Peter J. Kindel (Chair)
During the 1950s, India was under the strong influence of the Western modernism architecture movement, which ushered India into the largest development and construction period in its history. The period was marked by the rise of Chandigarh, where a large number of Western architects such as Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn began to create a regional modern architecture.
Twenty years later, Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi (1927) and Charles Correa (1930–2015), local Indian architects influenced, began to stand at the center stage of architecture. Although directly influenced by Western education, they were not satisfied with modernism. They dug deeply into their magical land with rich history, culture, and diverse climate conditions, feeling the natural wind, flowing water, and honest people. The buildings they designed are deeply rooted in local conditions, creating a modern interpretation of the ancient Indian culture.
At the same time, in Sri Lanka, Geoffrey Bawa also used his own method to interpret traditional elements and regionalize modern architecture. He dissolved the limit between indoor and outdoor, landscape and architecture. He developed a set of traditions, related architecture to its site, and connected past and future.
China’s vast differences in climate and customs makes exploring regional modern architecture particularly important. But the rapid development of Chinese architecture has created a set of problems. The danger does not lie in the use of the traditional forms but rather the mechanical copy and application of items with traditional symbolism, because it is easy to disfigure the traditional form into a cartoonish background. The consequences of this is the so-called “combination of Chinese and Western” or “new Chinese style.” It is necessary to learn from local architects in India and Sri Lanka, as well as in the historic land of China, to find the road of the national characteristics of regionalism architecture.
During the trip I will first observe the buildings which were designed by early Western architects in India to try to understand their approach. Then I will visit architectural projects designed by Doshi, Correa, and Bawa and consider what real regionalism means to these local architects. During the ongoing globalization, with a modern Western ideology deeply rooted, I will try to understand how local architects can effectively create their own local architecture and define a nation’s path to regionalism.
was born and grew up in Xian, Shaanxi Province, the oldest and greatest city in the middle of China that was the capital city of eleven dynasties in the long river of history. He received his Bachelor of Architecture Degree in July 2017 from Tianjin University. Since graduation, Li’s graduate thesis was accepted for publication by a Chinese cultural magazine and, due to his excellent work at Tinjian University, was also selected to be in the initial group of students to become student members of The Architectural Society of China (ASC). Following completion of his travel and research, Li will spend a half year gaining practical experience at Fieldoffice Architects in Yilan, Taiwan and looks forward to further study in Switzerland at the Academy of Architecture Mendrisio (AAM). After completion of his architectural studies overseas, Li aspires to work in a foreign architecture studio for several years and then return to China to open an architecture practice with his partners to “contribute to making the world a better place to live.”