The craftsman architect | Íñigo García Odiaga

Studio Mumbai. Palmyra House

Studio Mumbai, Praxis is the title of an exhibition organised by the British School in Rome like part of the investigations that this develops in the context of the urban landscapes. After the big visibility that Studio Mumbai reached all over the world, when Kazuyo Sejima selected them, for which is maybe, the architectural event more important of the world, the Biennial of Architecture of Venecia, in his edition of 2010, international centres of study and investigation in architecture looked with lupa the work of this Indian study. Settled in the Indian city of Bombay, the study is directed by Bijoy Jain, an architect formed in the United States and whose greater attainment has consisted in knowing adapt the form to do western to a so singular panorama like the Indian. In this way the study presents an operative model in which the architects are at the same time handmade. No only they design the architecture but also they build it they same, in an approach that is at the same time a new vision of the profession and also a reinterpretación of the master constructor of the mediaeval age.

Something that in the context of the first world is unthinkable, not only for the attitude of the professionals, but also for the dense legislative world that regulates the construction.

It forms this one of acting, of understanding the profession of the architecture has carried also a model change in the theoretical, intellectual procedure of facing the project. The most palpable is the appearance of the own office in which the activity develops the study. Close to the drawing boards, computers and planes, there are accumulated hundreds of models, building models on a small scale, but also enormous prototypes of sections of front, of types of cover, of stones or of carpentries that solve to royal scale meetings or concrete details of his buildings. The court of the study, a great esplanade surrounded with pavilions, is more a workshop than a space of drawing, concentration and meditation. Painters, carpenters or bricklayers stroll mixed with architects trying to study and to propose the best possible solution in a constant dialog between the desirable thing and the possible thing.

Studio Mumbai. Cooper house

The designs of the Studio Mumbai, they owe his essential intellectual one to his founder, Bijoy Jain, who shaped his theoretical knowledge in Richard Meier’s workshop as person in charge of the design of the Center Getty of The Angels, but they owe his royal concretion to the realities of the constructive Indian culture.

It is of this place, of this meeting between two worlds so different from where there is born the essence of the works of this study. The traditional arts of construction, the educations of the local crafts and the environmental knowledge learned for centuries to live in these latitudes of the planet, puts to the service of the contemporary architecture, to realize this miscegenation that is giving so good results.

The soil, the landscape, the traditional materials, as the wood or the brick, together with the own limitations of every place, as the water lack in a few cases or the excessive heat in others, are always the point of entry to the projects that the office has realized these years.

Sudio Mumbai. Pali Hill

The traditional technologies of lattices in wood and of the work seriado of this one, define for example the House Belavali, constructed in the year 2008, where both his structures of load and his exterior coatings, they are solved by local wood. All the protagonism of the construction is bent to this material that solves ceilings, props, doors, windows and the vertical muds that separate the interior of the exterior, but this local technology is put to the service of an architecture that we might qualify of modern, since his form and the understanding that this one does of the place and of the environment like that they denote it.

For against, buildings like the house Palmyra of the year 2007, they speak about an educated architecture in which the relations with big works of the modernity are almost direct. Both rectangular blocks that form the House Palmyra, are totally covered of brise-soleils to protect the interior space of the strong Sun while they guarantee a correct ventilation. The architecture of Rudolph Schindler, the American teacher, which Bijoy Jain could visit in Los Angeles or the house – study that so often I study of Charles and Ray Eames, they are references that can be visualized in the lightness, the formal simplicity or the constant opening of the space, understood more as a container in which to live and not as a succession of rooms of specific use.

The Cooper House or the House Pali Hill, the latter in an urban context, speaks already about an architecture that looks for a new modernity, the current modernity of a country in growth since it is the India and that seeks to generate the continuous one between his traditional past and vernacular and his future of modernity. It will be necessary to wait to see how one adapts the work of a study of these characteristics to the production of big buildings, as hospitals or stations and if it will be capable of facing the urbanism and the city a speech also new that is capable of giving solutions to cities like the indies, oriental cities that want to turn in western and that precisely now sail as the Studio Mumbai between two worlds.

Studio Mumbai. Workshop own office

íñigo garcía odiaga. architect

san sebastián. november 2012

Íñigo García Odiaga

Doctor Arquitecto y profesor asociado de Proyectos Arquitectónicos, ETSASS. Editor de NOMU. 1/5 del estudio de arquitectura VAUMM. Vivo en Donosti.

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