If we try to boil down the vast architecture of the Indian subcontinent into one word, it will be a herculean feat to undertake. The architecture of India is beautiful, to say the least. From incorporating the colonial influences, to adding in Mughal and Rajput touches to any given building, the enduring spirit of classic Indian architecture still remains very much alive in today’s day and age. India has managed to simultaneously live in the present while staying firmly rooted in the past. All the buildings and architectural marvels we behold have been carefully designed with painstaking attention being paid to the details. This leads to the creation of extremely sophisticated homes and architectural wonders that makes modern architecture loved by people from all walks of life. ASRO Arcade, is a premier multidisciplinary architecture firm based in Delhi. All of the projects that have been undertaken, have an undercurrent of being influenced by the rich culture of India, says Ar. Robin Sisodiya, the founder and principal architect of ASRO Arcade.
Ever since the British departed India in 1947, many people who were born from the 1960s and onwards, often feel like strangers in their motherland since the influence the colonizers had on modern architecture is immense. In order to combat this whitewashing of our nation, architects like Robin Sisodiya have been looking into the past so that the future generations do not feel moorless in their own home. One of the most stunning wonders of the world has been the Taj Mahal, erected by Shah Jahan to illustrate his undying love for his wife, Mumtaz. When going into the monument, the visitors are in awe due to the perfect symmetry. Influenced by this basic concept of symmetry, Ar. Sisodiya has carefully crafted the hallway of “The Arc,” which reflects this enduring idea. One of the basic tenets of architecture is firmly rooted in symmetry, and therefore, by going back to the basics, the true simple spirit of the Indian subcontinent has been perfectly captured in this house.
Another great source of getting back one’s sense of national identity is by looking into the rural dwellings and lifestyle. About 82% of India is still rural, but the traditions associated with the villages are still kept alive by migrants in huge urban cities. By looking at what ordinary people do, there is a lot of design inspiration that can be captured. As R.K Narayan has said, one simply needs to look out of the window in order to capture a person’s story. Building off this argument, Ar. Sisodiya has managed to demonstrate the pleasures of simple but intimate living in his residential project, “Mystique Residence.” This is an ideal example of capturing the rural and regional living as he has transformed the transitional spaces before the staircase into something very vivacious. Etched in white marble and MDF, regional art has been used in the landing space that makes for a stunning place to admire the local forms of art.
Rajputs have been a constant and continuous source of inspiration and pride for modern indians. Looking at their architecture, it gives modern citizens of India a true sense of dignity and valor. At the same time, rajput architecture has been overwhelmingly religious or secular in nature. For Indians that seem to have missed the glory of their past, they need to look no further than the Rajput architecture. One of the most enduring elements of this type of architecture is the humble jharokha. This type of window has been commonly observed in Rajasthani buildings like the Hawa Mahal. Ar. Sisodiya has modernized the jharokha into something that can easily be incorporated into the contemporary home without looking over the top. This has been exemplified in the residential project, “The Stallion,” which has cubism inspired jharokha, made of brass and copper.
India is one of the oldest civilizations on the planet. A sense of belonging can be experienced in every region, as ancient India was reigned by different kings, also having an effect of colonialism which has lingered around positively through the built forms translated into modern India by ASRO Arcade.