New Paper: Architect-entrepreneurs in post-independence Pune (India)

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s