Friday, June 10, 2011


During his visits to Ahmedabad, Husain used to voice his idea for an exclusive gallery to house his works. His good friend Doshi challenged Husain by saying that he will create such a unique space that Husain will have to rise up and match the quality of the space with his art. Husain used to enquire to Doshi what was the most climatologically appropriate building form for withstanding the scorching heat of Ahmedabad and Doshi would say that it would be a partially underground building. Thus was born the idea for an underground structure – something that had never been tried before.

Set adjacent to the Cept University, this museum is one of a kind – the spaces are all underground with only the domed roof shells protruding above the ground level. From the exterior, the Gufa looks more like a work of art, a sculpture of domed shells finished in dazzling china mosaic, complete with a black serpentine imagery snaking across the surfaces. The museum spaces, set below the ground contain no straight wall, a surprise when you consider that the function was to house Husain’s enters the space through a staircase which is partly hidden, through a circular door and reaches the surreal cavern like space. Here, the genius of Doshi & Husain combine together to produce a unique marriage of art and architecture.

There are cave like walls with undulations with the domed roof shapes supported by inclined irregular shaped columns, the plan being an interplay of intersecting circles and ellipses. The space is an inherent appeal to the earthy qualities in man. Light comes in as shafts through a few circular openings in the dome, the diffused light adding to the mystic ambience. Spots of light on the floor, from the circular skylights, change location according to the time of the day, adding to the mystery of the space.  Many ordinary artists would have gasped at the unorthodox structure for a museum. Yet, Husain matches Doshi by using the undulated walls as his canvas. ‘‘That’s when he did the free flowing lines inside the Gufa. With Rajesh Sagara, Husain painted the walls, ceilings, even the air-conditioners. Then I decided to relate it with the primordial tortoise and the cobra, so Husain took up his brush once again and painted a headless black cobra on the tortoise-like structures of the Gufa. Then we had specially baked black saucers that were later broken to complete the china mosaic on the structure,’’ says Doshi.

His bold personal style is visible here, with bold strokes and bright colours depicting human figures, animal motifs and Husain's favourite horse forms. The inclined columns in the interiors act as a perfect setting for variuos shaped metal sculptures.

The entire structure was designed using the aid of computers to resolve the unorthodox design. The various forms are more or less self supporting due to the resolution of stresses. Ferrocement was used to create the undulating walls and domes, which also helped in reducing the total load of the structure. Waste tiles were used on top of the external dome.


Thursday, June 9, 2011




Ahmedabad is one of the best cities in India for a student architect to undergo his / her internship. The city, graced by works of masters like Louis Kahn, Corbusier, Doshi, Kanvinde, Correa etc. provides a perfect setting for a student for training. The presence of CEPT university is a real benefit for any student, with its amazing library, studios, discussion forums, festivals and multitude of activities, creating a vibrant life. Most of the good architects practising are faculty of CEPT, further providing a stimulating environment for architecture & research. An internship in a good firm in Ahmedabad will greatly influence any student's approach to architecture.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but a few architects under whom I feel students will benefit greatly out of their internships.

1.Dr.B.V.Doshi - Vastu Shilpa Consultants -

This is the practice of one of the masters of Indian architecture - B.V.Doshi. Housed in the 'Sangath', which itself is an icon of Doshi's work, the firm has works in a variety of fields including architecture, urban planning, housing etc. There is a lot of high quality research in various fields through the sister concern of Vast Shipa Foundation. Though it is Doshi's office, the practice is guided largely by Ar.Rajiv Kathpalia these days. One of the major points is the oppurtunity to interact with Doshi, to hear his philosophies...and learn architecture.

Contact -

Phone -     079-27454537 / 39 
2. Ar.Hasmukh Patel - HCP Design -

The practice deals with architecture, planning, urban design, interior design and also project management.

Regarding the student internship, this is what their website says -
''Student internship forms an integral component of the architecture curriculum. Internship at HCPDPM is conducive to learning and provides hands-on experience. It facilitates identification of personal strengths and provides opportunities for reflection, self-assessment and personal development. Besides working on projects with senior architects, the interns are exposed to a wide range of related activities such as presentations, site visits, discussions and seminars. There is no formal teaching, yet learning takes place through interaction and exploration. The internship program is enriched by the diverse backgrounds of the participants. All the activities are undertaken after office hours and during weekends.  Students undergoing internship in other offices in Ahmedabad are also encouraged to participate. All efforts are made to make the interactive sessions an enjoyable all-round experience. The internship program at HCPDPM is anchored by Prof. Qamar Shaikh and supported by the entire team. From amongst the large number of applicants for internship every year, about a dozen are selected. The selection criteria include diversity of cultural backgrounds and geographic locations. An average working week is of 40 hours and interns are remunerated on an hourly basis. They are strongly advised not to interrupt the internship period and maintain a logbook of work undertaken during the tenure. On successful completion of internship a certificate and a small portfolio of the work done is granted. Applications for internship are usually invited for periods; June - November and December - May. The Application Form can be downloaded and sent by e-mail to' - SOURCE - HCP WEBSITE

Contact -

3.Ar.Neelkanth Chhaya -

Chhaya is the director of the School of Architecture in CEPT university. His is a small practice which does mainly architectural work. One gets to interact directly with Chhaya on intellectually stimulating discussions on architecture. Also, being close to CEPT will always broaden your outlook.

4.Ar.Gurjit Singh Matharoo - Matharoo Associates -

Gurjit's practice is a medium sized office. His works are known for their use of exposed concrete and strong design sensibilities. He is a faculty of CEPT and also teaches automotive design in NID. His other passion is for designing automobiles. Anyone with an inclination towards product design & automotive design will gain greatly from intecting with Gurjit. His professionalism & strong architectural vocabulary will also benefit architectural students training in his office.


5.Ar.Aniket Bhagwat -

Aniket Bhagwat is known as one of the best landscape designers in the country. The firm, started by his father as a purely landscape office has over the years done redidential, recreational, institutional projects and ecological redevelopment projects. Presently taking only selective projects, the firm offers a good exposure to landscape concerns set in an architectural practice.


6. Ar.Surya Kakani -

Contact -

Phone - 079-26579039

9. Ar.Kiran Pandya -

10. Ar.Leo Pereira -

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Friday, June 3, 2011


In this, the yarn is sewn through a previously manufactured primary backing and secured in place with a latex coating. It is 10-25 times faster than weaving.

The yarn and the backing are interwoven at the same time, creating a single fabric.

The Pile of a carpet is the thickness of the yarn above the backing.
It is created using a series of uncut loops. It can be configured to create a set pattern of heights for the loop or one uniform height. It allows for both plain appearances and intricate patterns.
Loops are of the same height. This is more durable and easy to clean.
Here the loops are of different heights and creates a kind of sculptural effect. This hides soiling better than a level loop. However, it is not as durable as a level loop.
In this, the tops of the pile are cut away.
Made of yarns with very little twist, producing smooth surfaces. It tends to ‘shade’, especially with heavy use and is to be carefully evaluated.
Nylon fibres are the most widely used. It has excellent wearability, abrasion resistance and resilience. It is generally used for all traffic areas.
This is used when resistance to sunlight fading and chemicals is more important than durability to traffic. It has excellent colour retention and stain resistance.
Wool is used as a decorative accent and is used in low traffic areas. It gives a very luxurious finish and is costly.  
Main elements –
·         Primary Backing
·         Chemical adhesive
·         Secondary backing

The type of backing depends on the specifications and depends on the performance considerations. Carpets for high end performance generally have a primary backing and a secondary backing. Carpet for low traffic areas may only have a coating of latex, a secondary backing or a cushion attached to the primary polypropylene backing. Usually, the primary backing is of Polypropylene and the secondary backing is of Jute or other synthetic fiber.
BROADLOOM CARPET – Can be 12’, 13.5’ or 15’ in width and length can go upto 30m. Broadloom carpets have fewer seams and are easy to install. The wastage is around 5-10%. The weight is around 880-990gm/Sq.m.

Carpet tiles come in sizes of around 50x50cms or 60x60cms. They are easy to install and easy to transport and can be laid directly on top of concrete/vinyl and needs no underlay. The main advantage is that the tiles are easy to clean and if damaged, only the single damaged piece needs to be replaced. The wastage is lesser and is around 2-3% only. The weight varies from 750-990gm/Sq.m.  

R value is dependent on the total thickness than the type of fiber.
A good rule of thumb is R value = Thickness in inches X 2.6
Most of the carpets have good sound absorption properties. Padding will increase the absorption of sound. Also, cut pile carpeting is more effective than loop pile.
Most carpets are flame retardant but not flame proof. The Local building codes need to be referred for the exact standards.
Step 1 - Developing requirements based on profile.
  • Type of facility and the specific area receiving the new carpet
  • How long will the carpet be used? i.e. expected life cycle.
  • Types of dirt that may be tracked into the facility
  • Whether the area is renovated or is a new installation?
  • What is the type of furniture in the space?
  • Will there be lots of foot traffic – wheel chairs, supply carts?
Step 2 – Specifications –
  • Carpet construction – tuft, woven etc.
  • Performance considerations – Level pile, multi-level etc.
  • Broadloom or modular carpets?
  • Colour, pattern and design
  • Cushion & Backing – primary, secondary backing etc.
  • Budget
  • Installation
  • Seams must be kept as minimum as possible.
  • Should run along the direction of the main traffic flow
  • Transitions between edges of carpet and other flooring should be protected and terminated with required trim profiles.
  • Do not install carpets over expansion joints.
  • When 2 pieces of the same carpet are adjacent, pile direction should be the same.
  • Ensure clean finish details around floor boxes.
The carpet choices we make play an important role in mitigating environmental impacts and the quality of the building interiors.
Ensure that the new carpet and its accessories have high recycled content and are recyclable.
Carpet tiles are a better choice over rolls as they aid in spot replacement, hence lesser wastage and also have longer life.
Check if the new carpets meet the indoor air quality requirements.
Ensure that you buy a certified carpet.
Try to use tackless strips and other non-adhesive fastening systems for fixing.
If adhesive is needed, use only solvent free, low-VOC products.
Pre-ventilate new carpets thoroughly and also ensure maximum ventilation during the installation.
In order for a carpet to be considered ‘Green’ under the green label plus program, its total VOC content should be less than 0.50mg/sq.m h.     

Today, environmentally sustainable materials like Jute, Sisal etc. are available, with which different patterns and designs are produced, which are aesthetically pleasing as well as environment friendly.


I have been receiving a lot of requests from students for details on HOW TO PREPARE A GOOD ARCHITECTURE PORTFOLIO. 

Taking this into consideration, I have compiled a detailed booklet on how to create a great portfolio, which will guide you through the detailed process, including identification of materials, ideal layouts, graphics and rendering styles, text placements, photographing your exhaustive list which will guide you step by step.

You can now avail this great resource for creating your best portfolio, which is essential in this highly competitive age - either to get into good firms for internships, applying for your masters or for getting that coveted job.

Get full access to 'How to prepare an Architecture Portfolio' !!!

So go ahead and mail me at to order today! 

Thursday, June 2, 2011


'Don't copy another architect's works.
Find out what are the easily available building materials in the area where people want you to build and use them...
See how the locals, the earlier builders used their own local materials and 'learn from them'.
See how you can make patterns & designs with local materials.
Get to know your client (if he has one - his family also) and see that you design for them what is in keeping with their wishes and hopes.
Don't cover everything with cement plaster. Use the local materials and let them be the basics for your design and concstruction methods.
Explain to your clients about why & what you are doing for him. If he merely only wants to 'show off' - then it is not worth working for him.'

Laurie Baker