February 28, 2020
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Talking Buildings

Architecture walked around in space and landscape, architecture sighted, heard, even touched in rural isolation and urban squalor...

Talking Buildings
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553
The Guide To The Architecture Of The Indian Subcontinent
By Takeo Kamiya
Jindal Art Foundation/Atsushi Sato Rs 1,200; Pages: 575
Most books on Indian architecture are either self-eulogies, or history unlinked to daily experience. Takeo Kamiya’s book is a guide; he uses plans, descriptions and photos to get you in touch with buildings. His is architecture walked around in space and landscape, architecture sighted, heard, even touched in rural isolation and urban squalor. It is undoubtedly a work of love, by an architect who has walked amongst the ruins.

Where the book falls apart is in its scope and method of communication. Indian architecture is much too varied—there are over 4,500 protected monuments—to be slotted into convenient categories. To give cohesion to the despairing spread of history, Kamiya resorts to simplification: "...Bihar where Bihari is spoken, Orissa where Oriya is spoken." He’s much like a first-time tourist smitten by the remains of Indian history. (How the lic and stc buildings in Delhi creep into this collective of ancient and colonial landmarks is a mystery). The diligent work of the drawings and the exceptional photos falter with the author’s incessant fawning. Instead, he could have used the text to express cultural and historic peculiarities.

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