CARTESIANISM : OBJECTIVE DOMESTICITY 

e reflections

on architecture & urbanism

CARTESIANISM : OBJECTIVE DOMESTICITY

Manoj Parmar I Director 

KRMLS 2012 | KRVIA MUMBAI 

HISTORICAL AND COMPARATIVE

The French philosopher, Rene’ Descartes contributed to the doctrine and principal of historical objectivity compounding to the theoretical foundation of ”Cartesianism” through his treatise, ‘’Discourse on Method.”  It began to emphasize historicity in the light of conceptual objectivity. The relationship of mind and corporeal sensuality is subjected to the objective  rationalism of forces that shape production (object). The objective historicism brings about substantialism of matter by dividing existence into mind, matter and nature.

Along with Descartes, Montesquieu through his treatise, “The Spirit of Laws” discarded the theological interpretation of exitsence and paved the way for the scientific history of human culture. In spite of the intimate connection between nature and culture, reason determines the nature of responses.

The ‘’Discourse on Method” and “The Spirit of Laws” began to revive the renaissance significance of anthropocentric space along with essential qualitites of a critical spirit, objectivity and secularization of thought that has pervaded into the contemporary thought pattern of objectivity for the architectural paradigm.

Houses have always remained as theoretical excursion mediums to set new cannons for contemporary practice in Architecture. The re-invention of the house as a “Machine for Living” became the  metaphoric object of Modern life.

The minimum form and maximum function set a new alignment to the aesthetic of house form. The rationality and vitality of program remained a constant victim for seeking a new language of architecture, per se. Architecture of houses always dealt with the duality of transfer of forms regard/ disregard for the program. The harder the contrast, the more it sets the challenge to contemporary living.

The House as a simple appliance was an operative metaphor which sets a new experiment in methodical cartesianism of architectural thought in attempting to locate the aesthetic (space) of houses. Houses have always remained products of systematic theoretical and rational research in the formal field of architecture.

Such research into the nature of objects leads to resultant forms, that determine the modern method of production and construction. The formal handling of volumes nevertheless convincingly demonstrates the aesthetic presence in architecture of houses while locating the parallel  drawn from reading of “Discourse on Method” 

CONSIDERATION OF SCIENCE:

RAUM PLAN (VOLUMETRIC PLAN)

PRINCIPLE RULES OF METHOD: “BAUHAUS SCHOOL OF THOUGHT”

RULES OF MORALS “NEW CONSCIOUNESS OF THE AGE”

“It renders the power of judging aright and distinguishing the object of truth from error which brings good sense of reason and by nature is equal in all men”

 

The outrageous rejection of ornamentation and drawing its parallel with crime is a clear indication of aesthetics that principally objectified and resulted from scientific investigation of form. Adolf Loos work sets away from formalistic tendencies of form to plan in space. Adolf Loos’ work sets away from formalistic tendencies of form to plan in space. The sequencing of spaces was the determinant factor of organizing the house programme.

“The indiscriminate juxtaposition of values of time where perfection of work composed of a collective is poised against the object perceived by cohesive method of assemblance.”

 

 

The Bauhaus attempted to contribute to development appropriate to the time, of housing, from the simplest appliances to finished dwelling and they must relate to each other rationally.

The school destined to achieve systematic, theoretical and practical research into formal, technical and economical fields – to derive the form of an object from its natural function and limitation.

“The provisory code of morals composed of maxims and actions based on the probable when ther power to determine the object of truth is low.”

 

The metaphor of universality of art form over individuality. The rigorous rejection of all representational reference, including the cubist and purist. Nature was too material, too individual, universal art allowed only for abstract composition, as equilibrium of position and weight of colour.

 

The De Stijl was concerned with the calculation of unequal masses in an anti-cubist system which exploded the closed contours of volumetric bodies. The de-composition of the cube led to the de-composition of programme as universal, flexible and anti-dogmatic.

The contemporary practice that exists throughout the world is unified and inclusive, not fragmented and contradictory like much of the production of the first generation of modern architects.

 

 

The minimum form & reduction of program, construction confirms the ideal of anti- individual & architecture that lies precariously trapped between art and kitsch of the fifties.

The objects that are perceived awake had no more truth in them than illusion as dreams. The self is a substance whose whole essence or nature coexists in thinking.”

 

In modern life, the world of activity has created its own objects: pen, typewriter, furniture, ocean liner, likewise the house needs to be re- invented from the clutches of pilasters, crowns etc. The house is a mach1ne for living in, it acquires clean air, full sunlight, and beauty in harmonious proportions.

 

The Architecture of time passionately demonstrated the nature of contemporary architecture of houses through industrial principles of construction (Domino), and exaggerated sequencing of program.

 

The Mathematics of the structural grid and a similar proportioning system with relationship to a higher (mathematical) order were some of the paradigmatic shifts from the precedence. 

They consisted of the spaces with fixed forms and harmonic interrelationships composed of horizontal layers of free space defined by the floor and roof slabs. The     ROOMS varied in shape and were asymmetrically arranged at each level. The plan insists on dormant centrality, while it asserts within the self-imposed square, a spiraling quality of asymmetry.

ORDER OF PHYSICAL QUESTION & CHAIN OF TRUTH “INTERNATIALISM” SYNTACTIC MODEL

INVESTIGATION OF NATURE: “OBJECTOF NATURE”

“One who is unable to determine the object from nature of material or unable to represent equally well on single surface with all different facets of objects tends to select one facet in effect of light and rest in shades.”

Whiteness allows a stark contrast of light & shadow, solid & void, it heightens the purity of visual form.

Engaging quotational elements, layered façades, conceptual homage to the design programme of whites, but slowly mutating the cubist & purist syntax by the influence of pop.

It refers to the syntactic model of interrelation without external reference. It has a dialectic relation between writing (transformation) and reading (implicit and explicit relation).

It represents a radical confession of faith in an autonomous architecture, which entirely frees itself from criteria of habitability.

“The truth to object of nature seems apparent on the sphere of reason that departed from object of speculative science who endeavored to regulate the actions of thought”

 

ARCHITECTURE OF DOMESTICATED NATURE

 

Nature is defined as a direct component of living; the House is viewed as a retreat, isolated fragments of light that illustrates the whole of nature. Architecture of domesticated nature through concrete walls offers unexpected architectural challenges. The decisive factor now becomes topography, wind direction, position of the sun and expectation as regards spatial programme.

Architecture must be “a counterpoint to nature, a dialogue with nature.” Architecture can pay tribute to nature is by confrontation, by creating a new equilibrium.

References:

Descartes, /Rene’. “The Principle of Philosophy”. Port 2. The Philosophic works ofDescartes.

Lefebvre Henry. “Introduction to Modernity” London:

Verso, 1995

Scruton, Roger. “The Aesthetics of Architecture”. London: Metheun 1979.

Illustration Credits:

Images based on works of various authors.

 ‘The Garden and the Cosmos’

e reflections

on architecture & urbanism

 ‘The Garden and the Cosmos’

Paintings of the Mehrangarh Museum Trust Collection:

A Review of the Exhibition

Apoorva Iyengar I Assistant Professor 

A joyous celebration of miniature paintings, saturated with colours and intricate detailing received a temporary home in our city at the ‘Garden and the Cosmos’ exhibition displayed at the CSMVS Museum, Fort – Mumbai. The paintings, which are a part of the Mehrangarh Museum Trust Collection, were divided into three sections, containing miniature paintings commissioned by three Maharajas of the Marwar-Jodhpur during the 18th and 19th century. 

The first section displayed paintings with luscious gardens and leisure pavilions of the Nagaur Palace, depicted in a bright colour palette, conveying Maharaja Bakhat Singh’s pride and the opulent way of living. Bakhat Singh also often commissioned larger than life paintings to record important events in his life.  

The Maharaja and a young lady, sitting below the full moon, are surrounded by women bedecked in fine clothing and jewellery who play music and offer food in a terrace flooded with moon light. The whiteness of the floor merges with the white moonlit background, suggesting that the figures are part of the clouds, painting an almost heavenly setting. Everywhere there is pleasure, sensuality, and playfulness. The Maharaja is seen playing holi with young women in an open terrace, with translucent splashes of yellow, orange and pink splattered over the painting, consuming the air and turning water into colour dust.  Light traces of lines over white surfaces suggest the ornate carvings on marble, soft lines on decorative fabric show the folds and layers of clothing on the women’s bodies. 

Multiple perspectives collapse into one plane, typical of the flatness seen in Indian miniature paintings, allowing the artists to play with scale and directing the eye to cut across space and time seamlessly. This form allows for multiple stories to outplay in larger landscapes by using constantly shifting horizon lines, thus adding to the sense of scale. The background occupies lesser space, often in tonal washes of blue and white, indicating the time of the day. All action is contained in the mid-ground and foreground that is broken into fragments by clusters of foliage or architectural forms that liberate the drawing of strictness in scale.  In an antithesis to the graphic novel format that uses rectangular planes almost like windows into a narrative, these unique miniatures often employ natural forms and architectural perspectives, displaying numerous smaller stories within the same undulating landscape. 

This manipulation of scale is cleverly captured in a painting of Raja Mansingh and Dev Nath, where the painstakingly drawn walls of the haveli divide the painting into half. The other side of the haveli shows the palace complex and the town, and through orthogonal twists and turns of houses, the painting jumps across various scales. 

The lush foliage of Bakhat Singh’s paintings evaporate into millions of curvy lines in the next section, all harmoniously drawn and repeated as part of the background, suggesting Maharaja Man Singh’s curiosity of the formless, metaphysical world. Rarely seen in Indian miniature painting form, this attempt of showing the undefined form, the ‘other world’ is a revelation to the eyes.   Man Singh, a follower of the Nath Sect, commissioned paintings that showed his spiritual concerns through the depiction of the ‘Absolute’ – the essence from which the universe emerges. Abstracted landscapes with light simmering colours, repetitive patterns in flat monochrome tones add to the mysterious, hypnotic nature of the paintings. 

A series of squares progressively show the emergence of the cosmos – A Mahasiddha, the first manifestation of the cosmos, is shown seated against a field of gold, and subsequently exudes a silvery light that spills over to half the panel. 

In Hindu philosophy, ‘Prakriti’ is the basic matter that constitutes the universe, contained within time and space. ‘Purusha’ is the soul or eternal spirit.  The next three panels show the emergence of Prakriti and Purusha, depicted as a feminine and masculine figure against a luminous field of gold. In the next four panels, a lotus emerges from the stomach of a sleeping Vishnu, lying in a silvery, tantalising field of cosmic waters. In another one, a streak of silver shows the Ganges flowing from the footprints of the Nath, and the next frame is bathed in silver waters with several, repeated forms of the Nath mahasiddhas. 

The paintings here depict the different worlds, celestial beings and the spatial relationship of the cosmos drawn within the human body. Flat, undefined backgrounds in stark colours are used to expand the sense of scale and create a sense of inquisitiveness. 

In the third section, Maharaja Vijay Singh’s long horizontal folios depict his attachment to the stories of Krishna and the Ramayana. These narratives play out in lush, dense forests, with each and every tree detailed out in such intensity that one is immersed into the landscapes. Animals and birds populate the flora, giving a sense of fullness to the natural landscape, displaying the riches of the fertile land.  The trees and foliage seem to burst with life, showing the power that lies within nature. The divine, human and nature are intertwined in these sacred landscapes. 

A feature of the Marwar School of painting are the stylized swirling clouds that add to the sense of movement and drama to these paintings. These clouds, latent with the heaviness of rain are seen over a horizontally unfurling forest where the journey of Ram and Lakshman plays out in different forms. 

The last painting in the exhibition brings together the garden and the cosmos – dividing the painting into two panels by a hard line, on one side is a sage and a king amidst a dense and busy forest, and the next panel reveals an expanse of dark wave-like repeated patterns of the vast ocean, on which the deity Vishnu sleeps calmly. 

I visited this exhibition numerous times in the span of two months. Each time, the paintings made me introspect on the nature and power of drawings that we create and the liberating exploration of narratives that these drawing forms allow for.  The playfulness of collapsing visual planes, expanding scales and the pleasure of graphic detailing become visual manipulators for brilliant storytelling. 

Note: All photographs are from the exhibition Garden and the Cosmos, at CSMVS Museum and part of the Mehrangarh Museum Trust Collection

KAA Update

KAA Update

Amod Nargund

#VolunteersOfChangeTalk series:  , KRVIA Alumni supported the Third Way of Building Asian Cities program from July 2021 to February 2022 in the Digital Marketing and Graphics Design team. He served as a Team Leader from September 2021 to February 2022. He contributed and supported both teams successfully and assisted in developing knowledge products.

His core interest lies in researching and employing strategies for sustainable systems, green building design, environmental performance and low-cost solutions to housing.

 

 

 

 

Negotiating Housing: Aurangabad Studio

KRVIA Blog

Negotiating Housing: Aurangabad Studio

Manoj Parmar I Director

Housing in India has long been an economic driver, aspiring many individuals to move towards better housing that resonates social & economic wellbeing. When we discuss housing in the Indian context, one faces a complexity & multiplicity of issues that shapes the house and housing. Having said that, the housing policy and manifestation in contemporary times chooses to evade many such complexities through a uniform policy structure and creates a scenario of replicability and anywhere-ness.

The fourth-year housing studio attempted to address the housing studies coupled with an urban design approach to contextualize housing. The studio was explored in three stages: Study Tour to Aurangabad, Documentation of context, issue and sites and lastly the housing response. The sites chosen had different conditions in terms of social context, livelihood context and environmental context. The sites are: CIDCO N1 | CHIKALTHANA | GUNTHEWADI | GAUSHALA IN HISTORIC CORE | PANCHAKKI | CIDCO N6 | BALAJI NAGAR

With an extensive geographic coverage, the studio attempted to bring the discourse of housing as an anatomical structure of Architecture, Urbanism, Social & Environmental systems and Policy. In conclusion, the housing studio is an attempt to articulate the role of the state, the market and the type in the housing supply within the neo-liberal context

1st Year B.Arch & M.Arch Admissions 2022-23: Contact Number: +91 8369485581 / 8454812762

Admission Queries - 2022-23

Please visit the DTE website for further information and watch this space for announcements.

Contact Number : +91 8369485581 

M.Arch Admissions Notice

Registrations for Admissions for the academic year 2022-23 to the
Post-Graduate programs (M.Arch) have been announced.
 
Contact Number : +91 8369485581 
 

KAA Update

KAA Update

Neha Raje Bhole

Neha Raje BHole, M.Arch Urban Conservation Alumna, presented at the at the National Conference on Climate, Community and Conservation hosted by Navrachna University, NUCERI and WCB Research Foundation. 





















 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KAA Update

KAA Update

Megha Gaikwad

KRVIA M.Arch. Urban Design Alumni, Megha Gaikwad’s paper ‘Dynamics of Urban Sprawl in the Peri-Urban area of Pune’ has been published in the August 2022 issue of the Journal of the Indian Institute of Architects.












































KAA Update

KAA Update

Akhilesh Mohan

Akhilesh Mohan, KRVIA M.Arch Urban Design Alumni, will be making a presentation on Circular Economy- A Design Rethinking approach at IFAT India on the 29th of September, 2022.


Cities account for 85% of global GDP and consume more than 75% of natural resources. Seen highly inculcating the take-make dispose culture cities underwent a massive climate adverse environmental degradation affecting them socio-economically. Post the Paris Climate accord, the global cities underwent a systemic change while adopting the idea of sustainable planning models for an inclusive & equitable development. 

The panel focusses on answering 3 major areas of concern:

1. How to eliminate waste and pollution through responsible design and city resource management?

2. How to close the material loop through effective value chain planning?

3. How design thinking contributes to the policy intel that help solve the post-consumer plastic issue in the country? 


The event is being organised by Ms. Messe Munchen India Pvt. ltd. 
















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Scales of Resilience

KRVIA Blog

‘Scales of Resilience’

Amruta Sali I 2nd Yr. M.Arch (UD) I KRVIA 

Now, more than ever, with the early effects of climate change, cities need to understand the creation of environments that help communities survive and thrive in the context of change. The intent of the talk was to discuss different strategies for resilience. WRT, founded by Ian McHarg 60 years ago, James  Stickley explained the firm’s approach to resilience and their ethos. Their process involves a community driven approach and ecological planning.

 

 

They identified various aspects of resilience-social equity, mobility, ecology+green infrastructure, public health+open space and economic vitality. Stickley discussed various projects situated across the USA, especially within ecological sensitive areas as seen through these aspects. It demonstrated how resilience strategies differ as per context and depending on critical issues. For instance, strategies for flood prone areas will differ from areas which are frequently affected by cyclones. Strategies opted by WRT were discussed at different scales and typologies. It was noted that there is a necessity to operate across scales to understand interdependencies that will contribute to resilience.   

 

 

The talk led to an interesting  discussion on different ideas of resilience. The idea of resilience is different for the global north cities-which was explained by James, whereas the idea has a different dynamics in the global south. Most Indian cities also need to look at heritage as a tool for creating resilient cities. In the desperation to be modern, communities are forgetting or ignoring traditional practices that have helped them survive so far.Stickley’s talk was about an interdisciplinary approach across the world to understand the challenges cities are facing and what resilient strategies cities are adopting and implementing. The conversations led to the kindling of new and deeper understandings of what resilience means to different communities.