Warm Modernity: Indian Architecture Building Democracy
Published by Silvana Editoriale
Edited by Maddalena d'Alfonso. Text by Paolo Brescia, Elisa Fiscon, Jacopo Galli, Rahul Mehrotra, Anna Nurra, Ingrid Paoletti.
A fascinating chapter in modernist architecture and city planning took place in India under the guidance of German architect Otto Koenigsberger and other polymath figures such as Le Corbusier, Ernst May, Hermann Jansen, Fritz Schumacher, Theodor Fischer, Heinrich Tessenow, Ebenezer Howard, Patrick Geddes and Raymond Unwin. The principal ideas introduced by these figures at the moment of India’s independence and Partition were based on European models such as the garden city.
Addressing the complex political dimensions of this subject, Warm Modernity describes India’s modernist utopia of participatory planning and design, identifying an approach on the part of Western architects that was at times motivated by noble ideals, but which quickly had to reckon with unforgiving realities. At other times it was driven by an effort to banish the specter of poverty, or a sense of personal responsibility, to find new ways out of India’s history of oppression under colonialism.
Alongside a wealth of archival images of relevant structures, plus detailed maps, this brilliantly designed volume includes examinations of the cities of Jamshedpur, Bhubaneswar, Faridabad and Chandigarh, with extensive discussions of, among other topics: the role of design manuals in colonial and postcolonial history; indigenous technologies and self-construction; the model of the “urban mandala”; and the meaning of participatory architecture.