Death of Architecture, the exhibition currently on view at Delhi’s India Habitat Centre, features illustrations and pictorial panels, created by professional architects, exploring the role architecture has played in the evolution of Indian cities, writes Bhumika Popli.
‘At present, the concept of meaningful architecture is coming to an end. The houses we build now are actually boxes and residents are asked to fit themselves in a box. It’s like a do-it-yourself kit with a few parts which are put together. That’s not architecture. Architecture is about how you feel in a space,” Suparna Bhalla, principal architect, Abaxial, Delhi, tells Guardian 20.
She is part of the ongoing exhibition at Delhi’s India Habitat Centre, entitled Death of Architecture. This travelling show—whose previous editions have been hosted in Mumbai, Baroda, Hyderabad and Pune—features artworks created by designers representing 13 architectural firms from across India. Through this show, the organisers aim to initiate a dialogue on the present state of architecture in the country.
Exhibited here is an artwork named in Re-memb-rane, by Abaxial Architects, which is a pictorial illustration of Delhi localities, such as Connaught Place and Nehru Place. Alongside this piece, there’s a small write-up—a personal account of the changing landscape of Nehru Place between 1985 and 2000—by architect Pradeep Sachdeva. “Nehru Place is a linear set of buildings set on an island. Being an architect, it was exciting to see buildings like Devika Towers or the Eros Hotel commence construction. Large cranes would dominate the skyline of this otherwise low lying area. But the end was a disappointing carcass of modernism. Very grey and very repetitive. Everything looked the same with no sense of identity.”
Visual artists have routinely explored the idea of urbanity in their repertoire, but here we see the same idea rendered artistically by professional architects themselves.