Building Blocks of Past and Present - The New Indian Express

Building Blocks of Past and Present

Published: 13th Apr 2014 06:00:00 AM

Sonali and Manit Rastogi, 46 and 44, Architects

Transformation and formation. Metamorphosis and Genesis. It was to blend into and become a part of Delhi’s structural evolution that architects Manit and Sonali Rastogi founded Morphogenesis in 1996. After all, a potent manifestation of a city’s evolution lies in its structures, and an architect’s resolve is to build structures that preserve heritage and inspire a new one. The juxtaposition of different styles of architecture is of keen interest. They believe that the one way in which a city can do justice to the past and the future is by maintaining a respectful co-existence, in which every structure has its rightful space. “Delhi’s monuments are locked out to the public, frozen in time. They may be well-preserved, but still seem uninspiring,” they say. What’s required is a change of policy to engage the public more actively. The best kind of architecture, they feel, is one that responds to people from time to time. The aspect of Delhi’s urban development that has disturbed them the most has been the mushrooming of modern commercial centres within bazaars. This has, in essence, raided the aesthetic charm of Old Delhi’s street life. On the question of sustainable architecture, they stress on the importance of stretching the term to include economic viability.

A married couple working in partnership at work, is that recipe for discord? All a matter of perception, they say. On favourite style, Sonali defines it as whatever is her “current pursuit” and Manit calls it “the emergent quality of the conditions”. Difference, in their book, is distinction.

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