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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

CEPT Archives: assimilating nuances of lost architectural history

By Savitha Hira; Info courtesy: Ishita Shah
Images & Renderings: Courtesy CEPT Archives

CEPT Archives Ahmedabad
Archiving at CEPT

The new department of archives at CEPT, Ahmedabad holds in its midst rare gems of architectural representational styles – both, in drawings and design. IAnD probes and enlightens…

Set up to document and showcase the richness of learning articulated through the medium of regional and traditional built environments, the CEPT Archives consolidates the institute’s tradition and diligence in documentation.

CEPT Archives Ahmedabad
Medley of archival works by various architects

Works of several veterans have been archived - Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn, Balkrishna Doshi, Charles Correa, Achyut Kanvinde and others. But alongside, there are several little known names and faces of India’s architectural history, replete with some remarkable built environments. Cataloguing these equally important contributors -  Architects Arvind Talati (Ahmedabad), Bruno Souza (Goa), Jaimini Mehta (Vadodara), Lt. Hema Sankalia (Pune), Leo Periera (Ahmedabad), Sarto Almeida (Goa) and Designer Lt. Morarji Kamdar, IAnD came across a common thread – unique in its makeup – the representational style of the architectural drawings and design.


CEPT Archives Ahmedabad - hema sankalia's work
Water tank 
CEPT Archives Ahmedabad - hema sankalia's work
Conceptual sketch

Delving further into the works of three such architects, we realized with amazement that despite the different periods in which they practiced, their works are marked by a distinctive style. Take for instance, Ar. Hema Sankalia’s works – being among the earliest women architects in the country, starting her practice in the early 1960’s, she was known for low-cost housing apart from the private residences, office buildings, institutions and public spaces that she designed. Typically, Hema’s drawings, unlike the standard architectural drawing sheets, were done on small paper sizes, which did not vary even with long elevations and detailed axonometrics.  Also, there was never a use of colour or rendering. So these stark documents were rich in their scale for drawings of the buildings or even parts of a design.

CEPT Archives -leo pereira's work
Bal Mandir & Mahila Bagh drawing
CEPT Archives -leo pereira's work
Bal Mandir & Mahila Bagh drawing

In complete contrast, Ar. Leo Pereira’s works employ colour to highlight significant design details or even mark important changes in the drawing. However, with the use of tracing paper, superimposition from rough to fair draft was easily accomplished with little changes, whilst a smaller-sized sheet would document changes and corrections.  Leo’s vast architectural portfolio comprises wide-ranging typologies, from private residences, farmhouses, churches, institutions, to offices and many others. 

CEPT Archives Ahmedabad - kamdar's work
Kamdar's world of colours
CEPT Archives Ahmedabad - kamdar's work
Kamdar's world of colours

The third interesting pick is Kamdar Furniture & Interiors started as Kamdar Karyalaya in the early 1930’s as a small business initiative focused on furniture-making, which in 1946, acquired noted German artist and interior decorator, E.F. Messerschmidt  as Associate Interior Architect. His designing saw a lot of coloured renderings of interior spaces used for process as well as presentations; to give a sense of style and the overall ambiance in which the furniture would sit; even after the design was confirmed, the working/shop drawings were made to detail out the furniture pieces for construction . Monochrome drawings were also made to discuss lighting. Their works include notable premises like the The Taj Mahal Hotel, The Times of India, Royal Houses of Baroda, Gwalior, Hyderabad and Jaipur among several others. 

CEPT Archives Ahmedabad
Office of CEPT Archives

It is a delight to view a variety of drawing techniques, materials, building styles and other learnings from the last century. The CEPT Archives facility makes it possible to access such valuable material for research studies, exhibitions and publications.

"CEPT Archives reserves all rights provided by copyright law, such as the right to make copies, distribute the images, perform, license, or otherwise exploit the images; no rights are waived under this license. To access or use these images, please write to CEPT Archives atceptarchives@cept.ac.in."

1 comment :

  1. It was great to see Hema's drawings. I worked with her in CAC till the last. It was very educating to work for Hema. I miss her very much.

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