30 Aug

An Identity Crisis for Indian Architecture

Our built environment is the most tangible record of our existence, our lifestyle and our heritage. Indian architecture has stood the test of time for centuries, but with globalization and modernism, it is slowly and steadily losing its identity. Embracing modern architecture is not an anomaly, but more like a gradual disconnection from our roots and identity. Modernity is always welcome if it comes with better solutions to deal with climate, habitation, space, and urbanisation. However, completely leaving our legacy behind is like leaving our home and renting out space in another’s dwelling place.

Bringing Back The Lost Heritage of Indian Architecture

A reconciliation of both indigenous methods and modern technology is what seems to be the best solution. A unique blend that combines the valid knowledge of international standards with relevant traditional architectural methods. Such an approach would achieve the best of both worlds while subsisting with the cultural nuances of the Indian architecture.

Why Le Corbusier was called the father of Modern Architecture in India is evident from his works. His creations were progressive and yet a bit archaic in approach. Nehru’s dream city ‘Chandigarh’ was designed by Le Corbusier, which is still one of the best planned cities in India. Then came Kahn, whose influence was also substantial in the 1960s. He is the architect of Indian Institute of Management (IIM Ahmedabad). His works too, like Le Corbusier, were stimulated by ancient Indian traditions and architecture. Asian Games Village designed by architect Raj Rewal, has also gained international recognition as a fine combination of modern housing and Rajasthani havelis. Charles Correa was another architect who fused the best of modern and Indian vernacular architecture to design the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad.

Examples are many, solutions are galore. If the combined intelligence and culture of the West and the East can create magic, why chase only modernity and forget our identity?