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Updated by Natasha Hervatta on Jun 07, 2021
Headline for Indian Architects of 20th and 21st Century
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Indian Architects of 20th and 21st Century

Architecture is both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings and other physical structures. Over the years, India has seen a number of notable architects, let's have a look at their work...

Nari Gandhi

Image : Kolegaon Dargah, Ahmednagar

Nari Gandhi (1934–1993) was an Indian architect known for his highly innovative works in organic architecture.

"I have heard him being called an eccentric genius, talent gone wild, even crazy- but he was not crazy, it's the world around him that was! Here was humanity personified, art and expression exemplified, in a normal, humble, down to earth Parsi gentleman, who wore simple old clothes and possessed a wealth of mind and intellect, that would humble the most enterprising and exactiong philosopher"- Amrutlal Thakker; a close friend of Nari Gandhi.

Charles Correa

Image : LIC building, at Connaught Place, New Delhi, designed by Charles Correa, 1986

Charles Correa (born September 1, 1930) is a noted Indian architect, urban planner and activist. An influential architect credited for the creation of modern architecture in post-Independence India. He is noted for his sensitivity to the needs of the urban poor and for his use of traditional methods and materials.

He says :
"Just as there is writing and then there is literature, there is construction and then there is architecture. Great architecture can change society." (2013)
"All great architecture is great sculpture. But it is sculpture used by human beings. So, it has to have openings for light and air, doors... these openings should not spoil the sculpture, they should complete it. That is what Wright did with his houses. They are stunning."

B. V. Doshi

Image : Academic Block of IIM-Bangalore

Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi (born 26 August 1927) is an Indian architect, considered an important figure of South Asian architecture and noted for his contributions to the evolution of architectural discourse in India.

He is known for his contributions to the architecture of Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.

After having worked for four years between 1951-54 with Le Corbusier in Paris, B. V. Doshi returned to Ahmedabad to supervise Le Corbusier's projects. His studio, Vastu-Shilpa (environmental design), was established in 1955. Doshi worked closely with Louis Kahn and Anant Raje, when Kahn designed the campus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. In 1958 he was a fellow at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. He then started the School of Architecture (S.A) in 1962.

Laurie Baker

Image : The Indian Coffee House in Thiruvananthapuram, which was designed by Laurie Baker

Laurence Wilfred "Laurie" Baker (2 March 1917 - 1 April 2007) was a British-born Indian architect, renowned for his initiatives in cost-effective energy-efficient architecture and for his unique space utilisation and simple but aesthetic sensibility. Influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, he sought to incorporate simple designs with local materials and achieved fame with his approach to sustainable architecture as well as in organic architecture. He has been called the "Gandhi of architecture".

Baker's architectural method is one of improvisation, in which initial drawings have only an idealistic link to the final construction, with most of the accommodations and design choices being made on-site by the architect himself. Various features of his work such as using recycled material, natural environment control and frugality of design may be seen as sustainable architecture or green building with its emphasis on sustainability. His responsiveness to never-identical site conditions quite obviously allowed for the variegation that permeates his work.

Achyut Kanvinde

Image : PK Kelkar Library, IIT Kanpur, designed by Achyut Kanvinde

Padma Shri Achyut P. Kanvinde (1916–28 December 2002) is considered as one of forefathers of modern Indian architecture.

Kanvinde plays with space and forms. His designs are slender, balanced, proportionate, neat and well crafted. The building is important but most important is the gate of the user. Example is “Isckon Temple”. He gave much importance to natural light. He gave such a form to the building that it can solve the problem of ventilation as well as excessive heat. He believed in Vernacular Architecture. He believed that the image should be such that can set the mood and interest for which the building stands for. Both inherent values and historical influences contributed towards good architecture.

Sheila Sri Prakash

Image : An IGBC LEED Platinum Rated Building designed by Sheila Sri Prakash and Pavitra Sri Prakash

Sheila Sri Prakash (6 July 1955, Bhopal, India) is a preeminent architect and urban designer of Indian origin. She founded Shilpa Architects in Chennai, India in 1979 and has the distinction of being the first woman in India to have started and operated her own architectural firm.

She has designed over 1000 completed architectural projects during her career in the last 35 years. She is regarded as one of the most versatile designers of the modern era, for her repertoire of award winning projects that range from the low-cost Reciprocal House for the socio-economically underprivileged that she designed on invitation from the World Bank in 1987: The Year of Shelter for the Shelterless, to pioneering energy efficient commercial buildings, custom bungalows, residential communities, integrated townships, industrial facilities, Art museums, sports stadiums, centers of education, public infrastructure and luxury hotels. She was named to the "Top 100" most influential architects in the world by it:Il Giornale dell'Architettura.

Gautam Bhatia

Image : Gautam Bhatia. Hotel Khajuraho. Charcoal on paper. 24"x30". 2001

Gautam Bhatia (born 1952) is one of the most famous architecture authors in India. He is known for telling architecture tales humorously.

Early in his career he worked with Laurie Baker. He is based in New Delhi. As a critic and satirist, he writes columns for Outlook magazine and Indian Express newspaper, and his columns have also appeared in New York Times.

Hafeez Contractor

Image : Lokhandwala Minerva, Mumbai

Hafeez Contractor (born 1950) is an Indian architect. He is a member of the Bombay Heritage Committee and New Delhi Lutyens Bungalow Zone Review Committee.

He started his firm, Architect Hafeez Contractor, in 1983 with two people. One of his first success stories was the Vastu building at Worli Seaface. He then bagged projects in Pune for Karia Builders and a lot of residential buildings. He has also designed The Imperial I and II, the tallest buildings in India.

His projects are spread across India.

His work is controversial from the perspective of social impact and originality. His design approach is often thought of as uninspiring by architecture academics. Despite being one of India's most successful commercial architects, he publicly stated that "Green-buildings are a joke" where he was not trashing the idea of sustainable construction but actually ridiculing the blind faith that members of his fraternity place on Western standards and practices.

Himanshu Parikh

Himanshu Parikh is a leading Indian architect, born in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Himanshu Parikh established Himanshu Parikh Consulting Engineers in Ahmedabad, India in 1982. His company focusses on urban planning, infrastructure design, and environmental upgrading.
Himanshu Parikh was a professor at the School of Planning, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, and visiting lecturer at the Human Settlements Management Institute in Delhi.
He developed a new concept for slum development, Slum Networking.