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Indian (future) Modernism
What is the Relevance of the Chandigarh Experiment Today?
Indian modernism, like much mid-century modern architecture worldwide, is under threat today being variously erased, revised and reimagined. Is it still relevant? Do its aesthetics, and more importantly, its ethics and ideals, still have something to offer, or, should we museumize a few representative examples and send the rest on their way to dusty implosion?
Architectural historian Dr Vikramaditya Prakash will present work from his forthcoming book titled ‘Indian future Modernism: Le Corbusier, Chandigarh and the Incomplete Work’, examining the contemporary relevance of postcolonial Indian modernism.
Based on original archival material and field research, Dr Prakash will make an alternative case for preservation as a future practice, a practice that is designed to reimagine the original design DNA of the city in terms of the imperatives of the present. Dr Prakash will argue his case via case studies at three different scales: the ecology of the master-plan, the redesigning of its furniture and the exhibition of its art.
In collaboration with:
Vikramaditya Prakash (BArch, Panjab University, India; MA, Phd, Cornell University, USA) is Professor of Architecture at the University of Washington, Seattle with Adjunct appointments in Landscape Architecture, Urban Design and Planning and in Digital Arts and Experimental Media. Vikram is host of the ArchitectureTalk podcast, and co-design lead of the conceptual design practice O(U)R: Office of Uncertainty Research. His books include Chandigarh’s Le Corbusier: The Struggle for Modernity in Postcolonial India, Colonial Modernities (co-edited with Peter Scriver), The Architecture of Shivdatt Sharma, Chandigarh: An Architectural Guide, One Continuous Line: Art, Architecture and Urbanism of Aditya Prakash, Rethinking Global Modernism: Architectural Historiography and the Postcolonial (co-edited with Maristella Casciato and Daniel Coslett) and A House Deconstructed (co-authored with Mark Jarzombek). His forthcoming book Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh: Preservation as Future Modernism will be published by Routledge UK in Fall 2023. Vikram was recognized as ACSA Distinguished Professor in 2021.
Nia Thandapani’s work focuses on colonial and post-independence design in the Indian subcontinent and the United Kingdom and engages with imperialism’s presence within museum and heritage spaces, and its impact on design practice and its outcomes. She is a co-founder of Chandigarh Chairs, a long-term project that works towards a critical re-evaluation of the history of Chandigarh’s modernist furniture.