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.
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.
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.
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 @ http://theglasshouse.org/whats-on/yayoi-kusama-narcissus-garden/
And, if the famous debate around architectural plagiarism interests you,
(“I’m a plagiarist man — you see, you must take everything from everybody”
then I recommend @http://kosmograd.typepad.com/kosmograd/2013/03/glass-houses.html
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 @
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.
Time to turn a new leaf. Navratri celebrations are here again. Beauty. Joy. A little bit of devotion too.
Photo courtesy: CEPT University FB Page @ https://www.facebook.com/CEPTUniversity
Celebrate World Architecture Day today, with Manit Rastogi (Morphogenesis); Kevin Low (Small Projects), Greg Truen (Saota arrcc), 4.00 pm onwards.
Site plan of Nirma University, designed by Amin and Shah. Easy to see why so many people get confused and lost here. Hopefully it won’t be so difficult to find your way, at least for those who turned up the last time for Steven Holl’s presentation…
More details about the architects:
Corruption in Architecture is eating us from within…
Practising architects show interest in Council of Architecture finally. The reason the CoA needs practitioners and not politicians is the way practices are shaping up. With more than 450 schools of Architecture churning out more than 20,000 architects a year, and a limited number of works coming up for design and execution, the competition is going to be cut throat.
And when when the battle gets bloody, all is fair. As the first step, corrupt practices are flourishing, tempting others.
Q: What about corruption?
A: The teachers are not teaching and the professional organisations are wary of bringing up the issue. In MES, in Corporate world, in Institutes, in Government, and in Industries – Wherever there is even a little bit of bureaucracy, the system of ‘cut’ is entrenched, and the percentage is on the rise.
Q: Why can’t architects can’t focus on Design?
A: Those who focus on design lag behind because of or are blocked by these other aspects of ‘practice’
Will come back to update this or follow with a post on Corruption in Architecture – Roots and Remedies.
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.
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/
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.
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
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.)
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.)