Ar. Apurva Bose Dutta, an award-winning architectural journalist from Bengaluru speaks with Gallopper about her recently-released book, ARCHITECTURAL VOICES OF INDIA, and a little more.
Architectural Voices of India: A Blend of Contemporary and Traditional Ethos, published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK is Apurva’s first book as an author. It features the journeys of 17 iconic architects of India, and, simultaneously assimilates their thoughts, perspectives and visions to understand where the architecture and building industry is heading and where Indian architecture is positioned in the global context. It also reflects on the future course that the profession should take. The book takes the help of conversations to understand the issues architecture is being confronted with.
Apurva took to being a full-time architectural journalist, within two months of graduating from the Chandigarh College of Architecture in 2005. While she started her career with India’s leading magazines, Architecture+Design and Indian Architect & Builder, she later went on to work with numerous print and digital publications, organisations and firms related to the architecture and building industry, in India and overseas. She has also been actively taking initiatives to increase the visibility of architectural journalism in India.
On being probed about the inspiration behind her first book, Apurva says, “I would say that my primary inspiration for doing this book came from my journey of architectural journalism which I started enjoying more because of the many architects and allied professionals that I met from the industry. I thought it was important to bring forth their thoughts on their own journeys and architecture. Also unlike overseas, where architects write about themselves and their works, in India architects seldom do the same. So it is rather gratifying to be a medium through which their thoughts, work and philosophies can go out to the readers.
“There are a lot of ongoing discussions on whether architecture shapes the society or the society should influence the architects. For me, it’s a two-way thing: Considering the requirements of the society, the architects have to go ahead to shape the societies, and their cities. I believe architecture is thus an integral part of our daily lives and that is why this book is not only meant for professionals connected to the architecture, design and building industry, but also for the layman who would like to get a grasp about the state of the profession in India, and globally.”
In her book, Ms. Bose probes into the journeys of the featured architects, which to her are truly inspirational and symbolic of strength, passion, hard work and perseverance. She points out that the book has major takeaways for the students of architecture too.
“What I found very interesting during the course of this book was that most of the architects were very forthcoming with their views. Many statements in the book are far from being diplomatic, they reflect the current state of the profession, the recognition it is getting (or not getting!), the educational system in the country and the people connected to the industry. There are views that are similar amongst the architects, but then there are many such issues too, where the architects have very contrasting views. I believe, the coming together of these views of 17 illustrious Indian architects who belong to different genre, different methods of designing, different specialisations, is the USP of this book,” says Apurva.
Apart from the features, each chapter in the book carry two small sections, which have been penned by the architects themselves: one, which probes into their personal space and another, about a project that changed the way they thought about architecture. The book features several images of the seminal projects of these architects, architectural drawings of some important ones, and hand-made sketches too.
Apurva strongly feels that an architectural journalist should not limit himself/herself to only writing about architecture; s/he should explore every avenue through which architecture can be communicated. Hence, though her prime focus for the past many months was this book, but apart from the book and her other writing assignments, a few exciting things have kept Ms Bose occupied.
Apurva was one of the two nominated members of the Indian delegation at an architectural media visit of two weeks in Melbourne organised by the Australian government. There she enjoyed experiencing Melbourne, the ‘most liveable city of the world’, meeting high profile architects and executives connected to the architecture and design fraternity, understanding the core values that have made up the city and spending time with delegations of architectural writers from other countries.
At the Smart Green Summit 2016 organised by St Gobain and Times of India in Mumbai in Dec 2016, as the architecture and design content partner for St Gobain India (Glass Business), she interviewed various people from the global design industry on “going green and sustainable”
She also took on the role of the emcee at an international architecture conference organised by Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) at Kerala early this year. Apart from which, being present at ARCASIA 2017 at Jaipur to cover it for an international architecture magazine, was an enjoyable experience for her. Apurva has also been devoting a considerable amount of time in addressing and interacting with architectural students at talks and workshops at state/national level students’ meets.
ARCHITECTURAL VOICES OF INDIA: A Blend of Contemporary and Traditional Ethos, was launched at Sir JJ College of Architecture on the 6th of September 2017, at an event organised by the Alumni Association of Sir JJ College of Architecture.