Looking through Walls: Architecture in the age of McDonalds

The Western tradition has continued to stress the value of originality. Drawings of nuclear reactors in city neighborhoods. Apartment blocks built on toxic waste sites. The garden city as skyscraper. Suicide bridges on the Hudson River, Fast food restaurants in the shape of a burger. The Ugly Duckling Beauty parlor. Boulee's drawings for a penis shaped brothel. Architecture as a dark, often private joke, untold and stored between the sheets of a drawer full of serious drawings. In their own ways 20th century America, Renaissance Italy and indeed Roman Rome were open and permissive to a point that encouraged thinking beyond their cultural borders.

In India, such thinking is often not possible. Architecture, like other professions, falls squarely in the realm of objective activity directed towards a specific goal, discouraging, so to speak, the tangential view. There are no patrons in architecture, only clients. And theirs is not an exploration of architectural ideas, merely an expression of details for eventual construction. In seeking to express ideas, the architectural task so, becomes harder, if not downright impossible...

House of Customs Official and House of Mahatma Gandhi
House of Customs Official and House of Mahatma Gandhi © Gautam Bhatia
Fallenwater © Gautam Bhatia
Khajuraho Group of Hotels
Khajuraho Group of Hotels © Gautam Bhatia
Hoam Delvary!
Hoam Delvary! © Gautam Bhatia