Campus design in India ,Experience of a developing nation


  • By Achyut Kanvinde 
  • Unknown Binding: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Printed by Jostens/American Yearbook Co (1969)
  • Language: English

1 in stock

In 1969, two years after the completion of his seminal campus project – the Indian
Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India (IITK: 1960-67), architect Achyut Kanvinde wrote
a book titled Campus Design in India: Experience of a Developing Nation, co-authored
by American architect H. James Miller. The book claimed to serve as an instructive
guide for designing good campus environments in postcolonial India and was framed
in response to the unprecedented impetus provided to tertiary education in the 1960s
by the Indian government as a part of its post-independence nation-building agenda.
Interestingly, the book showcased Kanvinde’s IITK campus as an exemplar within local
campuses of past and present and further contextualised it in the emerging international
discourse on campus planning that reflected the post-war tertiary education boom.
Through this alignment between national goals and international themes, Kanvinde and
Miller presented the book as a manifesto of institutional campus for a modernising India.
This paper focuses on a synthesised reading of Campus Design in India and the IITK
design in order to understand the way in which international architectural and urban
principles were received, adapted and selectively translated for the Indian context. In
particular, it draws attention to the factors that complicated the translation such as the
consideration of pre-colonial models, the idea of university as a secular temple, and
India’s partnership with the West for technological and economic development. The
paper argues that Kanvinde’s book presented progressive concepts of campus planning
but filtered them through the lens of nation-building ideology and history. The book
also provides insights into Kanvinde’s IITK design revealing the struggle of localisation
which the paper argues is manifested in the form of competing concepts of systems and
symbols, and technology and elemental forms which were negotiated through a unique
conception of nature


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