Environment and Climate News Sustainability

GRIHA: India’s Answer to LEED

Evaluation is necessary to ascertain how green a building is. Apart from verifying claims, such systems ensure that best practices are followed and the gains made are quantified. GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment), the green rating system developed by The Energy Resources Institute (TERI), is promoted by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) as the National rating system.

By Anupama Mohanram / The Hindu

Not only has GRIHA evaluated and incorporated most of the green building criteria originally developed by LEED, a green building rating system that was developed in the US and adopted by the Indian Green Building Council in 2001, it has also added further requirements to make the system more suitable to the Indian building context. In addition, MNRE has made it mandatory for buildings to obtain a GRIHA rating to avail subsidies and other financial assistance allocated for green development. The Ministry also provides incentives to local bodies that offer rebate in property tax for GRIHA rated buildings.

Education News

Building with a heart: Anne Feenstra Exhibition

Every edifice should speak the language of its country, says Anne Feenstra, displaying friendly buildings at an exhibition in New Delhi

By Shailaja Tripathi / The Hindu

30dfr_Visitor_jpg_10106f Three different structures by three different architects in three totally different countries and settings… but what binds them is their innate connection with the human beings who not only reside in them but also around them. Disappointed by the number of skyscrapers and high-rise buildings that lack a distinct identity of their own, Dutch architect Anne Feenstra brings us glimpses of these unique structures to inspire, sensitise and spread awareness, in the photo-exhibition ‘Architecture for Humanity’.

Architects Education News

Council of Architecture India under investigation

Termites In The Woodwork

The government has accused top officers at the COA, India’s apex architectural body, of criminal misconduct. BRIJESH PANDEY tracks the issues as the CBI investigates

IN A move that could change the face of the study and practice of architecture in India, the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) has recommended a CBI probe against the president, registrar and four members of the executive committee of the Council of Architecture (COA). The COA is a regulatory body constituted by the Architects Act of 1972, which accredits and licenses educational institutions to teach architecture in India. Moreover, every architect working in India has to be registered with the COA.

In a letter to the CBI dated August 27, 2009 (DO No. C-1301168/2009-Vig) — from the Joint Secretary and Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of the MHRD, Sunil Kumar — requested the investigation of six top officials of the COA, namely, the President, Vijay Sohoni, the Registrar, Vinod Kumar and four members of the Executive Committee: KB Mohapatra, Uday C Godkari, IJS Bakhsi and Prakash Deshmukh. In the letter (a copy of which is with TEHELKA) the Joint Secretary alleges that:

Cities Events News

CTBUH 2010 World Conference in Mumbai

3rd – 5th February 2010 | Renaissance Hotel & Convention Center, Mumbai.

150x150_Mumbai Rapid urbanization of developing countries such as India and China over the past decade have resulted in almost 200,000 people migrating from rural to urban regions somewhere on the planet every day (United Nations statistics). This translates into the need for the world to accommodate the equivalent of a new city of one million people every week. How can our existing – or new – urban centers accommodate this growth? The traditional American model of a dense working downtown core and an ever-expanding residential suburb have been generally recognized as an unsustainable model for the future, due to the high energy expenditure of the necessary expanded infrastructure (roads, power, waste etc), the transport commute itself (largely automobile) and the loss of natural greenbelt / landscape for agriculture and ecological balance. Humanity needs to evolve into a more sustainable pattern of existence, and cities need to become denser with more concentrated centers for living,

Cities Infrastructure News

Tallest in Asia: Maharashtra moots Asia’s tallest tower

This article appeared in the Business Standard today. Is it just me or does anyone else think this is a really ridiculous idea? Just building tall for the heck of it makes no sense at all. There is no infrastructure to support such a tower, and getting into the tallest tower race is really doomed. There will always be another one. Funnily the excuse for building this is equally stupid. Arguably, the whole idea of Maharastra was a step down from the State of Bombay that existed before being splintered. People of our parents and grandparents generation could throw a lot more light on this.

The Maharashtra government is marking 50 years of the state by planning 50 ambitious projects, including Asia’s tallest building in the city.

“We have proposed the building as an iconic tower, which would be Asia’s tallest and have invited design and construction bids for it,” a senior official from the urban development department said.

The 531-metre high tower will be built at Wadala in Central Mumbai over 14 hectares of land, the official said, adding that the proposal has been submitted to the government. The tower will have commercial, recreational, academic and entertainment facilities, he said, adding, “the place has been chosen in such a way that it would be a conversion point for the proposed Monorail and Metro rail.”

To mark the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the coastal state, formed in 1960, the Congress-NCP Government is planning several projects. Chief Secretary Johny Joseph has convened a meeting of all departments tomorrow in this regard, the official said.

Original article here.

Architects Events News

A Monograph on the works of Nari Gandhi

We are very happy to inform you about the soon to be published Monograph on one of India’s foremost architects Nari Gandhi.

There is a personal connection here for us at UAI. The author of the monograph is Prof. H, Masud Taj my professor at Rizvi College of Architecture from 1992 to 1997,  and a dear friend.

This monograph is published and designed by Pranav Upasani, a fellow alumni from RCA and a good friend, and Prof. Y D Pitkar, a visiting faculty at RCA in the 90’s and a friend too.


Received via email from Pranav Upasani …

An interesting book is being published on the works of late Architect Nari Gandhi’s works by the Art & Design Book Press at Foundation ForArchitecture.

This is the first-ever monograph of Nari, the talented apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin. I have just visited the foundation’s website at Do visit the website to find out more information about the book. You can also see an online preview of the book in ‘About the book’ section and order your copy from the website.

More about Nari Gandhi

Nari Gandhi (1934-1993) was an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin from 1956 to 1961. He later worked with Architect Warren Weber and studied pottery at the Kent State University before returning to India. Through his early works, he introduced in India, Wright’s desert masonry and the Usonian grid. Nari worked without an office, without drawings, without formal associates, without a timetable, unencumbered by legal and financial constraints, retaining the trust of clients without entertaining their requests. He dispensed architecture that was intoxicatingly rich in materials and craftsmanship. He transformed architecture into a work of art and the client into a patron. [link]

More about the author Prof. H. Masud Taj.

H Masud Taj is an architect-poet-calligrapher ( He was first featured as a poet by Jennifer Kapoor at her Prithvi Theatre Festival (Mumbai 1978). As a post-oral poet, his audiences vary from Officers of the Indian Navy at their Naval Base in Mumbai (architectural site of his War Memorial) to a single Bosnian refugee in Vienna. He is featured both as a contemporary Canadian poet (Atlas 2007) as well as a contemporary Indian poet (Penguin Books India 2008, 2005, 2002, Bloodaxe UK 2008, Wespennest Austria 2006, Fulcrum USA 2005) besides being aired on BBC, AIR and CFMTV Canada. His work has been translated into Arabic, Hebrew and German and interfaced with architecture (Graz Austria), landscape (Toronto Arts Council, Canada), calligraphy (Gallerie Jean concteau, Mumbai) dance (Dave Wilson’s Parahumans Dance Theatre, Toronto) and with paintings (Jehangir Art Gallery and National Centre of Performing Arts, Mumbai).

As an architect he was mentored by Hassan Fathy and as a calligrapher by David Hosbrough. He has held solo-exhibits in the English Italic-hand; his Arabic calligraphic-platonic-solid was shortlisted in Switzerland and his Hindi calligraphic-posters were exhibited in Scandinavia. His calligraphy is in the collection of Edward Said, Moshe Safdie, Arthur Erickson, etc. His favourite certificate remains his Kindergarten report card that graded his writing as “Bad.”  [link]

You can pre-order this book to receive their special discount.

Cities Master Plan News Social Responsibility

Le Corbusier’s legacy lost in last 40 years

Forty years ago, we lost a kind of leadership which inspires creativity. With Le Corbusier’s passing away, a voice which talked of a new vision of the world was taken away from our midst. In the 1950s all architects in India were steeped in patterns of thought that had come to us from our British education and Indian experience. We thought about architecture and planning in terms that had evolved through 150 years of British occupation.

Corbusier through his works in India opened up new possibilities which, we have not yet been able to integrate into our architecture.

This visionary had to fight our conventions of thought. He proposed cities where buildings were lifted off the ground on ‘pilotis’ or pillars and simultaneously terraces became gardens.

Huge vistas of green would have opened up on the ground and regained the lost open space on the terraces again. Concrete, his chosen material would have made this possible.

Architects Architecture Cities Events News Profession Public Realm

Notes from the Emerging Architecture of India Conference in New York City

The Emerging Exchanges: New Architectute of India conference was held last Thursday and Friday at the New School Campus here in NYC. Jointly hosted by the New School, India China Institute, and The Architecture League it brought together a great mix of practitioners from India.

Thursday’s first session was an introduction to the theme. Kazi Ashraf gave an overview of the current state of Indian architecture which was basically paraphrasing his article for the “Made In India” AD Issue of 2007. In showing a lot of proposals for projects he tried to cover ground about the typologies of emergent Indian architecture. However as Rahul Mehrotra pointed out later in the conference, most of them were just proposals and never ever left the drawing board. And sadly this would be a constant criticism of the conference over the next two days. More of that later in the article.

Some of the outstanding presentations were:


Architecture in Recession: India

The economic crisis has architects hurting around the world. This series reports on the global state of design. Here, a look at the "new" India

By Tripti Lahiri



In the past five years, as India’s hunger for glass-encased IT parks and marble-swathed gated communities appeared insatiable, architects designed supersize projects dreamed up by Indian developers. Then the money disappeared. As the global economic crisis has snowballed, the country’s banks have turned skittish.

News Public Realm

The City and Emerging Technologies

The Real Time City by Andrea Vaccari

The way we describe and understand cities is being radically transformed, alongside the tools we use to design them and impact on their physical structure. While architecture has shaped the built environment to satisfy urban dwellers aesthetically and to accommodate their functional needs such as face-to-face interactions and travel, pervasive systems shape electronically mediated interactions in urban space, including use of both fixed and mobile displays and wireless communication (see CityWare).

A major issue is space and its relationship with behavior: how do we design the ambient created by fusing electronically created interaction space with architecturally created physical space? Another major issue is infrastructure: how do we provide interaction and interoperability that scale up to city-level pervasive systems, while ensuring that they function appropriately and merge aesthetically with urban spaces, materials, forms and uses?

Continue reading here.