Indian Architect & Builder
Architecture For An Emergent Landscape Image Credit: Indian Architect & Builder
Architecture For An Emergent Landscape Image Credit: Indian Architect & Builder

Architecture For An Emergent Landscape

Architecture in India – an emerging nation still in a state of architectural flux – presents a world of exciting opportunities, as well as overwhelming challenges. Do we look to the future and modernize, or draw from the rich traditions of the past? Do we concentrate on affordability, or invest in high-end, futuristic building technologies? And where does that leave sustainability?

Working in this dramatically dynamic context, Manit and Sonali Rastogi have taken to nature’s design-book for inspiration – for a design philosophy that shapes their firm Morphogenesis. In this interview, Manit Rastogi talks about everything architecture – right from the need to develop a ‘Brand India’ design identity, to how architecture is more of a state of being than merely a profession.

IA&B: Can you take us through your journey as an architect? How did the Architecture Association (AA) help in shaping your design outlook?

MR: Sonali and I got our undergraduate degrees from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. It has a pedagogy of very competent, technically oriented, contextually situated architecture and this in the late 80s made for very interesting education. However it did not benefit from a global exposure because that wasn’t the way India was at that time. One of the reasons for going to the Architecture Association (AA), London for our Masters was this pressing need to understand what the architectural conversation was like around the globe, what were people thinking, what were the debates, what were the influences; and I think that was the biggest learning for us, at the AA. There were people from different nationalities carrying latent within them, knowledge from their own countries, however, part of a larger global discourse. In that way, our time there helped us develop our vision of taking Indian architecture global.

IA&B: How much has Morphogenesis evolved since its inception? Is there an ideal, final form that you want Morphogenesis to take?

MR: The Morphogenesis philosophy has not changed, but has evolved, as should everything. The vision stays the same yet the tools keep progressing, where experience adds to thought and the canv

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