Release of The State of Architecture’s Closing Catalogue and The State of Housing’s Inaugural Seminar Report
UDRI and AF
The curators of The State of Architecture: Practices and Processes in India exhibition — held last year between January 6 and March 20 — recently announced the next edition of the exhibition series: The State of Housing and Urbanisation to be held in Mumbai in February 2018 in collaboration with the Architecture Foundation (AF) and the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI). This announcement was made by the curators at a recent event organised at the Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai, to release the closing catalogue for The State of Architecture, as well as the report for the two-day inaugural seminar held on The State of Housing on 3-4 February 2017. The event was structured in two parts — a panel discussion comprising young architecture professionals, moderated by Kaiwan Mehta, followed by a lecture titled ‘Towards a Smart Urban Turn’ by Rahul Mehrotra.
Architects from four young studios of India were invited for a panel discussion to examine the significance and impact of the exhibition on their respective practices, where Mehta drew them out on their individual experiences with regard to the profession. Kapil Gupta from Serie Architects and Ambrish Arora from Studio Lotus discussed how the exhibition was a provocation towards their practices. It helped them step back from the most empirical processes of professional life to a more socially relevant architectural debate. Martand Khosla from Romi Khosla Architects explained the lack of autonomy in the profession of architecture, while Sonal Sancheti of Opolis Architects further elucidated the implications of politics and external agents in architecture, which she believes essentially needs to be changed through a collective endeavour. The discussion concluded with the release of the closing catalogue of the exhibition that is primarily a documentation of the events, lectures, conferences, and parallel exhibitions that took place during the three months of the exhibition, as well as some reflections on the same.
In the lecture that followed, Mehrotra described the need to look at housing in the city as an essential parameter of urbanisation. This is otherwise almost always unaccounted for in state-sponsored development schemes or the vision of any city for the future. He discussed that most of the growth in India would in fact be in smaller cities which have been overlooked as far as the urban studies conducted by the government in recent years to plan for urbanisation are concerned. He suggested that as planners and designers we need to account for the flux in cities across India, and advocated an approach in the design strategy that does not only look at absolute solutions but also understands the transitions that occur within cities of different scales and sizes. Addressing the question of housing through an urban perspective, he communicated the research that the team had been working on, discussing specifically the failures in housing production and the alternative approach crucial to the problem of housing. Mehrotra concluded by elaborating on the research questions that have surfaced from the studies already conducted, and the need for dialogue and debate to gain a clear understanding of the state of housing in India.
The event concluded with Martin Walde, Director of the Goethe Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai, releasing the State of Housing Seminar Report that documents presentations and discussions by various professionals as part of the aforementioned two-day conference held in February this year.
The closing catalogue on The State of Architecture and the report on the inaugural seminar of The State of Housing in India are available for sale at the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), 43, V.B Gandhi Marg, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai.