New (and Improved?) Delhi

Gautam Bhatia in the NY TImes Magazine:

One evening a few years ago, I found myself on the road that heads south out of Delhi, in the city’s fastest-developing suburb: Qutab Enclave. The area along the road was one big construction site. Many new structures sat between piles of rubble, and workers milled around concrete mixers on brown hot ground, half dug, half built. Pigs and stray dogs strolled near new plate-glass outlets for Reebok, Benetton and Levi’s.

As the head of a small architecture practice in Delhi, I had just made a routine visit to the site of a house under construction nearby when I decided to take a look at the newly-erected headquarters of a leading software company. This was one of the first so-called e-buildings in India — what its makers described as intelligent, user-friendly architecture. In my own practice, I try to conform to the ideals of hand craft, low cost and no maintenance, and having just examined the hand-applied mud plaster of the house I was working on, the idea of a peek into a high-tech extreme machine seemed all the more intriguing.

More here.