By Savitha Hira; Info courtesy: Ishita Shah
Images & Renderings: Courtesy CEPT Archives
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.
Works of several veterans have been archived - Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn, Balkrishna Doshi, Charles Correa, Achyut Kanvinde and others.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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