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Architecture and Independence: The Search for Identity - India, 1880 to 1980

Jon Lang (Author) Madhavi Desai (Author) Miki Desai (Author)
Synopsis This book examines Indian architecture in the context of the fight for and attainment of Independence. It traces the patterns of architecture since the founding of the Indian National Congress in the 1880s, exploring the impact of political ideology on the built environment. The authors provide the antecedents as well an idea of the impact of architectural work in newly independent India on subsequent work. Deliberate attempts to exert an Indian identity through the built environment began primarily with the growth of Indian nationalism under British rule, attempts which had to combat imperialistic ideas both political and architectural, as well as international movements in architecture. With the attainment of Independence certain questions clamoured for solution. How could a new world be invented and how could architecture strive to reflect it? Should it reject or embrace the past? Two basic trends have been discernible throughout--one of looking forward to the creation of a new future largely rejecting the past, and the other of looking to the past for inspiration. The primary concern in this volume is with the iconography of the signs and symbols of a culture. In a study of the role of architecture as a cultural phenomenon, various aspects become important. The book thus examines ordinary buildings (which generally would not qualify as 'architecture') rather than simply the architectural monuments. Several issues are explored: universalism and regionalism, modernism and revivalism, the impact of master architects from the West, the complexity of Indian culture as well as the colonial will for imposition, the rise of the architectural profession, the transformation of aesthetic styles and the overall impact of buildings on the urban landscape. This profusely illustrated book depicts the extraordinarily rich architectural antecedents in India as well as the independence of spirit that is beginning to show in recent architectural work. The authors address the recent dominance of commercial imperatives and the inconsistency of architectural styles as well as the emerging identity and collective confidence of architects in India as the century draws to a close.
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About the authors

Jon Lang

Jon Lang is Professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, where he served as Head of the School of Architecture during the 1990s. In the 1980s he was Director of the Urban Design Program at the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught from 1970 to 1990. Professor Lang was born in Calcutta and educated there, as well as in South Africa and the United States. He has served as a UNESCO consultant in Turkey and a NATO Fellow in Belgium. As a Ford Foundation Fellow he has taught at The Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur. He has worked professionally as an architect, urban designer and educator in both North and South America, in Europe and in Asia. Jon Lang is co-author with Madhavi Desai and Miki Desai of Architecture and Independence: The Search for Identity (1997). He is also the author of Creating Architectural Theory (1987) and Urban Design: The American Experience (1994).

Miki Desai

Miki Desai retired from the Faculty of Architecture, CEPT University, Ahmedabad as Professor and head of the Masters Program in Sustainable Architecture after teaching for 33 years. He has been the recipient of the EARTHWATCH grant, Fulbright Fellowship, the Graham Grant and the Getty Collaborative Grant. Desai has held exhibitions at the Rietberg Museum, Zurich (1990); the Sanskar Kendra, Ahmedabad, (2012); CEPT University (2015); and the Moratuwa University in Colombo, Sri Lanka (2016). He was the keynote speaker at the seventh International Seminar on Vernacular Settlements (ISVS), Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey (2014) and at the 4th International Conference on Cities, People and Places, Colombo, Sri Lanka (2016). Desai is also the author of Architekture

in Gujarat, Indien: Bauernhof, Stadthaus, Palast (translated in German), an exhibition catalogue (Museum Rietberg Zurich, 1990), and the co-author of Architecture and Independence (OUP, 1997); Architectural Heritage of Gujarat (Gujarat Government, 2012); and The Bungalow in Twentieth Century India (Ashgate, 2012). Desai was a visiting scholar in the College of Environmental Design at University of California, Berkeley (2014).

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Bibliographic information

Title Architecture and Independence: The Search for Identity - India, 1880 to 1980
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1997
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0195639006
length xii+347p., Maps; 29cm.