“Architecture, of all the arts, is the one which acts the most slowly, but the most surely, on the soul”



Understanding Space

Saakaar Foundation has organized a lecture by architect Shirish Beri on November 26, 1996 at Hotel Sunbeam, Chandigarh .

An architect gives form to infinite space so the quality of space created by him is of paramount importance, said Shirish Beri. Shirish said architecture cannot be divorced from life. Architecture should act as a catalyst to promote man’s closeness to nature and if possible, closeness to man. Quality of space has a direct bearing on influencing attitudes. Claustrophobia in a house reflects the claustrophobia within, he said.

Shirish was critical of the present trends. In the process of mass production, the space becomes monotonous and predictable. It is sad that the space is being taken for granted. Commercialization, hoardings, garbage and even electrical and mechanical gadgets in our houses are eating up the valuable space. It is sad that automobiles are influencing life quality of space and the architecture, he said.

Mr. Jit Gupta delivered the key note address. Others who spoke on the occasion include Architect S.N. Kohli, Aditya Prakash and Surinder Bahga. About 100 architects attended the function.

Towards Sustainable Architecture

To celebrate 25 years in the profession, Saakaar Foundation organized a day-long seminar in collaboration with A+D. The Architecture + Design magazine was celebrating 20 years of invigorating architectural journalism in the country. The event was organized at the Government Museum and Arts Gallery and was well attended by over 300 architects, engineers, artists and dignitaries from other professions. 'Towards Sustainable Architecture' was the theme for the seminar that was chaired by Dr. S.S. Bhatti, former principal of Chandigarh College of Architecture, with architect Jit Gupta, Chairman of the Chandigarh and Punjab chapter of the Indian Institute of Architects as the proceedings' co-ordinator.

Inaugurating the meet, Hon'ble minister for Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Raghunath Sahai Puri, motivated the august gathering to adopt an eco-friendly approach towards our built-environment, more so in the rural areas. Welcoming the gathering, Suneet Paul, editorial director of A+D, stressed on the need to be conscious of our depleting energy sources and relate design development to the context.

Three speakers made presentations on the theme. Anil Misra, solar energy consultant from Delhi and Secretary of the Solar Energy Society of India, emphasized in his talk that low-energy design has to be proposed at the initial stage of a building project and energy objectives should be set in more specific terms. Architect Jeet Malhotra, Delhi, remarked during his slide presentation that, "India is lucky to have plenty of sun on its surface. If we trap solar energy, rural India would gain more from "Urja Shakti" as it can be decentralized to each and every village of the country." Prof. S.P. Jain, scientist from CBRI, Roorkee, put across various practical approaches to cut-down energy consumption in our dwellings and work spaces. He reflected that "In a developing country like India, we construct more number of houses within the available resources, neglecting the integration of energy-efficient features in the initial stage due to its slightly higher cost."

Presenting the vote of thanks, architect Surinder Bahga of Saakaar Foundation outlined that the seminar aimed at identifying as to what has already been achieved by architects in this field and also to generate and compile new ideas in the use of sustainable architecture. The seminar was creatively wrapped up with a holistic talk by the chairperson Dr. S.S. Bhatti.

The informal evening meet prior to the seminar and the seminar itself were a very useful platform for the invited professionals from Chandigarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan. The design community lapped up the event with a very positive flavour.

Life and Works of Pierre Jeanneret

Contemporary Indian Architecture owes much to the Swiss architects Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret. Both were pioneers in the planning, designing and execution of capital city of Chandigarh in Punjab state of India. Numerous books and articles were written and seminars organized on Le Corbusier's work and philosophy but there is very little literature available on Great Architect Pierre Jeanneret and no exclusive seminar organized on his life and works.

In addition to Chandigarh City, he was responsible for planning and designing of new towns of Talwara, Pandoh, and Sundarnagar etc. He was also founder Principal of Chandigarh College of Architecture. His works and contribution is still unknown to architectural fraternity the world-over. Saakaar Foundation will organize a seminar on "Life and Works of Pierre Jeanneret" on November 20, 2005 at Government Museum & Arts Gallery, Chandigarh. The Arts Council of Switzerland and Swiss Embassy in India are also taking part in this event. Dr. Dominique Dreyer, Hon'ble Swiss Ambassador will be the Chief Guest.

Mr. Gilles Barbey, Author of forthcoming book on Pierre Jeanneret, Switzerland will speak on Pierre Jeanneret's early architectural perspectives and work in Europe (1925-1950).

He will discuss various categories of schemes and buildings designed by Pierre Jeanneret, both at domestic and urban scales, with a special emphasis on innovative structures and their corresponding values in terms of use in the everyday life.

Mr. Pierre Frey, Head of Lausanne Polytechnic School, Switzerland will express his views on gathering of sources and documenting Pierre Jeanneret's early work: are archival documents of Pierre Jeanneret available?

The nomadic career of Pierre Jeanneret, his successive residences linked to his professional and ethic commitment and also the prominent archives of his famous cousin explain the difficulty in identifying and localizing the archival sources of Pierre Jeanneret 's work. Their gathering, analysis and conservation are fundamental requirements for the architectural history.

Mr. Jeet Malhotra, Architect-Planner, New Delhi will enlighten the delegates with his personal experiences with Pierre Jeanneret.

On this occasion, an exhibition on Indian Works of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret and their influence on Modern Architecture of India will be on display for seven days.


A travelling exhibition " A Dream Realised " and a CD-ROM on works of Le Corbusier & PierreJeanneret was prepared and shown in seven big cities of india. The project was supported by Swiss Arts Council and Embassy of Switzerland in India. This was a commemorative project to celebrate 50 years of Chandigarh's inception and mark the beginning of the new millennium. The exhibition was a great success. It was visited by nearly 5000 people in each city and appreciated by media and public.

"Humane Architecture", an exhibition held by Saakaar Foundation in The Government Museum & Art Gallery in Chandigarh in 1994. It was focused on the projects realised by the Foundation.
V Asian Congress of Architects, Lahore ( Pakistan) : - Two churches designed by Saakaar Foundation were exhibited in the exhibition organised on this occasion.
In "Living Chandigarh 50", an exhibition organised on the eve of international Conference "Celebrating Chandigarh : 50 years of the ides" by Chandigarh Administration in January 1999, one of the churches designed by the Foundation got exhibited.


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