Theory and Criticism
Colonial Eclectism and Reginalistic approach of British architects in India
During the British intervention in India the mode of Architecture in the presidencies, were initially Neo Gothic, Neo classical, Renaissance, but in the princely states it was primarily vernacular in inspiration making each state differ from each British influenced states which subsequently promoted renewed interests in India's heritage. This also interested many British architects practicing during that period like Col. Swinton, Claude Bately, R.F Chisholm, Charles Mant and Sir Edwin Lutyens, who felt that adhernig to India's cultural context plays an essential part in architecture of the Indian subcontinent. And which also led to the formation of ASI ( Archaeological survey of India) by the British Conservationists for preserving the heritage buildings and monument built in India over a period of time.

For the British architects the context was the whole of India, and took references from all over India from monuments in different time and places. This led to a development of certain hybrid styles in several parts of India, with the colonial flavor, which was also looked upon as a favor to the patronage of Maharajas of ruling states.

This change of attitude in architectural temperament usually reflected in the extent to which local decorative motifs have been absorbed with the evolution of architectural styles imported from the home country. The hybrid results of gradual assimilation gave a regionalist approach towards a new paradigm, which raises a contrary view point that they are taken from the pages of Indian architectural history and presents a lexicon of Indian architecture, but without grammer - and the grammer where the buildings has any is Western.
Akshay Anand
Colonial Eclectism and Reginalistic approach of British architects in India
Akshay, In other words, what you are saying is while the design of artistic features of buildings built during the British Raj comes from local Indian vernaculars, the layout of these buildings conformed to the imported British culture of those times, namely, Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian.

I would agree that the layout of these buildings were influenced by British culture, but on the other hand I imagine there was a synthesis (a hybridisation) of Indian and British.

For example, the "bungalow" design was an import into Britain from India and I have seen a late Victorian example of the bungalow here in England.

Perhaps you could do comparisons of both Indian and british designs and deduce the mixture of grammars?
Frank John Snelling


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