Out with the Offline, In with the Online! – Takbir Fatima from DesignAware discusses the advantages of
Out with the Offline, In with the Online! – Takbir Fatima from DesignAware discusses the advantages of
Goa based Architect Tahir Noronha, the current convenor at Charles Correa Fondation (CCF), shares his experience as the studio lead in facing the challenges of fundrasing during the pandemic. A virtual Z-Axis conference, a newsletter, a design competition and new fundraising initiatives are some highlights of CCF’s efforts during the pandemic. Efforts to sustain the fundraising lockdowns helped Tahir and his team of CCF fellows to keep up the urban engagement with the city of Panjim in Goa. Tahir also speaks of how he faced a new tray of responsibilites apart from the original mandate as the pnademic tranformed everyone’s work routines.
Architects Shantanu Poredi and Manisha Agarwal higlighted how the pandemic has reflected their team’s sustained spirits by taking up new areas of work within architecture, while mainstream practice came to an unforeseen hiatus. The lockdown was also an opportunity for the architects to thrive on their potential with pedagogical exploartion, thanks to the growing number of remote teaching methods. The architects further emphasised that the team hung in together by focussing on the studio’s research in the state of Architectural Competitions around the world. Meanwhile, the lockdown was also a phase for emerging architects and graduates to equip new skills which would have otherwise appeared impossible.
Architect Abin Chaudhuri shares how his studio resumed soon after the severe lockdowns with the same vibrancy before the pandemic struck. Besides elaborating on his work processes, Abin asserts how work-from-home is never a good option in our industry. Furthermore, Abin shares some insightful learnings about work and life experienced by the team at Abin Design Studio, during the pandemic.
Principal architects Rahul Gore and Sonal Sancheti from Opolis discuss the ideas which kept their team’s morale up during the lockdown, besides their learnings and experiences about the pandemic phase in 2020. They also share how the kind of project inquiries they recieved underwent changes in trends during the lockdown. With highlights such as occupation with studio research, retention of the core team, returning project inquiries and a relatively stable financial position, Opolis re-emerges out of the lockdown with their regular momentum.
Ashish Ganju talks about the influence of values, symbols, and archetypes in his work: in conversation with Verendra Wakhloo.
Madhav Raman, principal architect at Anagram Architects, holds the experience during the pandemic that the Corona Virus changed people’s belief systems. As he termed it a Gandhian Virus, it places people in a situation where they’re forced to think about other’s safety, for their own too. Madhav also highlights how the wealthy sections of our population, small in size, have opted to bag peri-urban farm lands as their new investment zones for personal built property, and how they sprouted many farmhouse projects in the Delhi market. This was accmpanied by a rethinking of home living ideas, as a result of the pandemic. Anagram Architects have experienced significant influences to their vibrant and physically active studio environment, as bio-safety measures forced remote and slower modes of architecture practice.
Hatch Workshop is a team led by New Zealanders who emerged as designers of housing for migrant labourers in Ahmedabad. The duo of principal architects Hannah Broatch and Mason Rattray couldn’t use opportunities in India to execute new housing for the vulnerable, owing to the travel restrictions during COVID-19. Hatch Workshop’s current focus is on projects in their hometown of Aotearoa and Auckland, hoping to resume soon in India.
A Design Co. is an architecture and interior design practice, focussing on the principle of being a work-in-progress in terms of their studio’s collective growth. The team has handled the tray of challenges from the Pandemic, importantly hindered coordination and adapting to effective remote work methods. This shift in has embedded fresher technological and collaborative work processes in their practice.
Founded in 1987 and led by architects Neeta Das and Shubhrajit Das, the studio is involved in urban conservation and housing, in addition to home design. The studio experienced as challenges the unsuitability of virtual work methods, besides halted projects and monetary disruptions. – Neeta Shubhrajit Das Associates
MYVN is a team of young creatives sensitized to values such as ancient practices, inspiration from nature and solution-based innovation. The team also seeks to apply these values with modern tech applications. The team witnessed the shift of work processes into virtual formats as an important aid during the pandemic’s disruptions. The studio draws the learning that their workforce’s health, on and off the field, is most crucial for the times ahead in their practice.
A team composed of multifaceted creative individuals witnessed an opportunity to rethink their existing process of operating with a variety of work bubbles within a single studio. The team also experienced good sustenance with their different channels of work, their off-studio initiatives, alongside their strong connectivity within the studio team.
The team at Funktion Design experienced the challenges of keeping up the morale of their personnel during fears of the pandemic. The studio had identified ways of enlivening their workspace to maintain the team’s vibrancy and increased the spirit between members. The studio’s relatively fresh experience with cloud working systems has helped them realize the importance of resilient in-studio work processes to pre-empt any future challenges like this pandemic.
Nivasa NGO, possessing a network of advisors, fellow NGOs and funders, collectively witnessed additional strain on their monetary channels to aid their initiatives. The lockdowns, however, helped principal architect Akhila Ramesh to reinvent her journey with the Nivasa NGO team. With a rejuvenated studio structure and efforts to implement dignified living for the urban and rural poor, the team hopes to expand their friend network and funding avenues to aid their cause.
The team at Morphemy architects experienced a complete halt of projects and monetary flow. The team, however, learnt that maintaining agility at work through challenging times is crucial. Additionally, the team was oriented toward responding to the environment’s processes through their design, during the pandemic.
As a young and large bunch of designers, Compartment S4 experienced a distancing of the studio members alongside the halting of projects and monetary flow. The team, however, found the hiatus as an opportunity to equip virtual methods of collaboration with their work, such as co-drawing digitally. Compartment S4 also came up with their exciting new initiative in the form of a Magazine, that is in cohesion with their talk series called “Friday Night Conversations”.
rat[LAB] was founded on the technological strength it possessed. The studio has already been functioning as a team of remotely working associates from different time zones, with cloud computing as one of their practice tools. The pandemic experience has shown the team that technology supports their practice to adapt to the surprises that the world can throw at us. Additionally, savings from previous projects has helped the team stay afloat, in any case of fears that they may have encountered.
banduksmithstudio, a closely-knit team, experienced the hindrances in their internal and on-site coordination as the significant challenges. Moving swiftly into the virtual space to coordinate and continue work as the lockdowns were enforced, aided in levelling up the studio’s flexibility. The studio believes they adapt to any forthcoming challenges too to flexibly stay in collaboration with fellow practitioners.
Architect Suhasini Ayer – Guigan , principal of Auroville Design Consultants, Auroville, shared insights on how the industries associated with Architecture practice were already facing a recessive market. The pandemic, hence, was not a fresh disaster to our practice, and perhaps possessed opportunities for youngsters to improve their interpersonal skills. Architect Suhasini also shares insights on how Indian manufacturing is deeply connected with global production cycles, thereby causing a chain of shutdowns to Indian work. Additionally, she also shares the significance of the shifting thought and behaviour patterns of the general Indian working population toward more efficient practices, from being disorganized and spontaneous.
In Bhuj, a municipality in the Kutch district of western India’s Gujarat, a network of community members, government officials and non-profit development organisations worked together to devise an emergency re-urbanisation plan following the disastrous 2001 earthquake. One particular case study takes us to Sardar Nagar, a rehousing settlement that threatened to become a slum of thousands.
Arya Architects have been actively involved in projects in the public realm. Besides the delay of projects and monetary flow, the studio felt that the absence of site work and shift to digital methods dialled down the usual joy of working together. However, the studio could foresee the lockdown’s impacts, particularly with challenges of high attrition and out of town staff. It helped them realise the importance of creating an institutional set up beyond the physical presence of individuals.
SNK Somaya and Kalappa Consultants, Mumbai, has been practicing over the last 45 years and is witness to the influences that multiple national and global crises can impose to architectural practice. The office, with its conservative discipline and expertise in multiple areas of architecture, has been able to actively work around the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. With an unhampered salary flow to their team and cost cutting measures as highlights, Director-Architect Nandini Somaya Sampat shares some strategies by SNK to face the 2020 crisis.
APLUSR Architects had moulded into a more diversified practice across the Pandemic by including new departments of work and with international candidates being added to the team. The studio expands into different revenue streams for a rejuvenated resumption post the pandemic lulls.
The team at Art and Architecture is focused on the core skills of architecture to keep the design process enlivened and simplified. The team kept themselves inspired and refreshed with enjoyable activities through the lockdown such as photo documentation of their favourite city parts, artwork, documenting personal and studio work and more. The lockdown was an opportunity to explore opportunities for other creative activities.
Aanai Studio’s services are focused on furniture, interior design and architecture, inspired by indigenous craftsmanship, sustainable materials, and design ingenuity for built interiors. The pandemic has provided an opportunity to rethink the studio’s research and development, separate personal and work life, both adding to their work fluency. This gives them time to pursue other personal interests too, much needed in today’s work-from-home scenario.
A fluid team structure that invokes design ideas from all, with a hierarchy only to guide it, was scattered. The team experienced a shift towards minimal ways of life, which now inspires their practice too.
Within the studio at PK Das and Associates, digitized work methods and remote meetings have revealed a better organization of work items thanks to the methodical online framework that the studio developed. Subsequently, fresher routines have evolved from these changes. Contributions to the public realm in Mumbai has been an important facet of the practice for over 25 years, but the curtailing of MPLAD expenditure during the lockdown has stalled this progress too.
DesignAware has been working with tech-based design methodologies since their founding year, thanks to the team’s background in technological awareness related to architectural design. The studio experienced a multiplied impact due to the floods in Hyderabad during the pandemic. The lockdown and the post-flood situation has spurred the team to rethink their practice strengths and equip more resiliency. This direction has also pushed the team to nurture their studio practice itself as a physical entity, in addition to their successful initiatives in educational and socially relevant projects.
Aakruti Architects had witnessed their inherently hands-on approach being hampered by the lockdown, along with the delay of work processes. The studio had planned cost-cutting measures personally and for their studio to ensure an unaffected salary flow amidst the waves of lay-offs and reduced income. Safety and stability of the studio’s team was the top priority for Aakruti.
Shanmugam Associates has been long-sustaining as a mainstream architectural service provider, with a focus on core design methodologies. The team found their contingency plans to lend a helping hand during a stoppage of work and life during the pandemic. The back-up for identifying renewed inspiration for the team and their workflow was given by the contingency plans.
The following critique for the Balaji Temple at Andhra Pradesh, an award-winning project designed by Sameep Padora and Associates, was shared by Praveen Bavadeker. Praveen Bavadekar is Principal at Third Space Studio.
The Balaji temple in Nandyal explores and abstracts the long tradition of the temple typology in India.
The architectural philosopher Andrew Benjamin wrote that every act of design was an act of repetition and that architecture is about exploring what not to repeat. This building too repeats or emulates certain tropes of the Hindu temple so that it is recognisable as a temple yet it doesn’t replicate those tropes but rather breaks them down to constituent parts to then again reconstruct it.
H Masud Taj’s poem and calligraphy, and excerpt from his interview to the Indian Express.
The association of writing and architecture remains unexplored to its full potential. This is attributed to the relatively less awareness that the integration of these two disciplines can yield, which is not to stay oblivious to the fact that the awareness today is hugely more than in the past. Having walked the path of architectural writing, I have invariably felt the responsibility to raise its awareness, train interested minds, and persuade the architectural profession to embrace it. Invigorating discourses are imperative in creative fields, and writing can be a significant contributor towards driving these discourses. – Text : Ar. Apurva Bose Dutta
Kuldip Singh architect – the name immediately conjures up visions of two iconic Delhi buildings designed by him to most people – Palika Kendra on Sansad marg and NCDC office building on Siri fort road – not realizing that he and his work were much more than these two buildings.
Natwar Parekh Compound is a public housing neighborhood in the east of Mumbai inhabiting people from slums across the city. With tightly packed grid of 61 buildings on a 5 hectare plot, the density of Natwar Parekh Colony is around 4500 people/ha (Density of the most populated city in the world, Dhaka, is 550 people/ha). Open spaces make up less than 18% of the site area, none of which are usable for any recreational or community activities, keeping residents limited to their 225 square feet apartments. – Photostory by ‘Bhawna Jaimini and Natasha Sharma’
As a nation we are about to embark on democratic India’s most symbolic project – the re-development of New Delhi’s central vista. The central vista and it’s precinct is approximately three kilometre long and stretches from Rahstrapati Bhawan on the west to India Gate on the east. The redevelopment of this tract of land and other land parcels adjoining it will cost the exchequer upwards of Rs. 20,000 crore and is being undertaken to commemorate 75 years of India’s Independence in 2022. Other objectives of the project include increasing the productivity and efficiency of the government and expanding and improving the quality of public space that falls within its immediate precinct. – Rahoul B. Singh
Peeyush Sekhsaria an Architect by training, interested in the interface of design and bird conservation tells us how following simple principles while installing glass or other reflective surfaces in your homes, you can greatly reduce the chances of bird collisions. Read his article below.
Birds often see the reflection of trees and the sky in glass windows, balconies and fly into them. Studies show that many million bird deaths occur annually in the United States due to such collisions. Although in India many of us have come across such incidents, the scale of this matter is not properly studied or recorded. – Asmita Patwardhan
Architecture is the only subject where per-force, the architect has no choice but to invent. All inventions; by very definition, are fresh knowledge. Yet, there is no standardized method to keep this knowledge open. Instead, all architects work in their own silos. – Sabu Francis
CELEBRATING ARCHITECTURE THROUGH INNOVATION, DIVERSITY, COLLABORATION, & COMMUNICATION, Apurva Bose Dutta in Conversation with Sumita Singha
Prem Chandavarkar’s rejoinder to Bimal Patel’s Webinar on Central Vista Redevelopment, where there are more questions that remain unanswered
Nationalism and Architecture, Raghavendra Kuppusway’s essay on NATION, NATIONALISM AND NATION BUILDING.
An ‘Indian’ Architecture (Pt. 2), Essay by Raghavendra Kuppuswamy
“The idea of one ideal solution in architecture is a misnomer.” Shridhar Rao and Shikha Doogar discuss ARCHITECTURE AND PERFORMANCE, in this Research Paper
Photostory: Tibet, Towards A Roof of The World, by Arghya Ghosh
Prem Chandavarkar responds to Bimal Patel’s Essay in LA Journal Issue 61, on the Central Vista Redevelopment and “Democracy, Participation and Consultation”
The passing away of Pradeep Sachdeva at the age of 62 was untimely. He was at an age when most architects are still maturing. Nevertheless, he left us with a compelling legacy as an innovative and humanistic architect, urban designer, landscape architect and interior designer. He created several iconic projects that have become benchmarks and are testimony to the contributions he has made to Indian architecture and urbanism.
Anisha Shekhar Mukerji shares a personal tribute to Architect and Urbanist, Pradeep Sachdeva, who passed away today morning at Delhi.
Snehanshu Mukherjee, Partner at TEAM, asks, what will be the architecture of or for future? – As architects, we may feel that we have very little say in such matters. My question is, is this true? I have been thinking of these things especially these days amidst the pandemic. To me, the primary question is – what would be the architecture for or of the future?
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