Emerging Exchanges:
New Architectures of India



Keynote by Arjun Appadurai
Convened by Kazi Ashraf and Brian McGrath
Participants include:
Himanshu Burte, Prem Chandavarkar, Kenneth Frampton, Soumitro Ghosh and Nisha Mathew, Sudhir Jambhekar, Rajeev Kathpalia, Anupama Kundoo, Reinhold Martin, Gurjit Singh Matharoo, Anuradha Mathur and Dilip da Cunha, Rahul Mehrotra, Geeta Mehta, Vyjayanthi Rao, Samira Rathod, Margie Ruddick and Tom Zook, Michael Sorkin, Neerja Tiku, and Billie Tsien and Tod Williams

Conference Sessions:
Thursday, April 30 and Friday, May 1, 2009

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Theresa Lang Student Center
The New School
55 West 13th Street

Thursday, April 30, 2009

7:00 p.m.
The Great Hall of The Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street

Economic growth, euphoric urbanism, media technologies, transnational modes of production, as well as new state and social dynamics are challenging India’s long-standing modernist ethos, revising notions of culture, identity, practices, and obligations. The Architectural League of New York, the India China Institute of The New School, and Parsons The New School for Design present a two-day conference to address the architectural and urban forms that are emerging as a turbulent “second modernity” rearranges a vast part of the landscape of India. As a theater of these new challenges and conceptualizations, recent works of architecture and planning in India will be explored through presentations by Indian and foreign architects working in India, responses, panel discussions, and a keynote address by Arjun Appadurai.

Modern architecture in India, represented by the seminal practices of Balkrishna Doshi, Charles Correa, Raj Rewal, and others, evolving out of the shadows of Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, has long been on a world stage. However, the present moment is marked by new ideological shifts away from early modernist positions. The Delhi/Ahmedabad axis has moved south to Mumbai and Bangalore. A new generation of architects, both Indian and international, are involved in a diverse range of practices and productions that are suspended in a centripetal and centrifugal dynamic. The works are charged by global and transnational imperatives, on the one hand, and more situated and regional approaches to building, on the other. The conference will be structured around two overlapping themes: Material Formations and Territorial Intersections.

*india-2Unless otherwise noted, conference sessions held at:

Theresa Lang Student Center
The New School
55 West 13th Street

Conference schedule is subject to change

DAY 1 – Material Formations

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

9:00 a.m.
Welcomes & Introductions
Tim Marshall, Provost (interim), The New School
Rosalie Genevro, Executive Director, Architectural League of New York
Kazi Ashraf, University of Hawaii, conference co-convener

9:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Presentations by:
Rajeev Kathpalia
Anupama Kundoo
Gurjit Singh Matharoo
Rahul Mehrotra
Samira Rathod
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien

With responses by:
Himanshu Burte
Reinhold Martin

2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Panel discussion:
Himanshu Burte
Prem Chandavarkar
Reinhold Martin
Anuradha Mathur
Geeta Mehta
Michael Sorkin

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Registration for Keynote
The Great Hall of The Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street
7:00 p.m.

Keynote Address
“Architecture and Amnesia in Indian Modernity”
Arjun Appadurai, Goddard Professor for Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University
Introduced by Anthony Vidler, Dean, The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union
Tickets for the Keynote Address may be purchased separately.

DAY 2 – Territorial Intersections

9:00 a.m.
Welcomes & Introductions
Ashok Gurung, Director, India China Institute of The New School
Rosalie Genevro, Executive Director, Architectural League of New York
Brian McGrath, Parsons The New School for Design, conference co-convener

9:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Presentations by:
Himanshu Burte
Prem Chandavarkar
Soumitro Ghosh and Nisha Mathew
Sudhir Jambhekar
Anuradha Mathur and Dilip da Cunha
Margie Ruddick and Tom Zook

With responses by:
Geeta Mehta
Vyjayanthi Rao

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Panel discussion:
Dilip da Cunha
Kenneth Frampton
Rajeev Kathpalia
Rahul Mehrotra
Vyjayanthi Rao
Samira Rathod
Neerja Tiku

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Closing Reception

Participants Biographies:
Click on thumbnails for more images

Arjun Appadurai, Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University
The preeminent social-cultural anthropologist Arjun Appadurai, whose work focuses on modernity and globalization, has held professorial chairs at the New School, Yale University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania. Appadurai is the founder and now the President of PUKAR (Partners for Urban Knowledge Action and Research), a non-profit organization based in and oriented to the city of Mumbai. His books include Worship and Conflict under Colonial Rule (1981), Fear of Small Numbers: An Essay on the Geography of Anger (2006), and Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (1996). Appadurai earned his B.A. from Brandeis University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Kazi Ashraf, conference co-convener and Associate Professor, the School of Architecture, the University of Hawaii at Manoa
Ashraf has taught at Pratt Institute and University of Pennsylvania, before his current appointment as Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is the editor of AD: Architectural Design, Made in India (2008), and co-author with Saif Ul Haque of Sherebanglanagar: Louis Kahn and the Making of a Capital Complex (2002) and with James Belluardo of An Architecture of Independence: The Making of Modern South Asia (1997). He has also written on architecture and asceticism, architecture as landscape, and urban affiliation in transnational modes. Ashraf earned his B.Arch from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, his M.S. in Architecture Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

india-burte-coverHimanshu Burte, writer and architect, Goa, and Visiting Scholar, Institute of Urban and Regional Development, University of California, Berkeley
Himanshu Burte is a practicing architect and writer based in Goa. He is currently a Fulbright Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley for the academic year 2008-9. His research, writing, and teaching have continually attempted to construct a humane critique of current architectural and planning practices and their larger societal implications, particularly focusing on the intersections of culture, urban management, politics, and design in the construction of the public sphere.

india-cnt-resortPrem Chandavarkar, Director, Chandavarkar and Thacker (CnT), Bangalore
CnT Architects, one of the oldest architectural practices in Bangalore, was established by Chandavarkar’s father. The firm describes its approach as follows: “This value system has necessitated the rigorous exploration of two key notions: “Design” and “Practice”. It is first necessary to understand design as a professional discipline beyond the level of individualistic statement and peer approval, and seek to articulate how design adds value to life. Then one must understand practice beyond the level of personalities or business models and define the practice as a place that is configured to facilitate the emergence of design.” Chandavarkar is a former executive director of Shrishti, School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore. He received his B.Arch at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India and his M.Arch at the University of Oregon.


Kenneth Frampton, Ware Professor of Architecture, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University, New York City
Trained as an architect at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, Frampton has worked as an architect and architectural historian and critic in England, Israel, and the United States. He is the author of such distinguished books as Modern Architecture: a Critical History (1980); Modern Architecture and the Critical Present (1982); Studies in Tectonic Culture (1995); American Masterworks (1995); and Le Corbusier (2002).

india-ghoshSoumitro Ghosh and Nisha Mathew, founding partners Mathew & Ghosh Architects, Bangalore
Ghosh and Mathew have distinguished themselves with numerous award and competition winning projects—including urban projects, parks, corporate offices, religious spaces, residential buildings, interiors, and furniture–that are characterized as expanding a Corbusian idiom with diverse conceptual and theoretical imperatives in India’s contemporary contexts. They received their Diplomas in Architecture at the School of Architecture, CEPT Campus, Ahmedabad and have exhibited, published, and taught widely.


india-jambhekar-noida-itSudhir Jambhekar, senior partner, FXFOWLE, New York City
An architect and urban designer with 40 years of experience on a wide variety of project types and scales, Jambhekar is currently the Design Partner for FXFOWLE’s International Studio, and oversees all of the firm’s infrastructure/transportation work. His current projects include a 300-meter tall mixed-use tower in Mumbai, a 40-hectare master plan for Dubai’s Business Bay, and a large-scale residential development in Noida, India. Jambhekar received his B.Arch from the University of Bombay and a MAUD from Columbia University.


india-kathpalia-pomRajeev Kathpalia, partner Vastu Shilpa Consultants, Ahmedabad
Kathpalia, as a partner of Vastu Shilpa Consultants, established by India’s renowned architect Balkrishna Doshi, has both continued and expanded the architectural scope and excellence of the practice. He has worked in Delhi, Kuwait, and St. Louis and currently practices from Ahmedabad. He is also a Trustee and Director of the Vastu Shilpa Foundation, a non-profit research organization in environmental and habitat design. He is visiting faculty member at CEPT, Ahmedabad and has lectured extensively at universities in India and abroad. A graduate of the College of Architecture, Chandigarh, Kathpalia received his MAUD from Washington University at St. Louis.


india-kundoo-2Anupama Kundoo, architect, Berlin and Auroville, India
Kundoo is a passionate advocate for sustainable architecture and building methods. Her experimentation and research on sustainable and eco-friendly building techniques have established her as a leader among emerging architects. She received her B.Arch from the Sir J.J. College of Architecture, University of Bombay, has been a fellow at the Vastu Shilpa Foundation, Ahmedabad, and has recently completed her doctoral studies at the Technische Universitaet, Berlin.


Reinhold Martin, Associate Professor of Architecture, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University, New York City and partner, Martin/Baxi Architects, New York City
Martin is a partner of Martin/Baxi Architects and Associate Professor of Architecture at Columbia University, where he directs the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture and the Ph.D. Program in Architecture. A founding co-editor of the journal Grey Room, he is the author of The Organizational Complex: Architecture, Media, and Corporate Space (2003), and (with K. Baxi) The Multi-National City: Architectural Itineraries (2007).

india-matharoo-crematorium-furnaceGurjit Singh Matharoo, principal, Matharoo Associates, Ahmedabad
Matharoo has reinvigorated the language of Le Corbusier, Kahn, and the early Indian modernists in his numerous award-winning projects with deep concerns for new questions of materiality and program. His passion for product design, especially automobiles and motorcycles, sometimes in conjunction with his architectural projects, has also received widespread attention. He received his Diploma in Architecture from CEPT, Ahmedabad and is on the Visiting Faculty of School of Architecture and School of Interior Design, CEPT.


india-mathur-4Anuradha Mathur, architect, landscape architect, and Associate Professor, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Dilip da Cunha, architect, city planner, and visiting faculty at the School of Design, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and Parsons The New School of Design, New York City
Mathur is an architect and landscape architect. She is Associate Professor, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. da Cunha is an architect and city planner. He is visiting faculty at the School of Design, University of Pennsylvania, and at the Parsons School of Design in New York. Mathur and da Cunha are authors of Mississippi Floods: Designing a Shifting Landscape (2001) and Deccan Traverses: the Making of Bangalore’s Terrain (2006). They are currently working on an exhibition and book titled Soak: Mumbai in an Estuary (see www.soak.in). The exhibition is scheduled to open at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai in June 2009.


Brian McGrath, conference co-convener and Associate Professor of Urban Design, Parsons The New School for Design, New York City
McGrath is Associate Professor of Urban Design at Parsons The New School for Design. He has also taught urban design at Columbia and internationally in Taiwan, Denmark, Hong Kong, and Thailand, where he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 1998-99. He recently completed a research fellowship at the India China Institute at The New School. McGrath is author of Digital Modeling for Urban Design (2008) and is co-author with Jean Gardner of Cinemetrics: Architectural Drawing Today (2007), and co-guest editor of Sensing the 21st-Century City: Close-Up and Remote (2005).

india-mehrotra-1Rahul Mehrotra, principal, Rahul Mehrotra Associates, Mumbai and Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, MIT, Cambridge
Mehrotra is the founding principal of the internationally recognized Mumbai practice Rahul Mehrotra Associates and has distinguished himself as an urban activist, preservationist, writer, and teacher. He has served as a jury member for and is currently on the Steering Committee of the Aga Khan Award. His book, Bombay: The Cities Within (1995), is a major historical and sociological document on India’s most vivacious city. Mehrotra studied at the School of Architecture, Ahmedabad and received his M.A. in Urban Design from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.


Geeta Mehta, Visiting Professor, Columbia University, New York City; Associate Professor of Architecture, Temple University, Japan Campus; and partner, URBZ
Mehta is a Visiting Professor in the Urban Design Program at Columbia University, and Associate Professor of Architecture at Temple University, Japan Campus. She has designed projects in India, Japan, and Vietnam. She is the co-author of several books including Japan Style (2005), Japan Houses (2005), Japan Gardens (2006), Japan Living (2008), and City Connect: Sustainability and Equity in the 21st Century. Mehta is currently serving as the President of the Japan Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Mehta is also a partner in URBZ, a think tank committed to developing online and other tools for “User Generated Cities.” URBZ recently organized “Urban Typhoon” workshops in Shimokitazawa in Tokyo and Dharavi Koliwada in Mumbai and helps run a community operated design cell in Dharavi.

Vyjayanthi Rao, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs, The New School, New York City
Rao is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at The New School.  She works on cities after globalization and her specific interest lies in the intersections of urban planning, design, art, violence, and speculation in the articulation of the contemporary global city.  She is the author of numerous articles on these topics and is currently working on a book manuscript titled The Speculative City.

india-rathod-bharuchSamira Rathod, principal, Samira Rathod Design Associates, Mumbai
Rathod, as an emerging architect from Mumbai with diverse work in architecture, landscape architecture, furniture, and artifact design characterized by experimentation and innovation, represents India’s new architectural dynamic. Her recent work includes large-scale residential projects. Rathod received her B.Arch from the Sir J.J. College of Architecture, University of Bombay, an M.Arch from the University of Illinois, and teaches design at Kamala Raheja Vidyainidhi Institute of Architecture, Mumbai.


india-ruddick-barracksMargie Ruddick, landscape architect, Philadelphia
Ruddick has pioneered an approach to landscape that integrates great design with ecological purpose, creating a fusion of ecology, culture, infrastructure, and art. Ruddick’s designs include New York’s Queens Plaza, a new waterfront at Stapleton, New York, and the Trenton Capital Park. Ruddick has worked in India since 1997, when she began work with Steven Harris on Shillim, a 2,500-acre retreat and institute in the Western Ghats between Mumbai and Pune. She has also completed office and industrial projects in India, and is currently working on a retreat in Goa. Ruddick has taught at Harvard’s GSD, Yale, The University of Pennsylvania, and Parsons School of Design.


Michael Sorkin, principal, Michael Sorkin Studio, New York City and Director of the Graduate Urban Design Program at the City College of New York
Michael Sorkin is the principal of the Michael Sorkin Studio in New York City, a design practice devoted to both practical and theoretical projects at all scales with a special interest in the city and in green architecture.  He is the Director of the Graduate Urban Design Program at the City College of New York.  From 1993 to 2000 he was Professor of Urbanism and Director of the Institute of Urbanism at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.  His books include Variations on A Theme Park, Local Code, Giving Ground, Wiggle, Some Assembly Required, After The World Trade Center, Starting From Zero, and Indefensible Space.  Michael Sorkin received his architectural training at Harvard and MIT.

Neerja Tiku, head, Department of Architecture, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi
Tiku is the head of the Architecture Department at the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi. A professional architect and urban planner, she serves on various committees relating to sustainable built environments, heritage studies, and integrated development planning. Tiku is also an advisor to the Government of India. She was the key consultant for the 2nd Development plan for Delhi 2001; Integrated Planning Proposal for Urban Villages at Dwarka (Delhi); and the Green Corporate Office Building for Delhi Transmission Company.

india-twbta-jali-perspectiveTod Williams and Billie Tsien, partners Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, New York City
Billie Tsien and Tod Williams have produced a body of work internationally recognized for both cutting edge design innovation, and lyrical and humane qualities. Their recent involvement in India—including an information technology campus in Mumbai—has yielded fresh innovations in the architecture of the tropics. Williams and Tsien have worked together since 1977, forming the partnership Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects in 1986. Tod Williams received his B.A. and Master of Fine Arts and Architecture from Princeton. Billie Tsien received a B.F.A. from Yale University and an M.Arch from UCLA.


india-zook-2Tom Zook, associate, Steven Harris Architects, New York City
Zook, an associate at Steven Harris Architects, began his work in India while working with Steven Harris and Margie Ruddick on the Shilim project in 2000. After 26 trips to India over the next several years, Zook moved to Mumbai in 2005 and worked for two years as a partner with Bijoy Jain in the firm Studio Mumbai. Since returning to New York, Zook has spearheaded the design effort for Hope House Kolkata, a project envisioned by the Kids with Cameras organization, which will fund a home and school for children of prostitutes. He has also worked with the Buntain Foundation in Kolkata. Zook attended three universities before graduating from The Southern California Institute of Architecture. After working in the offices of Frank Gehry and Richard Meier he finished his M.Arch at Yale, where he has taught design studios for the past 5 years. In 2003 he taught a Yale graduate studio that traveled throughout India and focused on Shilim as a conceptual framework for the studio design project.


Sponsored by the Architectural League of New York, Parsons The New School for Design, and the India China Institute of The New School.  The sponsors thank The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union, Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Mark Fletcher, and AD magazine for their support of the conference.