In a small industrial workshop turned into an art gallery, Professor Percy Pithawala had curated an exhibition called “Constructions”. He took out time on a busy Saturday afternoon at the gallery and told ArchiDiaries that the title of the exhibition is derived from the art movement in Russia called ‘constructivism’ and how it has shaped his unique Architectural pedagogical and design explorations.Further into the discussion we dive into his attempt to bridge the gap between Art and Architecture, where he approaches architectural design through a painting or a diagram.
“I would take an art painting or a diagram and represent it on the site and further use it as a tool in order to segregate the various layers of circulation, of program, of landscape, of site vistas of site connections and things like that, …., what it helped me do through this segregation of layers, it helped me have clarity of process of architecture making,…, further it helped give the whole process some kind of legitimacy, rather than being just an intuitive process by introducing these layers in a very sequential and logical manner”
Prof. Percy has further developed a unique curriculum around this method and has been highly involved with students and architectural teachings. His pedagogical undertakings attempt at introducing students to this method of space making through a variety of exercises and subjects including basic design and structure.
“…trying to show them [students] that there is an alternative process and a way of working whereby it would open a whole lot of possibilities and new ways of broadening the mind and seeing things differently and adding value to the design process is what I would say it is all about”
His explorations in academic field does not stop at the university level. The Red Studio, established by him in Baroda undertakes various activities with students like workshops and idea level competitions. They are also involved in writing, publications, and documentations and preparing modules on thought processes of constructivism, post modernism, modernism etc.
The exhibition contains a section of his personal explorations of constructivist paintings and a section of his works interspersed with the works of students done at workshops conducted byThe Red Studio. Further there is a section where he showcases how this process has been used in an actual building. The exhibition ends with mostly idea level competitions, where students with the help of Prof. Percy come up with entries using this method of producing architecture.