With the attainment of Independence, the idea of a unified and homogenous 'Nation' became an ineluctable reality, and manifested itself in many forms of artistic expression, not the least in the field of architecture. The imperative to modernise, the urgency to 'catch-up', of course, reinforced this idea. The use of the English language too, is complicit in the collusion of a modern artistic expression and the idea of the newly independent Nation-State. Thus, it became common to refer to 'Indian Architecture', and 'Indian Art', and 'Indian Music' and 'Indian Culture', when, in fact, one was referring to an astonishing variety of architecture, art, music and culture within a political entity called India.
We can now see these identity constructions for what they were, and continue to be semiotic packages reflecting aspirations to find continuity with an idealised past and a bridge to an idealised future. The problem with such packaging is not that they reflect aspirations, but that in the process they flatten out and simplify a complex reality of architecture-in-the-making. These idealizations are being contested in several academic disciplines,1 but surprisingly, not in architecture, where in fact, the issue of identity is central to the process of form-making and place-making.
Architects in India innocently traipse through the minefield of cultural representation, oblivious to the contentious issues inherent in the positions they take. When they aspire to achieve 'Indianness' in their works, it is attempted without pausing to consider the ontological significance of the quest; when they reject it, their position still bristles with their indifference to the urgent ideological and philosophical issues of contemporary cultural formations. We can see in this conundrum, how the colonial and colonised mindsets co-exist because what was once the colonial imperative remains unchanged in the ways of thinking contemporary architecture.
In the last fifty years, architects have not considered this conundrum an issue, and have thus failed to develop the colonial legacy into transformative architecture after Independence. There are several historical reasons for this endemic failure but two of immediate significance are, first, the absence of theory in the pedagogy of architectural education, and second, its absence in architectural writing as well.
Architectural education has got bogged down in the agendas that were identified almost a century ago when the first Technical Schools were established in the country. It would not be an exaggeration to claim that these agendas were implicitly defined by the spirit of Thomas Babington Macaulay's (in)famous Minute on Education of 1834,2 and more explicitly, by restricting educational objectives to merely serving vocational ends. The situation is not too different today. Then, as now, the entrant to Schools of Architecture, must demonstrate their aptitude for science and mathematics, reflecting the coloniser's objective to produce local surveyors and civil engineers to assist British architects.3 The support subjects to architectural design are drawn predominantly from the engineering disciplines.4 The teaching of architectural design itself, has perhaps evolved, but it is still only a problem-solving exercise, in which students are offered over-the-shoulder guidance.5 Theory is conspicuous by its absence, and the teaching of History is usually a dry recounting of facts. Thus, contemporary architectural education in India hardly equips the architect to critically mediate the complex issues involved in imparting their creations with an 'Indian' identity.
Outside the Schools, the opportunity to mitigate academic inadequacies does not exist. Professional debate is desultory. Books on architectural issues that could help create awareness among practicing architects, are also unable to redress matters, because, few books are available on the subject, and in any case, their contents are not intended to engage the professional reader in polemic debate. What is of greater concern, however, is the fact that these books are invariably cast in the Orientalist mould.6
In the last fifty years, there have been very few attempts to understand the architectural scene in the country. If one discounts the occasional articles of interest in the popular and professional journals, it is surprising to note that the earliest attempts at comprehensive analysis of the contemporary architecture of India are only from the '80s when two exhibitions on the Architecture of India were organised. These exercises were undertaken not in response to professional demand, but because the Government of India commissioned them as exhibits for the Festivals of India they were organising in France, USSR, and other countries.
The first of the exhibitions was put together in 1985 for the Festival of India in France, and was curated by the Delhi architects, Raj Rewal and Ram Sharma. This exhibition surveyed the variety of historic precedents and models in one section (Raj Rewal), and in another, the diversity of contemporary architectural practices (Ram Sharma and Malay Chatterjee). Tradition and modernity were counterpoised within the over-arching framework of 'Indian Architecture' for consumption by an intended audience in the West: 'the wonder that was', on the one hand, and our Indian brand of modernism, on the other. All this was contrasted against the backdrop of a third section of the exhibition, which was on the works of Le Corbusier in India. In hindsight, one wonders if placing the great Rational architect of the west on the same platform as the architecture of the exotic East did not strike the organizers of the exhibition as somewhat ironic. Then again, how could it' - such polemic issues were never considered while organising the exhibition, and such issues continue to be beyond the ken or concern of architects today.
The second exhibition was for the Festival of India in USSR in 1986, and was largely the work of the architects in Mumbai and was curated by a team lead by Charles Correa. The exhibition was titled, Vistara, and it probed the architectural elements and devices that constituted the 'essence' of the Architecture of India. It too catalogued the diverse works in decadal stages of development under the predictable tripartite categories: Roots/Present/Future.7
Even though these exhibitions were for foreign consumption, they were influential within the profession in India, because for the first time, and in a comprehensive manner, they enabled a wide body of architects to view the grand themes of the architecture of the country. Besides the wholistic perspective, in my opinion, these exhibitions also established the characteristics of 'Indianess': the morphology of Jaisalmer, the North Indian Haveli, low-rise high-density, the interlocking squares of Fatehpur Sikri, in short, the architectural features of the hot/dry region of the country to the exclusion of other equally credible and compelling categories. While issues of tradition and modernity were being mediated in different ways in different parts of the country, their manifestation in the Chandigarh/Delhi/Ahmedabad/Mumbai axis was valorised as being exemplary.
These exhibition projects were, of course, primarily exercises in external public relations, but they served a similar internal purpose as well. Policy-makers in the early '80s were concerned at the negative image of India abroad, in the wake of political militancy, the collapse of the command economy and the incipient intrusion of globalisation in all aspects of national life. Internally too, it was felt that a feel-good exercise focusing on the cultural strengths of the country would invigorate flaccid Nationalist ideals which had been active at the time of Independence. These influential architectural exhibitions, along with their explanatory texts, must therefore, be viewed in the light of the overall objectives of the Festivals. Not surprisingly, one finds that their well-meaning authors were predisposed to identify and present the 'good' face of the Architecture of India. Not that one would have expected them to show the 'bad' face, but their predisposition colluded with the purpose of the Festivals and reinforced the process of external validation precious to the self-esteem of the architects of India. After the exhibitions, critics from outside India had only to walk in to find a receptive audience for appreciative books on 'Indian Architecture'; and many did.
The Exhibitions had mined a rich lode of research material, and biographies on Indian architects and architecture followed these initiatives. It should be noted, however, that foreign authors wrote these books almost exclusively. Except for GHR Tillotson's The Tradition of Indian Architecture,8 - which was in any case not a biography ' none of the new books broke new ground in the understanding of the Architecture of India. Tillotsons's book was an exception because it focussed on a willfully neglected area of architectural development - the colonial period. In doing so, the book challenged several perceptions shared by architects producing 'high architecture', including the one that held the colonial period to be an unfortunate interregnum in the development of architecture in India.9 Tillotson convincingly demonstrated the contemporary relevance of at least two architectural formations, one within the Princely States, and the other the development of British architecture in India. His thesis argued that the methods and devices used to resolve the architectural controversies in both cases were being played out in the development of contemporary Architecture in India. These arguments had little impact on architectural thinking in India because the mindset of the local architects was such that few could see beyond the paradigms identified in the Festival Exhibitions, and some thought that his thesis was even 'fatuous'.10
The foreign authors who were commissioned by publishers to write the biographies were doing so with an eye on the market abroad. They produced attractive monographs on important Indian architects, each stressing their 'Indianess': Sherban Cantacuzino (1984)11 and Hussein-Uddin Khan (1987)12 on Charles Correa; William Curtis (1988)13 on Balkrishna Doshi; Brian Brace Taylor (1992)14 on Raj Rewal; and Stephen White (1993)15 on Joseph Allen Stein. Given the nature of the publications, it is not surprising that these monographs were hagiographic coffee-table books. The book on Stein however, is an exception: it too is hagiographic, but in its passionate advocacy of the architectural ideas of Stein, it is an exemplar in architectural biography. The book was clearly written with an US constituency in mind, but White provides a remarkable analysis of Stein's works in India, shorn of the obligatory hype on 'Indianess' that such biographies were expected to deliver.
The substance of my objection to these books is not that the authors or the intended market were foreign, but that the nature of scholarship they produced was suspect. The foreign authors writing on Indian subjects were in the same conundrum as Indian architects addressing a foreign audience: both colluded in perpetuating the Orientalism project, and failed to come to grips with the complex reality of architecture-in-the-making.
Other than the book by Tillotson, and the monographs, there have been only two other attempts at critical writing on the contemporary Architecture of India which merit serious consideration: I am discounting here books that were merely catalogues, and the Raj inspired nostalgia on Indian urbanism and architectural themes. The first was by Vikram Bhatt and Peter Scriver: After the Masters, Contemporary Indian Architecture.16 It has become an influential 'text' book amongst students largely on account of the paucity of books on the Architecture of India. Critically speaking, however, it did not accomplish anything more than catalogue 52 projects, once again primarily located within the already identified 'architectural belt', and under the rubric of four, by now tired, categories: Roots and Modernity; Alternatives for a Developing India; Architecture and the Market Place; and Emerging Architecture. Also familiar, is the target audience:
'It is our conviction that (the assessment of Indian Architecture) would do much to renew the passion for the act and art of building with which the current Architecture of Europe and North America has lost touch in its present state of complexity and confusion. In more recent buildings of comparable scale and power, technical and economic limitations combine with a clear sense of purpose in the face of real needs to produce an architecture that has managed to elude the malaise and impotence of much current design in the West. It would be a mistake to confine an appraisal of this architecture within an exclusive Third World perspective... Our explanation for the present lies in a more accurate appreciation of both historical and temporal context - global rather than an ethno-centric reality'.17
What is to be noted for reproach in this statement of intent is how explicitly these authors discount 'ethno-centric reality' in the assessment of the Architecture of India: this is the problem of Orientalist historiography. No architect however, paid heed and consequently, no one found this book 'fatuous'.
The second book is a more recent publication, Architecture and Independence, by Jon Lang, Madhavi Desai and Miki Desai (1997).18 Its impact is yet to be assessed, but going by the contents it has all the ingredients for success: depth of coverage, a focus on 'Indian identity' and a reassuring confirmation of conventional expectations about the Architecture of India. Its great value is in the encyclopaedic survey it accomplishes in order to identify the 'general principles' which describe and explain the use of buildings to convey specific meaning and have illustrated them with the diversity of the regional examples. But once again, one notes the two recurrent characteristics of the writings on the Architecture of India - first, the obsession with pan-Indian categories and themes and, second, addressing their text to an external audience. Explaining their method, the authors explain,
'These decisions reflect our desire to present an argument which is intelligible to a broad range of students and scholars across the world rather than to write strictly for an Indian market.'.19 Who, then, will 'write strictly for an Indian market'? And will such a focus make a difference to the way we conceptualise architecture in India?
The problem inherent in the construction of pan-Indian themes of 'Indian Architecture', both past and present, is the elision of the many regional narratives. Attempting to 'write strictly for an Indian market' may avoid this pernicious trap. The 'regional' needs to be critically examined by architects in India, in the manner that it has been examined in other disciplines by scholars in those disciplines. In literature, for example, recent scholarship has conducted thoughtful discussions on nationalist redeployments of the 'Indian past' needing to assert antiquity, authenticity, and an unruptured continuity of 'Indian' culture.20 Such a discussion in the field of architecture may have an equally salutary effect on thinking architecture and the architect's propensity to pursue Orientalist agendas in their works.
Architects who have an opportunity to pontificate (particularly to a foreign audience) almost invariably cast aside the 'ethno-centric reality' and turn to Orientalist categories. This characteristic is my complaint. There is no doubt that a 'deep-structure' unites the diverse forms of ethno-centric artistic expression, but it has not been plumbed by the gratuitous definitions of 'Indian Architecture'. Architects need to view their past and their present as being continuously mediated in diverse ways by the many regional forces of contemporary development.21
Architects and the few critics who have written about the Architecture of India have viewed a select few practitioners from the 'architectural belt' of the country and identified their works as interpreting the zeitgeist, but have felt uncompelled to explain it, and thereby the theoretical principles governing their works. For the architects themselves, perhaps it is not necessary that they explain these principles, but to those who interpret, teach, write and reflect on architecture it is important that they do so. What has been attempted so far is in the nature of information and opinion, leaving the ground open for incisive criticism.
It is not my intent here to merely 'devalue' the few efforts at writing about the contemporary architecture of India, but to point out that there are problems in the manner these writers have gone about trying to define pan-Indian themes. The fact is that there are many narratives of architectural development that have unfolded during the past fifty years. The unifying matrix of 'Indian Architecture' does not do justice to this reality and, in addition, 'precludes the possibility of seeing tradition as constantly in the making, as strenuously contested and redefined by different communities?.22 It also runs the danger of distorting facts, by either investing a regional architecture with characteristics it does not possess or co-opting more interpenetrative cultural formations. Neither culture nor architecture is co-terminus with a national identity: they only share the same political space. Fifty years after Independence, architects in India need to absorb this insight, both in thinking architecture, and in their practice.
Under the circumstance, there is clearly the need to reconsider the prevalent strategy and methodology of architectural theorising from its focus on pan-Indian themes to examining more regional, context-specific architectures of India. It is perhaps from such a process of accumulating diverse empirical data that it would be possible to understand and define the synoptic 'essence' of contemporary architecture that has eluded the critics so far.
Many regional histories need to be examined before meta-narratives can be construed. The Architecture of Delhi is one such history that should be examined; there would be others. Does Delhi constitute a 'region', and if it does, what are its boundaries? At the TVB School of Habitat Studies, New Delhi (TVB/SHS) we attempted to construct the history of the contemporary Architecture of Delhi by focussing our attention within the political boundaries of Delhi, though we are well aware of the significant developments which have taken place within the last decade in the hinterland. We consider this a beginning, and it is the product of the collective efforts of the students and faculty of the School.
The TVB/SHS is a relatively new School of Architecture; it is seven years old. At TVB/SHS we have been teaching Architectural Design as a self-conscious, reflexive exercise. As a deliberate pedagogic strategy, Delhi has been our laboratory and the focus of our academic attention. It was natural, therefore, that we should consider the study of the Architecture of Delhi in the context of history writing.
We have looked at the contemporary Architecture of Delhi, the period following Independence. The roots of this period trace back to the founding of New Delhi in 1912. This was when the actual building boom in Delhi started, and it was also when the production of architecture became a self-conscious exercise. Thus, at the TVB/SHS, we decided that, 85 years after the founding of New Delhi by the British Colonial government, 50 years after the attainment of Independence from British colonial rule, and seven years after we started this School (without any assistance or resistance from the British Government), it was appropriate to critically examine current state of architectural well-being of contemporary Delhi, our laboratory, and examine several propositions which arise when we begin the process of disaggregating the constituent elements of the 'Indian Architecture' we have all been talking about so far.
The reflections accompanying the fiftieth anniversary celebration of India's Independence was another catalyst that triggered this exercise. The period 1947-97 selected for this study, is under the circumstance arbitrary, but retained with a view that we expect to extend the temporal boundaries of our research and examine the 'past' in due course. This paper is an adumbrated view of the project at present and our 'thinking' at this point in time, but it remains a personal perspective, addressing issues raised in the exercise conducted by the School but also some arising out of it. Also to be stated explicitly is the theoretical position from which I am presenting this Exhibition.
First, as the author of this text, I do not claim that all my colleagues who worked on the Exhibition support the position I am expressing. The Exhibition is a collective effort, and though I often switch to the collective 'we' in the body of this text, the fact remains that the views are personal.
Second, it is possible that some who read this text may point out that this text too, is suffused with the same Orientalist perspective as the texts I have criticized. This is inevitable under the circumstance. I have been educated in the English medium on texts produced in that language and tradition. Many, who theorise on the Architecture of India, I am sure, have a similar background. I have had transformative experiences studying at universities abroad. One's perspective is inevitably coloured by the discourses one encountered there, and the methods employed to construct those discourses. Again, several professionals practicing and teaching in India have had similar experiences. These facts situate people like me in the Orientalist mould.
However, I have also experienced transformative processes working in India, first, as part of the collective GREHA, and second, working on urban conservation projects for INTACH. These experiences were important to mitigate, and even cast off the Orientalist moorings. I have no alternative but to work from such positions of complicity and resistance. The complicity was involuntary, but resistance is necessary to redeem for my self, respectable cultural space. This Exhibition and text attempts at defining that position, and continue the process of sifting through the complex legacy of Orientalism.
As an architectural critic, I am therefore, inclined to look for evidences of transformative processes in the architecture-in-the-making. I look for interpretive mimesis where the architect transforms memory, history and tradition into a new reality. To that end, in Vittorio Gregotti's words,
'...architecture must give itself rules capable of cultivating and disseminating the profession's tradition, of dealing with the new problems and territories of the project as a discipline, and also of assuming the moral and civic responsibilities implied in the act of building.?23
The Exhibition therefore, looks at the architecture-in-the-making both as a process of civic development and also a reflexive dialogue manifested in the works of individual architects.
As Frampton has pointed out: this 'layered approach encourages one to discriminate between a whole range of interconnected polarities, to wit pluralism versus populism, monumentality versus monumentalism, technique versus technology, ornament versus decoration, manner versus caricature, consistency versus homogenization and last but not least, where it comes to legitimizing theoretical positions, between the description of a confusion and a confused description'.24
I offer this elaborate background to the study of the Architecture of Delhi to emphasise the need to make explicit who writes history and why. One hopes that in this manner we can confront the overpowering influences of Orientalism that has suffused the thinking of Architecture so far.
The Architecture of Delhi
Delhi is an ancient city.25 It is a city of ancient monuments and traditional settlements that coexist within a modern metropolis. This history is not manifest as a continuous narrative, but appears as discrete elements in the urban-scape. Its ancient monuments have not had a significant impact on the local architectural imagination. The architects in Delhi refer to Jaisalmer and Fatehpur Sikri26 more often than the local monuments of the Khiljis, the Tughlaks, the Lodis or the Mughals. And pace Tillotson, the events of the past 85 years of Delhi's history appear more relevant to a majority of local architects than the architecture of the preceding centuries, though this fact is seldom acknowledged by those who write history. This is the reality of the 'tradition' of the Architecture of Delhi: its memory is not more than 85 years old.
Even at the time of Independence the debate amongst architects was on whether Revivalist ideals or the emerging ideas of European Modernism was appropriate for a newly independent nation. This dialogue was being carried out primarily in Government offices and resulted in two styles of architecture being built in Delhi.27
Two buildings of this era typify this dialogue and are the Ashok Hotel (1952) and the Headquarters of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) (1953). The Ashok Hotel represented the Revivalist position, where architects sought motifs from the past to embellish buildings being built with contemporary materials, technology and addressing contemporary functional requirements. The architect of the CSIR building, on the other hand, followed the tenets of the International Style which meant that he viewed architecture as volumetric composition, where structure was the ordering principle, and no applied decoration were used to identify the character of the building.
The architectural ideology of buildings like the Ashok Hotel can be traced to the teachings of Claude Batley at the JJ School of Architecture in Mumbai.28 Most of the senior architects working for the Government in Delhi at that time were products of Batley's tutoring, because the JJ School was the only major educational institute in the country. In fact, it has been pointed out, that until the old guard from the JJ School retired, and were replaced by younger architects trained at other Schools, the Revivalist ideology of the Government did not change.
The Revivalist ideology however, had a wider constituency than the architects. The use of the 'Ashok Hotel style' in Government buildings had broad appeal amongst the intelligentsia, and was supported by the engineers, the senior bureaucrats (the 'brown sahibs') and the politicians (the 'nationalists') who administered the design and construction of those buildings, and by virtue of their hierarchic superiority could ensure that the buildings reflected their tastes. Thus, even if Government architects had other ideas, they could do little under the circumstance, because they were, as they continues to be, low-level functionaries, who usually went along with their superior's views, and thus became a willing accomplice in the implementation of the Revivalist style. Naturally, khichri resulted, and this is how one would describe the numerous Krishi Bhavans and Vigyan Bhavans built by the Government architects of that time.
Buildings that resisted this menu had enlightened patrons, who recognised the limitations of an amalgamated style of architecture and were willing to give modernism a try. A P Kanvinde, who was also a Government architect, working for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), credits its head, Dr Shanti Swaroop Bhatnager, for reposing faith in his 'new' ideas for the design of the Headquarters of CSIR (1953). Architects like A P Kanvinde were among the first generation of architects to study in foreign universities and they returned with the missionary zeal of those who had seen the 'future', and saw that it worked; they were convinced that the 'modern architecture' would work for India as well.
Much was read into the 'modern' style of architecture and A.P. Kanvinde reflects these meanings in a speech in 1959, at a seminar on the need for a 'National Architectural style?:
'Our problems concerning architecture have changed entirely from the past age because of our changing cultural outlook, namely the political institutions, scientific and technological development, our knowledge about human sciences, and our new ideas of aesthetics which developed as a result of the visual arts. Almost all past periods of architecture came into being as a result of desire for glorification, as an expression of the vanity of the ruling class and the dominant religious sentiments. Thus the architecture of the past was essentially feudalistic in approach. Contrary to this, the present political institutions are democratic in their approach where the stress is on the economic and social values related to the common man?.29
The response to the call for a more 'democratic approach' was the application of the tenets of modernism. The mood amongst architects like Kanvinde, was that they could 'invent the future', reminding one of a similar mood amongst the early modernists in Europe after the First World War. And as in Europe, this mood evaporated within a few years to be replaced by pragmatic and utilitarian task of Nation-building. The imperatives of building in an environment of severe resource constraints were overwhelming and in time, these imperatives determined the production of architecture.
Kanvinde left Government service to establish his private practice in 1955. Soon other architects like J K Choudhary, who worked on the building of Chandigarh, also set up practices in Delhi. Private sector architects began making their presence felt, and though the Government continued to be a dominant force in the architecture scene in Delhi, it was the private sector that began to determine the terms of the dialogue.
The buildings designed by the architects from the Chandigarh stable naturally displayed the distinctive bloodlines of their Corbusian pedigree. Their works were distinguishable from the works of modernists like Kanvinde and Rehman who had introduced modernism into the Delhi architectural scene in the '50s. Some of the distinguishing characteristics of the Chandigarh returnees can be seen in Choudhary's design for the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi (1961) and Rajinder Kumar's design for the Inter State Bus Terminal at Kashmeri Gate: the influence of Le Corbusier is visually obvious. For residential buildings at the Indian Institute of Technology, however, Choudhary relied on the interplay of exposed brick, exposed concrete and plain plaster developed by Pierre Jeanneret, and this became a model adopted by many architects of Delhi for both residential and non-residential buildings.
The architects who set up practice after their Chandigarh experience generally modified the lessons they learnt there to suit their 'creative' predilections. However, Shiv Nath Prasad, another Le Corbusier acolyte, seemingly transliterated the works of Le Corbusier in his architecture. Prasad initially worked in Delhi for the Government, and stories abound on the uncompromising stands he took on architectural matters, in striking contrast to the subservient attitude of his colleagues. These qualities are transparently exhibited in the projects he undertook after he left Government service, such as the Akbar Hotel (1965-69) (now converted into the offices of the Ministry of External Affairs, and renamed Akbar Bhavan) and the Shri Ram Centre (1966-69). These buildings are exemplary for several reasons, but most particularly on account of the reflexive manner in which he utilised Le Corbusier's vocabulary to serve his ends. The production of these buildings demonstrates the intense commitment to architectural principles required of an architect to produce compelling architecture.
Prasad's intelligent approach to design is also apparent in the neighbourhood plan he made for West End Colony where he absorbed the area that would typically be set aside for the service lanes into the open space network. Each house at West End therefore, has a better relationship with the open spaces than in colonies with separate service lanes and arbitrarily defined open areas for parks. Prasad's disciplined architecture is almost unique, partly because he left to teach in the United States and partly because few had the self-confidence to transparently utilise the Master's vocabulary in service of their own architectural programme. He is sighted occasionally in local architectural Schools where he continues to terroize the hapless students with his uncompromising commitment to good architecture.
Examples of the application modernism in the manner accomplished by Prasad must be distinguished from mere derivative architecture. Much of the Architecture of Delhi is derivative. Derivative modernism soon becomes a formula, because it lacks the elan vitale of a transformative process. Prasad was able to transform Le Corbusier's architecture in the finest traditions of classical form-making.
What is identifiable as modern architecture in Delhi can best be described as utilitarian modernism : genealogically rooted to the International Style, but constrained by the limited repertoire of the available building technology and an equally limited budget. These twin constrains continue to bedevil the architecture of Delhi, because, following colonial imperatives, construction costs are treated as they are reflected in the budget as 'capital expenditure', to be pared to the minimum, and not recognized as the generators of economic activity, with a diverse multiplier effect on the economy as a whole. Consequently the Government and private clients, are reluctant to spend money on building, and when they have to, lowering the cost is more important than the quality to be achieved. This is generally accomplished by compromising on space standards or reducing building specifications. This, of course, has a deleterious effect on architecture. Few architects have shown concern for this larger picture within which they operate. Seen in this light, the 'failure' of the reform-minded architects after Independence is more significant that their 'achievements' because they failed to consider as an agenda, the critical issue of how to build and why to build.
The technology of building construction remains a woefully neglected area of concern to most of the architects of Delhi and only a few have devoted their professional practice to this aspect of architecture. Neglect has resulted in poor quality of work, which in turn has resulted in the development of the facade-cladding industry. Over the years, the Architecture of Delhi has been characterised by changes in the use of various forms of stone for cladding the facade. The variety of stones, slates and marbles, in slabs, tiles and 'butch-work', are basically hiding bad workmanship. The works of Walter George and Joseph Allen Stein are however, remarkable exceptions to this trend, because they have focussed their attention on the quality of construction in the buildings they designed.
Walter George came to India in 1915 to work with Herbert Baker and Edwin Lutyens, but stayed on as an active practitioner after Independence. His works like St Thomas' Church (1929) and St Stephen's College (1938) were built before Independence, but the Tuberculosis Association Building (1950-52) comes within the scope of this survey. The bold expression of the buildings adjustable, lightweight horizontal louvers in the facade of this building is an example of his concern for building well and using innovative technology to transform the 'looks' of the building. Few have tried to follow his footsteps.
Joseph Allen Stein who came to India in 1952 to head a college in Calcutta, also stayed on, and established a well regarded professional practice in Delhi in 1955. In his works, Stein has clearly demonstrated the importance of building technology in shaping architecture, and his concern for the craft of building is also self-evident in the manner his buildings have stood the test of time. The India International Centre (1959-62), the American International School (1962-70), the Ford Foundation Building (1968), Triveni Kala Sangham (1957), the UNICEF building (1981), the numerous industrial buildings for Escorts Ltd. over the years (1960- ), and most recently in the Hall of Technology (1988) at Pragati Maidan, Stein has convincingly brought out the virtues of paying attention to the physicality of the construction process and the need to develop a passionate concern for good detailing. Again, our survey finds, that these ideals have been rarely pursued with such consummate consistency by other architects in Delhi.
Utilitarian modernism got established by the '60s. T.J. Manikam's School of Planning and Architecture building is not only a good representation of this genre of architecture, but would no doubt have influenced several generations of students who were educated there as well. Other representative examples from this period are the buildings of Master, Sathe and Bhuta (later Kothari) like the campus of the National Physical laboratory at Pusa Road, Fiazuddin's ISI building and the buildings along Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg and Asaf Ali Road which were built in the late '50s and '60s. It would not be correct to give an impression that all buildings of this period were of this genre. Kanvinde and Rehman who were operating under the same constraints that resulted in utilitarian modernism, were nevertheless designing buildings of character and quality. Rehman's Rabinder Bhavan and Kanvinde's CBCI building at Gol Dakhana stand out as exceptions to the trend of reducing architecture to the repetitive use of the lowest common denominator.
During this period, to relieve the drabness of utilitarian modernism, buildings displayed murals on their facades. M F Hussein and Satish Gujral were important artists who got commissions for doing murals on Government Buildings. But the application of art to architecture was no less superficial than the strategy employed by the Revivalists, and this practice was soon abandoned. In fact, in an unusual instance, a mural by M F Hussein was applied to the facade of Kanvinde's CBRI Headquarters building. Apparently, it turned out to be so incongruous that it was removed. The Government tried to promote art by insisting on allocating funds for 'art works'. Architects in Delhi have seldom made much of this requirement.
The virtues of utilitarian modernism were its concern for climatic factors (the budgets for most of these buildings could not afford expensive mechanical services), functional efficiency and aesthetic restraint. The over-arching objective in the production of architecture in this genre was function and economy, and these objectives achieved the ideological equivalence of those who defended the virtues of the ubiquitous Ambassador car. This approach to architecture was also the operative mantra in architectural Schools of the period. The command economy allowed few extravagances in the construction of buildings, and the need to cut cost became an important, if not exclusive priority in the design of buildings. Its effect on the residential architecture of the period was particularly severe. Wherever one comes across exceptions, they were reaction to this regimen of austerity, and the results were invariably outlandish. One is lead to wonder why these constraints were not made the basis of more compelling architecture.
The housing development of this period were characterised by flat roofs, external surfaces finished in plain plaster with cement or lime wash, with functional sun shades providing the only relief to an otherwise bland facade. People still slept on terraces, and the norm of the '2 1/2' storeyed residential building became a common volumetric model: one floor for personal occupancy, one for rental, and the '1/2' referring to the barsati for open-to-sky living. In certain up-market residential colonies of the period like Sunder Nagar, one notices the lingering influence of art-deco features. The independent bungalow, the semi-detached house and the row-house were the common housing models, and except for the size of the dwelling, most residential buildings used similar architectonic features. The exceptions were the bungalows for the elite.
The architectural ideals of the elite were realized by the German emigre, K M Heinz. Heinz's productions of ersatz pallazzos, with pastry icing-like decorations, pompous ducal crests, baroque mouldings, curlicued metal railings, improbable Corinthian capitals and other incongruous European architectural elements obviously satisfied his elite clientele who craved for things 'foreign' in these austere times. The ascetic ideals of Nehruvian Socialism inadvertently provided an aura to 'foreigness' in architectural design, and many Indian imitators followed Heinz's architectural footsteps and enjoyed great success because they tapped the fantasy of the Delhi client. One notices in these fantasies and craving for foreign imageary, the incipient desire even amongst the middle-class house-owners builders of Delhi for the flamboyant architectonic gestures. These proclivities soon developed into the exuberant, if comic, characteristic of Delhi's residential architecture in the '80s and the '90s, which has been vividly captured in the writings of the Delhi architect, Gautam Bhatia.30
Two other developments in residential architecture are noticeable starting from the '70s. One is seen in the signature designs of Surender Sareen, whose works highlight the desire amongst the house-owners of Delhi for the unique in residential architecture. This is not the 'Punjabi baroque' described by Bhatia, but an eclectic mix of idiosyncratic features which made the design by a particular architect recognizable and therefore, desirable in the eyes of the owner. Architects have always indulged in this practice, but Sareen was particularly successful and sought after.
The other development really took off from the '80s, and can generically be referred to as 'developer housing'. With the dramatic rise in land values in the city, it became economically attractive to redevelop the individual bungalows, often built barely 20 years earlier, into apartment blocks, pushing to the limits (and usually, beyond the limits) the permissible building regulations. The nexus of the builder-property developer and the complicit municipal authority became a fact of life in Delhi. Residential neighbourhoods got congested adversely affecting the quality of life. This motivated citizens to take matters to Court, and the pronouncements of Justice Kuldip Singh of the Delhi High Court during the '90s on these Public Interest Litigations is indicative of the depth of the malaise that has begun to afflict production of the architecture in Delhi. On the insistence of the Court Committees were formed to examine the problem and simplify the complex building bye-laws of Delhi. Nothing has come out of these deliberations, and in the meantime, Justice Kuldip Singh has retired from the bench, leaving matters very much status quo ante.
K M Heinz was also a friend of Zakir Hussein who commissioned him to design the Jamia University campus where he built, unlike his houses for the rich, reasonably dignified academic buildings. He also designed the Holy Family Hospital in line with the prevailing ideology of utilitarian modernism. Heinz, like many architects practicing in Delhi, reflected the desires of the client in their architecture and had little of their own to express.
During this period, that is, the '50s and '60s, the Government undertook massive developments projects in the city through the Rehabilitation Ministry and the Improvement Trust. Their works had to be undertaken on war-footing and required dynamic leadership. Ministers like Ved Chand Khanna were key figures during this phase of the city's development, and he was, in his style of working, the model for the authoritarian builder-administrators like the NDMC Commissioner Chhabra and DDA's Vice Chairman Jagmohan. The development of Delhi well into the '80s is characterised by the 'contributions' made by these authoritarian administrators, who went about under-mining due process and the value of the Master Plan. While identifying this proclivity for building by fiat as being characteristic of Delhi, one must however, point out that Khanna had urgent building works to accomplish due to the massive influx of refugees to the city following Partition, and was not going about demolishing buildings as his successors did in order to beautify Delhi. Khanna established many residential colonies like Lajpat Nagar and Rajinder Nagar to house refuges. These colonies have evolved beyond initial expectations, and several studies conducted at SPA and TVB/SHS have identified the need for incremental housing growth as an important strategy in housing design for Delhi.
Khanna relied on an enthusiastic group of young architects working for the Government, who in the process, learnt by doing. There was no Master Plan or precedents to follow in those days, and one can see how, in this process of on-the-spot decision-making, two important characteristics of Delhi's development got institutionalised: the power of the politician to mediate building activity, and, the complicity of the architect in this process which lead to undervaluing their profession responsibility and worth. The imperative that got established as a mindset was that only immediate action worked, not systematic planning; consequently, designs had necessarily to be simple for quick implementation in the field and not the product of contemplation and reflexive thinking; and finally, secrecy was the best antidote to delays on account of public criticism or resistance. Much of the Government produced architecture and urban planning of the '50s and '60s can be rationalised on the basis of this pernicious mindset. Unfortunately an imperative understandable in the '50s and perhaps the '60s became, in due course, the routine practice. As far as the Government's development programme is concerned, matters have hardly improved. It is now apparent by studying Delhi's experience, that transparency in governance is an urgent need if we are to improve the living conditions in our cities.
Nevertheless there were many good architects who worked for the Government who came into prominence in the '60s. For one, the Batley crowd had retired, and for another, these architects retained the idealism of the post-Independence modernists. Shiv Nath Prasad, B G Fernandes, M M Rana, J M Benjamin and many others produced buildings as competent as any produced by the private sector architects. After all, they were from the same stock, and it was only the attraction of a safe Government job in an uncertain economic environment that determined who chose to become a Government architect.
One possible reason why some Government architects of this period were able to achieve stature against the odds of working within the PWD culture was perhaps the fact that they were recruited at senior levels; today the architect working for the Government rise slowly, and even routinely, in seniority, and more often than not, by the time they are able to exert their initiative, their architectural idealism has been wrung out of them. How else can one explain the remarkable difference in the work of the Government architects then and now?
In the '60s a curious reversal of architectural ideals became noticeable in the Architecture of Delhi. Whereas in the years following Independence, it was the Government architect who advocated the appropriateness of using the past as a model for form-making, and it was the few private architects who tentatively hoisted the flag of modernism, in the '60s the situation reversed. While the Government architects became firmly aligned to the ideals of modernism (Rana, Benjamin et al), it was the private architect who responded to the world-wide movement against the International Style and developed the imperatives of what Frampton calls Regional Modernism. The tenets of the International Style had been questioned even as it was taking root in the '30s, but the decisive break occurred in the '60s and was forcefully articulated by Robert Venturi in his classic book, Complexity and Contradiction in Modern Architecture which was published in 1966.31 What the Armour show did for Modern Art in the US in 1912, was accomplished by Venturi in Architecture in 1966.
The reverberations of these changes were inevitably felt in India, carried over by young architects who returned after studying abroad. Several of them established their practice in Delhi in the '60s, and through their works redefined modernism using for reference, the local physical context,32 even as 'classical' modernism was beginning take hold in the works of the Government architects.
Amongst this group of foreign educated returnees were Raj Rewal, Ranjit Sabikhi, Ajoy Choudhari and Ram Sharma. All of them taught for various lengths of time at the School of Planning and Architecture, influencing a subsequent generation of architects. In this process they helped reinforce the primacy of this institution in the field of education and created a cadre of architects with the 'Delhi' stamp. Through their architectural projects they explored the deep structure of the 'Indian identity' which Rewal and Sharma subsequently helped define by curating the Festival Exhibition in 1985.
In hindsight it is clear that the deep structure they attempted to adduce in explaining their works was almost exclusively limited to pointing out the almost literal correspondence with the figure-ground morphological pattern of traditional settlements particular to the hot-dry regions of north India. This approach did appear more compelling as an intellectual idea than the earlier attempts at Revivalism, and, indeed, these projects attracted both national and international attention.33 The low-rise high-density housing developments of several Delhi architects including the YMCA Staff Housing (1963) and Yamuna Apartments by the Design Group (Ranjit Sabikhi and Ajoy Choudahri), Usha Niketan and Saket Housing (1973) by Kuldip Singh and Raj Rewal, Asiad Village (1982) by Raj rewal, Press Enclave by M N Ashish Ganju and several commendable projects by DDA, have become the preferred typological model for housing development in Delhi. In architectural terms, however, the buildings were similar to others being built at that time, and except in rare instances like the later works of Raj Rewal, they failed to be truly transformative. Was this because of the obvious affinity between their architectural vocabulary and the western architectural ideals? The affinity to the western architectural ideals is seen in the expression of the structural grid and the interplay of volumetric elements to achieve the aesthetic objectives of architectural composition. Or was it because of the use of indigenous spatial precedents but not indigenous architectural themes? As Frampton, Bhatt and Scriver, et al, have already observed, this architecture was a panacea for malaise afflicting the architecture of Europe and the US, but what we must confront in our context through a less-laudatory analysis of their works is the difficult question of whether they were able to truly accomplish their stated objectives have in Delhi.
The interest in structural expressions took an independent turn, and developed into full blown Structuralism evident in several buildings of the '70s and '80s. In these buildings the pivotal role of structural engineers like Mahendra Raj in the development of the architectural programme became evident. Starting with the Delhi Cloth Mills factory (1970) by Kanvinde and Rai and the Permanent Exhibition Complex at Pragati Maidan (1972) by Raj Rewal, the offices of the National Cooperative Development Corporation (1980) and the NDMC Civic Centre (1983) by Kuldip Singh the State Trading Corporation (1990) by Raj Rewal the Baha'i Temple (1986) designed by Fariburz Sahba, the Structuralist idiom has produced several memorable buildings in Delhi, which have become visual icons and contributed to the development of both, architectural expression and building technology. There are several civil contractors in Delhi who are able to produce excellent concrete work because of the experience they gained building the structuralist projects. Unfortunately, this experience has not percolated deeper into professional practice and raised the general level of building technology.
The development of alternate construction technology and low-cost building materials has however, had a greater impact on the Architecture of Delhi than the work of the structuralists. The construction of the Development Alternatives headquarters buildings brought together several young architects who have continued their commitment to this genre of architecture and widened its influence in the production of architecture in Delhi. The decisive role of HUDCO in promoting these developments under the leadership of S K Sharma in the '80s must be recognized. HUDCO patronised cost-effective architecture and set up a country-wide network of Building Centres to research and propagate appropriate intermediate technology and these initiatives have had a significant impact on the development of architecture. Anil Laul, Revathi and Vasant Kamath, Neeraj Manchanda and Suresh V Rajan are among the many architects in Delhi who have devoted their professional careers to this genre of architecture. Anil Laul and Vasant Kamath have taught at the School of Planning and Architecture, and Neeraj Manchanda and Suresh V Rajan are teaching at the TVB/SHS. An increasing number of students are being attracted to their brand of 'Indian' architecture.
The works of Anil Laul in the area of slum rehabilitation and development of new construction technologies have a compelling force. Few architects address the monumental problem of housing the poor with as much creative energy and dedication. The stark reality of the future architectural scenario of Delhi is that it will soon have a predominantly poor population, and the character of the future Architecture of Delhi will be largely determined by how architects address the problems of the poor, not the elite. Anil Laul and a growing band of younger architects are directing their professional practice in this direction. The work of the Laurie Baker Building Centre in Delhi has also contributed to the development and dissemination of alternate modes of architectural production. Their own building at R K Puram has became an iconic landmark because of its obvious visual appeal. Many buildings in Delhi emulate its aesthetic character.
There were other major forces, unique to Delhi, which have determined the nature of its architecture in the '60s, '70s and well into the '80s. The three powerful forces which can be identified in this context are, first, the implementation of the Master Plan; second, the huge commissions which were awarded for the implementation of both the Master Plan projects and two ad hoc mega-events: the Asia 72 Exhibition and the projects commissioned for the Asian Games of 1982; and, third, the practice of conducting architectural competitions to select architects for (some) major projects. A fourth force, whose influence is more difficult to assess in explicit terms, may also be mentioned in passing, and that is the role of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC), in controlling the architectural character of Delhi.
The Master Plan of Delhi made it possible for architects to work on a scale not witnessed in any other city in India. The Plan envisioned two sub-City Centres, 27 district Centres and several Community Centres, Neighbourhood and Local Shopping Centres. Besides these massive commercial developments, vast tracts of lands have also been made available for residential development, largely for Group Housing Schemes, parks, and industrial development. The Plan has also ensured a balanced distribution of Parks and Sports Complexes which have incorporated the hundreds of historic monuments of Delhi in their layout. More than its architectural character, Delhi is often recognized for its distinctive open spaces, and road-side plantation. The legacy of Lutyens has been further developed by DDA through its landscape projects.
All these massive architectural works were not undertaken by DDA themselves. In an enlightened manner, the DDA has commissioned private practitioners to undertake the major projects paying standard fees for professional services. This practices is so rare in Government commissioned projects, that it is remarkable, and has had a positive effect in the development of architecture in Delhi. The volume of work involved in these projects have enabled architects to explore several architectural themes and ideas.
In an analysis of the major characteristics of commercial projects commissioned or built by DDA, two recurring problems stand out which have defied the architectural imagination of the contemporary architect: the architectural controls proposed by architects are at variance with the manner in which they are put to use by the public, and second, the significant urban spaces have been designed with little understanding of the socio-cultural ethos of Indian urbanism. These projects deal with the imperatives of urban design and have generally addressed architectural and urban issues in the manner they have been addressed in Europe. Such methods and devices have become an 'universal' vocabulary for urban design, though they were developed during the post-Second World war reconstruction of European towns. To use them as 'universal' principles in the Indian context does not reflect an understanding of the local ground realities. Thus, inspite of the massive opportunity that was made available in DDA projects, the great failure of architecture and urban design in Delhi has been the inability to develop appropriate indigenous models.
There are two options being explored to tackle the problems which may offer clues to the directions we need to take in future. In one, Kuldip Singh, for his proposal for the District Centre at Saket, has suggested a mandatory management strategy alongwith his design proposal to control and direct project development in accordance with the intent of the design. This would ensure that the user cannot 'misuse' the building by disregarding the design controls. In the second, in a scheme I am working on for the Community Centre at Narela, I have applied lessons learnt from the study of historic towns, and proposed a more organic, market-directed development strategy, that, while it adheres to the imperatives of planned development would still accommodate the variety of architectural options required to satisfy the end user.
The commissions which were awarded for the construction of the two mega-events held in Delhi generated significant architectural projects, of course, - about which much has already been written - but, in my opinion, they had a greater impact on the evolution of the architectural imaginations. The fall-out from these events is difficult to pin down, but in general, in the minds of the architects, a feeling of confidence was generated. Witnessing the execution of these projects, other architects realised that the extraordinary could be accomplished, if the architect made it their objective. The negative attitude engendered by utilitarian modernism of the '50s and '60s began to recede. There were few limits to curb architectural intent. Architects of Delhi began to display greater confidence in developing innovative architectural themes. But here again, one notices the liet motif in the development of the Architecture of Delhi: this serendipituous opportunity did not lead to the development of transformative architecture, but only greater confidence in attempting derivative themes and practices. The ponderous seriousness of utilitarian modernism dissolved in the liminal conditions surrounding the execution of projects for the mega-events: anything could be attempted, anything could be accomplished. This is an impression I carry examining the projects of this period, and it is difficult to trace the explicit causal relationship between the mega-events and the new confidence in the profession. All I can point out as evidence is the variety of architectural expression in the '70s and '80s, which I believe, to be to a large extent attributable to this new found confidence.
The third force that can be identified as having an impact on architecture are the many architectural competitions which were held in Delhi. These competitions often introduced new blood into the architectural mainstream. To the winner of course, went the spoils, in terms of important commissions, but even those who participated, or viewed the exhibition of entries to the competition at the end of the exercise, also benefited enormously in the process. These exhibitions mitigated the absence of dialogue in journals and books, and contributed to the cross-fertilization of architectural ideas. Again it is difficult to trace a direct causal relationship between the architectural competitions and the nature of the architecture that followed, but it appears to be almost axiomatic to assume that there was such a relationship.
The competition for the NDMC City Centre and the R K Puram District Centre were both won by the firm of Raj Rewal and Kuldip Singh in 1965. Their proposals were in contrast to the ideology of utilitarian modernism prevalent at that time. It opened up possibilities. DDA's own design for the Nehru Place District Centre (1970), started by Dharam Malik and completed by Rattan Singh was free to explore principles of Civic Design I have commented on earlier. The Chanakyapuri commercial complex also came up at this time. These proposals were different, but not necessarily better than the unpretentions examples of utilitarian modernism tried out in several neighbourhood level shopping centres.
Competitions for large campuses for Jawaharlal Nehru University (CP Kukreja) and the Indira Gandhi National Open University (Sharat Das) opened up the competitive spirit in the development of architectural design and enriched the city with the works of diverse talents. Even the international competition for the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts won by the American architect Ralph Lerner was an important event because while recognizing the compelling spatial resolution of the scheme, local architects cringed at the blatantly Orientalist fantasy that it represented as an architectural statement. It was an anachronistic Rivalist exercise and obviously no subsequent project has emulated this caricature of 'Indian architecture'.
The architecture of Delhi is strongly characterised by the strong presence of public housing. The low-rise high density design option for middle and high-income residential units has been extensively applied in Delhi both in Government and private projects. At the School of Planning and Architecture and the TVB/SHS the potentials of this model has been inculcated in a future generation of architects as an appropriate typology for meeting the housing needs of the city. Snehanshu Mukherjee at the TVB/SHS has been conducting design studio exercises to demonstrate the variations possible within the existing design parameters for middle and high-income housing which could yield more satisfying results than the present, by now stereotyped, typological models. As in the case of architectural competitions, these academic exercises are also contributing to the development of architectural debate, and bringing to the foreground, the role of educational institution in the development of critical architecture.
In the field of low-income housing, there have been several competitions conducted by DDA and HUDCO. In the '70s the competitions for the Dilshad Gardens LIG Housing scheme (Ram Sharma) and the Kalkaji LIG Housing Scheme (M N Ashish Ganju) had great influence on subsequent developments in the field. Ganju went on to develop the idea of inter-locking units as the generative principle of design in a convincing manner in the design of the Press Enclave housing scheme at Saket. Again the Schools in Delhi have conducted extensive research in the area of low-income housing which has conferred a critical edge to its development in Delhi. Anil Laul at the School of Planning and Architecture and Neeraj Manchanda at TVB/SHS have trained several generations of architects in this neglected area of architectural practice. Manchanda is now conducting exercises with students on participatory design development strategies which extends the role of architects beyond the present boundaries of physical architectural design solutions for housing the poor.
The impact of the fourth factor in the development of the Architecture of Delhi, the role of the DUAC, is still more difficult to assess than the impact of mega-events or architectural competitions. The DUAC is generally considered to have a nuisance value. The DUAC was set up by an Act of Parliament in 1973 and started functioning towards the middle of 1974. But soon its impact was blunted. Within a year of its existence, the Emergency was clamped on the country and the various . civic and development bodies of the city which had begun to route their projects through the Commission, suddenly started ignoring it, almost mocking its existence. For example, during the interregnum of the Emergency, a 50-storeyed building was mooted in the walled city at Turkman Gate; this project however did not materialise, but gave rise to similar proposals in the following years. The NDMC however, did manage to push through with the construction of the Lok Nayak Bhavan at Khan Market, and also bulldozed the Coffee House at Connaught Place to build the Palika Bazaar. The 15-storey Taj Hotel was sanctioned on Man Singh Road during this period. All this clearly demonstrates the negative perceptions the civic bodies and architects have on the role of DUAC.
Nevertheless, it is a fact that in a steady manner, the DUAC has contributed to the establishment of minimum livability standards which were, otherwise overlooked when civic authorities give their approvals to projects based solely on the adherence to building bye-laws. Inspite of its indifferent record, the fact remains that in Delhi, an independent body does exist in Delhi, and sometimes is able to make a contribution to major projects built in Delhi. Perhaps, the architecture of Delhi has been spared the excesses perpetrated by the developers lobby in other cities on this count.
This commendable restraint on the developer determined architectural excesses from being perpetrated on the Architecture of Delhi has been severely tested in the wake of economic liberalization and the fall out, as a result, of globalization during the last decade. Going by the evidence of recent architecture, the force of these economic changes on the architectural imagination is an incontrovertible fact. One has only to see the recent works of Raja Adheri, Hafeez Contractor and C P Kukreja in Delhi to understand its power. The debates of the '50s and '60s appear inconsequential compared to the architectural amorality in vogue today. One can perhaps decipher this message in the TVB/SHS exhibition. In conclusion, what are the messages which come through in the examination of the Architecture of Delhi? Perhaps these can be expressed by highlighting some recent works of three older architects, three younger and three still younger architects. Such a cross-section of the works of Delhi architects would reveal the contours of the architectural paradigm currently in place in Delhi.
The three older architects whose recent works I have chosen highlight are Raj Rewal, Charles Correa and Balkrishna Doshi.
In the World Bank building (1994) Raj Rewal's response to the forces of globalization has been to plumb the depths of his own well-developed architectural vocabulary and to come up with a meticulously detailed and crafted object. He continues to explore the use of stone as a structural element and these concerns have lead to the innovative development of the use of stone in conjunction with expoxy glues and steel for the design of the Ismaili Cultural Centre at Lisbon (1996). Clearly, the elements of transformative architecture are evident in this work, and his architecture possesses the compelling force of becoming iconic models for the Architecture of Delhi.
Charles Correa is not a 'Delhi' architect, but the library and Headquarters building for the British Council (1995) is as much a 'Delhi building' as the Jawahar Kala Kendra is a 'Jaipur' building. He probes the deep structure of traditional and contemporary architecture - albeit not necessarily exclusive to Delhi, and relies on his considerable architectural imagination to yet again surprise and delight the viewer with his iconoclasm regarding the site context, on the one hand, and on the other, by accommodating in a convincing manner, both the overpowering mural of Howard Hodgkin presiding over the entrance, and a massive granite sculpture by Stephen Cox terminating a formal linear axis. Never mind Correa's penchant to evoke the 'primordial memory', the building speaks for itself in the contemporary context. Here the marriage of art and architecture achieves an attenuated level of resolution not achieved by architects who merely slap on a mural on the facade of a building. There is no question of any globalization trend overpowering this work.
This integrity is not seen in Balkrishna Doshi's two recent projects in Delhi, the campus of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and the headquarters building for INTACH. Again, Doshi is not a 'Delhi architect', but the rationalization he employs to justify his design, locates them firmly in the narrative of the Architecture of Delhi. But, in both these buildings, the evocation of the past appears unconvincing and the imageary is unfortunately, determined by fashionable architectonic gimmicks currently in vogue. At NIFT we are supposed to recall 'a small beautiful village built of white painted mud walls, with cattle, a few trees and a central pond surrounded by steps?.34 The INTACH building seeks 'to become a microcosm, reflecting the quintessence of India's heritage'.35 Clearly, Doshi is an architect of undeniable stature, but in the design of the two recent projects in Delhi, he has succumbed to the lure of post-modern sophistry, and remind us of how the mighty fall.
The lessons to be drawn from the works of these three older architects demonstrate the problems of form-making, and place-making in Delhi today. Some older paradigms continue to produce compelling architecture, while others become irrelevant. One needs to look beyond, to a younger generation of practitioners to guage the zeitgeist. Amongst the architects of a younger generation, one could identify the works of Sumit and Suchitra Ghosh, Ashok B Lall and Anil Laul for deeper considerations.
The Ghoshs have recently been awarded the Architect of the Year award by J K Cements. In their design for the Sitaram Bharatiya Institute of Research, they have demonstrated a deep understanding classical architectural values of scale, proportion and spatial experience. Their commitment to these ideals is underscored by the consistency of their architectural production, and rejection of fashionable trends.
Ashok Lall is a core member of the teaching facility at the TVB/SHS and has undertaken to develop a strongly climate-determined architecture both in the architectural studio and in his practice. Architects have generally treated, climate as a problem to be mitigated, and not as a potential, as the determinant of form. Thus, both in the studio exercises and in the construction of a group of houses in Civil Lines, Lall demonstrates the value of an environmentally sensitive architecture for Delhi. There are other architects who are also working in this genre. Sanjay Prakash (Mirambika) and Vinod Gupta (TERI campus) have accumulated a convincing body of work and are attracting many young architects to their cause and will have a significant impact on the Architecture of Delhi.
The work of Anil Laul can also be seen in this light, for its potential in ameliorating the quality of life in the habitat for the poor. He has worked closely on several projects of the Slums Department and shown the importance of inventiveness and creativity in dealing with problems of severe resource constraints. Currently he is working on the development of a massive resettlement colony at Jaunpur Village in South-East Delhi, where he is demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of his approach to problem solving. Like Anil Laul, Delhi has several 'bare-foot' architects who are devoting their professional careers working for non-government organizations, foreign aid-agencies and some are even working in research laboratories of the Government and contributing to this cause.
Amongst the still younger generation in practice, the directions are not yet clear, and even confusing. The works of Manoj Mathur, Snehanshu Mukherjee and Neeraj Manchanda come to mind. Mathur has a penchant for the latest aesthetic gimmick, Mukherjee for developing along the lines of the classical modernist vocabulary, and Manchanda uses an eclectic mix of alternate technology, materials and considerations of systemic sustainability to produce convincing architecture.
There are of course, many more trends which have not been identified. But for the present, the exhibition hopefully demonstrates the proposition underlying this study, that regional and sub-regional architectures have not received the attention they deserve, and need, in order to arrive at a reasonable theory about production of architecture in the country as a whole. The strategy adopted in the TVB/SHS study to overcome the tautology inherent in the attempts at theorising so far has been to pursue an empirical approach to the study of regional architecture, and focus on specific contexts, events, personalities and circumstances in order to recognize patterns, and recurring themes.
One of the factors that stands out prominently when we shift the focus to Delhi, is the decisive role the State has played as 'middle-man' in the production of architecture. Being an administrative centre of the country, administrative and political power has always had an overwhelming presence in Delhi. Though there is now a substantial body of works produced by private architects, one cannot ignore the agency of the Government in the process of form-making and place-making whether it is to obtain sanctions or undertaking Government projects. Even in the abstract, there is still an underlying line of argument justifying the work of private architects which involves the pejorative PWD architecture as a handy prop. There has been a sibling rivalry between the architects working in the public and private sectors, making the catalytic role of the Government as the 'other' in the production of architecture, a palpable reality in Delhi.
The role of the Government was more obvious in the years following Independence than it is today. Delhi fifty years ago, was predominantly an administrative city,and most of the important buildings built in the city were by and for Government use. While the economic base of the city has changed, even today, when its economy is completely diversified, the fact remains that Government departments continue to construct a substantial number of buildings that are visible. Thus, no study ignoring this massive corpus of works can claim to have a handle on the concept of the zeitgeist in the Architecture of Delhi, or for that matter, India.
In terms of the physical development of the city, however, the Exhibition shows that the near exclusive role of the Government is beyond doubt. This dominance can be attributed to the implementation of two powerful Master Plans: Lutyen's Master Plan of Imperial Delhi, and the Master Plan of Delhi promulgated in 1962 which was produced by a team of Ford Foundation experts. The city has received development funds to implement these plans completely out of proportion to the amounts allocated for development to other cities of the country. Both Plans necessitated the acquisition of vast tracts of undeveloped land for the future city. Consequently, the problem of land consolidation to construct large projects did not exist in Delhi. This factor alone has been, and continues to be, a powerful determinant of the architectural character of Delhi. No other city has such a large collection of mega-projects conceived as single entities, often by single architects. However, these mega-projects were constructed in a setting which was a product of the Western imagination: Lutyen's Baroque city plan, and the poly-nodal city form envisaged by the Ford Foundation experts.36 Such paradoxes have seldom been the focus of architectural concern, resulting in a situation where architecture of critical importance are like islands in the city-scape, and one considers their worth with a blinkered vision.
The analysis of the recent Architecture of Delhi reveals three clear directions being taken by local architects. The first, is a fascination architects have always had for the physicality of the building as an object.
The second, is predicated on environmental considerations - climate as the determinant of form, sustainability and appropriate technology.
The third, focuses on the needs of the poor, and an architecture that evolves when cost is a severe constraint.
The exhibition has recorded the Architecture of Delhi produced during the last fifty years. In the accompanying text, I have identified the circumstances and external forces which were instrumental in the production of this architecture. The purpose for undertaking this exercise was to empirically examine the architecture-in-the making of a particular region of the country; here it is Delhi.
What we found is that, contrary to the impression conveyed in the literature on the Architecture of India, 'Indian identity' has seldom been an important consideration in form-making and place-making in Delhi; at least, not for a long time. As far as place-making at the city level is concerned, I had earlier examined the traditions of modern town-planning in India and shown that there is not an iota of evidence to demonstrate their interest in achieving an 'Indian' identity in their work; in fact, quite the contrary was my conclusion, because indigenous settlement patterns are regarded as 'problem areas'.37 The question of transformative place-making strategies does not arise in the practice of town planning in India. Thus, the irony of its quest in architecture is that its setting is totally 'western'. There is little relationship between architecture and town planning, therefore buildings have been conceived as islands within a site, and no two adjacent building acknowledges each others the presence.
The issue of an Indian identity in form-making, was debated for only a few year after Independence, and today, it does not appear to be a matter of concern at all amongst the architects in Delhi. Only a few die-hards including Raj Rewal and Charles Correa, continue to fly the flag of 'Indian identity' in the face of the unfolding of Ricouer's prediction of an universal civilization, leaving one to wonder if such concerns are a dated obsession.
We found that the role of cultural memory has not been crucial to the process of form-making in Delhi for quite some time. This memory was consciously evoked in the period following Independence, first in the manner of literal transliteration of historic motifs used to decorate the facades of buildings, and later as abstract architectural desiderata derived from morphological studies of traditional settlements. The choice of models in both situations were examples from Rajasthan, and not local monuments or settlement patterns. What tandoori chicken is to 'Indian' cusine, the architecture of Rajasthan is to 'Indian' architecture.
What is the 'local context' for an architect working in India? Are the colonnades of Tamil Nadu temples of equal significance to the intersecting squares of Fatehpur Sikri or the figure-ground characteristic of Jaiselmer? How does one establish the ownership of heritage and the choice of models one employs to generate form in contemporary architecture? Considering the fact that we cannot wipe out our colonial heritage, can we claim access to historic European models as well? Architects have never felt compelled to examine these questions. One of the intriguing questions that has emerged from this survey is, why the architects in Delhi were unable to achieve a transformative architecture when its potential existed at the time of Independence. Did they lack the skill or the will? Some of the writing of the period indicates that while the desire for transformative architecture was present, the results were invariably at variance with this objective. An editorial from an issue of Marg Magazine of 1950 explains the problem facing art/architecture:
'For many years nationalism has been a growing creed in this country. The attainment of swaraj has accentuated it. With swaraj there has been a marked tendency to revive everything Indian and exclude everything foreign, irrespective of the merits and demerits of the case. In such an atmosphere there is bound to be a good deal of confused thinking. There is a genuine desire for an Indian Renaissance. Whether the renaissance will be positive or negative, healthy or otherwise, will depend on what we mean by renaissance and how we approach it.38
In hindsight how can we explain the failure of the architects to develop the potential to produce transformative architecture?
It would be instructive to compare the situation in Delhi after Independence with two other historic events of comparable nature: the debate in Russia after the October 1917 Revolution, and the achievements of the artists in Santiniketan who consciously developed a modern idiom in art during the three decades prior to Independence.
In Russia after the Revolution, the architectural community was in a ferment. Constructivists and other radicals of the '20s sought to create agitprop art for the Bolshevik cause. In the end, of course, they did not succeed, not because they lacked the will, but because they confronted head-on the exigencies of national reconstruction. As Naum Gabo wrote in censure of the Constructivist's project : 'Either build functional houses and bridges or create pure art, not both. Don't confuse one with the other'.39 The polemic force of the constructivist's Manifesto even today, is perhaps on account of the fact that for several years after the Revolution there was no work and architects 'could only dream on paper'.40
The mood of the architects in Delhi was similar to the situation in Moscow in 1917, but they differed from their Russian counterparts in that to begin with they were far less idealistic and also, the fact was that they always had enough work. Unlike the Constructivist manifesto, the call for architectural renaissance rang hollow. To understand this, one must recall that Independence in India was in the nature of a transfer of political power, and not as it had been in Russia, a Revolution. Architects had no cause to rebel against, and therefore, there was no ideological grounds to seek architectural transformation. Architects had always collaborated with the colonial project, so where was the question of rebelling against it on achieving swaraj? The talk of establishing continuity with the past was merely self-flagellation. Naturally, only Revivalism was achieved.
It was much more natural for the modernists, Kanvinde, Rehman, et al. to develop on the base of the colonial legacy and attempt to produce an architecture of 'transformative modernism' in their quest for the Indian renaissance. The term is of course, an oxymoron, but it was attempted by the early modernists in Delhi, and explains the mindless quality of post-Independence modernism. Again, in hindsight, it is clear that what they achieved was to merely flavour the modernism derived from the colonial period with an International vocabulary.
The ontological significance of a modernism imposed by the coloniser was never the issue in their rationalization; the post-Independence modernists had only discovered more appealing models to pursue, almost invariably as a result of a foreign encounter of a personal kind. The relevance of applying the 'Harvard', or 'MIT' or 'Liverpool' brand of modernism to the situation at hand was never in question, because the answer was known to the foreign educated messiahs before they returned to understand the problem.
In this context, the example of the Santiniketan artists is relevant, because they faced a similar conundrum but were able to achieve a compelling art for their times. Artists like Ram Kinkar were able to relate in equal measure to both an Indian tradition and the modern Western development in a manner that was organic and human. Primary among the ideas these artists shared was the belief in the need for a comprehensive rethinking, not a revival of the past in form or spirit or the adoption of foreign models. Such a vision of comprehensive rethinking was absent amongst the architects - both the Revivalists and the Modernists. The roots of the problem lay in the sociology of the profession and its development during colonial times.41
The development of the profession in India was such that it has resulted in the architect becoming a low-level functionary in Government service. This has been particularly evident in a bureaucratic city like Delhi. It has had a deleterious effect on the 'image' of the architect in society - at-large. Further, the methods and devices employed by the architects to accomplish their tasks isolates them from the regional mainstreams of cultural dialogue. Architects working in their metier in contemporary India certainly do not have the same relation with their clients that contemporary writers writing in regional languages have with their respective regional readers. Even cross-regional art forms like classical music and dance are able to address a cultivated audience to sustain their art; contemporary architects do not have a cultivated constituency with whom they could dialogue in a common architectural language. A constituency has to be developed by disseminating information and it is here that 'writing architecture' becomes critical to the process of cultural formations. Though few architects have attempted to address this task, we find that in Delhi it has been attempted by others.
Patwant Singh for many years valiantly supported the publication of Design Magazine. In the '60s and '70s he was an outspoken advocate of conservation, classical modernism and railed against the many unprincipled projects initiated by DDA and other public agencies in Delhi. He supported the establishment of DUAC and was severely critical of its marginalization in subsequent years. While Patwant Singh and Romesh Thaper - the editor of Seminar magazine, widened the arena of debate on design issues in general, they were primarily addressing a Delhi centred constituency. Their impact on influencing public opinion was however minimal, and in hindsight one realises that the brand of aesthetic culture they promoted was an Ikea-like craft development. The 'Golden Eye' project of Rajiv Sethi of the '80s was the natural outcome of this line of thinking.42 Lacking a sound theroretical base there was only an amorphous, desire for 'appropriate' architecture, leaving it to individual practitioners to go about accomplishing this task in their own manner.
Public opinion amongst the intelligentsia in matters architectural, swung from the Revivalist ideals of the post-Independence period to a general disillusionment with 'modern architecture' and nostalgia for 'traditional architecture'. The setting up of INTACH and their focus on architectural conservation reinforced the value of 'traditional architecture' in the minds of the public and architects alike. But the evidence of the Architecture of Delhi shows that such perceptions did not leverage transformative architecture.
The publication of Architecture + Design from 1985 has contributed to the architectural debate country-wide, but since it is based in Delhi, the magazine has often drawn upon local talent and focussed on local issues. The agenda of the magazine is largely confined to the imperatives of a coffee-table publication with a bit of gravitas thrown in for good measure. Being a popular coffee-table publication, the magazine has given exposure to the new and the exotic to satisfy the expectations of its intended clientele, and have therefore, been complicit in valorising the exoticization of architecture.
The only other significant attempt at communicating architectural issues to the public in Delhi has been the publication of books by Gautam Bhatia. He has had an enormous impact on the public's ability to distinguish the stylistic foibles of Delhi's residential architecture. His 'serious' writings are laced with the sharp edge of satire, and in them he has poignantly potrayed the Kafkaesque predicament of the contemporary architect's quest for fulfillment in Delhi. In his writings we get an inkling of the pathos, and the deep structure of the Architecture of Delhi.
Under the circumstance what lessons can we draw from this exhibition? To begin with, I suggest that there could be four possibilities we could consider.
First, we must appreciate the dated significance of pan-Indian constructions to categorise the Architecture of India. The evidence of the architecture-in-the-making in Delhi has illustrated the complex factors that determine the act of form-making and place-making. The issue of an 'Indian identity' is not a significant concern in this process.
Second, it appears that the imperatives of transformative architecture are seldom addressed in the production of architecture, because increasingly, the younger generation of architects are subscribing to the notion of the 'universal civilization'. The issue of cultural identity is seldom raised in the explanations offered for their works. When they use the term 'Indian', they are referring to the fact that their design responds to Indian contexts: climate, technology, material and anthropological conditions. These buildings 'look' different because they address these local characteristics of production. Thus by 'Indian' their understanding is in terms of the local material culture, and not its historic symbolic elements. Perhaps one could accept this proposition, if it produced compelling architecture. However, the evidence is that in its architectonic imageary it remains derivative and merely a poor imitation of original models. The example of the works of Shiv Nath Prasad stand out as exceptions and demonstrate how it is possible to pursue the ideals of any architecture, and, achieve excellence through integrity and depth of knowledge of the architectural vocabulary in which one works. This is seldom achieved in today's search for instant answers.
It is an irony that architects in India have been practicing 'post-modern' architecture all along, and it is only recently that this process of architectural production should consume the western imagination. Architects in India have always placed diverse architectonic elements in the composition of the 'looks' of their buildings. While Gautam Bhatia has perspicaciously brought this process to our attention, no one has attempted to theorise it and therefore, develop its creative potential in a determined manner.
Third, we need to polemicise our architectural predicament into a conscious culture of resistance - resistance to the hegemonic forces of universal civilization. This resistance has to be rooted in our experiential reality, and in this regard I can think of few opportunities or challenges to match the imperatives of architectural and urban conservation in India. The debates which are taking place in this discipline have a compelling force and relevance to the production of contemporary architecture in India.
The problem is that the directions being taken in this nascent disciplinary area are leading to the museumification of our architectural heritage and firmly aligned to Western ideology. The creative potential offered through taking a contrary - and I have argued, an appropriate - point of view both for the production of 'Indian architecture' and conserving our unique cultural heritage, is being ignored in our attempt to 'catch-up' with Western practices.43 One can view modernization as an universal phenomenon; but is it necessarily a process of 'Westernization' as well? While it is true that the development of the phenomenon of modernization is rooted in European history, there is now enough evidence to indicate that it has several manifestations which distinguish the central concept on the basis of cultures, political ideology and other contextual circumstances. Professionals in India offer disregarded the teleological intent in their purpose and thus forget their connivance in the convenant of 'westernization'. This needs to be resisted. I cannot find a more compelling reason to cultivate a conscious culture of resistance in the production of Architecture in India than the pursuit of urban conservation. The strategies of resistance and their objectives would vary from region to region depending on local imperatives creating thereby as diverse an architectural pallette as one could invent.
And finally, the focus of attention must shift to architectural education. Education has always received the lowest priority in architectural reform - in the profession this is the outcome of a debilitating attitude that subscribes to the view that those who can't practice, teach. Consequently, architectural education has exclusively addressed narrow vocational objectives and has never attempted to determine the architectural debate in the profession and thereby influence practice. The evidence of this exhibition shows the limiting nature of the old perceptions about education, and how TVB/SHS, a Delhi School, is attempting to remedy the situation. Other Schools must also begin to reassess their raison d'etre if they expect to participate in the development of architectural culture, and bring it into the mainstream of National consciousness, and redeem the expectations of 'cultural Independence'.
Important questions need to be addressed in the Schools of Architecture. What is the architect's role in the development of the construction industry? The kind of architecture that has been attempted in the last fifty years is complicit in contributing to the deteriorating standards, either by ignoring its imperatives or encouraging the process of deterioration by focussing on external cladding as the means of achieving their 'finish'.
What is the attitude of the architect in a situation where his 'success' is built on the backs of bonded labour in quarries and brick kilns, and poorly paid, illiterate manual labourers, particularly women, and often, children? While architects have argued their right to reasonable remuneration in an environment of ammoral business ethics, is it also not their obligation to argue for the rights of those who are crucial to the realization of their projects?
What is the attitude of the architect towards the question of gender biases both in professional practice and in the configuration of space? At a conference on Gender and Architecture at the TVB/SHS on March 8, 1996, several aspects of this 'problem' were discussed, which students in the School are beginning to examine in their research projects. Certainly more work needs to be carried out in this area of great concern.
How will architects adjust to the imperatives of economic and material sustainability' Fortunately, research in this area is being undertaken by NGO activists in the field and in specialist research laboratories in IIT, Delhi and SPA, Delhi. The TVB/SHS has also committed itself to pursue this direction of research in collaboration with SPA and the Oxford Brookes University, UK. The findings from this research is being applied to studio exercises at TVB/SHS in a sustained and critical manner as an explicit educational agenda in the training of an architect. Obviously, much more work is required to be undertaken at other Schools.
These and other questions would find their way into the agenda of education if we view architectural education as a discipline and not as a vocational training site.
What emerges is the picture of an architectural scene in great ferment, where several identities are jostling together and attempting to assert their stamp on the development of architecture ideas. This is to be expected, because Delhi has developed into a cosmopolitan metropolis, and at the level of the production of ideas atleast, it has attracted architects of diverse backgrounds who have enriched the architectural debate. Consequently there is a lack of cohesiveness or camaraderie amongst the architects of Delhi, unlike what one finds amongst architects in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Chennai or Calcutta.
Sociologists have drawn a parallel from the concept of economic capital, to infer the idea of 'social capital' to explain the success or failure of societies to adjust to conditions of global competitiveness.44 Social capital is an index of the strength of socio-cultural associations which build trust and prepare people to work co-operatively in large companies. It would appear that the very basis of architectural creativity militates against the construction of an analogous proposition regarding 'architectural capital', but implicit in any theorising or critical analysis is in fact, that it should exist. It could be explained in terms of the zeitgeist, or 'Indianess' or any of the numerous attempts at formulating manifestoes, Schools or stylistic affinity. The development of the Architecture of Delhi is singularly lacking in the declaration of manifestoes, and there is, in the sociology of the profession in Delhi, what sociologist Edward Banfied referred in the context of an under-developed village in Southern Italy, an ethos of 'amoral familism', which is to say, 'I'll look after my own, because no one else will, and others be damned'.45 What this insight brings to the fore is the need to engage ourselves in critical debate as a professional imperative in order to build 'architectural capital'.
In 1974 a loose group of architects in Delhi felt motivated to 'think the present' and define the 'problem'46 confronting architecture. In time this group consolidated more formally as a Society called GREHA in 1984, and undertook several research projects for HUDCO and INTACH.47 One of these projects was the setting up of the Habitat Polytech for HUDCO in 1989. While the GREHA proposal for the Habitat Polytech did not materialise, it bore fruit with the establishment of the TVB/SHS in 1990. In many ways the genealogy of this Exhibition project can be traced to the concerns articulated by GREHA and its attempt to develop 'architectural capital' through its activities.
These initiatives and ideas require wider currency.
- 1. See for example, Interrogating Modernity, Culture and Colonialism in India, Edited by Tejaswini Niranjana, P. Sudhir and Vivek Dhareshwar, Seagul Books, Calcutta, 1993.
- 2. GHR Tillotson, The Tradition of Indian Architecture, Continuity, Controversy and Change since 1850, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1959, pp 29-33.
- 3. Mukta Tandon, Architectural Education in India, Unpublished Dissertation Report, TVB School of Habitat Studies, New Delhi, 1996.
- 4. Akhtar Chauhan, Profession Today : The Immediate Tasks, Indian Institute of Architects Convention Papers, Nagpur, 1988.
- 5. Cho Padamsee, The Studio Project Revisited, in Architecture + Design, New Delhi, Vol X, No 4, July-August 1993, pp 50-53.
- 6. According to Edward Said, Western Scholars 'discovered' and explained the orient in terms which were familiar to the West. In this manner the East was 'appropriated' by the West at the intellectual level as it was simultaneously being appropriated politically. Contemporary scholars, from both East and West, who perpetuate this tradition of 'understanding' the East in terms of Western scholarship are termed 'Orientalist'. See Edward Said, Orientalism, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1978.
- 7. The Exhibition for the Festival of India in France was documented and published under the title, Architecture of India, by Electa Moniteur, Paris, 1985. The Exhibition was in three sections: Traditional Architecture, Commissioner: : Raj Rewal; Le Corbusier in India, Commissioner: Jean-Louis Veret; and Contemporary Architecture, Commissioner: Ram Sharma. The book contains three essays on the Architecture of India to which I make reference in my essay: Raj Rewal, The Relevance of Tradition in Indian Architecture; Ram Sharma, The Search for Roots and Relevance;, and Malay Chatterjee, The Evolution of Contemporary Indian Architecture. The exhibition for the Festival of India in the USSR was called Vistara : The Architecture of India and was curated by a team headed by Charles Correa. A brochure was produced, but it was not widely circulated. An article explained the exhibition brief form in the Journal of the Indian Institute of Architects, Vol 51 No 4, October-December 1986, pp 26-33.
- 8. GHR Tillotson, ibid.
- 9. Raj Rewal for example, refers to only pre-colonial models as 'traditional'. See Raj Rewal, The Relevance of tradition in Indian Architecture, in Architecture of India, ibid. Balkrishna Doshi has this to say about the colonial period: 'Unfortunately, in the last two centuries, our concepts and lifestyles have undergone considerable change. Initially this was due to internal strife, then a result of foreign rule ...' Balakrishna Doshi, Social Institutions and a Sense of Place, in Contemporary Architecture and City Form, the South Asian Paradigm, Edited by Farooq Ameen, Marg Publications, Mumbai, 1997, pp 13-24.
- 10. Satish Grover, Review of GHR Tillotson's book in Architecture + Design, New Delhi, Vol VII No.6 Nov-Dec 1990 pp 104-106.
- 11. Sherban Cantacuzino, Charles Correa, Concept Media, Singapore, 1984.
- 12. Hussein-Uddin Khan, Editor, Charles Correa, Concept Media, Singapore, 1987.
- 13. William Curtis, Balkrishna Doshi : An Architect for India, Rizzoli, New York, 1988.
- 14. Brian Brace Taylor, Raj Rewal, Mapin, Ahmedabad, 1992.
- 15. Stephen White, Building in the Garden : The Architecture of Joseph Allen Stein in India and California, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1993.
- 16. Vikram Bhatt and Peter Scriver, After the Masters, Contemporary Indian Architecture, Mapin Publishing, Ahmedabad and Grantha Corporation, Middleton, NJ, USA, 1990.
- 17. ibid pp.7-10.
- 18. Jon Lang, Madhavi Desai and Miki Desai, Architecture and Independence, The Search for Identity - India 1880-1980, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1997.
- 19. ibid Preface, p-XVII
- 20. Susie Tharu and K Lalitha, Editors, Women Writing in India : 600 BC to the Present, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1991. See Introduction for a discussion on nationalist redeployment of the 'Indian past'.
- 21. AGK Menon, Conservation in India, A Search for Directions, Architecture+Design, New Delhi, Vol VI No.1 Nov-Dec 1989 pp 22-27.
- 22. Interrogating Modernity, ibid, p.5
- 23. Vittorio Gregotti, Inside Architecture, translated by Peter Wong and Francesca Zaccheo, The MIT Press, Cambridge, USA, 1996 p 93.
- 24. Kenneth Frampton, Foreword, in Inside Architecture, ibid. p xiv-xv.
- 25. A recent listing of monuments undertaken by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), New Delhi, has identified over 1200 extant monuments, including many from the colonial period.
- 26. Raj Rewal, The Use of Tradition in Architecture and Urban Form, in Contemporary Architecture and City Form, The South Asian Paradigm, Edited by Farooq Amen, Marg Publications, Mumbai, 1997 p 52-63.
- 27. Architecture and Independence, ibid. This book has surveyed the development of architectural thinking in India in a comprehensive manner. pp 75-79.
- 28. Lang, Desai and Desai, ibid. p. 143
- 29. A P Kanvinde, Speech delivered at the Seminar on Architecture, March 1959, Lalit Kala Akademi, Jaipur House, New Delhi, 1959, p.12.
- 30. Gautam Bhatia, Punjabi Baroque, And other Memories of Architecture, Penguin Books, New Delhi, 1994.
- 31. Robert Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1966.
- 32. See for example Kenneth Frampton, Place-Form and Cultural Identity, in Editor:John Thackara, Design after Modernism, Thames and Hudson, London, 1988, Chapter 3, pp 51-66.
- 33. Kenneth Frampton, ibid, Modern Architecture : A Critical History, Thames and Hudson, London, 1992.
- 34. Balakrishna Doshi, National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi, in Architecture + Design, New Delhi, Vol X No 5, September-October 1993. p. 27.
- 35. ibid. p 35
- 36. A G K Menon, Imagining the Indian City, Paper presented at the Theatres of Decolonization Conference, Chandigarh, January 6-10, 1995.
- 37. ibid.
- 38. Marg Magazine, Mumbai, vol 3 No 1, p 4.
- 39. Kenneth Powell, Modernism Divided in Editors: Catherine Cooke and Justin Ageros, The Avant-Garde Russian Architecture in the Twentites, Academy Editions, London, 1991, p 7.
- 40. Catherine Cooke, Professional Diversity and its Origins, in The Avant-Garde Russian Architecture of the Twentities, ibid. p.13
- 41. AGK Menon and M N Ashish Ganju. The Problem, In Seminar, new Delhi, August 1974 pp 10-13.
- 42. AGK Menon, Design, Designers and Revival of Crafts: Three paradigms, Architecture + Design, New Delhi, Vol iii no2, Jan-Feb, 1987, pp 77-85.
- 43. AGK Menon, Rethinking the Venice Charter: The Indian Experience, Journal of South Asian Studies, Cambridge University, # 10, 1994.
- 44. See for example, Edward Banfield's 1958 classic, The Moral Basis of a Backward Society and the recent (1993) book on the same theme by Robert Patnam, Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy.
- 45. Gurcharan Das, 'Civic Engagement': The Blessings of Social Capital, in Times of India, New Delhi, November 17, 1997, p.13.
- 46. AGK Menon and M N Ashish Ganju, ibid.
- 47. GREHA, Guidelines for Conservation, Research Paper Commissioned by INTACH, 1988. GREHA, Innovative Approaches to urban Development, Research Paper Commissioned by HUDCO, 1987.