It was a nostalgic revisit to IED, VVN – a place that I remember from my college days at CEPT. I had visited the institute because of having friends who studied there – and in those visits, I had grown extremely fond of the architecture of the studios and the way that they were organised around a courtyard. The place had always felt warm and inviting with a close affinity to the human scale.
Prof. Retash Desai, Assistant professor at the The Arvind Patel Institute for Environmental Design (APIED) in Vallabh Vidyanagar (VVN) invited me to meet the 2nd year students. This was part of their material studio where the students were taken to the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (also known as the National Museum of Humankind) in Bhopal. They had to study the traditional built form from Himachal, Assam, Kerala amongst other states and analyse them based on the materials they used. Other faculty members were Prof. Mukund Fadnis, Prof. Dilip Vaidya, Princy Mistry and Balbir Kaur.
I was supposed to give them a lecture based on my work but instead, I insisted that we have an informal discussion since I did not think that our practice focussed on the research and development based on any specific material. We had conducted an extensive documentation in ‘Purabhi’ – a study of the Traditional House Form of the Eastern States of India – which became and important bridge in connecting our practice in Sikkim and making it relevant to the students work.
We have also had students and architects, from the institute come and be part of our practice in Gangtok – Kanupriya Raniwala currently, our Senior Associate is and alumnus from here. Others who have been associated with PPA are Shubra Tarkar, Vinit Rajpurohit, Ishank Patel, Salman Kazi, Harshal Kandoi, Pruthvi Mistry, Anjali Rajmohan, Harshil Amin, Viswas Patel, Krunal Prajapati, Vishal Meharavia, Swapneel Patel, Husian Vaghipurwala, Harsh Patel and Ashish Khemchandani who had all interned or worked with us.