Sunday, December 19, 2010


Every culture strives for its identity by mean of architectural manifestation. Their formal language often depicts the nature of porosity that any culture ready to absorb by new means in conversation with global imperatives. It is difficult to comment on aspiration of any such endeavor but its very approach that designer solemnly aspired to bring about value system that align itself to its own can be questionable.

The National museum at Yilan is an exciting building from stand point of general perception and similar architectural concern. Firstly by its context and secondly by its language. The building contextually sits close to coastal region visibly connected to island which once had strategic significance in WW II. The island has tapering natural form which has some psychological significance locals.

The architect has almost imbibe the natural form the the island. The formal language of museum is reminiscent of high modernism of 1960's esthetically reminder of early work of I.M Pei and Philip Johnson. The form is precisely chiseled out with precision of almost close to aircraft technology. Every detail of building is destined to follow the matrix that has be set by the system. Its some kind of involute trap that high modernist were engulfed. Every metal panel and granite slabs fits accuretely as it can be in it's position with no margin of error.

As one enters the main atrium space, its very appearance that why and how all high modernist fell into trap of being subservient to geometry as language. However the contrast of naturally litted attrium space dominates the museum but entire diplay areas strangely litted by artificial lights. It brings about the argument that how architecture can problematised its own existance. The most naturally aspired form resort on most artificial condition to exist, withing which formal language and materiality is suspended.

Is architecture destined to last or is it an temporary experiment on our value system...? my concern are always mediated among realities that what are the architectural metaphors & aspirations are for....? what are the value system that we strive for....? What multi-disciplinary destined for...? can't architecture exist itself without any external props...? can't space itself be its own metaphors of architecture.....? However urgent the needs of architects to express oneself....or use external support system of multi-disciplinarian nature......the streets are definitely not the laboratory for the experiments.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Architecture is most dynamic form of art whose limits are pushed beyond its boundary defined by its predecessor. It is very often derives its momentum from global forces and aspiration. The priority that one exercise depends on various traits that shapes individual and our cultural aspiration. The momentum that modernism exerted on globalism resulted in virtue of presence of building but absence of language. It is global imperatives that perhaps shapes our social and cultural priority thus architecture. The more such imperative that exerts pressure on our culture… harder that architecture finds it be container of values of our time and region. The contemporary trend in global architecture is seemingly about delimiting formal process from the clutches of tight compartmentalized modernism and subsequently aided by technology. This apparently is very anti modernist stage setting whose virtues are reinventing notion of urbanism and architecture to its mainstream of structured living pattern. Perhaps modernists were pushed to be reactive as against the clutches of classical thought and series of wars resulted in destruction of daily life. The contemporary thoughts have immense possibilities to exist and perhaps disguise of being anti-modern would be the last the priority.

The architecture and urbanism of Taichung and Yilan are not far from such contemporary though pattern. Hwang architecture is about its region... it’s about contemporary life yet regionally appropriate… its about daily ritual… its about pushing modernism to its more appropriateness... and its about questioning global trends of formal narcissism that are about to devour cities/region and cultural diversity.. It’s about positions against such form for every where and nowhere.

The series of walks that are set up across the various locations in Yilan had strange notion to create public realm by connecting the disjointed/micro/public realm into larger disjointed macro public realm. These interventions bring about stage experience of city which could be revealed as multi dimensional experience rather that codified language of formal and informal. The series of walkways not only acknowledging the hidden and mundane architecture but also brings about the significance of such building from socio-economic point of view. The series of trails are seemingly disjointed yet are well orchestrated as large structure. It’s analogically a classical music where each player is purifying or elaborating the next but individually significant.. Yet collectively profound.
- The idea of recreating residual space under the bridge emanates the new language and concern of public realm and eco system. The series of unprecedented forms are results of various objects that are discarded or ignored from daily rituals are finding its new appropriateness in public realm.
- The walkway along towards the railway station has been created by pushing the edge beyond the road yet allowing the individual block as a part of walk revealing its existence from its privateness to its publicness. This brings about strange experiences of seeing discarded or abandoned private realm as part of public realm. The trails passes through existing units some are intact while some are left with walls as traces. The series of public functions are introduces as a part of re-educating oneself about city through series of disjointed private/public realm.

- The tree space is a larger container resulting from series of small public domain. Its strategic location opposite station is a magnet that brings people from station and surrounding areas. It also act as a catalyst like a bow which is not dynamic by its presence but allows its counter part to project further by pulling it back. The large public realms in city are great moment for pause and pull back.

- The trails pick up series of such private/public realm including temples/malls/winery to bring about nature of cities that would be conducive for socially plausible urban realm.

The series of trail flows into the basement parking unassumingly a public realm hovering over and leaving no traces of what it is hinging on. It’s like giant parasite about to devour its parental body. The architectural program is reinvented as various public functions. The language is perhaps high key in nature but material palate is low key in nature i: e wood/stone/steel. It celebrates strange nature of domesticity within the guise of public realm- almost analogous to the relation between trails and objects. The stack wood walls supported by steel super structure and walls and floor finished with cement situ has something to relate to its predecessor. The language is trying to bring about hidden values of the locale architecture.

The climax of trail is large public building with large open space by two building and connected through bridges. The language is locale and pervasive contextually. The large open space have staircase that act as connector among the domesticated public realm-semi public realm to large public domain i: e river front. The bridge that is connected by staircase brings people to larger container with some sense of ecstatic urban experience. The domesticated language of public building now slowly transform into convoluted bridge to the side of river. There are series of small intervention on both side of river as landscape exercise. However it is very difficult to distinguish the extreme territories of what is architecture or landscape or urbanity. The pedestrian bridge is again a parasite to the main bridge gives new meaning beyond its existence as pure functional presence i: e relation between people and river/ relation between city and river and river edge as urban space. The various objects are significantly detailed out from similar material palate and offers rich grains of tactile/ tectonic/ visual experience. The project is very significant from the position of how individuality of building and architecture can begin to define urbanity at large by such gestures.

The architecture of cemetery negotiates the terrain of hill in Yilan. The building stands out on hillock as if terrain was haunted for its appropriateness. The series of levels as undisciplined as it can get receives plinth of the building and residual front as terrace. The building has concrete walls/ pleated surfaces finished in grey slate stone quarried from China where urn with ashes can be kept almost in a manner of pigeon holes and has pebble & concrete floor. The terraces are retaining walls resulting from leveling are embanked with stone procured from the site. The concrete roof edging out the walls are almost animates the natural setting of terrain and sky. The mist raises often leaving traces of only stone embankment wall/ grey walls/ hovering roof profile almost suggesting the architecture metamorphic regeneration as profound natural process.
The resultant architecture is a rare combination of sinuous and experiential. The front of sever few blocks are design as a public park. The act of building such architecture is important from the position that society is ready to accept ideal of last rituals as suitable for architecture to exist. The questions that arises out of such act that culture that are grappling hand in hand with global forces are willing to write their own architecture and program as explicitly and ready to overlay new value system to their traditional thought pattern.

Friday, November 12, 2010


As i arrived in Taiwan; did not have enough understanding of past experiences of our exchange programe. However to my surprise i was asked to give talk on traditional cities of India. I am definitely not an expert on this subject matter but tried my best of eight hours of preparation to put to gether. I looked at the idea of Living Traditional Cities of India emphasizing the evolutionalry process based on certain principle and belief to recent readjustment that city goes through. I showed two cities: Jaipur and Madurai. Both the cities are similar in nature except the geographical location. But the most interesting thing was the nature of transformation that geography exerts on city is something to look at. Its quiet a revealing that city behaves its own was and intentions are in its own way. Perhaps it should be relooked again from academics point of veiw and take it to the studio assignment. We are very limited with our thoughts in terms of Metros and particualry Mumbai. The reasons are plenty but concerns are seems to be out of biases. I hope exchange program always looks at geographical India rather than Metros aspired and destined to be west.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


The trip to Srilanka came up with low expectation but ended with deep impression about the terrain/ people. Srilanka has abundand naturaly gifted situations. The east and west with coastal region while central has mix of plane and mountains. The Batticulao city was real surprise as it has been hidden all these years behing the shadow of war and now suddenly opened up as a potential for tourism and other economic opportunity of lime base industry. It is yet to be seen the transformation that Batticulao goes through over the period ten years. Within the context of its socio-cultural morphing of various regions.. the natural setting... the issue of small town destined to be a large agglormeration of various economic activity and people shall be a challannge to the governing authority. However the impression of Srilanka as what is was and what is now are two opposite sides of perception.

Friday, October 29, 2010


The IUDI seminar on thesis at Ahemdabad brings about several issues related to the discipline of Urban Design that are central to debate all the time. The very nature of design domain activity is appeared to be relegated to secondary in most of the cases. The first session on place making/imageability had two cases hinging their argument on theory which were manufactured in 1966 and discarded during my day's of post-graduation studies. However George's thesis stands out on the ground that it scans the daily/routine/mundane experiences which are perhaps overlooked or ignored as and experiences embedded with ecstacy as momentary laspe of memory. its an interesting tools for analysis of urban form. It also brings out the conflicting ideology that brings about by forces that being exerted on us and responses that are manifested. Some time the responses are balancing to the stumuli or sometime they neutralizes each other by cancelling each other out. But not very rare the responses aer exhilarating in nature brings about excitment value to the urban experiences. The thesis hinges itself through the lense of phenomenology.

The second session on cities and memory examines the socialy relevent or imagine place making construction thorough memory. The first case seems to look at memory as a static or object and perhaps memory would be aesthetisised in the design process. The formulative approach that attempts to revive exp. western classical music through series of electronic keyboards give rise to the composer like yanni. How do we critique such endeavours or what are the tools that are central to critique of such effrots. Ginella' s thesis is obviously stands out on the ground that tools are extremly analytical in nature. she hinges her argument on the idea that "city is a palimsest. i:e imperfect erasure. In the process of erasing it leaves traces of past for successor. Ther also exist static and kinetic/ physical and metaphysical experiences at any given time. Hence qualifying memory as kinetic and not static as in previous case.

It also an attempt to have discourse on issue that inform urban form through the lense of conservation. i:e how new paradigm decline the predecessor and how predecessor becomes a palimsest for the successor. The metamorphic process is a collection of conflicting ideology.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


The day that perhaps embedded for years to come, as recent as just now & perhaps as not real as it can. But its reality & it may take as many years to accept & get embedded deep within psych. Still fresh memory of coming back from institute, desperately stopped by every signal on way, waiting for it to let go. How is that such pre-moment are lapsed & new reality surfaces perhaps undesirable reality that we are forced to live with. The moment of anxiety, the sigh of relief & ruthless reality within next moment. Its a moment that was feared for years but waiting not to emerge & suddenly that abbeys. It may be rather circumstances that is not pardonable or its absence that is not acceptable.. not able to reason out that... its famous Hitler quote that Use emotion for many & reserve reason for few... it is perhaps exactly reverse that fight is for emotion for few & reason for many.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Perhaps the most unknown figure among architecture fraternity is Akhil Dadkar. Akhil Dadkar was a product of Bandra School of Architecture & completed planning from CEPT. in late seventies. I had my first encounter with him, back in 1986 in Group Seven Office. The few project model on display showed some modernist virtues with strange blend of Indian architectonics. I began to inquire with some innocent question, behind the frail, beard personality i received some interesting explanation, which are still fresh in my mind. I thing those explanation are my first lesson in architecture. He has always remained silent about his work & remain committed to his way of working. Its strange that today we build one project & chase world out for its visibility while Akhil remained silent & covered right through out. His first project of private house had blatant modernity of corbusier one side while distinctly exploring indigenousness & aspiration on other side. His project at Nashik also brought crucial aspect of sustainability, cultural references & history of architectural forms. It is indeed sad that Akhil Dadkar is no more with us. He had almost decided to take a bow as silently as his architecture.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The jury performances are always remain inadequate, when one look at only final product. However this year jury managed to raise that queries to level of acceptability. The overall work has been satisfactory however quality of design queries vs quality of architecture has alway been uncomfortable.







Wednesday, April 14, 2010


The jury went with few notes as i began to question many things that may bring the discourse of abstraction in center. The ideal of representation & concreteness are duality within which entire idea of manifestation oscillates. The notion of academics is real vs real than perhaps we are limited by choices but if real is abstracted than choices are given new identity of attitude. I think the attitude is which brings entire discourse of design discipline in focus. Can urban responses are as abstract as responses of self within urban?.. The work produced by the batch was phenomenal, & had enough substance to bring discussion of urbanity in some sense. The idea of seeking urbanity in housing is rather difficult task, yet they all understood the concern if not responses.

I thing we need to ask right question on such issues...
- what is urban
- what is not urban
- what is urbanity that need to design
- what is urban edge
- is that anything that is non-urban
- is urban a process...
- is urban a collective ideal
- is urbanity has order
- can urbanity be time bound

I feel issues of such nature can bring some more values is shaping our notion of urban.

Monday, January 25, 2010


The undisciplined city conference on 30/11/09 had some interesting views & interpretation of our city that are going through rigorous transformation. The list of deformities that surfaces through rationlization of our cities are beyond the scope of even multi-disciplinary approaches we talk about. The undisciplined etymology is the store of such deformities.

  • Legal deficit
  • Delienation deficit
  • deman deficit
  • demand ssesment
  • stake holder assesment
  • undisciplined legislative/ power/ politics/ economy
  • undisciplined gentrification
  • undisciplined linguistic territorial demand
  • autonomous processes
  • unintended city
  • Intentions & contentions
  • Building cities from outside
  • urbanity "a state of mind", urbanism "a object of mind"
  • is conteporary urbanism a new found confusion?
  • disciplinary confinement
  • contested trajectory
  • urban society going out of disciplinary constitution
  • beyond city bound.

Monday, January 18, 2010


The metaphor that attached with east is rising & perhaps manifested somewhere in our rituals & our cultural manifestation. The east is histoically a historical, that cannot be slightest exaggeration in that since we are facinated by narrative more than monuments. We have limited discussion on the very idea of east, especially from western biases. Perhaps the argument of east have never delve more deeply into their interpretation of form, sources, intentions, meaning. Hence there are inherent risk in any attempt to evaluate current tendencies that our cities manifesting without bases to rationalize transformation. The filter of east is perhaps inhibiting the process since the colonial stigma, British legacy still lingers with our socio-cultural processes that shapes our cities. Hence east is perhaps analogy from western centric thought who tried to renewed the Raj legacy from the nostalgic perspective of current fashion.

Our attempt appears to be partial appraisal extends to the historical context from which the expression of our cities evolving. From our external perspective it appears that certain presumptions regarding the cultural history of (east) and in its contacts with other cultures in contemporary world may yeild intriguing & deceptive assumptions.

Monday, January 11, 2010


The cyclical route to Saurashtra seems analogus to cyclical notion of time that exist in our memory. The travelling distance of 2000 km appeared like one cinema with several character, each is individual yet bounded by larger theme. The Saurashtra has architecture, which are distorted & defaced along the time, yet pride to exist with distorted hisotory is visible among people.

" perforated timewall has distorted the time memory, yet it is familiar"

"that scatterd memory through time wall seems familiar"

"that hidden lapsed memory overshadowed by brocken building seems familiar as well"

"time has no respect for age, every building that rose with time is destined & perhaps thats the form of time"

"the form of buildings are distorted & defaced yet the ideality in existance with time also seems familiar"

SMART CITY MISSION: New Urban Paradigm of Imagination or Perception

The recent time has seen the shift in urban planning concerns of our cities, especially second tier cities. The emerging paradigm...