1. The exhibition highlights the key role architectural journals, books and magazines have played in sustaining the profession’s knowledge infrastructure.
2. The exhibition asks and addresses the questions ‘Does architecture matter? Are architects still relevant in India, and can they contribute in any significant way to a nation-state and a society in extraordinary flux?’
3. An impressive infographic guide maps with mustard, maroon and red dots, the changes in a number of spheres in the architectural profession between 1947 and 2016.
4. We are pleased to report that Bombay is the most prominently featured Indian city in the exhibition’s ‘Book as Archive’ section, with publications Buildings that shaped Bombay (2000) and Bombay Planning and Dreaming (1965).
5. The delicate Maulana Azad Memorial (1960) located between the Jama Masjid and the Red Fort in Delhi and designed by architect Habib Rahman. Many of the structures built in the early independence era have come under increasing threat, a recent article reports.
6. The ingenious Hall of Nations (1971) at Pragati Maidan designed by Raj Rewal Architects, is another example of national architecture that is at the risk of being razed.
7. On the top floor of the exhibition we get a sense of the challenges young architects face in India and their structural solutions to these challenges.
8. These expanding and contracting vectors convey the foreseen and unforeseen challenges and rewards of the architectural profession today.
9. ….and a reward in sight!
10. A photograph of the exhibition’s curators (L-R) Ranjit Hoskote, Rahul Mehrotra and Kaiwan Mehta, featured in the catalogue.
Interiors: Sir Cowasji Jehangir Public Hall (1920)
National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Esplanade Road.
‘The State of Architecture: Practices and Processes in India’ is an outstanding exhibition that surveys the state of the architectural profession in India from 1947 to the present day. It uses three historical milestones — Independence, the Emergency and Liberalisation — to chart the changing role of architecture in India over the decades.
On Level 1 of the Gallery we are made aware of how heavily the early nation state invested in architecture to articulate its aspirations and modernist visions. On Level 2, which moves into the 1970s, we find the state in a flux and the architectural profession operating separately with architects negotiating both tradition and modernity in their works.
On Level 3 we find India engaging in an increasingly globalised world of the 1990s and 2000s and architects exposed to a multiplicity of influences, trends and choices. Here the modern, post modern, folksy and subaltern all find room.
‘The State of Architecture’ is at the NGMA till 20 March 2016 and should not be missed. Follow the exhibition’s Facebook page for an equally impressive list of lectures and events to attend.