Rahul Mehrotra: Working in Mumbai

Rahul Mehotra discusses his research and design practice.

June 6, 2016

Recorded: November 20, 2016

“Working in Mumbai”
Rahul Mehrotra | RMA Architects

Mehrotra is an architect, urban planner, and academic. His firm, founded in 1990 and reformed as RMA Architects in 2010, has offices in Boston and Mumbai working across a wide spectrum of scales and project types – from single-family residences to large-scale buildings, to the conservation of historic structures and urban designs. Paralleling this work, Mehrotra operates a not-for-profit division, RMA Research, which undertakes research projects related to architecture and urbanism.

With an emphasis on local engagement, RMA Architects “endeavors to develop and evolve culturally specific design solutions for each unique context by working with varied constituencies, and through a multiplicity of experiences and modes of engagement with practice.” This focus includes working “actively with local craftspeople to develop and refine construction details and methods of building that are relevant, sustainable, and founded on local knowledge.”

In his lecture, “Working in Mumbai,” Mehrotra breaks his work into two scales: his research on social, political, and design systems at the regional and global levels, and his architectural work at the local scale, in which he describes the design and construction processes of three main projects throughout India. Mehrotra also discusses the effect of temporal landscapes in India, including the massive Kumbh Mela pilgrimage to the Ganges River every 12 years.

Mehrotra discusses:

After the lecture, Mehrotra takes a seat with Michael Kimmelman, Architecture Critic for the New York Times and 2014 winner of the Brendan Gill Prize. The two discuss the unproductive nature of formal and informal binaries, the growth and life expectancy of the temporary/impermanent city, the Indian government’s relationship to architecture, and other topics in the 27-minute conversation.

Rahul Mehrotra and critic Michael Kimmelman in conversation