Tag Archives: Architecture

Foreign Architects Rush into India

The profession and practise of architecture in India has undergone a complete transformation in this decade. The last eight years have been a boom time, not seen since the heady days of Post Indipendance India.

The booming economy and the burgeoning middle class has prompted developers to bring in foreign architects with foreign fees to design everything from airports to residential and office towers and bungalows and resorts.

Foreign architects bring in the tried and tested processes and function precision to bring about a complete turnaround in the way projects are designed and built. They pair up with Indian firms who have the expertise on the ground to get things done and built.

Foreign architects for the most part are bringing in foreign solutions and design principles which may not all work in India, but the public does not think a second before lapping it all up. We are literally bringing New York, Chicago, Tokyo or Shanghai to Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Madras and countless other towns and cities.

Only time will tell if this is successful in the long term. India is not the only place in the world where this is happening. China is way ahead of us in transplanting urban fabric from the West into their cities.

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Architecturally Lagging: India

A little while ago, I had posted a series of images of some of the latest architecture in China. Beijing and Shanghai have seen a sort of architectural renaissance, only seen once in a century. Every world class architect is present in China and producing great work. Of course this does not mean that the average level of Chinese architecture and urban scape heads for the better.

However, comparing India’s so called building activity on par with China, is by far a long shot. Business Week does exactly that in this article. Reena Jana, the author of the article is based in New York and remote-writing is very evident in the article.

I also don’t understand why Business Week would not get an architectural critic to write an article on architecture. I don’t think Reena Jana is an architect, and if she is, it does not show in her writing.

She says

While its glassy, futuristic design might evoke corporate buildings in Silicon Valley, the campus also features an Indian touch: a cricket pitch.

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Corbusier’s Legacy Stolen From Chandigarh

To an architect, this is really sad news. Chandigarh has been Independant India’s first and largest planned city. Planned and designed by arguably the greatest architect of the last century, Le Corbusier; it carries Corb’s signature in more ways than one can imagine.

From the massive Secretariat to the Law Buildings and Courthouses, Le Corbusier’s vision for India took a long time to build, but today is a thriving metropolis. In many ways, Corbusier’s principles did not work, but for the most part the synergy they created has been sustained today. It is now also a mini architectural mecca for students and architects alike.

Therefore its with great sadness that I came across this article in The Outlook

Buying heavily at routine government auctions of “junk” furniture, stalking old employees of Corbusier and his cousin and collaborator on the Chandigarh project, Pierre Jeanneret, and acquiring neglected artefacts lying with them, these collectors have bought symbols of Corbusier’s heritage—from manhole covers to wood-and-cane chairs—for as little as Rs 100, restored it to pristine perfection at a workshop in Delhi and shipped it to exhibitions and sales at Paris and New York galleries.

I hope that the government, the local architects body and concerned citizens worldwide will take notice, create publicity and somehow stem the tide of artifacts landing up in private collectors houses forever.

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