Academics

As I was telling some colleagues , this sudden spate of being called to do keynotes means that I am not so young that I am not taken seriously and not so old that I am seen as being senile. Its that age I suppose ! So after the Kurla Varkey Memorial Talk and the NIRMA Foundation Day Talk ( Both blogged earlier); here is the one I did for the SPA Bhopal Convocation. The time is now. Convocation Address. School of Planning and Architecture; Bhopal 14th October 2017. I have not really attended convocation ceremonies such as this. In the 80s when we graduated, it was fairly normal that we would be found at the canteen by someone who would come over from the administrative office , and be told  casually…
Where have the gentlemen gone? Text for KV Forum Memorial Lecture ; 11th August 2017. Young students, my fellow architects, my many friends  and peers. Good Evening. This, is the first memorial lecture that I am giving. I am, both, grateful, but also extremely intimidated. I do not ,say this lightly. It is not that I have not spoken at large forums- I have; but usually I have known what to say, and my talks have been prepared well in time. But this time, I have been so taken up by the occasion that I must confess that I have spent days thinking about it, even weeks, without writing a word and finally have done so just a couple of  days back, only because I had to and the gates were closing.…
In- Laws Home/Shilpa does a Julius I do not  know too many other photographers who shot like that; but Julius Shulman did. He passed away at the amazing age of 99, in 2009. But in the years that he worked he made famous the work of Richard Neutra, Raphael Soriano, Craig Ellwood, Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig and Eero Saarinen,  in works built between 1945-1966. He shot with an incredible sense of space, a sharp eye and most importantly peppered his pictures with real people using the spaces.During the Second World War  it seems that the offices of Arts & Architecture  in the US, were home to endless discussions about  new ideas in residential design and they launched what was called the "Case Study House Programme'. Ralph Rapson, John…
A recent trip to Stuttgart to talk at the opening series of Creative Days, an initiative that is the brainchild of a firm run by a designer duo- Poonam and Martin, and supported by the city,  other design organizations, Dept. of City Planning and Urban Renewal ( Stuttgart), and the Indian government , also allowed some time to look around, and also meet some wonderful people; the hosts of-course but also Kai Beirich , partner at Wulf Architekten, www.wulfarchitekten. com and that true India lover,Oliver Sorg who had many a story of living in a house that  the late Correa built in Kolkatta,  and Kamar Khan who seemed to know every architect and film maker in the world that there is to know. Of equal -if not greater pleasure was…
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…
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…
Exhibition on Indian Landscape Design; Call for Research Assistants. A few years back with friends we had mounted an effort called A  Million Gardens; while we did not really go through with it to the extent that we could have, it was a very valuable endeavor and at least allowed us to restate , and investigate the meanings today of the gardens of the past, and more importantly try and define what constituted a garden in the Indian context. This led to a lecture that was well received, and that then became a LEAF document. What this did ,was plant the germ of an idea that since has recurred often, demanding that this topic be given better attention. Beginning from May 2015 for 6 months we plan to invest energy…
Baring Our Soul- “  Forest for the trees;Trees for the Forest” – The Monograph. The office likes to publish; we do this with some reticence while distributing what we publish, but we publish with a fervor that is rare. All presentations become booklets, all studies become booklets, lectures find themselves in a printed form, and then of course there are a few books that we have lent energies on. Over time this has led many people to suggest that we do a book on the office. It started with a few friends egging us, and then we found the suggestions coming in from good publishing houses. “ Do a book on the Million Garden initiative” “ Do a book on landscape design” “ Do a book on just the idea…
On 27th Feb. last year , we at Spade, conducted an Architects Retreat in Mumbai, where with months of preceding work, we spoke about and discussed animatedly about issues of Practice and Academics. There were about 20 of us, and it was a day of learning and hope. We had all resolved that we would come to the table and only debate possibilities for the future, not lament the past or the present. It was a good day. For the last year, sometimes with a lot of fervor and at others with less, we have worked on putting together the book. Its finally done. And when I read it, what is clear is that this is honest conversation that is very valuable in navigating our profession. I think it will be…
C.A.R.E. at Trichy , hosts an annual architects series. The first time around they had invited  Mohammad Rafiq Azam from Bangladesh. This year its us. This is on 14th December 2014. What is really interesting about this event, is that its perhaps the first time that an architects office is doing an exhibition of works along with the lecture. The office will show  24 projects, hence the name of the exhibition "24 Intercessions" Accompanying the event is a catalogue that has an interview of Aniket Bhagwat conducted by Samira Rathod, an abstract commentary on the firms work by Kaiwan Mehta , and an essay about works by Meghal Arya. The 70 page ; 9"x 9" catalogue also has sketches, examples of drawings, models and pictures of details from various projects.…
Two books by the Future Institute will be available in the next few days.(www.futureinstitute.in) The first is called 201 Acts. This book compiles the entries for the international design competition for Spire Tec in Delhi. It is also accompanied by essays on the issues of growth, design and identity in the Indian context.I believe its a valuable book to see many design thoughts on how can India's urbanity be imagined,along with some food for thought provided by authors like Michael Sorkin, Peter Bossleman etc all. It also has details of an exhibition that was curated by Geeta Wahi Dua , on the Hope Stories of India 201 Acts. ed. Suparna Bhalla & Aniket Bhagwat Price Rs.799.00 Future Institute. . The second book is Destination 100. A little over a year…
On 27th March, Mr. Aniket Bhagwat will give a small talk followed by a discussion with Kaiwan Mehta. Do see details:              
The Architects Retreat , was held at the Yacht's  Club, in Mumbai on 22nd February 2014. The people who were invited and attended were, Meghal Arya , from Ahmedabad who is a senior faculty at CEPT University, and a partner at Arya Associates, Vijay Arya an architect  who has engaged with large-scale public work, Kiran Kapadia from Mumbai who runs a large design firm in Mumbai and has to his credit extremely large commercial and housing developments in the country, Rajeev Kathpalia of Vastu Shilp Foundation who has recently had a dream run, winning some of the most significant competitions in the country, Ashish Bhalla an Architect and a Urban Designer, who heads Vrindian , an India focused real estate and infrastructure fund, Suparna Bhalla , who leads a small but extremely lively…
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