Studies on architecture in South Asia continue to ignore women in canonical histories of the discipline. This book attempts to recover the stories of the women architects whose careers nearly parallel the development of modernism in colonial and postcolonial India. Writing their experiences into the narrative of mainstream architectural history within the challenge of non-existent archives, it sheds light on seven pioneering women who broke male bastions to go beyond the traditional confines of the era from the 1940s onwards. The author also examines 28 contemporary practices to demonstrate the ways in which architectural modernism in India was shaped by the contribution of women. The book uses a format that weaves together social, professional and biographical factors into a productive account; pluralizes various concepts of design; and redefines the idea of ‘work’ of women through a greater range of activities, including pedagogy, mentoring and activism. Alluding to challenges faced by women, the study celebrates practices in diverse regional settings even as the designers move in transnational contexts in an increasingly globalizing India.
Extensively illustrated, featuring drawings and photographs, this book will be a milestone in the modernist narrative of South Asia and will be of interest to scholars and researchers of architecture, gender studies, modern Indian history and sociology.
'…this book is a stellar effort, simply for brining visibility to the unsung women architects of India…it is a long overdue publication for a subject that has been left unattended for too long and as the author also hopes in her conclusion that perhaps this will trigger off more work and research into this area.'
Anubha Kakroo, Insite Review
Part I Introduction Part II Modernism, Architecture and Women in India Part III Early Narratives 1. Perin Jamshedji Mistri 2. Urmila Eulie Chowdhury 3. Gira Sarabhai 4. Pravina Mehta 5. Hema Sankalia 6. Hema Patel 7. Madhu Sarin Part IV Contemporary Practices 8. Minakshi Jain 9. Renu Mistry 10. Namita Singh 11. Brinda Somaya 12. Neera Adarkar 13. Meena Mani 14. Parul Zaveri 15. Nalini Thakur 16. Revathi Kamath 17. Sheila Sri Prakash 18. Vandana Ranjithsinh 19. Anjali Yagnik 20. Sujatha Shankar 21. Sonali Bhagwati 22. Suhasini Ayer-Guigan 23. Canna Patel 24. Chitra Vishwanath 25. Shimul Javeri Kadri 26. Samira Rathod 27. Pratima Joshi 28. Gurmeet Rai 29. Anupama Kundoo 30. Latha Raman Jaigopal 31. Mona Doctor-Pingel 32. Nisha Mathew 33. Shikha Jain 34. Archana Chaudhary 35. Shilpa Ranade Part V Towards Conclusions
This series takes as its starting point notions of the visual, and of vision, as central in producing meanings, maintaining aesthetic values, and relations of power. Through individual studies, it hopes to chart the trajectories of the visual as an activating principle of history. An important premise here is the conviction that the making, theorising, and historicising of images do not exist in exclusive distinction of one another.
Opening up the field of vision as an arena in which meanings get constituted simultaneously anchors vision to other media such as audio, spatial, and the dynamics of spectatorship. It calls for closer attention to inter-textual and inter-pictorial relationships through which ever-accruing layers of readings and responses are brought alive.
Through its regional focus on South Asia the series locates itself within a prolific field of writing on non-Western cultures, which have opened the way to pluralise iconographies, and to perceive temporalities as scrambled and palimpsestic. These studies, it is hoped, will continue to reframe debates and conceptual categories in visual histories. The importance attached here to investigating the historical dimensions of visual practice implies close attention to specific local contexts which intersect and negotiate with the global, and can re-constitute it. Examining the ways in which different media are to be read into and through one another would extend the thematic range of the subjects to be addressed by the series to include those which cross the boundaries that once separated the privileged subjects of art historical scholarship from the popular – sculpture, painting, and monumental architecture – from other media: studies of film, photography, and prints, on the one hand; advertising, television, posters, calendars, comics, buildings, and cityscapes on the other.