In 1957, Kenzo Tange visited Ahmedabad especially to see Corbusier’s buildings accompanied by Professor Yoshikatsu Tsuboi, a structural engineer. During the visit, Tange talked about his collaboration with Tsuboi for his Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. He particularly emphasised as to how that made the final design so much richer. When I arranged for them to meet Kasturbhai, he readily invited Tsuboi to design factory buildings for Arvind Textile Mills owned by his company. I was then working on the design of Premabhai Hall located in the forecourt of the historic Bhadra citadel in Old Ahmedabad. So I also asked Tsuboi if he would design the structure for the Hall and he accepted.

During my stay in Japan for four months, while finalizing the design and structural drawings of Premabhai hall with Prof. Tsuboi, I met almost all the architects who eventually became internationally famous. I also met members of the Metabolism Group which included Fumihiko Maki, Kenzo Tange, Yoshikatsu Tsuboi, Shegeru Aoki, Kionori Kikutake, Sori Yanagi and others. Despite their training with Modernist masters, the Japanese architects very well expressed their unique search, blending the West and the East in their designs. These early designs, even when executed in RCC, recalled their wooden traditions but slowly they developed their very own style.

To me this raised a question as to, what would be the Indian way to seek such architecture. Is that a valid question to begin with? How do we become ourselves? Between 1960 and 1980, I have attended several conferences in Japan, and each time, I have raised this issue with the architects I met. Even today, questions about what is local and what is global about the architectural identity preoccupy me.