The History Project - School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal

July 2015
Prepared for: 
School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal

"The concept of writing a history of architecture from an indegenous perspective calls for an engagement with indegenous reality, which in our subcontinent would emerge from the conjunction of history, geography, and philosophy giving rise to our architectural ethos. The idea of the present research stems from an earlier published essay 'The Discovery of Architecture - A Contemporary Treatise on Ancient Values and Indegenous Reality' co-authored by Shri M.N. Ashish Ganju and Shri Narendra Dengle. The proposal for a research project involving a team of experts working within an institutional framework of an academic curriculum to culminate in a comprehensive publication was put forward by Shri M.N. Ashish Ganju to host institute of SPA Bhopal. A brief introduction of the proposed research follows.

An investigation into the architecture of the Indian subcontinent shows that the variety of environmental conditions resulting from the geography of this region has produced a range of vernacular building types, found even today within the matrix of historic monuments and sites which reveal a remarkably rich treasure of architectural form and iconography; with its understanding and appreciation informed by powerful philosophical schools suc as Vedanta, Buddhism, and Sufism.

It is evident that architectural educatoin today is not grounded in this indigenous reality, and this may as well be the primary reason for the architectural profession's lack of grounding in our social and cultural milieu. The vicious circle of pedagogy and practice steering us toward ecological disaster can be broken by a fresh understanding of our architectural beginnings. We need to research and articulate a history of architecture with a focus on this subcontinent. Extending the framework of the essay referred above, the history we research will be of several layers, only one among these being the chronolical study of ancient monuments and sites. Other layers of geography, culture, society, and philosophy will need to be integrated within the discourse.

This 3 day workshop is organised to bring together a few scholars, including architects, historians, and social scientists, prepared to look beyond the received wisdom. The project is conceived as research project dovetailed with the academic curriculum of SPA Bhopal involving the students and faculty."