Monthly Archives: August 2016

Architect-entrepreneurs in post-independence Pune (India)

Sarah Melsens, Priyanka Mangaonkar-Vaiude, Yashoda Joshi
Department of Architectural Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), BelgiumDepartment of Architecture, BRICK school of Architecture, Pune, India


With the purpose of expanding the built infrastructure in their colonial empire the British imparted technical training to Indians since the mid nineteenth century. These construction related courses initially focussed on assistant, supervisory and executive tasks but evolved into the training of civil engineers. Half a century later, in 1913, a handful of British architects in Bombay took the initiative to develop an existing drafting school for architectural assistants into India’s first school of architecture. Through such schools, and the gradual employment of Indians at higher ranks in Indo-British firms or the Public Works Department (PWD), Indian architects and engineers acquired British methods of working and construction. While construction practice during the British Raj (1858-1947) has gained scholarly attention recently, less is known of how construction was practiced after India’s independence in 1947. Analysis of the profiles of professional firms has shown to be a fruitful means of gaining insight in the workings of the construction field. In order to understand how construction practice was carried forward, this paper will therefore study the first Indian architect-entrepreneurs, who established their firms after Independence.

Architecture graduates from JJ School of Art

Architecture Graduates from J. J. School of Art formed the nationwide Indian Institute of Architects in 1929. Top Left: G. B. Mhatre, and Bottom second from Left: C. M. Master with council members of the Indian Institute of Architects, Bombay, 1936-1937

The study is built on data collected from interviews and office archives of three Indian architectural and entrepreneurial offices, which were based in Pune and active in the period 1947-1982. The paper analyses the type of projects these firms were working on, the procedures and organisation of design and construction, and the prevailing construction techniques of the period. As such this contribution will shed light on how, in a post-colonial situation, western models of construction practice were translated into the Indian context.


Construction practice, architects, post-independence, India, Pune

You may read the rest of this fascinating article here: TNAGblog_architectenterpreneurspune

2016 Grantees for Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative Announced

TAG is delighted that the Getty Foundation has awarded a ‘Keeping it Modern’ heritage grant to the Children’s Library in Accra, Ghana – the first time this prestigious award has been made to a building in Africa. This will fund building research into the material fabric of the library, as well as programme of events to keep the space activated and enjoyed.

The library was designed by Nickson and Borys (see Notes from Accra ) in late 1950s / early 1960s (the building appears in J. M. Richard’s New Buildings of the Commonwealth, 1961) and has already received some sympathetic restoration in more recent times, as well as some less fortunate interventions (such as the aluminium front door).

The latest project will be in safe hands under the leadership of the ArkiAfrica team,  and we will post updates on the project here.

Getty press release and information on the other awards here:


Oxford University Press will publish ‘Architecture and Urbanism in the British Empire’ on 7th October 2016. Below is a brief synopsis from the publishers website.


Throughout today’s postcolonial world, buildings, monuments, parks, streets, avenues, entire cities even, remain as witness to Britain’s once impressive if troubled imperial past. These structures are a conspicuous and near inescapable reminder of that past, and therefore, the built heritage of Britain’s former colonial empire is a fundamental part of how we negotiate our postcolonial identities, often lying at the heart of social tension and debate over how that identity is best represented.

This volume provides an overview of the architectural and urban transformations that took place across the British Empire between the seventeenth and mid-twentieth centuries. Although much research has been carried out on architecture and urban planning in Britain’s empire in recent decades, no single, comprehensive reference source exists. The essays compiled here remedy this deficiency. With its extensive chronological and regional coverage by leading scholars in the field, this volume will quickly become a seminal text for those who study, teach, and research the relationship between empire and the built environment in the British context. It provides an up-to-date account of past and current historiographical approaches toward the study of British imperial and colonial architecture and urbanism, and will prove equally useful to those who study architecture and urbanism in other European imperial and transnational contexts.

The volume is divided in two main sections. The first section deals with overarching thematic issues, including building typologies, major genres and periods of activity, networks of expertise and the transmission of ideas, the intersection between planning and politics, as well as the architectural impact of empire on Britain itself. The second section builds on the first by discussing these themes in relation to specific geographical regions, teasing out the variations and continuities observable in context, both practical and theoretical.

Table of Contents:

Architecture, Urbanism, and British Imperial Studies, G. A. Bremner
PART I: Themes in British Imperial and Colonial Architecture and Urbanism
1: Beginnings: Early Colonial Architecture, Daniel Maudlin
2: Urbanism and Master Planning: Configuring the Colonial City, Robert Home and Anthony D. King
3: Stones of Empire: Monuments, Memorials, and Manifest Authority, G. A. Bremner
4: The Metropolis: Imperial Buildings and Landscapes in Britain, G. A. Bremner
5: Propagating Ideas and Institutions: Religious and Educational Architecture, G. A. Bremner and Louis P. Nelson
6: Imperial Modernism, Mark Crinson
Part II Regional Continuity, Divergence, and Variation in the British World
7: British North America and the West Indies, Harold Kalman and Louis P. Nelson
8: South and Southeast Asia, Preeti Chopra
9: The Australian Colonies, Stuart King and Julie Willis
10: New Zealand and the Pacific, Ian Lochhead and Paul Walker
11: Sub-Saharan Africa, Iain Jackson and Ola Uduku
12: Egypt and Mandatory Palestine and Iraq, Samuel D. Albert

Further details here: