South Asia

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South Asia as a sub Himalayan geographic entity, has often posed its autonomous identity through large empires like the Ashokan, Mughal, Maratha and more recently through the SAARC initiative. The region however has remained in flux, and the idea that it can be homogenised into a single regional identity has proved difficult. This is because in spite of regulated cross border interactions and trade, the countries occupying South Asia have a long political history of discord. The colonial history of the subcontinent ensured that the cartographic impositions defined territories as fixed entities and as nation states. South Asia’s conceptualisation as a knowledge entity perhaps draws its origins in western academia through ‘Area Studies’. Even so, this region shows distinct traits of spatial dispositions that have not been clearly identified and delved on within contemporary global architectural studies. A focus on the region allows one to shift registers from a parochial nationalistic imagination that was mobilised as a means of identity creation in architectural discourse, in most countries in South Asia. This shift allows us to think of South Asia as a cultural region that has shared cultural practices and hence shared histories of space making.

So far in architectural discourse, one often finds that ideas to think through architecture and urbanism in the South Asian region have largely been structured through debates around identity, informality, regionalism, poverty, outcomes of capitalist and neoliberal economies, and even as classicizing impulses trying to reclaim a past. What gets missed out in the process is a careful analysis of space and its mechanics. These alternative methods of looking at architecture as posited by the paper allows it to locate its investigation not in the ideas of the ‘local’ and the ‘nation state’, but in an analysis of the spatial particularities that exist in the region as a result of similarities between how its societies function, its co-existence with its ecological and geographical context, and as a result of its shared history of colonisation and political upheavals. This research is conducted in order to identify the dominant dispositions of contemporary South Asian architecture so far and towards speculating the direction it will take in the future. The research seeks to undertake a rigorous analysis of the architecture of eight countries in the South Asian region, of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Maldives over a sustained five year period.


 Anuj Daga(2017-2019)- Dipti Bhaindarkar(2021) - Farhin Iqbal(2021-22, RA) -  Ipshita Karmakar(2019-20, RA) - Rupali Gupte(2017 onwards) - Vinit Dharia(2017-18, RA) -

Anuj Daga - Dipti Bhaindarkar - Ipshita Karmakar (2019-20, RA) - Rupali Gupte - Vinit Dharia (2017-18, RA) -