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220 × 171 × 24 mm
384 pages
215 illustrations
14 Oct 2015
Modern Architectures in History

India Modern Architectures in History Amit Srivastava, Peter Scriver

The modern architecture, planning and nation-building efforts that took place in India following the country’s independence in 1947 are widely regarded as exemplary of the internationalization of modernism in the mid-twentieth century. India became the site for works by some of the most important modernist masters, including Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, as well as the focus of numerous lesser-known practitioners.

India: Modern Architectures in History shows how the architecture of ‘Modern India’ reflected and embodied the dramatic shifts of Indian society and culture. Peter Scriver and Amit Srivastava explore how Indian architectural modernity began in the early twentieth century, as public works and patronage fostered new design practices that directly challenged the social order and values invested in the building traditions of the past. This is the first book to examine both colonial and the postcolonial aspects in comparable depth, and the authors draw together a broad range of sources, including private papers, photographic collections and the extensive records of the Indian Public Works Department system. This critical reinterpretation of India’s key role in the history of modern architecture is essential reading for all students and scholars of architecture, as well as all those interested in the story of global modernism.

‘Peter Scriver and Amit Srivastava have produced the definitive analysis of the long trajectory of modern architecture in India, from its naissance in the colonial world, to the present, when its fate hangs in the balance. Written in an assured, fluent style, the book weaves together a wealth of detailed information into a narrative that is simultaneously highly readable and scholarly. An essential text for all those interested in the past and future of contemporary Indian architecture.’ — Vikramāditya Prakāsh, Professor of Architecture, University of Washington, author of Chandigarhs Le Corbusier and co-author of A Global History of Architecture

‘Peter Scriver and Amit Srivastava tell a grand narrative that contains a score of smaller, more personal stories as well.’ — Empire Studies

‘The book validates the decision to take a broad historical overview whilst also piercing to great depths at particular points. It also reminds us that architecture is more than a farcical progression or importation of “style” and is far more indebted to the economic-political scenario than we would care to admit . . . we urgently need more books of this caliber.’ — Architecture Beyond Europe

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Amit Srivastava is a Lecturer at the University of Adelaide who trained and practised as an architect in India. He is co-author of The Elements of Modern Architecture: Understanding Contemporary Buildings (with Antony Radford and Selen B. Morkoç, 2014).

Peter Scriver is Senior Lecturer in Architectural History and Theory at the University of Adelaide, Australia. His books include After the Masters: Contemporary Indian Architecture (1990) and Colonial Modernities: Building, Dwelling and Architecture in British India and Ceylon (2007).


1. Rationalization: The Call to Order, 1855-1900

2. Complicity and Contradiction in the Colonial Twilight, 1901-1947

3. Nation Building: Architecture in the Service of the Postcolonial State, 1947-1960s

4. Regionalism, Institution Building and the Modern Indian Elite, 1950s-1970s

5. Development and Dissent: The Critical Turn, 1960s-1990s

6. Identity and Difference: The Cultural Turn, 1980s-1990s

7. Towards the ‘Non-modern’: Architecture and Global India since 1990


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Photo Acknowledgements