About Personal Space

There is an elective that is going in in my college related to the GAZA 51 theme. Gaza is a place in israel that has witnessed many wars. The city is very dense and the people there are very creative and sharing. I haven’t been there but I have heard this from people who have visited that place and also by looking at young artists work from gaza. During curfew the people come out to balconies and interact and cook there. There are speakers in all the balconies and everyone listen to the same songs. This kind of space that is created is very different and very energetic. In our daily life we experience this at home, in housing societies, in trains and many different places. Space is a term that is not easy to explain and there are many different kinds of spaces that a human or a living organism occupies or uses. But here I talk ABOUT PERSONAL SPACES.

The exercise that we did in college today started by a warm up. The warm up is a bit different. There is music played and we all do certain movements and after doing it 8 times we change. and we do it for two rounds. Later we were given thread and we had to take the amount that we needed and then make a space that we need around us. The space could be open, enclosed, partially open. It could have doors and smaller openings etc. After this first step the next was to close our eyes and then imagine the space and feel it. It was about analysing the space that I had created. Later on the we were told to move around into the spaces that others had created and quickly analyse it. So when I was moving around the space that my friends had created I observed that some did not have openings and I didn’t enter those spaces. I also observed that there were space which were too open and I didn’t go there either. Those for me like public spaces. There were two spaces that I could relate to easily and those were not too open and not too closed. but the entry was like a maze and the inner most part was very isolated. Such kind of isolated space is needed when I have ti think something deep or question myself and my existence.

The next and the last step was the remain in our own spaces and to invite others to our space. No one invited me and i felt bad but then I realised that I am maybe expecting from wrong people or I do  not have anyone to be called by. But when my chance came I called a few and I didn’t chose anyone particularly. I just took name that came to my mind first. I am a person who likes to interact and mix with new people. When I talk to person I expect that person to respond in a certain manner, if it doesn’t happen i stop talking to that person or avoid talking. This I think is natural. My definition of friendship is very different and when it comes to personal space it changes with respect to what I am thinking or with whom I am. Sharing for me depends on how much and I trust that person. And trust I believe comes and builds by interacting more and more.  And thus there will be soon a poem on talking in hindi.



Being on the coastal region Goa has a climate of a tropical region. Thus it is hot and humid and rains a lot in the monsoons. Responding to the climate Goa has a very wide range of buildings and also materials. The old houses of Goa were built in mud and wood. Later on laterite was used as it is available locally. The houses with laterite were built using mud mortar. Maximum of the houses in Goa have sloping roofs with Mangalore tiles to let the water flow in rains. The old residential houses where families stayed have one or more than one courtyards. The houses of Goa had wooden furniture and they were decorated and carved. Goa has many old buildings and many of them were built by the Portuguese and they remain as is with some extension in modern style and some in the same style.

The fourth semester started with the trip to Goa and the exercise id measure drawing was given. Measure drawing is an exercise in which one has to draw accurate set of drawings of a given structure by measuring each and every part accurately. Before the exercise started we moved around some important squares and buildings of Goa. The places that we visited were fountainhas, kala academy, Bom Jesus basilica. The buildings that were assigned for the measure drawing exercise were houses of Goa museum and Nisha play school by Gerard Da Cunha, D’mello Vaddo, Bhobe house, Ini Chatterjee house, office and studio of and by Dean D’cruz, Dempo house and Reis Margos fort.

Fontainhas is a very old Latin Quarter in the heart of Panaji which is also the capital of Goa.  The streets have Portuguese influenced houses on both sides with intricate artwork and beautiful shades. The main feature of Portuguese houses is their projecting balconies. The streets have are a mix of buildings painted in various shades of yellow, red, green and blue. Kala academy by Charles correa is the place where you get to revisit the cultural of Goa in various forms like music, dance, drama, films, folk art, literature, etc.

The main purpose of this trip was to learn how to measure draw buildings and understand scale using simple techniques. We were divided into groups of 10 and were given sites accordingly. The next two days we were expected to understand the fabric of the given site as well as measure draw our respective buildings and understand the proportion and scale. We later on converted our hand drawn sketches to scale using digital media.


The houses of Goa by Gerard Da Cunha is a tiny museum that exhibits the history and the evolution of housing typologies in various parts of Goa. This structure is surrounded by his house, the playschool and his office on three sides. This structures follows basic geometry and is based on triangles. It has three floors which are all connected by a spiral staircase. The structure also has a small amphitheater at the top.  The structure is made up of a local material laterite whereas the roof is made up of concrete with Mangalore tiles. D’mello vaddo was a spectacular Portuguese house with large windows and long rooms. This house had walls which were as high as 7 meters. It had furniture with intricate artwork which symbolises the influence of the Portuguese. The house had a small courtyard and various rooms dedicated to various activities like dressing room, reading room, etc. Bhobe house was a beautiful site which had an old unplanned house with a huge garden at the entrance with a variety of medicinal trees and bushes which lead to the main house which had a courtyard surrounded by rooms.    As compared to the exterior environment the interior of the house is very cold. It’s very peaceful and silent. The most interesting part was that the house was made with not much evolved machinery. Ini Chatterjee made a house by wood completely and this is where we saw some complicated joinery work. Made up of coconut tree wood it had a concrete plinth with terracotta flooring, no tiles. It is more like a pavilion with overhangs. This house itself spoke about its incompleteness. Ini has a practical approach towards design. Usually the process taught in schools is to design and then to figure out the technical details but Ini does it the other way round and that is what makes the structure what it is. Office and studio by Deab D’cruz was a bit modern structure of steel and concrete and glass with sloping roof on one side and it fitted in the slope on the site. The back side of the building stepped down along with the slope. The Dempo house was and Old Portuguese style house with a Hindu style extension and with two courtyards. The site was the biggest compared to other given sites. The house was built with load bearing stone and mud walls with wooden flooring for the first floor and a complex roof structure with many rooms of different heights. Reis Margos fort was built near the Mandovi river and it was built by the Portuguese and used as an outpost. The fort is now a museum. It was built with stone available locally.


In the process we learnt how to draw a proportionate plan of the house on site and then take measurements according to the drawing. The process of measurement was an exercise in itself as the measurements had to be accurate and as it was built. The hand drawn sketches of the plans and the elevations were then taken to digital drawing. The drawings were later generated on AutoCAD with precision. Later on we were instructed to make a drawing which was different than the generic plan and elevation. That drawing could be an axonometric of the house, an exploded drawing etc. we tried to explore different mediums and made different drawings. Some made 3d of the house on Sketch Up showing the evolution of the house, some made a sectional perspective of the building showing the interiors. In this way we all processed the hand drawings and made them digital. The next challenge was to compose sheets and make a book which was done by a few students from each group. The final product of the trip was a set of measure drawings and a small compilation of interviews and a information of the houses in form of a book.



By Sitanshu Rawal and Divya Bhat.


Understanding Modernism with India


Modernism is an attitude. An attitude of breaking away from the mainstream or challenging the old and traditional attitudes. Modernity has many different meanings, one of which is the new in opposition to the old. Modernity, Octavio Paz says is an exclusively western concept that has no equivalent in any other civilizations. Modernity is a concept that gives present a quality that makes it different from the past. Modernity is a constant conflict with the traditional. It is an idea that cannot have fixed attributes or values. In the 19th century there was modernity in the economic, political fields with great development in the industries and also urbanization. With this modernity became more than an intellectual concept. The term modernization is used to describe the process of social development and is the main feature of urbanization, industrialization, democratization and increase in world trade market. The process of modernization is continuous and the idea of modernity changes every time there are changes in the technology.

Along with modernism many different ideas came into picture. These ideas changed the world and its art and architecture. The idea of modernity changed after these terms were introduced. Some of these were, cubism, the idea of cubism was to depict objects from multiple view points and creating abstract art works using broken forms. Futurism was a movement that emphasized the dynamism, speed, energy and power of machine in the modern life. The idea of constructivism was introduced in Russia, it was influenced by cubism and futurism. In constructivism abstract geometric forms were being made by the use of plastic, steel and glass.  Impressionism was an idea the painters used to paint visual reality using colors and effect of light. The movement of symbolism emphasized on individual emotional experience through the stubble use of symbolized language. Expressionism was about depicting emotions and not the objective reality. De stjil was a movement that included art and architectural forms using straight lines, rectangular forms and also use of primary colors and use of black, white and grey. The Bauhaus movement was also an important one as it was the first one to challenge all the defined terms related to modernity before. The Bauhaus inspired many architects and artists of the world and gave a new perspective to look at architecture and buildings.

In India modernism came with the colonial rule. Initially the idea of modernism was not known as there were many traditional, orthodox practices in the country which did not allow the entry of any foreign culture. In the modern movement of India Raja Ravi Varma was one of the first painters who took inspirations from the other world cultures like impressionism, symbolism and also influenced by the paintings of renaissance he drew the god and gave god an image. Relating the idea of the modern to the architectural development in India it was influenced by the art deco movement. It was also influenced by the regional motifs. Buildings in Calcutta and Mumbai of the art deco style were of great importance at that time. The buildings were very simple with chajjas, balconies etc. Even the neo classical was considered at modern until the 1960’s.

Modernism in India was more like an approach to life. It meant designing the world in a positive manner.  Improving the standard of living of the people and being progressive and inventive. The great minds behind creating a modern India were Nehru, Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore. Gandhi emphasized on urgent need of social change and personal ethical transformation, Nehru saw hope in the technological advancement and taking India to the next level in all the fields, Tagore championed a deep relation with the nature with the idea of creating a more humane society. Looking at the development of the infrastructure post-independence many of the Indian architects returned from abroad. The two important were Charles Correa who was trained in USA and Achyut Kanvinde who was trained from MIT, and also had worked with Walter Gropius the make of the Bauhaus. Also Nehru invited Le Corbusier to India to contribute to the developing architecture of the nation. Along with Corbusier came B.V. Doshi, another important architect in the making of modern India. Other architects that contributed were Louis Kahn, Buckminster Fuller and F.L.Wright. In the course of the development of the modern India not only buildings but cities got designed on the hieroglyphics of Corbusier’s Chandigarh. Vidyadharnagar city plan by Doshi imbibed the essence of interspersed pedestrian pathways, hierarchical road structure, diagonal greens and so on. Louis Kahn created poetry in brick at the campus of Indian Institute of Management. Brick masonry- considered to be the local material found very different dimensions through three dimensional structural arches. City learnt a new way of building in brick and also upgraded its quality of construction having trained through rigorous and stricter construction norms and practices of Kahn. It also gave legitimacy to bare aesthetics of exposed (unplastered) brick construction – alien to place and people then. However, institutes and residences since half a century then continue to admire and emulate this modern aesthetics and outlook.

The modern was questioned again by the architects. The architects used local materials in a different way which also responded to the climate of the region. Thus bringing in the use of traditional techniques to build buildings with modern ideas.

“Doshi has entrusted us through his writings and his architectures, an idea of modernity as an infrastructure, as a principle, a plot on which life can take root and not the cage in which to enclose it and the palimpsest on which various sediments can input. An idea of modernity where a conscious freedom of expression is the result of mediation and not the impulse of a moment in which reality can be grasped in its complexity. Modernity then, is not made up of shapes, nor of easily recognizable stylistic features but of principles which can activate interactive and co-existence processes with the sole aim to improve our lives, principles which can keep the authentic modern promise to  make us moving together through participation.”[i]

The same philosophy is being used to make his own office SANGATH, which is an experience of his own life and also the outputs of his learnings from his life.

Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi grew up in a large traditional bound joint family. After finishing his architecture at jj college, he went to Britain and from there he went to work with Le Corbusier. Doshi had a lot of values and he went to the deepest aspect of understanding architecture. Doshi was one of the architects who was under the influence of both modern and traditional. He also returned to India when there was a movement of modernization. Initially he supervised sites for le Corbusier but then started his own practice in Ahmedabad. In those days Ahmedabad was considered to be a city which was at the forefront in making a new nation. At the beginning of his practice Doshi had a question of “what is architecture?” rather than “what is modern architecture?” or “what is Indian architecture?” Doshi’s four pillars and inspirations were gokuldas narayandas, le Corbusier, Rabindranath Tagore and M.K. Gandhi.

In his initial projects which were his own house and the houses of both is daughters, tejal and manisha. He has questioned the idea of dwelling. Dwelling are the most primary form of architecture. They are designed for specific individuals and families. Doshi creates an enclosed space sort of a mandapam in the kamala house. This is an ancient architectural theme, an archetype that informs Kerala nallukettu. The plan is simple which a square centering four columns. It forms a grid. In tejal’s house at the first glance it is an asymmetric from with angular and curvilinear surfaces. In manisha’s house the four columns are used but they don’t form a mandapam instead with the columns there is a stepped platform and this recalls the traditional “otla” or entrance platform on the street.

Doshi’s office sangath, meaning moving together in participation, is a very different building from all his other works. It is the mixture of all his learnings since he started his journey in architecture. Doshi was always inspired by earth hugging structures and the way one approaches the Indian temple. The movement from the entrance forecourt to the meandering path then onto the water pool and amphitheater precedes arrival at the modest entry. At the beginning of that path is a mural of a tree that used to be there but as removed during the time of construction. The office building is treated like an institution here. Doshi considers sangath to be not only an office but a place of interaction and learning. Thus he makes the movement in the building free. Parallel wall systems is used and various levels have been created by using mezzanine floors like one in the drafting room. Similar system is being used in the institutes built by him like CEPT, Shreyash School and IIM, Bangalore. For Doshi institution is a place where all the spaces are like crossroads of the world where ideas are exchanged and new things are learnt. Also Doshi makes these open garden spaces which make meetings and gatherings possible. The amphitheater with grass steps merges the building with the ground. The inside outside sense is ambiguously manifested. Some of the elements in the building are inspired from the ear shaped pools of Corbusier, amphitheater, Gaudi’s broken china mosaic and a water feature from Kahn’s salk institute. The play of light in the building is interestingly articulated. The spaces receive light according to the requirement. And the light is diffused by making small openings on the sides of the vaults. There is use of china mosaic on the vaults which reflect the light back and the water channels are articulated in a way that the wind cools down before entering the space.


B.V. Doshi is an architect for whom the idea of modern merges with the idea of modern. Inspired from traditional buildings and early Indian architecture Doshi articulates and fits the learnings from them in his buildings as we have learnt. Doshi uses very sensitive and powering concepts, difficult to explain in buildings and makes a modern building using local materials and thus merging the traditional and modern.


other refrences: books- harnessing the intangible

architecture and modernity a critique by hilde heynen

yatin pandya’s article on modern architecture of india



Modernism and Post Modernism both fight to grab a place in the architect’s mind. But it is modernism the architect who decides on basis of their morals and values. Mies told “LESS IS MORE” whereas Venturi replied to it sarcastically by saying “LESS IS BORE”. So according to Venturi the idea of modernism was to make things look more ornamental and to romanticize architecture by adding more and more to it but still keeping the aesthetics of the building.

It is said that modernism started in New York and postmodernism started in Las Vegas by the building of different hotels and the idea that the appearance of the building should convey the function of the same. The earlier buildings in vegas like MGM hotel. Hotel Venetian etc. these hotels just replicate their names. Example the Venetian hotel has structure like the city of venice. Another example given in the text is about the piazza in new orlean. The plaza is made in a way one gets experience of Italy looking at all the decorated facades with all the column orders used in one go. This is just to decorate and to give a sense of Italy by just putting them with no meaning. This is the way postmodernism came up in vegas and other places.

Post modernism is basically everything after modernism. So all the buildings and ides that came up after the 1970’s are considered to be postmodern. Post modernism challenged many ideas of modernism like symmetry and went into abstraction, it challenges the use of material. It challenges the idea of ornamentation. The best example of breaking the symmetry and making abstract forms is the Guggenheim museum, Bilbao Spain. The form is challenged and the symmetry is broken. Another architect is Zaha Hadid who challenges material and form both and makes free flowing structures which may people told couldn’t stay. Another architect who collects and builds is Carlos Scarpa. The idea of collections is basically collecting different forms and shapes and putting them together in a way which one can relate with and also choosing the right material that could express the form to the fullest.

It is not that modernism didn’t have such characteristics, it’s just that the values then and now have changed and the ideas are put together in a correct manner to make one experience the space or building. There were many failures in the postmodern architecture where the building was supposed to be something and it became something else.

But I feel that post-modernism is a trend as the way it is progressing challenges all the notions of buildings, space and many other ideas. But it is applicable only if the ideas of postmodernism are implemented in a correct manner.

It is necessary to learn from the mistakes that the early postmodern architects did and absorb the ideas of the latter. One might get leaded to super modernism.