Program & Location
Delhi, Chandigarh, Pragpur, Pondicherry, Mamallapuram, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Jaipur, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Sikandra
The India Summer Studio will focus on water as spatial generator of the emergent megacity and the enduring village. Through the critical lens of our regionally grounded school we seek to speculate about the foundations of architectural thinking in a context beyond the familiar. While expanding the canons or boundaries of architecture, we will apply a perspective at two scales of dwelling—the emergent megacity and the enduring village—both communities based on the resource of water. Making connections between vernacular or cultural practices that persist today and are far removed from our own, we will bring these lessons back to influence our community, teaching and design research. Fresh water for drinking, washing and bathing is a universal human need. Individual cultures around the world have designed and built highly particular forms of water infrastructure and architecture that support the occupancy of water itself and those that use it. Often this type of architecture becomes a public place of gathering and ritual significance, where communal washing, ritual bathing and other social activities take place. In order to investigate this phenomenon, the studio will study the formal, material and cultural significance of enduring and contemporary water architecture in India, while proposing new design strategies. We will bring this experience into our enduring new world institution by seeking the challenges of difference in India’s hybridized old world culture.
Students will study places where architecture, water and public life are intertwined in powerful ways—the pavilions and pools of Fatehpur Sikri, the temples and tanks of Angkor Wat, the campi of Venice covering cisterns filled with captured rainwater, and the accommodating space of Roman fountains celebrating aqueducts that have delivered water to the city’s inhabitants since antiquity. Distinct locales and cultures have invented provocative and unique ways for buildings to collect, store and dispense water. Yet the rich architectural accommodation of water has been lost in much of the contemporary world. In the United States, for example, water is a commodity moved swiftly and invisibly through buildings and cities. Unseen, undervalued and unappreciated, we waste and disregard this precious substance that has inspired architects for millennia. This instrumental attitude is also evident in our larger cultural understanding of place and time. Architecture, and the built environment in general, are becoming increasingly homogenous and globalized by totalizing international business practices and development models, uniform building codes, and standardized construction materials and methods. Working within the forces of globalization, how might we create contemporary architecture to support a specific occupancy, in a particular place, in a distinct time?
Internship: Possible post-program internship in Indian firm, 4/6 Months