Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 7 (April-June 1984) p. 5.


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Including Iconography and Images in Architecture

Romi Khosia ^

FOR the past ten years, we have been designing and building over a hundred buildings which are without any stylistic uniformity whatsoever. Our architecture is not only stylistically inconsistent, it is

^ also totally pluralistic, completely open ended, and yet an inseparable part of the Indian reality. Last year, while we were designing India's first silicon chip factory in steel and glass for the Government (see Figs. 36-45) we were also putting the finishing touches to a mud-mortar and clay-tile roof nursery school for tribal Santhal children in a village in Bihar. This article is therefore an account of our explorations, concerns and search for an architecture that simultaneously links the cultural associations of our times with the galloping aspirations towards a vast future. The search is concerned simultaneously with two planes—the historical one and the contemporary one. The historical plane is vertical or diachronic, a path in time, which has along it, the history of Indian architecture and which is primarily the repository of our associations and images of architecture. Searching for an Indianness that is easy to define and compact along this diachronic path is useless. One of the earliest temples that we are aware of on the subcontinent, is the Jandial Temple built in Taxila in the 2nd century B.C. (Fig. 1). It is a copy of a Greek structure conceived under the influence of Bactrian culture. More recently than that, as one continues the diachrpnic search, we find a classical Hindu period of architecture interspersed with a Buddhist period from the 5th century to the 12 century; an Islamic period from the 12th century to the 18th century which includes Persian and Hindu classical motifs. This is followed by a colonial period from the 18th century to the mid-20th century which includes Greek, Italian, Hindu and

Journal of Arts and Ideas 5


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