Rahul Mehrotra is a practicing architect and educator. He studied at CEPT, Ahmedabad and then graduated in Urban Design from Graduate School of Design, Harvard in 1987.
He works in Mumbai and teaches at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, where he is Professor of Urban Design and Planning, and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design as well as a member of the steering committee of Harvard’s South Asia Initiative.
On his presentation
Architects and Designers working in India are now dealing with an entire gamut of social, cultural and economic phenomenon that are molding the built environment at phenomenally rapid rates. In the process, the role of the professional architect has been marginalized - for within conventional praxis, the professional does not engage with this broader landscape but rather chooses to operate with the specificity of a site or locality and in the process often becomes disconnected with the broader context of practice. Thus our approach to Working in Mumbai has been to actually use the city and region of our operation as a generator of practice - as a way for us to evolve an approach and architectural vocabulary that draws its nourishment from a more elastic definition of the profession which sees multiple forms of engagement as being simultaneously valid in dealing with this kinetic landscape. Thus in our projects, the approach has been to abstract and interpret spatial arrangements and building elements from tradition while using a contemporary sensibility as well as building vocabulary. The attempt is thus to combine materials, to juxtapose conventional craftsmanship with industrial materials and traditional spatial arrangements with contemporary space organization. And to explore how architecture can be used as an instrument to resist the polarized conditions in our cities. In short, to give expression to the pluralism and dualities that so vividly characterizes the Indian Landscape.
MOHAN S RAO