Le Corbusier’s Modernism in India

SubramanianiBalkrishna-DoshiSamanth Submaranian at The New Yorker:

Doshi was not alone in infusing Le Corbusier’s modernism with an Indian spirit. A small school of other architects—Charles Correa, Ranjit Sabikhi, Raj Rewal—joined him in this idiom between the nineteen-sixties and the eighties. The Indian state was still building itself out, so there were plenty of public commissions on offer, and the socialist temper of the times agreed with these architects’ interest in planning for utopia. They were displaced only a couple of decades ago, when the country’s economy opened up and a global design aesthetic blew in. Commissions now come from companies that seem to want their buildings to fit into a universal ideal of a central business district. The most ambitious government-funded project in decades—the design of Amaravati, a new state capital—lies in the hands of the world-trotting English starchitect Norman Foster.

India isn’t always a pleasant country for architects. “In some way, architecture has been associated with the country’s urban problems,” Gautam Bhatia, an architect in New Delhi, told me. “The housing is insufficient, the infrastructure is insufficient. When you have these problems, is it even ethical to worry about design? There’s a strange guilt the profession harbors.” Most architects, as a result, work on private commissions, Bhatia said.

more here.