In India’s transition from a socialist to a neoliberal economy in the second half of the twentieth century responsabilities among the stakeholders in the construction sector have changed significantly and new actors have emerged. Broadly these stakeholders are patrons, consultants (architects, engineers, etc.) and executors (construction contractors, craftsmen and material suppliers).

Building on data collected from contemporary professional journals, this paper analyses the impact of these stakeholders on the architectural quality of everyday buildings in Indian cities. In particular the effects of non-equipotent stakeholders on the typological diversity and tectonic intricacy of urban architecture are revealed. 

The argument is that this is the result of the inability of architects and skilled building craftsmen to establish themselves as influential professionals in the formal construction sector. The paper demonstrates how India’s colonial legacy combined with recent laissez-faire capitalism has contributed to this situation.