Two Talks

Sun 3 Sep - Sun 3 Sep' 23

Two Talks
Two Talks by Miki Desai and Madhavi Desai

Date: Sunday, 3rd September, 2023
Time: 6:00 PM
Venue: Bengal Gallery, 42 Sheikh Kamal Sarani, Dhanmondi

Kerala’s Wooden Architecture: Language, Components and Multiplicity by Miki Desai

In essence, the visual congruency that we find in the traditional settlements is due to the language of architecture and materiality that have an innate and symbolic relationship with the society. Such a relationship is fundamentally rooted in the incorporation of the design and crafting of the materials that enhance the built environment for a humane lifestyle, culture, and belongingness of the people to the built environment — the placeness. Kerala, in southern India, is one such society where the said congruency is due to a meaningful triangular relationship amongst the language and components of architecture, societal meaning and the craftsmanship. The talk will be an effort to delve in and to support the said statement.

Women Architects in India: Historical and Contemporary Challenges by Madhavi Desai

Studies on architecture in South Asia continue to ignore women in canonical histories of the discipline. However, women architects’ careers nearly parallel the development of modernism in colonial and postcolonial India. This illustrated talk will contextualise women architects’ work in architectural history within the challenge of non-existent archives, as some of these pioneering women broke male bastions to go beyond the traditional confines of the era from the 1940s onwards. Using a format that weaves together social, professional, and biographical factors into a productive account, it will also examine some leading contemporary practices. Alluding to challenges faced by women, the talk celebrates practices in diverse regional settings in a globalizing India.


Prof. Miki Desai was a Professor of Architecture at the CEPT University, India. After teaching at the Faculty of Architecture since 1981, Prof. Miki Desai retired as the Head of the Masters Program in Sustainable Architecture in 2014. Prof. Miki Desai was a visiting studio critic at ETH, Zurich, MIT and University of California Berkeley, USA in. He has had an ICSSR Fellowship, the EARTHWATCH grant, a Fulbright Fellowship, the Graham Grant and the Getty Collaborative Grant. He is the author/co-author of 5 seminal books on Indian architecture. He has held exhibitions of his research and documentation work in Ahmedabad, Colombo and New Delhi. He has been a keynote speaker at many international conferences.

Madhavi Desai is an architect, researcher, writer and teacher. She is a founding member of the Women Architects Forum, author of Women Architects and Modernism in India and editor of Gender and the Built Environment in India. Madhavi Desai was an adjunct faculty member at CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India from 1986 to 2018, and has had research fellowships from the Indian Council of Social Science Research; the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT; Sarai, New Delhi; and the Getty Foundation. She has been a member of the nominating committee of the Berkeley-Rupp Professorship/Prize at UC Berkeley since 2012 and was a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley in 2014.