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…
Architecture in Interesting Times Nirma College of Architecture Foundation Day Keynote Lecture 19th August 2017 Good Afternoon dear students and colleagues. I am told some parents of those who are soon to be young architects or have their wards joining the course are also here. Welcome to our world and greetings to you all too. To the parents I have to say  that if they are worried about what their children will do after they graduate from here, they should not be- architecture and the world of design in general is a wonderful world , and every one touched by it has found a lightness in their steps and a meditative and satisfied smile on their face. Having said this, I must qualify that while my talk may at some…
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.…
Not many know , but the first  landscape programme in India was started  in around 1955- 58  in Khargapur in IIT.  It ran for about 5-6 years ,and then Prof. Bhagwat, who had started it ,  relocated to Ahmedabad and with that the programme closed. Then, was the one in Delhi in the early 70s. He went there as its first HOD , but just did not like the city , and came back to Ahmedabad in a few months. But  he was third time lucky and the one at CEPT that he started in 1993 has stayed its course. In those days  few of us were the enthusiastic workers , and rather so often the task of writing the preamble in the admission posters fell on me.  I did…
It started with that Million Garden Project; one day  we were asking " what is an Indian Garden" and the next day we were writing mails and calling friends, colleagues, old students across the country asking them to send us gardens  from their regions. And slowly  over a year ,we got many. So many that , we had to edit the numbers and that led to a lecture, that was received well across the globe. Then a few years later the bug bit us again, and we asked if we really knew enough about the Indian garden. Loaded and leading the question was; and designed to expose our ignorance. But along with that was a long standing impossible to deny lament. The state of the landscape profession in India continued…
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…
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…
In December 2014 , we had mounted an exhibition at the College at Trichy.  It was an accompaniment to the annual lecture. With the exhibition we attempted to try and establish a new tradition- of practices going to educational institutions , and demonstrating their work and beliefs through many mediums- drawings, models,  words and a visual presentation. It was meant to allow the student the choice of mediums through which to absorb and evaluate the work being presented; not just words , or pictures alone. Domus in one of their recent issues covered this well. Kaiwan in his introduction wrote what we found  was a startlingly  incisive piece, that seemed to suggest a new beginning; an abandoning of ways that we are used to; of asking questions differently. It was…
Professor Prabhakar B. Bhagwat or Bade Sir as he was affectionately called by all, passed away peacefully amidst his immediate family on 14th August 2015. A few months back he spoke to Aniket Bhagwat about his life; an interview that is the high point of a book " Forest for the Trees ; Trees for the Forest" which is about his design firm. The interview: In conversation : Part I Professor P. B. Bhagwat talks to Aniket Bhagwat. Tell me a bit about my grandfather, Bhalchandra V. Bhagwat; How did he learn about gardens; what was his life like? Above: Bhalchandra V. Bhagwat. & Letter of recommendation for B. V. Bhagwat circa 1920 You know him - he was a tall, regal and fair man who always turned out immaculately.…
Shiny at Indian Express reviewed the office book, and did an interview. Do see the article.. The green mile Be it an exaggerated dinosaur bridge in an apartment block, a brick cone that opens itself to the skies in Drum House or undulating brick walls in Devi Art Foundation. Their self-published book, Forest for the Trees; Trees for the Forest, documents projects by the firm. Written by Shiny Varghese | New Delhi | Updated: July 2, 2015 12:17 pm Prabhakar B Bhagwat turned a basalt quarry in Timba, Gujarat, into a self-sustaining forest. His father Bhalchandra V Bhagwat developed the Empress Botanical Gardens, Pune, as its Superintendent. His son, Aniket Bhagwat carries forward the legacy, plating up landscapes with fractals and contrasting geometries. With projects spread across the country, Aniket’s…
On a Rainy Day. In 2007, almost now nearing 8 years- the BATA factory land  in Kolkata started transforming into a new living community. Over time many cultural practices had got entrenched- people traversed the lands, it was full of shops; the local community used its grounds for festivals, or sports; many accessed the river through this land- and of course the many employees of BATA stayed here. For those who know Kolkata , this was the wrong end of the town- a location no one went to. Sumit however was determined to make this an example of what good living could be in the country. He invited good minds; Dulalda ( Mukherjee), Pramod Balakrishnan, Rajeev Kathpalia, Kiran Kapadia and Bimal Patel, to help with designing the various buildings. Great…
Professor P. B. Bhagwat, or Bade Sir to many students and folks in the office, celebrated his 85th birthday on 20th June 2015. It was a Saturday and we spent the afternoon home, talking to him, laughing a lot and      cutting large cakes . Some pictures. And through this post a big thank you to the many many people who called, mailed and sent messages greeting him.      
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…
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.…
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…
In 1993; a few years after I had just started work, with some landscape experience and really no architectural experience, a client who I had done a residential landscape asked me to visit a land he had near town. It was barren. Completely. But had two majestic mango trees on it; the rest of the large land sun scorched and bare.  He wanted to build on it a place to sit; that's all- and did not want to spend much money. I remember seeing the trees, and deciding that I had to build somehow engaging them. The branches were low , and so I finally sunk the ground around it, and built at a diagonal, between the two trees, so as to not disturb the branches. And since the ground…
Louisa Jones the wonderfully humane and generous French landscape thinker and writer  (blog : www.louisajones.fr , Facebook : Louisa Jones Gardens ) mentioned our name to the editor Sarah Gills of the magazine Garden Design Journal from UK.  This is a good thinking magazine , that carries work well and selectively.  The editor approached Darryl Moore a freelance Garden and Landscape Design writer ( http://dmooredesign.blogspot.co.uk/ , Senior Partner Moore Harrison Land Design  www.mooreharrison.com , Cityscapes Director  www.cityscapes.org.uk  )  and a very good writer at that ;  who spent many hours talking to us and did what we believe is a balanced  incisive piece; we are happy to share this with you.      
361 Degrees, an Architectural Conference, is scheduled on 19th-20-21st February 2014 at Mumbai. There are two keynote lectures; one by Prof. B.V. Doshi and the other by Steven Holl, along with a  a host of other speakers . Do find the posters and details of the conference:  
Tushar Desai  for years has done an admirable job of holding together and conducting a very fair and inclusive design competition for the Indian Institute of Interior Designers (IIID), that just gets bigger and better each day. With Bimal Mistry now joining the effort its got even better. This year they published for the first time a year book, that compiled all the winning entries for 2012. Its a valuable publication. When putting it together they  requested an essay and gave me no time lines, and so I dashed it off to him in a day . It did not make the cut; and I understand what rejection is . :-). Do read it. The essay is a tongue in cheek comment on Interior Design in India today. The last…
The schedule for the 4th International Cultural Landscapes Symposium is finalized. December 14th-15th. Ahmedabad. W: www.inculs4.in E:inculs4@gmail.com Be a good idea to clear your calenders and come; promises to be good thinking fare.
Australian Landscape Conference 2013 20th – 23rd September 2013 in Melbourne, Australia DESIGN FOR THE FUTURE: Models from the Old World, Challenges for the New SPEAKERS • ANIKET BHAGWAT from India • JUAN GRIMM from Chile • LOUISA JONES from France • RAYMOND JUNGLES from USA Florida • KEN SMITH from USA New York • TOSHIO WATANABE from Japan and Britain • PAUL BANGAY & SIMON GRIFFITHS from Australia • ANNE LATREILLE from Australia • PETER WATTS from Australia Lectures By Aniket Bhagwat 21st Sept, 2013, Saturday - Million Gardens from an old country 22nd Sept, 2013, Sunday - For 1.20 billion people - Garden tales from India To see more: www.landscapeconference.com
The local chapter of the Indian Institute of Architects in Ahmedabad started a new lecture series that  invited design practices that were two generations or older, to talk about what does design lineage mean, and to ask how such firms evolve. M/s.Prabhakar B. Bhagwat, was the first in the series. It was an hour long presentation that talked about the genesis of the firm, showed some representative work, and also saw many members of the design team taking the stage and sharing their experience of working in the firm. Ms. Samira Rathod of SRDA: Mumbai, conducted the proceedings. Prof. P. B. Bhagwat and Aniket Bhagwat took the stage together and talked to each other, interrupted each other, corrected each other  in what many felt  was a moment  in design  history. Some…
The making of space without the romance of art is just a distressing idea. After all, the food for our souls rests in the succor provided by friends, family, the comfort of doing well in what we do, being  in good health- but also in engagement with art, culture and music. As designers of space, we are presented the opportunity to engage with this realm every day- and yet many of us shy away from it, or have a very tentative unconvincing affair with it, or just have an overtly labored cerebral manner of dealing with it, and rather so often also, reject it, in the belief that we do not know enough. A lightness in the step, and a song in the heart is a good way to enjoy…
When I was about 17 years old, I awoke to the real fact of what my father did for a living. Having joined the local architecture school, and with little real interest in design, I at least decided to be a responsible son, and started accompanying him on his site visits when I could. There are something’s that one remembers vividly as images whilst growing up- it’s imprinted in your mind forever. Most vivid amongst them for me, were the days when he would do planting in a project. We would reach the site early at dawn, I riding at the back of his white Lambretta- GJE-371. Sometimes it was a large house, at others, the yard of a factory. Waiting at the site would be many laborers. A large…
Cities grow, Cities build, The rock is cut, The mountains are diminished. The Western Ghats are located along the western coast of India and separate the high Deccan plateau from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea. The mountain range starts from Gujarat and covers a total length of around 1600 km; culminating eventually at Kanyakumari district. Along the entire length, it forms large catchment areas for a number of lakes and water bodies. The many sided landscape and the heavy rainfall have made certain areas inaccessible and have helped in preserving the diversity of the region, making it one of the world’s critical biodiversity hotspots.       For a landscape of an office building terrace,  we saw on site  a deep cut in the rocks exposing  the…
For enquiries please contact landscapeindia@usa.net This document will be published under the auspices of ‘LEAF’; the research arm ofM/s. Prabhakar B. Bhagwat. For the past four years now, ‘LEAF’ has been engaged in primary research by engaging and encouraging students through a twelve week research internship.
Luis Barragan once said, “a perfect garden – no matter what its size – should enclose nothing less than the entire universe.” Gardens and Landscapes create opportunities to poetically connect with the world, regardless of their size or location. Many of us might have either seen or experienced such spaces – this study invites you to help catalogue them to discover a new universe right where we are. - Kavita Rayirath (http://indianbydesign.wordpress.com/) LEAF invites contributors for a collaborative investigation. These are their requirements. “We are looking to document gardens and landscapes that: 1. Are stunning examples of external place making. This implies that there is a deliberate, human intervention and not a place that has evolved ‘naturally’ over time. 2. These places have to have a very strong spatial character…
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