Friday, 25 December 2015

Indian Architecture- III

Secular Architecture
The colonial attention towards Indian architecture was mainly focused towards religious buildings and hence there is much scholarship in this area. In recent times, the secular production of India is gaining the attention it merits. Cities of the desert region in the North such as Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, towns such as Srirangam in Tamil Nadu evolving around the temple as nucleus, the stepped wells of Gujarat, the vernacular architecture of the warm, humid area of Kerala- all these are unique in their response to socio-cultural and geographic context.

Architecture under the Colonial Rule
With colonization, a new chapter began. Though the Dutch, Portuguese and the French made substantial forays, it was the English who had a lasting impact.
The architecture of the colonial period varied from the beginning attempts at creating authority through classical prototypes to the later approach of producing a supposedly more responsive image through what is now termed Indo-Saracenic architecture- a mixture of Hindu, Islamic and Western elements. Institutional, civic and utilitarian buildings such as post offices, railway stations, etc., began to be built in large numbers over the whole empire. Perhaps the most famous example is the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) in Mumbai, originally named in honor of Queen Victoria. The creation of New Delhi in early 20th century with its broad tree lined roads and majestic buildings generated lots of debate on what should be an appropriate architecture for India.

Post-independence architecture of India
With the introduction of Modern Architecture into India and later with Independence, the quest was more towards progress as a paradigm fuelled by Nehru’s visions. The planning of Chandigarh- a city where most architects hate/love- by Le Corbusier was considered a step towards this. Later as modernism exhausted itself in the West and new directions were sought for, in India too there was a search for a more meaningful architecture rooted in the Indian context. This direction called Critical Regionalism is exemplified in the works of architects such as B.V. Doshi, Charles Correa, etc.,

Indian architecture as it stands today is a pluralistic body of production that cannot in all justice be exemplified by the approaches, buildings and architects cited above. It has evolved over the centuries and has been affected by numerous invaders who have brought different styles from their motherlands. But it is an unavoidable fact that certain expressions tend to get magnified and others reduce when set against the vast canvas of the world.


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