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.…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
A thin strip , edges  South America on its western edge. It is like a line etched on the edge of a mammoth land mass, nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountain. Amongst many others, the Easter Islands belong to this country, and also parts of the Antarctica. Its northern edge has deserts rich in copper, the centre with agricultural resources, the south with forests, lakes and volcanoes. This is Chile. The landscape is stunning, surreal , poetic and can make great art blush. I  saw it for the first time , a couple of weeks back. On a large screen, sometimes accompanied by soulful music, a landscape architect from Chile, revealed its magic. He struggled with English, but it did not matter, since the passion in his…
It was the summer of 2006 and I was counting my last days in the landscape course at CEPT. While I was chatting with my colleague in the studio, my cell phone rang and I saw “Aniket sir” calling. The moment I attended the call, I was asked about my game plan for the future. I could not tell him then, but just by making the call, he had already ruined my plans. Exactly two years before the call, I was comfortably working in a big firm in Delhi and life was easy. Somehow for several reasons, the words; green, trees and flowers started fascinating me and I thought to myself that it’s a world that I could easily try my hand with. All it would take is some understanding…
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…
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