Studies on architecture in South Asia continue to ignore women in canonical histories of the discipline. This book attempts to recover the stories of the women architects whose careers nearly parallel the development of modernism in colonial and postcolonial India. Writing their experiences into the narrative of mainstream architectural history within the challenge of non-existent archives, it sheds light on seven pioneering women who broke male bastions to go beyond the traditional confines of the era from the 1940s onwards. The author also examines 28 contemporary practices to demonstrate the ways in which architectural modernism in India was shaped by the contribution of women. The book uses a format that weaves together social, professional and biographical factors into a productive account; pluralizes various concepts of design; and redefines the idea of `work' of women through a greater range of activities, including pedagogy, mentoring and activism. Alluding to challenges faced by women, the study celebrates practices in diverse regional settings even as the designers move in transnational contexts in an increasingly globalizing India.
Extensively illustrated, featuring drawings and photographs, this book will be a milestone in the modernist narrative of South Asia and will be of interest to scholars and researchers of architecture, gender studies, modern Indian history and sociology.
Madhavi Desai is an adjunct faculty member at the Faculty of Architecture, CEPT (Center for Environmental Planning and Technology) University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. She is the author of Traditional Architecture: House Form of the Islamic Community of the Bohras in Gujarat (2008); co-author of Architecture and Independence: The Search for Identity, India 1880 to 1980 (1997), 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 (2012) and Architectural Heritage of Gujarat: Interpretation, Appreciation, Values (2012); and editor of Women and the Built Environment in India (2007).
Part I Introduction Part II Modernism, Architecture and Women in India Part III Early Narratives 1. Perin Jamshedji Mistri 2. Urmila Eulie Chowdhury 3. Gira Sarabhai 4. Pravina Mehta 5. Hema Sankalia 6. Hema Patel 7. Madhu Sarin Part IV Contemporary Practices 8. Minakshi Jain 9. Renu Mistry 10. Namita Singh 11. Brinda Somaya 12. Neera Adarkar 13. Meena Mani 14. Parul Zaveri 15. Nalini Thakur 16. Revathi Kamath 17. Sheila Sri Prakash 18. Vandana Ranjithsinh 19. Anjali Yagnik 20. Sujatha Shankar 21. Sonali Bhagwati 22. Suhasini Ayer-Guigan 23. Canna Patel 24. Chitra Vishwanath 25. Shimul Javeri Kadri 26. Samira Rathod 27. Pratima Joshi 28. Gurmeet Rai 29. Anupama Kundoo 30. Latha Raman Jaigopal 31. Mona Doctor-Pingel 32. Nisha Mathew 33. Shikha Jain 34. Archana Chaudhary 35. Shilpa Ranade Part V Towards Conclusions