By Savitha Hira
Photography: courtesy Fountainhead
Prof. Krishna Rao Jaisim or simply Ar. Jaisim is a romantic architect. When you meet the man, you can visibly connect with the passion in his eyes and feel the surge of accomplishment as he ponders on a design element or recalls an instance from his years of fulfillment.
Encouraged by Sheila Tribe, his Design Professor at The School of Architecture (Madras), and inspired by the likes of Mies van der Rohe, Buckminster Fuller, Otto Koenigsberger and Geoffrey Bawa; trained under Architect Srikrishna Chitale, and spirited away by Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead, Jaisim’s incurable romanticism led to the birth of ‘ Jaisim Fountainhead’ in 1970.
On a journey that began fifty years ago, Jaisim has shaped and traversed momentous and inspired milestones, spearheading his legendary practice and firm; Jaisim has created and recreated a wide range of structures. He has written hundreds of papers and articles, and made over a thousand presentations. Today, he serves on several boards and councils, as well as finds time to interact with students of architecture all over India.
His iconoclastic views and individualistic endeavours are the hallmarks of his creativity. Nowadays, he still continues to pursue the adventures of the built and un-built environment, searching and researching beyond the boundaries of time and space.
Last September 2011, Jaisim received the JK - AYA Chairman’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Architecture, the most recent addition to his vast accolades.
Ar. Jaisim in conversation with IAnD:
What prompted you to pursue a career in architecture?
Reflecting seriously, perhaps a few personal characteristics did push me towards the field. I was good at painting landscapes and also with mechanical toys. At the same time, I was too laid back to really go after winning any competition; it was not worth running the race. And lastly, I hated hostels and the School of Architecture allowed me to live at home; that plus my father’s gift of a Triumph motorcycle did it!
After over 40 years in the field, what is that one thing you wish you could have learnt as a student, which should have been part of your syllabus?
More exposure, interaction tours, and intense professors, who would not have favourites but acclaimed your work with confidence and in private -to instill a sense of pride.
Two do’s and don’ts (each) that you could share with a student aspiring to pursue architecture?
I have just come back from a talk and inspecting a few schools. I would encourage every student to nurture a sense of adventure; to boldly try (theoretically at least) the frontiers of design beyond the everyday reality.
There are no don’ts.