Interview with Architect SameepPadora
What do you consider to be the most interesting and recent developments in architecture in india?
The india of the immediate post-independence era was marked by a frantic nation building energy, which in some sense was serviced by the singularity of the modernist project. since then however india’s variety ofsocio-cultural environments have shown the futility of singularity as a means of engaging with the country’s varying contexts. this in turn has enabled an understanding of the legitimacy of local models of urbanization that question the western models that comprise a conception of the urban.
given this understanding the exciting thing about practicing in india is that the specificity of the local is now be informed and heightened by global and regional networks which enable architects to address projects situated through the width of the country’s socio-economic and cultural contexts through methodologies of extreme subjectivity.
What has been your most memorable/challenging project to date and why?
The challenge in most projects is to extend the brief beyond just it’s programmatic capacities, to situate it with relevance to a project type and/or the means of its processing despite the pressures of time and monies. the temples we worked on were obviously difficult because we were parsing through centuries of an image that defines this kind of religious edifice, it finally took a great deal of participation by the local community along with referencing the specificity of the context that enabled us to build these projects. one of the most gratifying moments from these projects was related to the shiv temple built in the rural hinterland of maharashtra. the temple’s priest took a copy of the architectural review, with the project on it’s cover to the local administrator and leveraged the coverage for a new road to the nearest village. so thanks to the ingenuity of the priest the temple played a role in the development of the surrounding region.
Who and what has been the biggest influence on your work to date?
There are far too many to list, including teachers from school, the writings of mahtamagandhi and amartyasen’s development as freedom. the initial years of practice were defined by an interest in the works of the likes of carloscarpa, frank israel amongst others, but a transformative moment for me was to experience a retrospective of richardserra’s torqued ellipses at the temporary contemporary in l.a. in 1999 while i was still a student at sci_arc. I was struck by how form and space seemed to coalesce into a dynamic singularity, a seamless articulation of material, form and rigorous process.