This Travelling Exhibition on the ‘Death of Architecture’ Provokes You to Demand Better Cities and Places

13 architects from around India raise their voices in critique, mourn the dying city and reminisce about forgotten beauty in this first-of-its-kind exhibition. When I heard that an exhibition called the ‘Death of Architecture’ was coming to Mumbai, I braced myself for an onslaught of provocations. On entering the hall of exhibits, I was greeted […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

“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 […]

Humanising Prisons for a Better World: My 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Neelkanth Chhaya on the Systematisation of Education and the Commodification of Architecture

“This university was conceived as an adventure.”   Every once in a while, somebody delivers a speech that magically transports us across the ocean of humanity through the prism of our personal experiences. Prof Neelkanth Chhaya’s lecture at Ahmedabad’s CEPT University in the February of 2015, was such a speech. Drawing upon a web of observations, his speech […]

Leonard Shlain on How the Alphabet Triggered Patriarchy and Consequently, Madness

And what today’s ‘civilization of the image’ is doing to rewire our brains and restructure gender dynamics    As a hoarder of images and words, I was immediately drawn to Leonard Shlain’s book The Alphabet Versus the Goddess – a bold exploration into the interplay between words and images throughout history, and their subsequent impact on […]

Inhuman Architecture: Calling for an Architecture of the Senses

We have for centuries sought to replace experience with knowledge. What a spare world we now live in! – Hugo Kuekelhaus My personal conflict with the profession of architecture began months into my third year of undergraduate studies. I became repulsed by the profession because it is essentially highly materialistic in nature – bordering often on narcissisms […]

Mircea Eliade on “the Sacred and the Profane” in Architecture

“It is sacred time that makes possible the other time, ordinary time.” In a desacralized world that has surged forth from an advocacy for a machine age built on rational thought and purported ‘freedom’ from the past, Mircea Eliade’s excellent book The Sacred and The Profane: The Nature of Religion produces a strong narrative regarding our […]

From the 3 R’s to the 3 C’s in Education: Curiosity, Curation and Creativity

The art of curation isn’t about the individual pieces of content, but about how these pieces fit together, what story they tell by being placed next to each other, and what statement the context they create makes about culture and the world at large. – Maria Popova, Brain Pickings As a child, one hoarded seemingly […]

How the Gothic Spirit Enthralled the Architectural World for Nine Centuries

A brief history of the eternal style.   Over the course of the history of Western architecture, diverse movements representative of the spirit of their times have captivated the collective creative imagination.  Every such movement clamours for an identity, represents certain ideologies and philosophies, and ultimately respectfully gives way to the next evolutionary step. What remains […]