refer you to CN and his analysis of Pritzker winners of past)

May be because he didn’t conclude his designs with the precision and finesse of Masters. The same philosophical perspective that makes him such an endearing teacher and guide perhaps stopped him from becoming obsessed with buildings, at least buildings as an end.

May be his approaches, varied and multifaceted, were so ephemeral that they cannot be readily categorised as buildings by the same architect. However despite some seriously horrendous buildings and some obviously ‘inspired’ ones, he can answer all questions with just the School of Architecture building (and then some)!

Perhaps he doesn’t represent his country enough. Perhaps his layered understanding of nuances of Indianity doesn’t reflect obviously enough in his buildings. At least in their photographs.

In third world, buildings are not expensively built or extensively maintained. They are not well documented and yet change often. Other architects don’t come visiting your cities or buildings on their vacations. Jury members are unlikely to have seen much more than photographs of your work.

But most possible of all: the reason is that he is ever changing. He is difficult to box – his buildings or his journey. He’s tried a good many things, worn many hats. And that, I think is a major hurdle in interpreting his contribution, when it comes to being identified and recognised as a master architect.

And it’s only a guess, but I think that was not his goal either.

Demolishing Legacy – Learn from LACMA

Demolishing Legacy – Need or Systemic Oversight?

There is a move to let go of the Hall of Nations Complex and Nehru Pavilion. RSS is tearing down its modest home in Delhi to make way for two big towers as their new office. National Gallery Delhi is going in for a major extension. Rabindranath Tagore might get a new museum dedicated to him in place of a defunct Rabindrashala premise in Delhi…. Many Modernist and some historic buildings are under review from this standpoint: Keep, reuse, modify, repurpose, or demolish?

Recently Arun Rewal  started a campaign (again) to save the Hall of Nations Complex from demolition. This issue is not new and the same concerns are consistently raised by architects since long. But the idea keeps coming back. So one wonders: is the need for a clean slate more symbolic?

Possibility One: Demolition follows function

Demolition is a physical, functional requirement when a space

1. Has become dysfunctional/ it’s function irrelevant and a new function cannot revive the building or landscape.

2. Is cluttered over time, often straddled with old technologies difficult to maintain or upgrade.

3. Has too many fragments that can’t become one, and is faced with the need of a big unified space that can be used (and sometimes rented) as a whole.

Or,

4. A new requirement has come up that just cannot be supported by the old building.

For example, Pragati Maidan venue is a maze, difficult to walk. It does not respond well to the new functions. For obvious reasons, a lot of visitors prefer going to Greater Noida than trying to reach Pragati Maidan in rush hour traffic. This, not to account the discriminatory practices of ITPO weening potential exhibitors off the venue, is a real issue.

Chandigarh is the favourite whipping example of all, as many of its buildings are proving difficult to maintain and expensive to upgrade. Few administrators can really bear the trouble and cost of air-conditioning a huge pavilion, or of restoring exposed brick work buildings like those at IIMA Ahmedabad.

The slow, tedious process of keeping (or re-purposing) a beloved building is only for the brave of heart: NGMA Mumbai has done it. In their own words, “Introducing floor space into the cavernous high-domed interior of a hall designed along the lines of London’s fame Royal Albert Hall proved to be an architectural challenge. Not only could the outer shell not be touched according to heritage laws, but the foundation was also found to be weak being on a sandy base. Delhi-based architecture Romy Khosla’s design involved constructing a structure within a structure to encase a five-exhibition galleries, one leading to another via a teak and chromium stairway, a lecture auditorium, a library, cafeteria, office and storage space for a permanent collection as well as traveling shows. The renovation has taken 12 years and cost 3.5 crores.

Possibility Two: Breaking away with the past to start afresh

Demolition is a clean up more for symbolic reasons. Or, what happens to buildings is a mere reflection of what is happening to the decision making structure: Change of values, priorities, of financial or organisational model:

Typically, a government with opposing ideology will overturn many a measure of the previous one. Specially when they want to be seen as trailblazers. At least the old wine will be presented in a new bottle after making a clean break with the past.

Oftentimes it is to address a long piling need that the old structure could not or would not address. Like the Auditorium at CEPT. Or when a museum expands its collections.

I quote from Guggenheim’s example: “When Thomas Krens, the museum’s dynamic new curator, commissioned Gwathmey Siegel & Associates to restore the gallery and to add an extension that would cater for the functional needs of the building, he was bound to make new enemies. The public had grown fond of Wright’s folly; there was widespread feeling that, no matter how clean-cut and simple, any addition to Wright’s building was a scandal.”

Those who have no idea of the difficulties of this process are often the most jingoistic about (someone else) going through it… And no one can do it right.

Who sees the beauty?

Again, Guggenheim: “By the mid-Eighties, the building had fallen into a sad state. ‘There was chicken wire where the light now streams in, with bits of the lighting blocked off to stop it hitting the paintings,’ says Rogers. When Tom Krens succeeded Thomas Messer as museum director in 1988, a programme of expansion and restoration had just begun. With a pugnacious zeal worthy of Wright himself, Krens quickly decided, with the architect Charles Gwathmey, to bring the Wright building back fully to its former glory.

‘What we tried to do with the restoration,’ says Krens ‘was simply to ‘unpack’ the building, to take it back to what we call its ‘pre-original’ condition.’ To make it, in other words, the building it was always meant to be, although Wright would surely have disapproved of the dazzling white paint on the outside of the old gallery; he used a subdued sandy colour.”

More @ http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/news/architecture-extension-of-a-new-york-controversy-the-guggenheim-is-no-ordinary-museum-ultan-guilfoyle-looks-at-the-legacy-of-frank-lloyd-wright-1536218.html

The new architect, often, sees it. And in some cases, a ‘newer’ one does not. But all thinking is welcome in this fora. In the latter’s case, this will be an apt example: This concept by OIIO Architecture is sure different (Or rather, same)!

guggenheim-addition

@ http://weburbanist.com/2013/02/24/spiral-out-of-control-extension-idea-for-guggenheim-in-nyc/

What about Modernist legacy in India?

True, Pragati Maidan has issues, but it also has a locational advantage and Metro. All great exhibition venues are grand, and difficult to get around by walking simply because of the scale involved. This is a thing possible to solve by clever management and putting extra resources (Like shuttles at the Mahatma Mandir at Gandhinagar). So why have things come to this point?

As people, are we not the kind to cherish our legacy… Be it modern or ancient? Take the case of Tagore Hall – revived at an expense, but not really used. Sanskar Kendra, which would have become the heart of Ahmedabad’s cultural life, is hardly visited – lying in hope that development towards riverfront will bring some life to this venue. Architects and citizens, all have put the campaign to ‘Save Sanskar Kendra’ behind and gone back to their routines. Ellis Bridge, saved from Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s pragmatic decision to demolish it, is back to being the headache for the corporation – Already ruined by earlier decisions and forgotten by the citizens who so zealously saved it.

Fact is, that the trouble to lovingly re-establish any of these structures is too much. And no one is really willing to put in the energy…

Learn from LACMA

But can there be another way in preparation for something new, big, grand? Is there a need to demolish all earlier achievements?

Peter Zumthor and others show a way to do a new LACMA – They already have Bruce Goff, Renzo Piano and Urban Light. Now, Zumthor, with his inkblot, proposes to solve all the problems of this campus at once:

http://archinect.com/news/article/123916644/christopher-hawthorne-dissects-zumthor-s-inkblot-with-lacma-director-michael-govan

Latest proposal by Zumthor:

la-et-g-lacma-zumthor-design-20140624 la-et-lacma-tarpits-20130814-photo

Original proposal

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-county-approves-first-step-toward-building-new-lacma-20141105-story.html

Archinect-LACMA-Zumthor

From: http://archinect.com/news/gallery/123660296/1/lacma-latest-zumthor-reins-in-his-inkblot-redesign

Finally, for those who want to know what is on the chopping block (slightly old, from 2013):

towergraphic-fa31b1e7-e537-4323-a916-1d62a5edc0b1

@ http://graphics.latimes.com/towergraphic-lacma-chopping-block/

Good, bad, ugly, all of us will have our opinions. But change, is inevitable, and a rare architect will not think really hard about changing the work of another.

My Copy & Paste on Nehru Pavilion:

Stop the Demolition of The Hall of Nations Complex and Nehru Pavilion?

https://architectureindeed.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/stop-the-demolition-of-the-hall-of-nations-complex-and-nehru-pavilion/

Stop the Demolition of The Hall of Nations Complex and Nehru Pavilion?

Demolition of The Hall of Nations Complex and Nehru Pavilion?

Hall of Nations

Quoted from Arun Rewal’s plea (will update):

With deep anguish we have learnt of mindless efforts to demolish the Hall of Nations Complex and the Nehru Pavillion at Pragati Maidan, Delhi. We appeal to you to channel all authority vested in you to save the Hall of Nations and Nehru Pavilion.

A National Icon
The Hall of Nations and Industries Complex along with the Nehru Pavilion at Pragati Maidan are iconic structure’s in Delhi’s landscape. These landmarks were designed to commemorate and celebrate 25 years of India’s independence in 1972. Postage Stamps were also printed at that time in which the even represented by the image of these buildings.

Landmark and Cultural Icon
Like the Jantar Mantar and Humayun’s tomb, Purana Quila, the Hall of Nations and Industries as well as the Nehru Pavilion are part of the city’s memory. Carefully sited in relation to the central vista, the Purana Quila, Supreme Court, these buildings contribute as landmarks to the positive image of the city. The spatial organization of these buildings also provides opportunities to extend our cultural legacy within the city without destroying it.

Architectural Ingenuity and Engineering Marvel
The Hall of Nations, Hall of Industries and the Nehru Pavilion reflect structural ingenuity, richness and complexity in spatial and formal character as well a layering of space and architectural character. The Hall of Nations constitute the largest span public structures in Delhi have the potential to accommodate a variety of uses. At one time they were arena’s for congregation and exchange, where citizens of Delhi would gather to discover and be informed on innovations. The Nehru Pavilion designed was designed to house exhibits envisioned by Charles Eames. These structures designed by Raj Rewal were selected on the basis of an architectural competition.

Celebrated around the World: a symbol of modernity
The buildings, acknowledged all around the world as icons of modernity have found a place in the annals of architecture and Indian cultural history. A recent exhibition in the Pompidou Centre, Paris celebrates their architecture and cultural marvel. The buildings also chart out a path for Modernity in India. The buildings show how a deep understanding of our traditional structures can be reinvented as topological transformations accommodating the modern. The buildings accommodate the persistence in the memory of the city’s form and our shared cultural heritage, a value that all cities long for. In addition, these buildings are reminders of our country’s ability to innovate with limited resources and clever use of manpower. The architectural forms have a value beyond their building constructs. They manifest a shared Indian cultural legacy.

An Appeal to Save the Hall of Nations Complex and Nehru Pavilion
With a sense of shock we have learnt that are efforts being made to tear down these buildings. This is not the first time that mindless negativity threatens our country’s heritage. The Taj Mahal and other historic monuments as well as elements of the Central Vista have been threatened in the past. We are a country of limited resources where in the name of market forces and mindless planning, singular sources of authority have directed onslaughts to promote narrow interests. There are many places in the city or sensitive dispensations that can be utilized to accommodate the new or specific programme agendas without uprooting valuable elements, character of the city or its edifices.

We strongly condemn such efforts and actions to destroy our heritage and request you to initiate action to conserve the hall of Nations, Halls of Industry and the Nehru Pavilion. We support the petition to protect these buildings that mark our shared rich architectural and cultural heritage from any demolition. We also appeal to you to allow these buildings to be put to active public use.

Gender parity at CEPT: Better late than later

Update: This notice arrives in the mail: Good beginning, followed by a great second step…

Important Notice:

CEPT University is one of the few open campuses in the country and it prides itself for the freedom of accessibility it offers for all during all times. However, based on the complains we have received, we also realize that it makes us vulnerable to various social crimes, especially during the time when the studios are open through the night.

An emergency phone is activated to use INSIDE or OUTSIDE the campus when there is any critical security concern. This number can be dialed through your mobile phone directly and it will ring up at both the security gates. This service is available after the office hours (from 07:00 PM to 09:00 AM).

In case you should feel any kind of threat please call:

Emergency Number: 07926302430

Please put this on your speed dial.

Original:

You don’t have to be a woman to think gender.. And bias is a shared burden, so hope things will change and get better for all students and faculty at CEPT with efforts towards gender parity and a conscious push towards liberal values from grassroots level.

. News about CEPT - Gender Parity.2015

So what has changed in the meanwhile?

Recalling this old reference among architects: If you have one, you are Correa. If you have two, you are Raje, and if you have three, you are Doshi.

Daughters growing up to enter the vocation of their fathers has had no small role to play in changing the general perception about architects/ engineers/ planners. Even if they were sometimes encouraged to settle down with good catches, or be a backdrop of their spouses’ more illustrious careers, they seem to be making a dent. This, along with generations of bright girls and boys who entered the campus as teen-agers and grew up fighting biases.

It was not easy to imagine a situation where a woman was a dean, biased or otherwise. At present all the deans are new faces. And except Anne, all women: Anjana, Krishna, Manvita, Darshini. The next layer of teachers has a good balance too. Students body comprises of more women. Any which way, more and more women entering the equation has helped. It has certainly brought dignity to the struggles and loneliness faced by their previous generations. To twist Friedrich Hayek’s expression slightly, after years spent trying to make genders equal, CEPT is finally coming to treat them equal. Well, not exactly, but this is a start as good as any.

Steven Holl Lecture and Kalp at Nirma University, new beginnings for many, many things

Kalp at Nirma University School of Architecture

Steven Holl and B V Doshi at Nirma Kalp 2015

Steven Holl and B V Doshi at Nirma Kalp 2015

Kalp begins

Kalp begins…

Steven Holl at Nirma University _ Urban Hopes 18 Mar 2015

‘Urban Hopes’ lecture by Holl

Urban Hopes

Surprising to Nirma, by not surprising to others, there was quite a large turn out of academic and professional architects. Linked Hybrid, his housing design in China, is a favourite of many. And now he is designing an art gallery in Mumbai.

Welcome to India, Steven Holl; all the best with your Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum project in Mumbai.

More photos @ http://www.nirmauni.ac.in/ianu/Urban%20Hopes%20Lecture%20by%20Ar%20Steven%20Holl%20and%20%20KALP%202015%20-%20Inauguration/115/Photos

Ilha De Calma adverts, a thing of beauty

Ogilvy and Mather, take a bow.

For your brilliant print ads for the Union Territory of Daman and Diu to start with. The two merging symbols such as Nature and Heritage… Beautiful graphic work.

For your new campaign for Diu Tourism.

For the TVC.

For the initial suspense. Showing Diu and not revealing the place, thereby making many think of Portugal, and leaving many wondering. It did peak everyone’s curiosity.

For Ilha De Calma TVC. For transporting the viewer into a different world altogether. Bull’s eye.

For the music, now I love Chopin even more.

@ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lHdYhCpNNU

or @ http://youtu.be/Q2gx0cWkpRA

See the photos used in the print campaign @ https://www.behance.net/gallery/23331241/ILHA-DE-CALMA-

Thank God, for the Isle of Calm.

Enjoy the ad. VISIT DIU.

Design and Architecture Awards, finally coming of age

Design and Architecture Awards are finally coming of age…

Recently NDTV brought in focus what many outsiders consider glamourous, and, as many insiders consider to be judged unfairly in Awards: Architecture. Grohe tied up with NDTV to bring us the design and architecture’s largely glossed up effort that is actually hard work. Going by the NDTV’s preference of luxurious lifestyle and telegenic and presentable designers, this was a good departure, really.

My thoughts on Grohe NDTV Design & Architecture Awards 2014

@ http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/news/ndtv-grohe-design-architecture-awards-2014/355124

Find more @ http://sites.ndtv.com/daawards/design-and-architecture-awards-categories/

The awards have turned out to be rather fair, and winners are generally held in good esteem by the architectural community. Commercial awards, but not gone to commercial firms.

These awards were well advertised even in 2013. They got even better this year. The award function was well organised, the sponsors and presenters were agreeable and articulate; architects understated as expected, and themes generally relevant. It was a happy surprise to see students holding their own, and pegging down a problem that plagues all architectural students these days so precisely.

There were a few familiar faces, but aside from the expected categories of hotels and commercial interiors of other awards, there were good categories like Infrastructure Architecture, Structure and Heritage. A little bit like the Oscars – better liking towards projects with a cause, and especially like this year’s Oscars: setting aside the big names to recognise some hidden gems known more in the design fraternity, and not so much seen in the advertisements in construction magazines.

SPA and CEPT alumni shine, as they are beginning to in recent times, and some from the Gen X-Y and many of Z/ the millennial generation also shared the limelight. No ghosts of past haunting the present. No representation from the 50 and 60 year olds, like they didn’t matter anymore. Everyone talking about how young architects and designers are brilliant and terribly inspiring.

So speaking from an architect’s view point, NDTV and Grohe has had the sense to do this well: tying up, bringing on board a respectable jury (even younger and more expansive than 2013), and trusting them to choose well from the over 1000 entries. There is the facet of marketing, branding, and media, but it is value focussed, not crass. Just the hype this community needs. After J. K. Cement, this is another good award platform, just more alive. What more can a decent designer ask for?

Christopher Benninger gets a life time achievement award, and is the only one to mention B. V. Doshi.

The only thing I would say the self-critical architectural and designer community doesn’t do well yet is: to thank or recognise their teachers in a decent manner.

World Developmet Report 2015: Insights on Mind, Society and Behaviour

Sometime back the World Bank brought out Development Report 2015, and it sure contains some interesting insights.

Notice India’s graphic: Not sure about connecting puzzle solving with problem solving in general, and also about an appropriate way to remind someone of their caste identity, but caste is a mental model for many still. Love the use of windows to explain the idea of mental models. Models frame what we see, understand and base our decisions on. Designers and decision makers need to be aware of the huge impact of

Mental Frames

What frames our (world) view

Full report is available @ http://www.worldbank.org/content/dam/Worldbank/Publications/WDR/WDR%202015/WDR-2015-Full-Report.pdf

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