Architecture Cities Heritage Landscape

Moshe Safdie to under take beautification of Golden Temple surroundings

CHANDIGARH: Internationally acclaimed US based architect Moshe Safdie, who had successfully accomplished the most prestigious project of Khalsa Heritage Centre (KHC), Sri Anandpur Sahib would soon undertake the beautification of the surroundings of Golden Temple (Sri Harimandir Sahib) along with the corridor project (Galiara) around the holy Golden Temple at Amritsar.

A decision to this effect was taken at a high level meeting by the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal with the delegation of architects led by Safdie here at Chief Minister’s residence this morning. Safdie informed the Chief Minister that he would make a detailed presentation on the concept and lay out plan to under take the beautification of the surroundings of Sri Harimandir Sahib from historic Jallianwala Bagh Complex to the temple site shortly. He said that the existing approved plan of the beautification of corridor project around Golden Temple would also be an integral part of this composite plan. Safdie pointed out that since the Golden Temple was one of the most sacred amongst the religious places of the world where people of all faiths across the globe converge to pay obeisance and offer prayers, was also the most preferred destination of religious tourism. Safdie also informed that he would also utilize the services of world renowned Lebanese landscape Architect Vladimir Djurovic for planting rare species of trees and shrubs which would be brought from the different part of world to accentuate its mystic aura and serenity.


Indian heritage architecture is ‘nobody’s baby’



By Phil Hazlewood

MUMBAI (AFP) — In the days of the British Raj, Watson’s Hotel in Bombay was the place to stay and be seen, its sweeping staircases, plush bars, restaurants and grand ballroom a symbol of colonial splendour.

But with the British long gone from India and the 150-room hotel closed, renamed and taken over by a ragbag of shops, offices and tenants, the distinctive building in the city now called Mumbai faces an uncertain future.

Despite the 138-year-old building being protected by law, years of neglect have seen it placed on the local municipal authority’s "most dilapidated" list of dangerous structures at risk of collapse during the monsoon rains.

Heritage Public Realm

Celebrating Heritage

A successful exploration of the distinctly Indianised Art Deco buildings of Bombay.

Bombay Deco — by the now-famous duo of Sharada Dwivedi and Rahul Mehrotra — is one more collaborative offering on the architectural wonders of Bombay/ Mumbai. The pair is known for consistently bringing out books on Bombay landmarks such as the High Court, the Reclamation and the Oval as well as a book on the walks in Bombay and the Banganga tank. Dwivedi, who writes also on the arts and royalty, children’s book and fashion, has a comprehensive overview of architecture and conservation issues while Mehrotra is the star of the Bombay conservation movement, having been the principal force behind the Kala Ghoda area rejuvenation movement in Mumbai.

The arrival of this book as one more addition to a deeply felt need for books on Indian architecture is truly welcome. It starts with introducing the arrival of the Art Deco movement into Bombay from the West in the 1920s and 30s and its surreptious coiling with the Modern movement entering India, especially Bombay with the princely States, businessmen as well as expatriate Westerners who stayed and worked on building and interior design.


Mumbai’s latest endangered species: its art deco heritage

What is the common thread between buildings at the Parsi and Hindu colony in Dadar, single screen theatres in the island city and a handful of palatial bungalows in south Mumbai? Besides the fact that these are fading fast from the city’s skyline, it is the last remaining vestiges of Mumbai’s art deco heritage.

In their recently published book Bombay Deco, historian Sharada Dwivedi and architect Rahul Mehrotra have made a plea to preserve the vanishing tribe of this modern style of architecture in Mumbai. The authors have traced the proliferation and decline of art deco in Mumbai — from its arrival in the city in the 30’s to its various interpretations and manifestations in the cityscape.


Historic buildings lost to India’s urban boom

The Lal Mahal – India’s oldest surviving Islamic palace – was demolished earlier this month, despite some efforts to better promote preservation.

By Mian Ridge | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the November 26, 2008 edition

New Delhi – Hidden behind the concrete sprawl of a prosperous New Delhi neighborhood, the Lal Mahal or “red palace” attracted few visitors. Guidebooks neglected to mention that this crumbling sandstone building was India’s oldest surviving Islamic palace.

Then, on Nov. 1, within a few hours, the 800-year-old structure was demolished by a private developer. Horrified conservationists complained to the city authorities, but there was little they could do: The Lal Mahal was not on the government’s list of protected buildings.

This is a depressingly familiar story in India, where only a fraction of historic buildings are protected by law. And as millions of people move from the countryside to India’s cities, cash-hungry property developers are tempted to demolish whatever stands in their way.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), a government body, has a list of more than 3,600 protected monuments that it must protect and conserve.

Architecture Heritage

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.

Continue reading the entire article after the fold.