It was dry as bone and hot. About a 30 minute drive from town was a 250 acre piece of land near Bavla, which is NW of Ahmedabad. The soil was saline; but what was really worrying was the water. This is the land where ancient sea beds were meant to be; its barely 50 kms from the ancient river linked port of the Indus Valley port city of Lothal. The water is saline; the TDS close to 20000 ppm; which those who know , know how bad that is ( Sea water is around 30000 ppm); and to make matters worse, the water  was close to the  surface which meant that roots of any plants  that came in contact with that salinity would be affected adversely. Add to it; the site…
For too long when it comes to say office spaces, or housing projects , the motivation behind installing a landscape is often the ticking of boxes; Children’s play space- yes; Gathering green; yes; Amphitheater ; yes, Jogging track; yes. Then it  really does not matter how that is expressed, or subsequently even used. Office spaces have it tougher. There usually is very little space. A drive way; maybe a small podium; and the programme often nonexistent. This leads to many a good piece of architecture, ending up with a rather messy and indifferent landscape as a handmaiden. In Upper Worli , the landscape for rather handsome building by Pei Cobb Freed and Partners (PCF), was suffering an inglorious fate. It was a combination of reasons; an indifferent design effort, coupled…
It started as a set of posters waiting on my table this morning and then this mail. Hi. See attached. What lovely friends you have! They organize contacts for your firang friends, make posters of your works, send mails, keep calling you, go to your place to meet you!! I am jealous!! Geeta So what started all this ? A recent feature in a book  by Phaidon , and blogged earlier http://www.landscapeindia.net/gardeners-garden-we-in-esteemed-company-250-projects-600-years/, was cause for some celebration and part embarrassment. While kind words were sent; this took the cake ! Geeta who ofcourse runs the only  landscape magazine in the country, and by  B. V. Doshis generous observation " the only design magazine in India that's really doing good work" is generally a serious person; but clearly with a wicked…
The Dublin Report. Tim Richardson, that prolific writer, at some point had literally dug out a lot of design firms across the globe to find place in his book "Futurescape – Designers for tomorrow’s outdoor spaces" (Thames & Hudson-2011) He then in 2013, recommended to the organizers that they invite us to speak at the Australian Landscape Conference; and that's where we saw the country, the magnificent Cranbourne Botanical Garden (http://www.landscapeindia.net/a-taj-mahal-of-a-landscape/); met the temperamental but extremely knowledgeable Warwick Forge who organizes the conference, his family, made friends with the brilliant Juan Grimm from Chile  (http://www.landscapeindia.net/the-magic-of-juan-grimm/), and the greatest gain;  meeting the tough, blunt, and wonderful writer Louisa Jones,(http://www.louisajones.fr/)from Provence who since has almost become family; an emotion I imagine she will permit us  even if grudgingly, and also whose divine…
Every now and then I suppose we find ourselves in places that seem pleasing and yet awkward. This I presume is one of them. In a Phaidon publication that maps 250 gardens , over 600 odd years, we find ourselves sitting in the company of  ShahJehan, Andre Le Notre, Geoffery Jellicoe,Thomas Church,C.Th Sorenson, Burle Marx, Luis Barragan, Repton, Paxton, Olmstead et all. This is down right embarrassing- since we would hardly qualify by miles. And yet there we are... How does it happen? I suppose an effort at stock taking;  at the desire to sort of have an updated list of all the gardens that matter till date. Even so, we suppose its rather difficult to say that one can club the work of say Sorenson, or an Olmsetad with…
Tim Richardson is the rather brilliant and knowledgeable landscape writer from England; and has to his credit some of the most respected titles in Landscape Architecture. Many years back he did a book called Futurescapes ( Thames and Hudson) where he showcased 50  practices from across the globe that he had researched for a long time and believed  were valuable to the definition of the profession. We were one of them. And now is the delightful book again by Thames and Hudson, where he picks  37  practices across the globe and examines how these firms think and draw. The introduction by Tim.            Its delightful to be amongst some names that we have heard or known about; like Gustafson Porter and Taylor-Cullity Lethlean, and also see…
The Garden and Landscape Designers Association of Ireland celebrate their 20th year, with an International Conference at  Dublin on20th February 2016. The theme is  to explore the influences and connections  between landscapes of the East and West. Speakers are from China, Netherlands , UK and us from India.
The Retreat began with the simple premise; to enable conversations amongst designers which could be frank, honest and without the pressure of an  audience. It also has  at its kernel, the desire to move on; to imagine a better future- to change things, and to keep it real, and to stop lamenting and complaining. And it wanted to collect these thoughts on a range of topics  from across  a cross section of professionals  at different stages in their lives. The first one was the Architects’ Retreat, which is now a book " Behind Closed Doors" and a film. And now this December there are two more - one for interior designers and the other for landscape architects- both which will be recorded in print. So what can a group of…
Mazar of Mirza Ghalib ; Delhi. “And do it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut might say” To which I asked , “ Ever liked Puckoon? Spike Milligan? 1960s; I think you will” And to which he said “ Yes” That was a few days back. I am staring at about 35 mails from him in the last three months. Its the most  he has talked to me- ever. And now he wont. After an indifferent  five years in an architecture college I joined the programme in Delhi in the late 1980s. It was a musical chairs, with Heads coming and going. Insanity and instability was  what it was. I decided to put my head down and really work and blanked the world out for the two years there. The only time…
Rather so often when designing, the context allows the remaking of a setting, and then enacting the process of design in it. When confronted with a rather beautiful orchard within which we are building a large house and also designing the landscapes, Richa a young landscape architect  was confronted with the problems of mapping and establishing the site in her mind. For those who know the  work of LEAF, the drawings may seem familiar http://www.landscapeindia.net/outreach/leaf/ She studied the LEAF documents and then spent days at the site, and developed many layers through which she could appreciate, and map the many complex aspects of this wonderful site. Below there are 27 drawings from a total of 38 drawings that she made. What after this ? She has now written verse that…
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