Design Practice

  A few days back we had hosted an eminent group of realtors at Baroda from across the country. Design and real estate seems an unending discourse that is rarely settled satisfactorily. In a country where real estate more than any public or government architecture makes the recognizable fabric of our cities this  discordant note has led to the tardy manner in which our urbanity presents itself. Hard, inhumane, joyless, heavy handed, and with very little civic responsibility and societal ethics. A small monograph was made for the occasion and it had an essay that outlined some of the procedural ills; but having said that, architects and designers are even more responsible for the mess- and its a situation where blame has to be appropriated to all. The monograph had…
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…
  The travails of selling real estate came home to us forcefully in the last few months. We are  rather happily engaged with designing and monitoring the construction of an office building in Baroda that we  in the office called “ The Alchemists Abode” the name referring to the clients metallurgical business interests. The building is  now formally called “ Ark”, in reference to a space where ideas will be safe and nurtured, and the idea of life will live. Parts of the project have been inspired by Paul Klees, 1929  painting “Uncomposed Objects in Space” ( above) The atrium inspired by Klee. The building uses the premise of using the idea of a tense chaos and suspended imbalance and yet denoting  a stillness, as an allegorical reference to life…
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…
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 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…
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.…
Rather so often in design offices, the principal designer gets his name splashed in all glory on every magazine cover and every presentation. I have seen firms started by some one ,changing their names , the moment it changes hands. When a son takes over it becomes  " & Sons" even  when there is only one, or of-course the name is abbreviated so that it becomes an acronym. Rarely do firms actively strive to ensure that the act of taking  credit , is a collective act , and not a singular one. Even when they do,the designers do take all the accolades and a huge amount of other folks often don't get talked about. I know about us; we as a firm would not survive without many people who are…
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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