Historical monuments excited me to study architecture for it displayed the ability of an architect to create an artistic expression for the user that has the power to generate visual and experiential memories for generations to come. As a result, my undergraduate thesis dealt with historic preservation of defunct Capitol Cinema, a Victorian gothic theatre in Mumbai, along with cultural expansion of neighborhood through sensitive architectural interventions. With the said interests, I began my professional career with eminent architectural conservation practitioners Vikas Dilawari and Brinda Somaya in Mumbai. While having hands-on experience on popular and unloved heritage buildings in India, these were largely practical projects carried out with a sensitive understanding of past and present within a framework of policies. I was encouraged to begin my independent practice. My projects solved similar puzzles of practically glorifying loved and unloved spaces at institutional and residential premises.
I have been actively involved in teaching as visiting lecturer, examiner and juror at Mumbai University’s esteemed Colleges of Architecture (AOA, KRVIA, Rizvi) and Rachana Sansad’s College of Applied Arts and Crafts.
- Architectural Building Construction and Materials (II & IV year B.Arch)
- Elective – Ottoman Architecture and Mimar Sinan (III, IV & V year B.Arch)
- Elective – ‘Understanding Primary methods of Conservation of Built Heritage’. It is part of elective course about ‘Building Repairs and Rehabilitation’ (III, IV & V year B.Arch)
- History of Visual Communication through Art and Architecture (I year B. Fine art – applied art)
While architectural practice has been typically lucrative career for me, it did not fully serve my yearning for intellectual growth on my interest areas. Hence, along with my architectural practice, I would regularly visit museums, galleries, take up online and physical courses taught by scholars, attend open scholarly talks on aesthetics and architectural cultures across the globe. I never imagined attending a public lecture would be so instrumental in leading me towards my future goals.
It was 24th July 2015 when I attended Professor H. Masud Taj’s talk titled ‘Sinan: Architect at the Centre of the World’ at Jnanapravaha, Mumbai. His presentation touched upon cross-cultural history, art, architecture, poetry, calligraphy all together to allude the greatness of Sinan. Until this talk, I had dim knowledge of Sinan’s ingenuity. I was left highly inspired by Sinan’s architectural geniuses such that I began my independent research on this subject by acquiring books and reading scholarly papers on various online portals. Discussing structural components with my senior mentors helped me interpret Sinan’s buildings objectively with fresh perspectives. The more I read the more I was drawn in it.
“What you seek is seeking you” a powerful, familiar quote by Rumi strikes well here. In Indian academics, Architectural History is taught through a euro-centric perspective where Sir Banister Fletcher’s book – ‘History of Architecture’ is considered the Bible. Ironically, its large categorization misses out Sinan’s great contribution to art and architectural history. With this understanding, it encouraged me to design an academic course on Ottoman Architecture focusing Sinan’s works for undergraduate students of architecture. Having started with a pedagogic volition, it led me from one to another like-minded people. In September 2017, I got the lifetime opportunity to co-curate ‘CELEBRATING MIMAR SINAN’ an exhibition of selected works. It was jointly supported by Turkish Consulate General in Mumbai, University of Mumbai in association with Rachana Sansad’s Academy of Architecture.
- A comprehensive book on architecture of Global Vipassana Pagoda and its parallels with Budhha’s principal teachings of dhamma. Global Vipassana Pagoda in Mumbai, constructed in 2009, is the largest masonry, column free, dome in the world. It was built as tribute to Myanmar for preserving the teaching of dhamma in its pristine form and thus the architectural vocabulary is adopted from Shwedagon Pagoda (a solid stupa) in Mynmar. The project is supported by Vipassana Research Institute, Mumbai.
- Essay on ‘Architectural cultures of Bombay from 1900 to 1920 – a case of Hindu and Parsi Colony at Dadar’