The Bartlett School of Architecture


The Bartlett Research Conversations

19 November 2019, 4:00 pm–7:00 pm

1929 painting by Rabindranath Tagore. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi

MPhil/PhD student Saptarshi Sanyal discusses his research on architectural cultures as critique in late colonial India.

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Julia Weeks – Teaching and Learning


The Bartlett School of Architecture
22 Gordon Street
United Kingdom

Shaping the Modern: Architectural Cultures as Critique in Late Colonial India (c.1913-48)

Saptarshi Sanyal

Supervisor: Dr Tania Sengupta and Dr Edward Denison

Saptarshi’s research endeavours to (re)situate dispersed sites in India as Architectural Cultures contingent to educational, artistic, economic, spiritual and scientific experimentations with modernity. It examines cross-cultural, interpersonal and affect-based exchanges of ideas and performance among particular elites, where interconnections among figures within South East Asia operated as networks of knowledge. 

The aim of this research is to allow these key built environments to emerge as, plural, critical practices within the hubris of a paternalistic Imperial State’s homogenising social and cultural order. In this study, the question of how the modern is thought through architecture takes precedence over what modern architecture is. This productively complicates notions of modern architecture having ‘centred’ and ‘peripheral’ sites of thought and practice.

About The Bartlett Research Conversations

The Bartlett School of Architecture’s Research Conversations seminars comprise work-in-progress and upgrade presentations by students undertaking the MPhil/PhD Architectural Design and MPhil/PhD Architectural and Urban History and Theory. All current UCL staff and students are welcome to attend.

Held regularly throughout the academic year, the seminars are attended by the programme directors, Professor Jonathan Hill and Professor Ben Campkin, PhD Coordinators, Dr. Nina Vollenbröker and Dr Sophie Read, and other PhD supervisors.

Image: 1929 painting by Rabindranath Tagore. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi