Grad School Application Essay

1127 Words 5 Pages
I have often been asked by architecture students and professionals visiting Chandigarh on how it feels having grown up and educated from this city - a single stroke, paradigm shifting undertaking by the father of modernism himself. I reply with an inherently paradoxical answer. While on one hand it has served as a major source of my exposure towards architecture and urbanism, alongside shaping my perception and critique of urbanity, it has also engendered in me a curiosity towards the ‘other’, the traditional, emergent and incremental forms of urbanism prevalent all over the Indian sub-continent.

On a vocational tour of Kolkata, I observed how the local administration woos immigrants and the poor for votes, by allowing them to vend goods and provide services, while encroaching upon public land, in what otherwise appears as an anarchically developed, parallel subaltern layer. What interests me is the patterns governing their emergence and proliferation. They vend in places with high commercial desirability and reside in urban backyards. Unfamiliar with these sights, for me this constituted a legible feedback of urban spaces augmenting the perceived image of the city, invisible in conventional maps and non-conveyable through statistics.

Retrospectively, my interests and likings evolved from appreciating order and rationality to a focus and affinity towards heterogeneity, decentralized processes and the various forces shaping the urban environment. During my stays in Mumbai,…