Re­lease of The State of Ar­chi­tec­ture’s Clos­ing Cat­a­logue and The State of Hous­ing’s In­au­gu­ral Sem­i­nar Re­port


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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.

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