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Modern Architectures in History

A place of astonishing contrasts, India is home to some of the world’s most ancient architectures as well as some of its most modern. It was the focus of some of the most important works created by Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, among other lesser-known masters, and it is regarded by many as one of the key sites of mid-twentieth century architectural design. As Peter Scriver and Amit Srivastava show in this book, however, India’s history of modern architecture began long before the nation’s independence as a modern state in 1947.
Going back to the nineteenth century, Scriver and Srivastava look at the beginnings of modernism in colonial India and the ways that public works and patronage fostered new design practices that directly challenged the social order and values invested in the building traditions of the past. They then trace how India’s architecture embodies the dramatic shifts in Indian society and culture during the last century. Making sense of a broad range of sources, from private papers and photographic collections to the extensive records of the Indian Public Works Department, they provide the most rounded account of modern architecture in India that has yet been available. 

304 pages | 200 halftones | 6 3/4 x 8 1/2 | © 2015

Modern Architectures in History

Architecture: Middle Eastern, African, and Asian Architecture

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"Scriver and Srivastava tell a grand narrative that contains a score of smaller, more personal stories as well."

Empire Studies

"The book validates the decision to take a broad historical overview whilst also piercing to great depths at particular points. It also reminds us that architecture is more than a farcical progression or importation of 'style' and is far more indebted to the economic-political scenario than we would care to admit. . . . We urgently need more books of this caliber."

Architecture Beyond Europe

“Scriver and Srivastava have produced the definitive analysis of the long trajectory of modern architecture in India, from its naissance in the colonial world to the present, when its fate hangs in the balance. Written in an assured, fluent style, the book weaves together a wealth of detailed information into a narrative that is simultaneously highly readable and scholarly. An essential text for all those interested in the past and future of contemporary Indian architecture.”

Vikramaditya Prakash, professor of architecture, University of Washington, author of "Chandigarh’s Le Corbusier" and coauthor of "A Global History of Architecture"

Table of Contents

1. Rationalization: The Call to Order, 1855-1900
2. Complicity and Contradiction in the Colonial Twilight, 1901-1947
3. Nation Building: Architecture in the Service of the Postcolonial State, 1947-1960s
4. Regionalism, Institution Building and the Modern Indian Elite, 1950s-1970s
5. Development and Dissent: The Critical Turn, 1960s-1990s
6. Identity and Difference: The Cultural Turn, 1980s-1990s
7. Towards the ‘Non-modern’: Architecture and Global India since 1990

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Photo Acknowledgements

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