25 September, 2020

City Scopes

This tour de force on architecture since 1990 deals with the great leap upwards of post-reforms India

City Scopes
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Mehrotra’s tour de force on architecture since 1990 deals with the great leap upwards of post-reforms India. He is a fit chronicler—and messiah—of both, the egotistic spoor of what he calls ‘impatient capitalism’ and the forces of resistance. He has been more realistic, and less arrogant, than the post-independence star chamber of Correa, Doshi, et al. This tome describes the ‘plural landscape’, which is the result of India’s reactions to globalisation.

Post-’90s urbania appears to be all about the mall-ing of Indian architecture. The spectacle of FDI Unbound brought in an uncapped investment in global architects. They are a far cry from those who created the Nehruvian aesthetic—Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn, Frank Lloyd Wright and Buckminster Fuller—because the patronage has now changed from the Sarabhais to software giants.

But India is too ancient and too diverse for its new identity to be expressed monotheistically. And Mehrotra is too cerebral to make the easy,...

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