Debunking Common Cultural Misconceptions About Creativity

‘Creativity’ is today’s choicest term. And yet much mysticism has come to cloud this word over time. Unlike the illusive imagery that accompanies the pronouncement of this word – I’m thinking of hair suspended in a perpetual state of static, of feverish dances with paint on canvas, and of heads in ovens – creativity is a…read more

The Musical Mosaics of Maati Baani: Redefining Collaboration in a Technological Age

On the power of music to build connections and shape resistance.   To say that the Indian band Maati Baani is pioneering the new music scene would not be an over-statement. The spirited couple that is Nirali and Kartik, who hail from Ahmedabad, recently came into the limelight as their cover for Michael Jackson’s ‘Heal…read more

The King and the Little Man: K.G. Subramanyan’s Illustrated Fable About How Power Blinds Us to Reality

A gentle prod to remember the “forgotten song”, in a world filled with noise.   K.G. Subramanyan was one of the most diverse artists of his time, traversing an entire breadth of human engagements through his work – from scholarly forays in academics, to the child-like crafting of picture books. In his collection of witty and satirical children’s books, the self-proclaimed…read more

Drawing to Remember: The Gift of Pause and the Benefits of Keeping a Sketchbook

The elusive illustrator-urbanist behind “Of Ink and Yellow Memories,” Neelakshi Rathore, discusses the inward versus outward worlds of a creative.    Most people start out drawing by copying things. Or they draw things as they appear before them. But for Neelakshi Rathore, things became really interesting when she began to draw things as she remembered them – when she could see a place that she…read more

“Social Media is Our Ammunition Against Apathy”: Harnidh Kaur on the War of Poetry

Interview with a 21-year old poet about creativity and healing, the power of words, and why kinder intentions make for better poetry. I was happy to grab an excuse to meet the spirited Harnidh Kaur, whom I encountered first at the “25 Under 25 Grand Summit” of Campus Diaries. Though I barely had a chance…read more

Humanising Prisons for a Better World: A TEDx Talk on the Architecture of Incarceration

As a long-standing admirer of the TED platform – that has connected me virtually to so many soul-shaping ideas and inspiring personalities – I was thrilled to receive the opportunity to speak at TEDxBhilwara. Although I am no prison architect or activist or volunteer (at least not yet), I accepted the invitation as an opening to give voice…read more

Comics for Activism: An Urbanist Explores the “Architecture of the Page”

How comics can be a medium for social change.    With the invention of the television, photography and the internet, our love of pictures has grown dramatically over the last century. While bibliophiles lament the resultant loss in reading habits today, a medium does exist that bridges this proverbial divide – relying on the strengths…read more

Door in the Wall: How Art is Redefining Therapy for the Differently Abled

How traditional societies understood the therapeutic role of art, and what educators and therapists today can achieve with it.   “Art for art’s sake” is the famous translation of a French slogan that saw art as being an autonomous thing that has no other purpose or aim but to be for itself. Philosopher Alain de Botton…read more

When Architecture meets Service – A Journey in Working with Non-Profits

One young architect’s mission to pay it forward.    If this year’s Pritzker selection of Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, known for his socially conscious designs, as awardee, and the Venice Biennale theme (“Reporting From the Front”) are anything to go by, it’s becoming evermore important to discuss architecture in terms of its social relevance. And…read more

Is There a Gandhian Way of Making Architecture and Place? A Case of the Sabarmati Ashram

On the relevance of walks and quiet for the cultivation of wholesomeness.    When he was well into his seventies and with forty years of building behind him, Laurie Baker came to the conclusion that Gandhi is “the only leader in our country who has talked consistently with common sense about the building needs of…read more

Debunking Common Cultural Misconceptions About Creativity

‘Creativity’ is today’s choicest term. And yet much mysticism has come to cloud this word over time. Unlike the illusive imagery that accompanies the pronouncement of this word – I’m thinking of hair suspended in a perpetual state of static, of feverish dances with paint on canvas, and of heads in ovens – creativity is a…read more

The King and the Little Man: K.G. Subramanyan’s Illustrated Fable About How Power Blinds Us to Reality

A gentle prod to remember the “forgotten song”, in a world filled with noise.   K.G. Subramanyan was one of the most diverse artists of his time, traversing an entire breadth of human engagements through his work – from scholarly forays in academics, to the child-like crafting of picture books. In his collection of witty and satirical children’s books, the self-proclaimed…read more

Drawing to Remember: The Gift of Pause and the Benefits of Keeping a Sketchbook

The elusive illustrator-urbanist behind “Of Ink and Yellow Memories,” Neelakshi Rathore, discusses the inward versus outward worlds of a creative.    Most people start out drawing by copying things. Or they draw things as they appear before them. But for Neelakshi Rathore, things became really interesting when she began to draw things as she remembered them – when she could see a place that she…read more

Comics for Activism: An Urbanist Explores the “Architecture of the Page”

How comics can be a medium for social change.    With the invention of the television, photography and the internet, our love of pictures has grown dramatically over the last century. While bibliophiles lament the resultant loss in reading habits today, a medium does exist that bridges this proverbial divide – relying on the strengths…read more

Door in the Wall: How Art is Redefining Therapy for the Differently Abled

How traditional societies understood the therapeutic role of art, and what educators and therapists today can achieve with it.   “Art for art’s sake” is the famous translation of a French slogan that saw art as being an autonomous thing that has no other purpose or aim but to be for itself. Philosopher Alain de Botton…read more

When Architecture meets Service – A Journey in Working with Non-Profits

One young architect’s mission to pay it forward.    If this year’s Pritzker selection of Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, known for his socially conscious designs, as awardee, and the Venice Biennale theme (“Reporting From the Front”) are anything to go by, it’s becoming evermore important to discuss architecture in terms of its social relevance. And…read more

Raw Art: Writer Esther David on the Usefulness of Art as Therapy

In conversation with the Sahitya Akademi awardee on her explorations with untutored artists in prisons, slums and hospitals of Ahmedabad.   Art can often express what language cannot. A previous article had explored how our constant under-estimation of art is critically threatening our potential to become more ‘complete human beings’. In this light, it was inspiring…read more

What India’s Stepwells Tell Us About History’s Forgotten Feminine

On the connection between water and women, as conveyed by the architectural marvels of Gujarat.   In the book ‘The Alphabet Versus the Goddess’, Leonard Shlain eloquently argues that the worship of the goddess was a ubiquitous ancient phenomenon world-over, and that male gods rose quite suddenly to usurp their thrones. The book strongly makes a case for…read more

What Neuroscience Can Tell Us About the Experience of Architecture

“We make our buildings and afterwards our buildings make us.”   In 1848, a railroad construction supervisor called Phineas Gage met with a tragic accident, lending to neuroscience perhaps its most famous case. An iron rod pierced Gage’s head, destroying much of his frontal lobe — a part of the brain that houses long term…read more

The Death of Critical Enquiry: Is Neoliberalism Ushering in an Age of Conformity?

What the increasing dismissal of the Humanities implies about our culture at large.    Recently in Japan, humanities departments have come under attack. The government has ordered universities to discontinue these departments and shift focus, instead, towards fields with ‘greater utilitarian values’. Not only does this seem alarming, but it is indicative of a trend that…read more

Building With Debris: How We Can Save the Earth by Recycling Demolition Waste

What happens in India to the tonnes of construction and demolition waste produced as a result of increasing urbanisation? We build and build to meet the needs of a burgeoning population – roads, flyovers, houses – ever aspiring towards the “American dream”. But how can our earth’s natural resources meet this gap between demand and…read more

The Creative Benefits of Keeping a Sketchbook

On cultivating the capacity for observation and imagination through sketching. Here are six pointers for anybody looking to trap those slippery ideas, illustrated through sketches of architecture students of Ahmedabad’s CEPT University.   While many writers have elaborated on the creative benefits of keeping a diary, designers likewise will tell you about the creative benefits of…read more

20 Films that Explore Relationships between Place, Time and the Body

Shared themes between cinema and architecture compiled in an essential list exploring space, time and embodied experience.   […] by moving physically through the architectural space, the human gaze defines and orders different points of view, thus realising a mental assembly similar to that of the cinematic experience. Vice versa, in a cinema, the spectator mentally…read more

How Architecture Students are Revamping Indian Cities With Colour and Play

Interactive interventions in cities across India impart life into public spaces through creative use of colours, oil tins, tyres and recycled waste. These are some of the thoughtful and meaningful ways in which students have sought to interact with their cities, and reclaim public space for the people.   Commuters travelling via the Andheri metro…read more