Reflection on Minal Sagare’s talk, “The Sacred Landscape of River Confluences”

KRVIA Encounters

Reflections on Minal Sagare's talk, "The Sacred Landscapes of River Confluences:A Case of Sangam Mahuli, India "

Nature-culture relationships have always been an important aspect in building human civilisations. Since ancient times, river landscapes have played an important role in constructing human environments, acting as a focal point of development. Sangam Mahuli is an example of a significant river confluence with its geomorphologic spatial configuration impacted by socio-cultural and political influences. We frequently examine river confluences and the formation of  religious  precincts that develop around them through the perspective of cultural and heritage associational values. However, there are  certain parameters associated with such sacred landscapes which we tend to miss. If one were to gain insights into the knowledge of sacred landscapes around river confluences, it is crucial to explore the overall spatial arrangement of the region through socio-political narratives.

Our speaker offered insight on the dimensions of this sacred environment that go beyond its historic value and religious character. The method of conducting field research  and analysis through the framework of  instinct, intellect, and inspiration was intriguing. The parameter of instinct was used to discuss how the architecture of the temples built around this river confluence reacts to the geological structure of space in terms of volumetric arrangement, location, and design elements. Various narratives of socio-political histories that contributed to the emergence of the precinct character were elaborated upon, providing insights toward the emergence of certain spatial  configurations. An essential criterion was underlined under the parameter of Inspiration, which is the driving force behind the creation of the river confluence and its spiritual character.

In times when we are losing our strong correlation to river precincts, it is essential to explore the factors that have preserved nature-culture interconnections intact through changing circumstances. It can help us protect these geomorphologically unique and sacred sites by equipping us with a greater sensitivity towards their complexities.

  Kalpita Lotankar, M.Arch. Urban Design 2020-21


KAA Update

KAA Alumni

Anubhav Borgohain

Anubhav’s dissertation paper, “Sacred Spaces: ELECTRONIC PLACES A hybrid methodology to read and design for historic urban religious precincts,” has been selected for PhD/ Masters Roundtable presentation and listed as one of the three finalists for best Student Paper Award in the 26th Conference of Cultural heritage and New Technologies (C.H.N.T Hybrid 2-4 Novemeber 2021, Vienna, conducted by I.C.O.M.O.S. Austria. 

Link to the paper 

Click to access Longabstract_A.Borgohain.pdf

Encounters: Neil Klug

KRVIA Encounters

Neil Klug

A feasible policy instrument for Informal Settlement Upgrading in South Africa?

My PhD examines the role of planning instruments in the lack of efficacy in transforming the apartheid spatial structure. This presentation focuses on my third case study of the PhD, the implementation of the 2004 national Informal Settlement Upgrading Program (UISP) policy instrument, in the City of Johannesburg. The research indicates a need to reconceptualise how we view informal settlements and thereby the current instrument for upgrading them. Alternative approaches need to be based on a continuous pragmatic management approach as opposed to an unrealistic linear project-based approach resulting in some sort of imagined ‘formalised suburb’. The presentation will explore some of the reasons for this need to change approach and some of the alternatives.

Reflection on Ruturaj Parikh’s talk, “Thinking in Practice”

KRVIA Encounters

Reflections on Ruturaj Parikh's talk, "Thinking in Practice "

When we say we are ‘architects’ who do we really think we are? Is our existence as a ‘professional’ because of what we do or the way we think? Or does it emerge in the way we manifest our thoughts or think about our actions? Are we architects as beings or architects in becoming? The quest for our identity as professionals, trained as architects and the identity of our ‘self’ being architects has been a never ending one and probably we find ourselves all engaged towards the same inquiry. Does that make us a community? A community that is collectively in constant search for the meaning of our existence. A community that realises that our worlds are commonly tied by the questions of space, which through our individual practices, our thoughts and the ways we speak about it, characterizes, shapes and re-shapes it. Our quest may be similar but our methods stand apart. Are we then a sporadic community with each of us being nomadic, orienting and re-orienting ourselves with/within situations that are inherently in flux?

Ruturaj Parikh, co-founder of Studio Matter, outlines his reflections on his practice in his talk, ‘ Thinking in Practice’, as a part of the KRVIA Encounters. A practice, he believes may be an extension of the ‘self’ of the architect, however is more than just that single being who claims to be its proprietor. A practice he claims is built through the contributions of everyone in the office and is based on the ability to co-making decisions as a team. He believes that the architect cannot single-handedly impact the world, as opposed to what many end up believing but it is through a practice that intends on creating a ‘larger impact’ beyond ‘immediate projects and the benefitting of the clients, that the architect holds credibility. For Ruturaj and Maanasi, who choose to be only representatives of the practice, the processes around architectural production evolves from the simultaneity of the acts of making and thinking – where ‘making’ is seen as a way to extend their abilities to add value to the projects they work on, some of which are self-initiated and ‘thinking’ is seen as a way of reflecting upon their ways of working with form and contexts.

He outlines six principles which helps him look at his practice:

Authoring’ – The idea of the architect as an author is being someone who does not merely ‘write’ but instead develops the ‘ability to articulate projects’, through ‘multi-modal processes’ with a clear intent of making ‘strong arguments.’ Architecture, to him, therefore is beyond form and is more about ‘content’, that can make a ‘powerful’ statement not merely through stylistic means.

The Essential Idea’ – A quest towards arriving upon the core idea and its relevance through discussions, is a process that precedes the stage of conceptualisation at Studio Matter.

Context is underlay’ – As architects we ought to address the various forces that affect our project or are affected by our project. Ruturaj believes that we don’t need to ‘address these forces in their entirety’ but require to be conscious about the affect that they have on context (site, socio-political, socio-economic, cultural, availability of resources, etc.)

Discourse as Practice’ – Through initiatives like Think Matter, Folio, Frame Conclave, Inside, The Merit List, which are products of their curatorial practice, Studio Matter chooses to minimise their voices and work as managers/ facilitators, enablers, conveners and ‘sometimes’ as curators, with architects who have ‘pertinent thoughts and projects’ that they intend to share with a larger audience.

Process Driven practice’ – According to Ruturaj, the making of architecture is ‘effortful’ and while he refrains from occupying the position of an ‘expert’, he believes an architect must approach a piece of work from the position of someone who wants to learn and therefore would require to rigorously iterate form, that is simultaneously committed to the idea of ‘inhabitation, comfort and the delight when one approaches its spaces.’

Systems Thinking’ – every work for Studio Matter is considered to be a ‘continuity’. Therefore, for Ruturaj, thinking in systems, becomes key to the way the practice functions and produces work, where the work is quieter, more rigorous and at the same time, allows to be read in multiple ways.  The works may be simplistic in approach but finds its multiplicity in the way they understand the essence of the contexts within which they design and eventually build. He uses an example of a government housing project, the firm conceptualised for, which involved minimum intervention of the architect, who was responsible in initiating the idea and later let the process of iteration, incrementality, densification, adaptability, ambiguity and malleability, take over. It was the knowledge of the ‘ordinariness’ that allowed them to create and nurture a settlement not as a manicured one but one that eventually has the potential to grow. These processes can be seen not merely as the processes of design for a particular project alone but as being representative of how Studio Matter sees themselves as a practice. 

Studio Matter’s quest is consciously informed by their act of ‘self-reflection’, offset by the learnings they obtain through ‘making’, ‘thinking’, the ‘curation’ of architecture as ideas and their interaction with the architecture fraternity at large. For Ruturaj, then, the sense of a community or the collective of architects is defined by the need to be the ‘custodians of the built environment’, may it be in the processes of ideation, formulation, articulation, execution, implementation, building, curation, analysis, etc.

We may therefore be a sporadic community, with nomadic instincts of creating, but are in a state of perpetual unrest, colliding with ideas, images and many other beings, that co-exist within/ between the spaces we occupy.


Aishwarya Padmanabhan

Assistant Professor 


Image Credit: Ruturaj Parikh

Asian Contest of Architectural Rookie’s Award 2021

Asian Contest of Architectural Rookie’s Award 2021

The City Link, Kochi – Anushri Joshi
Kochi, a city with rich cultural heritage is among the first twenty cities to be included among the Smart Cities Mission and is gearing up to imagine its future. The program was to design a space for the newer functions of e-governance and outreach centres. The design-at all the scales from site planning, formal expression, spatial hierarchy to materiality and quality of spaces- evolved from the understandings drawn from the idea of democracy, the vernacular typology and the unique Chinese fishing nets acting as a metaphor. The structure is evocative of these ideas and acts as a link that connects spaces of the domestic to the democratic institutional through reinterpretation, that connects individuals to the city’s functioning system and as a link that connects the traditional to the future.

Awareness Centre for social and environmental consciousness and creativity, Mawphlang – Ambika Lambah

Mawphlang, situated in the East Khasi Hills, has to withstand both floods as well as seismic disturbances, with perhaps an even greater and growing risk, as the local community is beginning to replace their traditional building systems with ones that aren’t conducive to its geography.  
Envisaged as an ‘Awareness Centre for Social and Environmental Consciousness and Creativity’, the intent of the program is to create a platform for exchange of energies between the community and curious individuals from all over the world.
The intervention is an attempt to meet the context’s needs with modern innovation combined with the use of local materials such as mud, bamboo, local grasses and wood to recalibrate and revive the vernacular architecture that the community takes pride in.

Bergen School of Architecture, Norway

Bergen School of Architecture, Norway

(EXPLORATIONS IN OCEAN SPACE III A choreography for Norskehavet / the Norwegian Ocean)

Kripa Jain and Sushant Tiwari  from the final year B.Arch have been selected for this exchange program. This workshop includes an introduction to terms and definitions concerting man nature relations; including ecology, sustainability, the Anthropocene and post-Anthropocene. This workshop includes an introduction to terms and definitions concerting man nature relations; including ecology, sustainability, the Anthropocene and post-Anthropocene. The course begins with projecting. In order to structurally include plural forms of understanding, the programme explores intuitive, artistic, technological and scientific directions, including the distinct methods particular to each. Intuitive “projective “works installed during the course’s opening workshop are important to explain personal relations to the sea and to forge or reexamine emotional ties. This is followed by researching the work of relevant contemporary artists and adapting their methods to  course theme. Through this process, new ways of communicating critical issues and engaging the senses are opened up – some of which have direct influence on the final project direction. The artistic research serves as inspiration- the focus lies in the making of the student’s own interpretation.

One semester course will give credit of 30 ECTS, for one full year 60 ECTS. The student will have 2-3 different studio courses to choose between. The student then follows one topic, one course, one teacher the whole semester. In this course one will have integrated architecture, design, art, theory, construction etc. It all comes as one “package”, not split up into minor credits/units.

Norman Foster Fellowship Program 2020/21

Norman Foster Foundation Fellowship – Re-materializing Housing Workshop

Selected Student: Dev Desai 2020 Batch

Dev Desai, KRVIA batch 2020 was selected for the Norman Foster Foundation Fellowship- Rematerializing Housing Workshop 2020. The fellowship of ten selected scholars from around the world, drawn from diverse backgrounds including architecture, arts and humanities, sustainability, technology and materials will explore the future possibilities of Housing, in relation with affordability and the use of innovative techniques, material experimentation and sustainable design.

Each grant will cover all transportation, accommodation and incurred costs related to the workshop in Madrid. Scholars will be invited to engage with an interdisciplinary Academic Body composed of researchers, industry practitioners and academicians.This is aan open Fellowship Program of one week’s duration. 


Book Review: City Riffs – Richard Plunz

Book Review

City Riffs - Richard Plunz

The recent publication of the book titled “City Riff” by Richard Plunz (Columbia University, GSAPP) is based on the discourse of urbanism (dialogue) in relation to place and ecology.

The preface by Kenneth Frampton argues that the production of Urban Knowledge in a neo-liberal economy results in aporetic questions on limits and scope in the field of urban studies. He brings about three important and critical discourses: Christopher Alexander’s views on a low rise, high density model with ecological concerns, E.J. Mishan’s work on” The Cost of Economic Growth” and Richard Plunz’ work on “City Riffs”, demonstrates the linear process of indictment of urban transformations towards mal-distribution of resources.

The book brings the analogy of place and ecology, which necessitates in-depth understanding as both share the concept of place and space. His argument on place-based centrality to the urban discourse, which perhaps has not been dissected theoretically enough as compared to environmental science. He further argues that biological diversity needs to merge with urban diversity so that the evolutionary process of environmental science can aid the process of advancement of field-based urbanism.

The book is thought-provoking and brings about some fundamental arguments on ecology and urbanism, which has symbiotic relations. The book is a must read for urban researchers, who are willing to take a leap into larger ecological discourses.

Manoj Parmar




The Urban Studio Research Project (USRP)


The Serendipity Mindset: The Art & Science of Creating Good Luck, in Cities and Beyond

#IMPRI Center for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi invites you to a #WebPolicyTalk series –

The State of Cities – #CityConversations



The Serendipity Mindset:
The Art & Science of Creating Good Luck, in Cities and Beyond

Details of the #WebPolicyTalk:

September 8, 2021 | 8:00 p.m. IST
Zoom and Facebook Live


Prof. Christian Busch
Professor, New York University; Author, The Serendipity Mindset



Mr Sameer Unhale
Joint Commissioner, Directorate of Municipal Administration, Government of Maharashtra


Dr Binti Singh
Associate Professor, Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture and Environmental Studies (KRVIA), Mumbai



Dr Simi Mehta
CEO and Editorial Director, IMPRI, New Delhi