Nov 29, 2014

Black Bucks

Sketched these beautiful Black bucks for Nithila's class work. Original image here.

Nov 20, 2014

World Peace ...

Nithila participated in "Splash " - Drawing competition for kids held by Axis Bank.
@ Axis bank...

almost done...

World Peace - Nithila's entry

Nov 17, 2014

Shreya Ghoshal...

Odyssey - the gala event yesterday, celebrating Sobha's 20th year in India, culminated with a grand concert of Shreya Ghoshal. Shreya mesmerized the audience with her super hit melodies to start with and slowly brought the crowd on their feet with some peppy numbers as well. What an awesome voice! What an amazing evening !

Is Shreya the greatest Bollywood singer ever ?
Her voice range and perfection certainly makes me think so...What makes her stand apart from all other singers is the clarity and fluency in any language she sings.

Nov 14, 2014

Jil Jil Jigarthanda...

There are some things unique to Madurai. Jigarthanda is one such....

Jigarthanda is the famous cold beverage popular in Madurai. There are varying claims about the origin of this traditional 'cold-drink'.  The name being in Urdhu ( Jigar meaning Liver, Thand meaning cold), the general assumption is that the drink must have come with the Muslim settlers from the North. The milk based drink gets its unique taste from the addition of Badam Pisin ( Almond tree resin). Either Rose syrup or Nannari syrup gives the flavor. Locally made malai  Ice cream scoops (usually plain vanilla flavor ) are  an innovative addition to the drink. There is also a theory that China Grass or Agar agar( kadal paasi) was the original authentic ingredient  instead of Badam pisin. Sometimes a layer of basundhi is added to the drink as an extra delicacy and sold as "Special Jigarthanda".
Ammanullah making his Famous Jigarthanda. Photo  : A.Srikumar

The best place to taste Jigarthanda in Madurai is the "Famous Jigarthanda"  shop at East Marret street (Vilakkuthoon). Famous Jigarthanda also has a popular branch at the 80 feet road, Anna Nagar. 

You can also get a taste of Jigarthandas at a shop in East Avanimoola street (Opposite Old Imperial Cinema) and a small shop at Manjanakara street. I also noticed Jigarthanda being sold at the Murugan Idli shop at West Masi Street. Apart from these , there are quite a few other spots and even Hand carts that sell them in many parts of the city.
Jigarthanda at Kannan stores

 Nithila had her first taste of Jigarthanda at the Kannan Departmental Stores at Bye Pass road, Madurai and loved it.
Reaction after first taste of Jigarthanda !

If you are from Bangalore, then you can get a decent drink at the Aachi's  at ESI Hospital road, Indiranagar.

If you want to try it yourself, then visit Pavithra's food blog for the recipe.

Nov 10, 2014

10 Most Inspiring Indian Buildings

Here is a list of 10 buildings in post independent India that had a lasting impression on me during my formative years as an Architect. These are the buildings I had seen/visited or read about that shaped my initial Architectural language and design sense .  (Note- This is not an attempt to rate the best buildings)

1. The Open Hand , Chandigarh 

I first read about Chandigarh's urban design and buildings in an article "Did Corbusier create a dead city?" in a magazine called SPAN ( released by the US consulate in India). I was in High school then. In spite of all the criticisms poured on Corbu and his city design, I have to admit my admiration and the influence of his buildings in my early career. His bold open hand/ bird motif  was my personal favorite. The rigid box below with a flying hand above was  a great example of symbolism  and creative expressionism.

2. Kanchanjunga Apartments, Mumbai

I first saw a small picture of Kanchanjunga apartment in 'Sir Banister Fletcher's A History of Architecture' in my I year at Architecture school. This Charles Correa modernistic classic from the 1970s is a pioneering experiment in Apartment architecture. Correa's clean cubical massing with a play of solids and voids and his planning in multi levels left a lasting impression on me.

3.Mill owners Association building, Ahmedabad

Another Corbusier classic from the 1950s , the ATMA house, is an important work of Architecture in India. This building introduced me to the beauty of rough shuttered concrete facade with Corbu's famous sun breakers - 'brise-soleil'.

4. IIM Ahmedabad

IIM-A , a Louis Kahn master piece and a campus that set the tone for future campus planning in India. I visited this building as part of my Academic tour when I was in my III year and my concept of space planning, natural light &shade and scale were redefined. A new admiration for exposed brick work began for me.

5. Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Ahmedabad


I saw this Gandhi memorial museum at the banks of Sabarmati, during my visit to Ahmedabad as a student. Here I realised that one can create "awe" just by simplicity. Charles Correa 's simple grid geometry with open planning, honest material usage, elements like water court and rain water gutters between slope roofs had a strong influence in my design thinking.

6. Sangath, Ahmedabad

Balakrishna Doshi's own studio , Sangath, is a dream work space for any Architect. I love this building for its sculptural aesthetics played by the Vaults. The setting with its greenery , informal spaces punctuated with Terracotta urns & sculptures and  amphitheatre-like grass steps is worth a visit for any young Architect.

7. IIM Bangalore

Another campus that I greatly admired as a student - the Indian Institute of Management at Bengaluru designed by Doshi. The play of long pergola shadows on the stone walls left a lasting impression on me and still remains a favorite phrase in my Architectural language.

My recent visit here

8. India Habitat centre, New Delhi

This is one building that needs to be experienced to be admired. Since the Indian Council of Architecture is located here, most Indian Architects must have visited this building at some point of time. Designed by Joseph Allen Stein , this building is a case study for spatial planning and effective micro climate control by design. I have a post dedicated to IHC here.

9. Visvesvaraiya Tower, Bangalore

The Visvesvariya Tower - Designed by Charles Correa and one of my favourite buildings in Bengaluru. I love this building for its rustic concrete finish and amazing proportions that you hardly find in high rise buildings in India.

10. Madura Club, Madurai

I am a big fan of Architect Geoffry Bawa. One of his master pieces stands in Madurai as a lesson on interpreting vernacular architecture. Now the club has been preserved and transformed into the "Heritage" hotel
you can read more on this building here

Nov 6, 2014

Quiz Competition...

Feeling good to win the Quiz competition at my office along with my Archi friends Sanjay and Raj !