It’s hard to imagine an entire category of architecture slipping off history’s grid, and yet that seems to be the case with India’s incomparable stepwells. Never heard of ‘em? Don’t fret, you’re not alone: millions of tourists – and any number of locals – lured to the subcontinent’s palaces, forts, tombs, and temples are oblivious to these centuries-old water-structures that can even be found hiding-in-plain-sight close to thronged destinations like Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi or Agra’s Taj Mahal.
But now, India’s burgeoning water crisis might lead to redemption for at least some of these subterranean edifices, which are being re-evaluated for their ability to collect and store water. With any luck, tourist itineraries will also start incorporating what are otherwise an “endangered species” of the architecture world.
Learn more about these stepwells’ curious histories, after the break…
The Gurgaon 71 residential project proposal by Maison Edouard François represents French-style luxury living while simultaneously respecting Indian traditions. Located in Gurgaon, India, these luxurious apartments make use of noble materials such as marble and wood and have large interiors, including double height spaces, and offer 360° views onto the surrounding landscape. More images and architects’ description after the break.
“What do we mean by education?” “What is design?” “Can design be taught?”
These were some of the questions a small group of innovative pioneers – huddled in the attic of Le Corbusier’s Sanskar Kendra museum – asked themselves when they set about creating what would become the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, India’s first design school. The year was 1962, and not only were there no designers in the country, the profession of design, for Indians, simply did not exist.
One of these pioneers – who would head the industrial design department, help formulate the school’s curriculum, and train its faculty members – was Kumar Vyas. Born in 1929, Vyas remained at NID for three decades, and continues to work from his office on the campus he helped create. His numerous articles and books were essential to establishing India’s current design-rich environment; two years ago, he received the prestigious Sir Misha Black Medal for Excellence in Design Education.
Vyas’ experience designing a design education is not only a fascinating journey, but also a source of inspiration – if architecture education took Vyas’ lessons to heart, and re-examined itself from square one, how would it be different? Read Victoria Lautman’s interview with Vyas after the break, and tell us what you think in the comments below.