Built environments in India were designed/constructed by master carpenters and guilds of craftsmen till the advent of the modern era. The modern discipline of architecture is, therefore, relatively young, emerging only during the British rule. In spite of there being three wings of a discipline: practice, teaching and research, practitioners dominate the field of architecture while the crucial research component is relatively neglected in India. There is a lacuna in several areas of study and it is not easy to find well-researched and documented publications or analytical studies on the Indian design sensibilities that are historical, regional or critical in nature. This limitation is acutely felt in the areas of teaching where a heavy reliance on western publications still exists, especially in courses on theory, history and technology. With the information revolution and growing globalization, there are going to be tremendous changes in the future in the discipline of architecture and we require sustained research and other activities to keep up with it. Our organization is engaged in practice, research and documentation during the past 35 years, developing a focus on vernacular and colonial architecture as well as gender and the built environment in India. It has also conceived and prepared architectural exhibitions.
The Goals of Archicrafts Foundation
- Undertake research in architecture in the context of India in particular and South Asia in general.
- Create documentation archives of photographs, drawings and other materials such as maps for South Asian architecture.
- Build academic and research bridges with like-minded scholars and teachers.
- Provide alternative educational experiences through workshops and architectural tours for students and teachers of architecture.
- Create a link between the community and the discipline of architecture while developing a focus on women and children.
- Design awareness oriented exhibitions and documentaries related to the built environment.
- To prepare and publish studies and monographs related to vernacular, colonial and contemporary architecture in India
- To deliver lectures at architectural institutions
- To conduct and guide workshops and study tours/field trips related to Indian architecture
- To organize local, national and international exhibitions with drawings, models and photographs on the above-mentioned subjects
- To get involved with urban conservation through projects, publications and other related activities
Profiles of Principals
Miki and Madhavi Desai have an M. Arch. from the University of Texas at Austin, USA. They are co-authors of Architecture and Independence: The Search for Identity: India 1880 to 1980, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1997 with Jon Lang. The same team has authored a research report titled "The Cultural Expression of the Bungalow in India: The Colonial Legacy and its Post-Colonial Manifestation which was supported by a collaborative research grant from the Getty Foundation, USA, 2006-2008. It is now a book titled, The Bungalow in Twentieth Century India: The Cultural Expression of Changing Ways of Life and Aspirations in the Domestic Architecture of Colonial and Post-Colonial Society published by Ashgate, UK in 2012. They are also the authors of Architectural Heritage of Gujarat: Interpretation Appreciation, Values, the Government of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, 2012. MIki and Madhavi have also received Research Fellowships from the Indian Council for Social Science Research, New Delhi.
Prof. Miki Desai retired from CEPT University, Ahmedabad as the head of the Master’s Program in Sustainable Architecture where he taught from 1981 to 2014. He has had the EARTHWATCH grant, a Fulbright Fellowship, the Graham Grant and the Getty Collaborative Grant. He is the co-author of Architecture and Independence, OUP (1997), Architectural Heritage of Gujarat, Gujarat Government (2012) and The Bungalow in Twentieth Century India, Ashgate (2012). He is the author of Wooden Architecture of Kerala, MAPIN (2018). He has held exhibitions at the Rietberg Museum, Zurich (1990), the Sanskar Kendra, Ahmedabad, (2012), the CEPT University (2015) and the University of Moratuwa, Colombo (2016). He was a visiting Studio Critic at ETH, Zurich, MIT, USA and U C Berkeley, USA (1988) and a visiting scholar in the College of Environmental Design at University of California, Berkeley (2014). He has delivered keynote addresses at ISVS Conference in Istanbul (2014) and at the Cities-People-Places conference in Colombo (2016). He has lectured widely in India and abroad.
Madhavi Desai is an architect, researcher, writer and a teacher. She was an adjunct faculty at CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India (1986-2018). She has had Research Fellowships from ICSSR, Delhi, the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, MIT, USA, Sarai, Delhi and the Getty Foundation, USA. She is the co-author, author or editor of 6 books on Indian architecture. She is a member of the nominating committee of the Berkeley-Rupp Professorship and Prize at the University of California at Berkeley, USA since 2012.