AHMEDABAD: An institution in himself and one of the dearest students of the iconic American architect Louis Kahn, Anant Raje, passed away leaving a void in the lives of many. Raje was responsible for the completion of Kahn unrealised works including the Ravi Mathai Auditorium and KLMDC at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad.
Such was his expertise in the exposed brick masonry that he knew exactly what his master Kahn would want IIM-A to look alike when it comes alive.
His well-known works include the buildings for Forest Management Institute in Bhopal, Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad, Institute of Statistics in New Delhi, MASCO agriculture market in Nanded, Maharashtra, which are part of field studies for many architects.
Anant Raje born in 1930 in Mumbai, studied at the Sir JJ School of Architecture and later worked with Louis Kahn in Philadelphia, where he also taught at the University of Pennsylvania.
Professor Raje had taught at the CEPT School of Architecture for over thirty years, would never boast about his works, lead an astute life and was always a teacher with a tremendous sense of humour.
Old timers and students remember him as a hardest taskmaster. He would help bring the best in students and would teach them the importance of toil, an eye for detail in design and in sketches and a sense of space. He would prepare all night for lectures even at the ripe age of 76.
No one knows him better than a leading Delhi-based architect MS Satsangi.
"I am one of those proud students who worked under him as trainee in 1967 and 1968 on the Louis Kahn's IIMA project. I remember him as a senior lecturer in CEPT. He made students toil on designing a 10ft X 10ft toilet for an entire semester. In that one semester he taught them everything. He was with me in Philadelphia school of architecture and students there loved him. I remember he would treat himself every Friday to a Lentil soup at an Israeli restaurant in Philadelphia," says Satsangi.
He adds, "He was very choosy when it came to food and Indian classical music. Till today he has been mentor and my teacher."
He would shun unnecessary media glare. And his question about 'why today's architects make simple things look so complex and call it innovation' is still unanswered, he adds.
Raje worked on a line of Kahn's concept of architecture. Raje once commented on Kahn's style, " He brought the system of layering light - Indian light is intense, and he cut the light by layering it so that it wouldn't be blinding."
"They say architecture can't be taught. But we learned to appreciate beauty of architecture, principles of order, respect for function, rejoicing the form, and much more from this great man and a true teacher. We are privileged with few drops of knowledge from his immense ocean of wisdom. It is a great honour being your student," writes Maulik Vyas on Facebook.