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John Ruskin and the Fabric of Architecture, Routledge 2017, 2019


Through the theoretical lenses of dress studies, gender, science, and visual studies, this volume analyses the impact John Ruskin has had on architecture throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It explores Ruskin’s different ideologies, such as the adorned wall veil, which were instrumental in bringing focus to structures that were previously unconsidered. John Ruskin and the Fabric of Architecture examines the ways in which Ruskin perceives the evolution of architecture through the idea that architecture is surface. The creative act in architecture, analogous to the divine act of creation, was viewed as a form of dressing. By adding highly aesthetic features to designs, taking inspiration from the 'veil' of women’s clothing, Ruskin believed that buildings could be transformed into meaningful architecture. This volume discusses the importance of Ruskin’s surface theory and the myth of feminine architecture, and additionally presents a competing theory of textile analogy in architecture based on morality and gender to counter Gottfried Semper’s historicist perspective. This book would be beneficial to students and academics of architectural history and theory, gender studies and visual studies who wish to delve into Ruskin’s theories and to further understand his capacity for thinking beyond the historical methods. The book will also be of interest to architectural practitioners, particularly Ruskin’s theory of surface architecture.


"The idea of the wall-veil is foremost in Ruskin’s vison of architecture, yet remains – intentionally – mysterious. This concentrated study re–veals its latent, layered meanings, unpicking Ruskin’s dress-codes in their various aspects of soul, body, the femininity of architecture, and so forth. Close intra-textual and inter-textual readings skilfully place these notions in the context, both of Ruskin’s own multi-faceted volumes, and of other works of inspiration and commentary – notably the philosophy of clothes of Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus"

Stephen Kite, Professor, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, Wales, UK

"What a terrific book! It is of such high quality, both text and stunning illustrations. It is a fascinating Ruskinian architectural journey through France and Italy. The book gives us new eyes to see old architecture that we are so familiar with, yet do not see! And I like the fact that in the last chapter, the author brings it up to date with Ruskin and modern architecture."

Cynthia Gamble, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Exeter; Author of Proust as Interpreter of Ruskin: The Seven Lamps of Translation; and Former Chairman of the Ruskin Society.

"John Ruskin and the Fabric of Architecture insightfully revisits the Ruskin’s writings on architecture to demonstrate his vision of walls as surface. By engaging in a novel multidisciplinary approach at the intersection of surface, gender and dress studies, Anuradha Chatterjee revises long held assumptions about Ruskin’s architectural theories and their impact on nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her richly illustrated monograph will be of enduring interest for Ruskin scholars, architectural historians and Victorianists."

Bénédicte Coste, University of Burgundy, France

"Writing about Ruskin is always over-shadowed by his demands for truth in art and his own manifest contradictions and prolixity. How then to understand the enduring value of his work without deadening it in explanation? Anuradha Chatterjee can guide us in this. Her subtle grasp of Ruskin’s formal values comes as much from her own architectural intuition as from her ability to dive in and out of Ruskin’s oeuvre and the sea of secondary literature. Chatterjee has a real feeling for the thickness that gender, semantics and the will to adorn give to the material facts of the building’s skin. There are many truths to be had from Ruskin, and this book shows us one of these."

John Macarthur, Professor and Director of the research centre for Architecture, Theory, Criticism and History, University of Queensland

"The textual delicacy of Anuradha Chatterjee’s prose-traces is as sublime as the finest embroidered tissue. Applied to the material substance of architecture’s built form and function, her entwined gauze of words constructs a beguiling écriture féminine that articulates in triumphant whisper the dextrous joy of Ruskin’s nature and craft."

Professor Catherine Harper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Chichester, UK; Editor-in-Chief of Textile: Cloth & Culture (Routledge).

Surface and Deep Histories: Critiques and Practices in Art, Architecture and Design, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014, 2018

Surface in architecture has had a deeper and a more pervasive presence in the practice and theory of the discipline than is commonly supposed. Orientations to the surface emerge, collapse, and reappear, sustaining it as a legitimate theoretical and artefactual entity, despite the (twentieth-century) disciplinary definition of architecture as space, structure, and function. Even though surface is defended for its pervasiveness (Kurt Forster), its function as a theoretical motif with generative power (Andrew Benjamin), and in constituting the operative principles of modern architecture as a visual phenomenon (Mark Wigley), it occupies the interstice, or the space of the unconscious within architectural discourse, from where it defends its legitimacy as architecturally valuable or ‘functional,’ as opposed to merely visually pleasurable.


Surface and Deep Histories positions surface within the scholarship of critical theory and design-based approaches, and invites academics and designers, and art and architectural historians based in Australia to consider the uses, figurations, scales, and typologies of surfaces. The collection choreographs contributions that focus on a variety of topics, such as montage and construction of colonial modernity and visual culture (Molly Duggins); wallpaper, rational space, and femininity (Anna Daly); the inter-constituted nature of bodies, clothes, and cities (Stella North); the reconstruction of the urban surface through a true integration of information and topology (M Hank Haeusler); James Fergusson’s theory of ornament (Peter Kohane); traditional and new verandahs in Australia (Chris Brisbin); contradictory effects of surface in Green architecture debates (Flavia Marcello and Ian Woodcock); and the thickness of thin curtain walls in contemporary Australian architecture (Anuradha Chatterjee). Surface and Deep Histories shows that surface is not thin — spatially or conceptually. It demonstrates that the practice of surface is simultaneously superficial and pervasive, symbol and space, meaningful and functional, static and transitory, and object and envelope.


Things are entirely what they appear to be- and behind them…there is nothing.' These essays on the architectural surface show us how buildings work as interfaces in a connected world. Hugely relevant to both practitioners and theorists. 

Andrew Crompton, Liverpool School of Architecture

After a century of architecture being obsessed with space we return to surfaces; not to the flat, ironic surfaces of postmodernism, but to radiant and sentient ones. In this collection we encounter a notion of surface not limiting space, but generating it. Fabricated, landscaped, mediated surfaces that are continuously involved in evoking movement and feelings. 

Lars Spuybroek, Professor of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology

This volume marks a transformative turn in contemporary architectural theory; the shift from a concern with space, to a concern with surface. Through tracing patterns, edges, facades, ornamentations and technological mediations, the contributions provide striking accounts of ideologies, bodies, materials and energies coursing together in the reproduction of architectural life. 

Mike Anusas, Design, University of Strathclyde

Built, Unbuilt and Imagined Sydney: A Collection of Essays on the Public Life of Architecture, COPAL Publishing, 2015    

Built, Unbuilt and Imagined Sydney is a humble collection of essays based on built and unbuilt works (residential, commercial, interiors, and so on) of interest in Sydney, inclusive of public art, object or furniture design, key invited or public lectures, studios, current projects in making, competitions, collaborations, exhibitions, installations, and outreach work. The focus is on the innovative and the original not the ordinary and the functional. The purpose of this is to reveal the expanded field of architecture, and that the practice of architecture exceeds the work legally defensible under the title of the architect. The emphasis is placed on practice as an intellectual activity and on contemporary practice of architecture as the meaningful exercise of social, political, and critical knowledge, skills, and mindset in an urban, spatial, and tectonic condition.


The book reveals that all or most architects either adopt as their own or have an interest in an(other) field, such as visual art, urbanism and landscape, virtual reality and three dimensional imaging, installation art and lighting design, and so on. The book aims to reveal therefore the multidisciplinary, urban orientations, and fluid forms of practice. The essay format as opposed to a monograph or historical survey on a place or period in Australian architecture is deliberate. The aim is to capture not the formal outcome of the architectural practice but to capture the vitality and intensity of architectural thought behind it all. The collection will pick out the creative DNA of the city, as it represents a snapshot of the intensity that marks the critical and creative culture and enterprise informing the architectural scene in Sydney.


Dr Anuradha Chatterjee's book renders the boundaries of architecture and its allied fields porous. By bringing to the fore a body of creative expression that exists between the fields, it urges us to rethink what constitutes architecture. The book also acknowledges the vital role that this creative expression plays in pushing the boundary of the field of architecture itself. 

Prof Dr Vibhuti Sachdev, Sushant School of Art and Architecture, Ansal University 

Built, Unbuilt and Imagined Sydney is a compelling affirmation that the expanded field of architecture can articulate and inspire some of the most exciting developments in visual communication and contemporary culture. It shows that at the helm of design and construction of buildings is the practice, which comprises intellectuals who are communicators, analysts, artists, collaborators, educators, entertainers, philosophers, storytellers and tangential thinkers. Chatterjee's compendium is a useful reference for anyone concerned with the future of the built environment. 

Architect Madhu Pandit, New Delhi

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As a transnational academic in architecture who moved from India to Australia late 90s as a student, and then again as a permanent resident; moved and relocated between India and Australia three times in the years after that; lived and worked in China; lived in three cities in Australia, one in China, five in India; and moved homes seven times in Sydney, I know something about the potency of spaces of belonging and identity. Like many, mine too was a journey of multiple fractures and dispersions, putting a light of reality on the misunderstood (and glamourous if you like) label of being a migrant, migratory, itinerant, transnational academic practitioner, at once at home, and away from home in two cultures, and not at home in either.


As we measure the stuff of our life as cubic meters for the removalist’s quotes, mindful of the increasing cost of sea freight, and knowing exactly how many boxes your life will fit into, we become more cognizant of how much of our home we can really carry with us. I became aware of Do Ho Suh’s work in 2015 and I was drawn to it due to his interest in issues of migration, home and belonging, which were thought through the medium of something as ethereal but also as eternal as textile. I had been waiting for many years to be in a country where Suh’s work is being exhibited, and for me this became a reality as the show was announced at the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Sydney, November 4 2022–February 26 2023.......Click above to read online 

Special Issue, Life, After Life: Textile Crafts in India and Communities of Practice, Textile: Cloth and Culture  

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Textile: Cloth and Culture

Call for Papers, Special Issue: Life, After Life: Textile Crafts in India and Communities of Practice

Guest Editor: Anuradha Chatterjee  


In light of the global pandemic that has overturned the equilibrium of lives and livelihoods in every community in the world, we are thinking closer to home about textile traditions and crafts (weaving, dyeing, painting, printing); adornment practices; and cultural reciprocity between textiles, objects of use, and spaces of dwelling, and the ways in which people, families, and communities of practice involved in these crafts have been affected by the slow and fast trauma of local and global financial crises, floods, earthquakes, and now the pandemic. This special issue is interested in perspectives on how


  • shock, loss, trauma due to disasters get registered and remembered as stories in textile crafts, such as the Maru Meghval women artists of Kutch, Gujarat who collaborated with Nina Sabnani to transform their experience of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake in the form of narrative scrolls made with applique and embroidery. These narratives include the local tales, experiences, stories of earthquake, partition and migration, and protests against power-plants. Along similar lines, the women-led Tsunamika project (dolls made out of cloth scraps), conceived by Upasana Design Studio in Auroville, was a reparative response to the devastation brought about by the tsunami.

  • disasters lead to the emergence of new products and/or artefacts to respond to an altered ethics of consumption, such as the deluge of cloth masks during the COVID 19 pandemic, or in the work of Ambika Devi (national award winning artist from Rashidpur, Bihar), who subtly shifts her Madhubani motifs to reflect sacred figures that are now wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing at village markets.

  • disasters permanently alter livelihoods of craftspeople, communities, for instance the Chendamangalam weaving centre who have suffered severe losses of material, machinery, and revenue due to the 2018 Kerala floods. 

  • rebuilding of communities of practice is an essential but also a problematic premise that must negotiate competing interests of stakeholders. Often, the surge of intervention (by stakeholders external to the communities) in the event of disasters may lead to changes in identity of the craft itself.  

  • migration of craft traditions occurs during disaster, and how they permanently contaminate existing traditions to create an embedded sense of hybridity, which nevertheless sustains the identity and integrity of multiple traditions.  

  • new stories, new global narratives such as those that emerge in Roma Chatterji's account of Chitrakaras' narrative scroll paintings that perform and depict the 9/11 strike on the World Trade Centre, New York.

  • the authenticity and meaning of craft might be diminished if/as it becomes commodified, and/or disengaged from the communities within which they find their functional, spiritual, and cultural purpose and meaning.

  • communities might endure diminishing financial support during a pandemic or financial crisis.

​“In between Fiction and Space: Feminist Studio Pedagogy (of Letting Go),” in Space and Language in Architectural Education: Catalysts and Tensions, edited by Kasia Nawratek, Routledge, May 2022

Extract and Full Chapter

This chapter brings into conversation my trajectory as a feminist academic practitioner, through the lens of studio project, “Narrative, Sense and Space: Cultural Interpretation Centre, Mahé,” at Avani Institute of Design, India. Challenging patriarchal foundations of architectural knowledge, especially the designerly (and patriarchal) proclivity towards control in architectural design studios, we positioned our inquiry at the intersection of four complementary critiques in/of design: 1) design research; 2) critique of control in total design; 3) generative fragments; and 4) rhizomatic design thinking. We assumed differential intensities and speeds of navigating culture, context, site, architectonics, and affect, using M. Mukundan’s historical-political novel, On the Banks of the Mayyazhi – as a point of entry, and as a course to understand Mahé, past and present, fictive and real. The studio then travelled from the fictive space of the city to the lived city; from imaging the spatial within the fiction to (imprecise) architectonics of emotions; from stories within stories to architectonic assemblages; from sited fantasies to many emergent architectural becomings. In doing so, it mounted an argument against studio ‘process,’ acknowledging that the non-linear trajectories taken by students revealed the creative methodology, which was neither linear, nor strong, and which enabled students to find their ‘home’ within the broader scheme.

“Notes on Literary Futures in Architecture,” in Unbuilt 2.0: Architecture of Future Collectives, edited by Maanasi Hattangadi and Rajesh Advani, 2022


“Vital Surfaces and the Making of Architecture,” in Surfaces: Transformations of Body, Materials and Earth, edited by Mike Anusas and Cris Simonetti, Routledge, 2020 


The Chapter mounts an argument against the conceptual and physical thinness of surface, in nineteenth and early twentieth century architectural theory and imagination, and charts a return to surface as space, and as substance. John Ruskin’s writings on building fragments and surfaces are rescued from the dissonance between nineteenth century visual culture’s surface orientation and architectural theory’s emphasis on structure and space. They are reframed as the theory of buildings as dressed bodies. Ruskin’s view of architecture as pure surfaceness, a point of discursive rupture, opens up the spatial field, such that it becomes possible to imagine surface as the ‘building block’ of architecture. The Chapter presents additional surface typologies, and explores the agency of urban surfaces through a study of three Melbourne buildings.

“Wearing the Soul: John Ruskin’s Theory of Ideal Dress,” in Ruskin’s Good Looking!, Exhibition Catalogue, ed. Sarah Casey, Lancaster University and Brantwood, 2019    

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“Ungraspable Criticality: Surface in Architecture,” in The Routledge Companion to Criticality in Art, Architecture, and Design, edited by Chris Brisbin and Myra Thiessen, Routledge 2018 

The Routledge Companion to Criticality i

The chapter advocates surface as the new site of architecture’s criticality. It presents surface as a new epistemological and creative terrain, proposing four new typologies: urban surface; surface as an integrated element; surface as optically and physically transient; and as design method, in addition to representational surface. It contends that allowing the nascent history of surface to bear upon the debates on criticality is significant, because it reveals assumptions concerning the disciplinary limits of architecture. It argues that the acts of looking past, looking through, or not looking at surface at all constitutes it as a disciplinary blindspot, and hence the architectural unconscious. Due to the physical and conceptual in-betweenness of surface, and because it is neither completely repressed nor fully materialized, it is capable of sustaining a critical dis-stance. The sighting of the architectural conscious is not just a critical turn: it is also a creative turn. This is explored in my scholarly reflections on the experimental studio at University of New South Wales, where the students interrogated the limits of the plan; the ‘orthographic gaze’ that impedes the social possibilities of the spatial; and the potentialities of surface in generating alternative spatial organizations. 

Gender and Academic Leadership in Architecture in India Symposium, co-convened with Madhavi Desai and Kush Patel, 2020  

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The research symposium on Gender and Academic Leadership in Architecture in India will examine the engagement of women and persons of minoritized genders and sexualities in the construction of the academy, architectural knowledge, professional identity, and academic practice. While the academy in India is often viewed as a softer, more flexible, an almost feminized alternative to practicing professionally for women (who have the culturally pre-ordained role of being the primary carer for the family), or a possible safe space for queer persons (whose bodies and knowledges are otherwise invisibilized or violently erased), academic leadership roles have not been always accessible. Whilst this is now changing, a vast majority of these positions are still being held either by men, or by privileged savarna academics and those with access to intergenerational wealth and social networks. The symposium is interested in feminist forms of leadership. Even though we will be looking for alternatives to patriarchal conventions of leadership, we will not ignore the positions of power sanctified by institutional designations. The intent of the symposium is to bring recognition to teaching and research as practice; highlight and discuss structural changes needed to empower co-faculty and students to be in preparation for the next generation of academic leaders; and add focus to the importance of mentoring and reflective praxis.

Shared Territories: Design Research Exhibition Catalogue, co-curated with Thomas Fisher and Marian Macken, Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University, 2014

The exhibition Shared Territories is informed by the premise that the making of objects and disciplinary connections across different exhibits, ideas, and objects in an exhibition setting constitutes scholarship, and that it is not informed by the imperative of exposition alone, but also by one of discovery. The precedence for this is the ‘Exhibition as Product and Generator of Scholarship’ symposium organized by Susanne Lehmann- Brauns, Christian Sichau, and Helmuth Trischler of Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, which was held on November 27–28, 2008, at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. Martha Fleming, one of the contributors to the symposium, writes that the aim was find out “what exhibitions can do for scholarship that publications cannot (2008, 33).” Fleming questions the hegemony and fetishisation of traditional scholarship, and its form as a book. She suggests that if “it is the methodologies that are the scholarly product of research,” then “the scholarship inheres in the practice, not just in the product, [and] then books and exhibitions are both equally forms of scholarship (35).” It is precisely this premise that the Shared Territories exhibition explores.

Shared Territories has yet another aim: to find distinctive, interdisciplinary connections, within and across the University; and discover our local and global collaborators, audience, partners, sponsors, and subscribers. The emerging nature of the Design Research Institute at XJTLU allows for this to happen, where instead of re-presenting accepted views and definitions of design research (now a well-established field internationally), and locating and connecting the known (and compatible) fields of inquiry, the exhibition opens up the space to discover what is not yet known, and to in fact define that which is not yet known. The exhibition features peer reviewed, mixed media contributions by scholars, academics and designers from Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Finland, United States, United Kingdom, and of course China, from interdisciplinary fields of architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, fine art, industrial design, biological sciences, and language. It seeks out traces left by design processes, metaphors of design processes, reflections on design processes, and by inviting design research explorations along and across two main themes: Inquiring Inquiry and Research as Design.

Myth, Nature, Heritage, the 29th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia & New Zealand, co-edited with Stephen Loo and Stuart King, 2012 

The call for papers for SAHANZ 2012 is inspired by the relations between Bogue’s essay, Flanagan’s story, and Gould’s documentation. It takes seriously the productiveness, outcomes and implications of ‘fabulation’ for architectural history. To Bogue, Flanagan’s practice is “an experiment on the real, an engagement with the historical record and its stories, told and untold, its memories and amnesias.” As a concept which has its origins in literary criticism and devotees among critics like Haruki Murakami, Thomas Pynchon and J. M. G Le Clézio, fabulations invoke the thresholds of the real and the imagined, serious and trivial, time and space, phantasmagorical and self-evident, process and outcome, theory and practice. Fabulation challenges those who according to Barthes

“… want a text (an art, a painting, [a history]) without a shadow, without the dominant ideology; but this is to want a text without fecundity, without productivity, a sterile text … The text needs its shadows; this shadow is a bit of ideology, a bit of representation, a bit of subject; ghosts, pockets, traces, necessary clouds; subversion must produce its own chiaroscuro.” [Barthes quoted in Jorge Silvetti, ‘The Beauty of Shadows’ in K Michael Hays, Architectural Theory Since 1968, p. 280]

We invite papers on a wide range of current research, and inclusive reflections on the idea of fabulation in architectural history. How have the inheritances of architectural history – works, images, narratives, languages, tools and methods – been fabulated through our collective practices? What are the possible implications of fabulation for heritage practice that negotiates continuities with the past (often multiple pasts), and for looking forward into the future? Such ideas raise questions about gaps, or histories untold, as well as myths received through the writing and images of our architectural histories – myths that in turn raise questions about the truth-value of the past. Reflecting on the Tasmanian setting of SAHANZ2012, we also ask how these myths are fabulated or challenged by the combined presences of nature and heritage.

“Decolonizing Architectural Pedagogies,” in Seminar: The Monthly Symposium, no. 750, Decolonization Perspectives, curated by Vidhu Gandhi, 53-56, February 2022 

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“‘I am Damned If I Do and Damned If I Don’t’: Architecture, Academia, and Gendered Homelessness,” [IN]SIDE: Journal on Architecture and Design, 2020 


As an architect who does not ‘practice’ in the industry, and as an academic practitioner who has spent eighteen years perfecting the trajectory of intellectual labour which includes the production of new knowledge and systems of governance; maintenance of networks of resources, actors, and thoughts; innovating methodologies of inquiry; and building teams and institutions, the idea of academic leadership is a deeply gendered question, which is accessible to me but is also always denied, not by individuals but by discriminatory discursive systems, and representations that occlude. While I referred to the liminal space of academia as being “neither inside the profession nor outside of it (Chatterjee 2019)”, this is not an easy space to defend. Academic projects (teaching, research, governance) that we work on are not ‘valued’ on the same terms as a building project. In addition, an academic practitioner is often viewed with some suspicion on whether she should/or can lead a design studio. It is often suggested that the academic space should be taken over by practice, even though industry practitioners may not have expertise in, and/or interest in critical pedagogy. On the other hand, in the so called feminized space of academia, I am still addressed as “Respected Sir” or “Ms Chatterjee” in official emails; not photographed during my keynotes as frequently as say a male architect and academic of equal standing; and I still have to answer the question “Who is in charge of the college.” This essay, which was first presented as at the Gender and Academic Leadership in Architecture in India symposium, explores the question of gender, labour, visibility and leadership in this politicized space of the academy, thinking through feelings of homelessness (at home), with a focus on triumphant moments.




Chatterjee, Anuradha. “Embracing Crisis in Architecture: Between Discipline, Profession, Academy, and Industry – Dr. Anuradha Chatterjee.” ArchitectureLiveIn. URL: Last Accessed 15 December, 2019.

“Putting Her in Her Place (Not!),” Veranda: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Sushant School of Art and Architecture, Issue 2, 2020   


The paper is based on the invited talk and design charrette at International Planning and Architecture Conclave at Sushant School of Art and Architecture, which discussed the patriarchal foundations of women, space, and sexuality. It will argue that acts of violence (physical, emotional, and sexual) against women in a public space are also acts of spatial violence. Space is the means through which women are ‘domesticated,’ who are then punished and ‘disciplined’ through violence, if and when they have exceeded their domestic confinement. The premise of confinement also means that women are expected to appear in and act in public spaces in a gender appropriate manner. Hence while it is natural for men to loiter, or sleep in the open, for women this is not a possibility. To this end, the publicness of a public space, for women, is a completely different experience which is shaped by patriarchal structuring of gendered relations across private and public space. The talk discussed current urban art projects and performances that seek to confront and unsettle these norms and perceptions. The talk set the stage for a Design Charrette in which students worked in groups to suggest a new, utopian future of what women are able to do in a public space; challenge the dichotomy between public and private space; and reconceptualise public realm. Students were to imagine if women designed cities instead of men, how would they design it, differently. They represented their visions of new spatial utopias that could make possible new ways of claiming ownership of public spaces. Imagining feminist spatial utopia also involved challenging existing social relationships and proposing alternative social relationships that empower women.


Between Academia and Industry, Parlour: Women, Equity, Architecture

in progess.

Architectures of Ageing in Place, ed. Anuradha Chatterjee, Routledge (forthcoming 2025 Hardback 9781032571232 Paperback 9781032571188 EBook 9781003437918)


The edited collection aims to curate critical perspectives from a practice-based research point of view, of buildings that are purpose built and/or refurbished to accommodate housing and care needs of older people aging in place in high rise/medium rise integrated communities marking a timely departure from age-segregated housing and living. The main reason for writing this book is to identify design innovations (in line with policy innovations) that have been made (across private and public sectors) to accommodate wellbeing and quality of life of older people living in integrated communities that continue to foster intergenerational dialogue and exchange, and advance social citizenship. The timeliness and urgency of the book is evidenced in increased public and private investment in architecture for older people’s housing, specifically apartments, in line with the UN report (2019), which observes that all societies in the world are undergoing a “longevity revolution,” and that by 2050, “1 in 6 people in the world will be over the age of 65, up from 1 in 11 in 2019.” Contributions will be a) focused on high/medium rise living for older populations, an existing typology that is rapidly gaining ground in many cities globally; b) grounded in evidence-based research, and post occupancy evaluation of buildings, specifically the evaluation of architecture’s ‘social performance’; c) not just about the architecture: it is also about the ways in which architecture (as programmatic, organizational, spatial, and material configurations) frames and is framed by three critical, interrelated concerns of i) integrated communities; ii) intergenerational practice; and iii) aging through (social) citizenship in the city.

The Bloomsbury Global Encyclopedia of Women in Architecture 1960-2015 (Area Editor Asia), edited by Karen Burns and Lori Brown, Bloomsbury (forthcoming 2023, HB Pack ISBN 9781350059764) 

The Bloomsbury Global Encyclopaedia of Women in Architecture, 1960-2015 (forthcoming, 2021) is an international project which brings together 1200 entries on women architects and on women active as architectural educators, journalists, policy makers, theorists, historians, activists and urbanists to map the ways in which diverse women have shaped the global built environment over the last five decades. We are committed to the representation of areas and women who are often invisible in architectural history and media. Our team comprises the two editors - Professor Lori Brown, Syracuse University, and Dr Karen Burns, University of Melbourne, an international Advisory Editorial Board, and eleven Area Editors who will each have superintendence of a geographic region. Each Area Editor will be responsible for devising an initial list of biographies and topic entries and commission writers to produce these entries. Area Editors will also contribute an introductory essay for their region and contribute to our global timeline chronology on women in architecture. The Encyclopaedia will initially appear in a 2 volume print edition in conjunction with an online format. The Editors and Bloomsbury envisage the Encyclopaedia as an on-going project, with editions and revisions in the years to come.

Countries in South/East Asia region include 

1. Bangladesh 2. Bhutan 3. China 4. Hong Kong 5. Indonesia 6. Japan 7. India 8. Macau 9. Maldives 10. Malaysia 11. Nepal 12. North Korea 13. Pakistan 14. Philippines 15. Singapore 16. Sri Lanka 17. South Korea 18. Taiwan 19. Thailand 20. Vietnam


Digital Ruskin: Paradigms and Reconstructions

My panel titled Ruskinian Gothic and Twenty-first Century Technology at International Gothic Association conference, and paper titled Digital Ruskin Paradigms explores the premise that Ruskin’s advocacy of Gothic was not atavistic, or a call to abandon order: it was suggestive of new, less instrumental set of procedures, systems, and rules that anticipated new technologies, or new approaches to existing technologies. In particular, my paper examines 1) the new field of digital humanities and its relevance to Ruskin’s scholarship; 2) the digital humanities projects on Ruskin; 3) the nascent digitality of the Ruskinian epistemology. At large, the paper argues the Ruskinian thinking and digital humanities are co-informing phenomenon. It is as much an outcome of the ubiquitousness of the digital, as it is a way of thinking. The paper will close with presenting two potential projects that re-imagine the future of Ruskin scholarship: Virtual Heritage, and Generative Surfaces

Smart Vagueness: Alternative Urbanities of the Global South Session  

Photo Credit: Raunaq Nanda

I am exploring this theme through the Session on Smart Vagueness: Alternative Urbanities of the Global South, 15th Architectural Humanities Research Association International Conference 15th – 17th November 2018 Department of the Built Environment, TU Eindhoven, https://

This sessions addresses the theme of smartness and public space in the context of (smart) cities in the Global South. It looks at the intersection between the problems inherent to smartness, such as threats to democracy due to the emphasis on technology and over governance; and the speed of urbanization that the phenomenon entails, which is likely to create interstitial spaces, or gaps in the urban landscape that exceed the constraints of use and economy, and the boundaries of the plan. We suggest that these gaps may be the way to complexify the debates on smartness beyond the paradigms of technology, control, and efficiency.

Such spaces can be thought through Ignasi de Sola Morales’s notion of terrain vague, which is defined as: “Unincorporated margins, interior islands void of activity, oversights, these areas are simply un-inhabited, un-safe, un-productive. In short, they are foreign to the urban system, mentally exterior in the physical interior of the city (1995).” However, as Karl Kullmann (2014) has more recently argued, it is important to think of such spaces through the frames of “openness and potentiality” of uselessness, such that their potentiality is not co-opted by hegemonic forces, and such that their looseness is maintained “by people actively transforming their close-at-hand environment in real time.”

To this end, the session problematizes the citizen-driven ‘activation’ programmes of terrain vague spaces in cities in the Global South, which aim to create greater custodianship of spaces, through city beautification and public art projects. It invites participants to ask whether interstitial spaces in cities can provide alternative, and democratic public spaces. Is this already happening? Should these spaces be open to community appropriation and occupation, on what terms, and to what extent? What is our role as designers in this? Should these occupations be temporary, or permanent? Should these spaces be managed? Would the potential of these spaces be diminished if they were formalized, and absorbed into the gamut of planning? Can such spaces provide alternative urbanities that are beyond design, beyond typologies?

Beyond the Given: What? Organizing for Critical Pedagogy, Practice, and Institution Building in Architecture Conference (c0-covened with Dr Kush Patel)

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Beyond the Given: What? Organizing for Critical Pedagogy, Practice, and Institution Building in Architecture 

(Connected Collaborations Meeting)

Avani Convenors: Dr. Anuradha Chatterjee; Dr. Kush Patel

SEA Convenors: Ar. Anuj Daga; Ar. Rupali Gupte; Ar. Shreyank Khemalapure

C.A.R.E. Convenors: Ar. Judith Belinda; Ar. Senthilkumar

WCFA Convenors: Ar. Nagesh HD; Ar. R. Kiran Kumar

The conference aims to explore, reveal, and reflect on modes of thinking and acting in architectural academies that have become habitualized over decades; modes which remain outside of inquiry, be it the notion of site specificity and “master builder” identity, or the agency of the academic and professional practitioner in initiating and supporting real change, or faith in content-based curriculum as the path to innovations in pedagogy. These modes have become ossified over time through inheritances of institutional legacies; disciplinary modes of proceeding; patriarchal structures of governance; and professionalized identities of practitioners. Architects, professional bodies, and the academies of architecture are fiercely protective of the disciplinary ontology of architecture, defining conversations on what is and is not architecture, or what is and is not (architectural) education, or who can and cannot teach architecture. What is our role as members and leaders of academic institutions in such troubled contexts, histories, and predicaments of learning? Where and how might we connect with each other to build strength, advance new imaginations, and sustain change from within? What do radical pedagogies in architecture feel like? These are the kinds of questions we will be asking (with boldness, empathy, courage, and forthrightness), during the three-day critical-collaborative conversations between Avani Institute of Design, CARE Trichy, SEA Mumbai, and Wadiyar Centre for Architecture, in direct engagement with Professor Neelkanth Chhaya and Architect BV Doshi.     

The Troubled Surface of Architecture: John Ruskin, the Human Body, and External Walls, PhD 2008

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The meaning of the architectural surface was thoroughly reconsidered by architects and historians in England and Europe between early and mid-nineteenth century. There were two major trends. The first one was historicist. Ornament and colour was considered important because it represented the origins of architecture. The second approach was rational and tectonic. It suggested that an honest surface had to be created by emphasizing the structure and by truthfully expressing materials. An unusual response to these debates was John Ruskin’s history of medieval and Renaissance architecture. This was published as The seven lamps of architecture (1849), and the three volume study, The stones of Venice (1851-1853). Ruskin’s writings were difficult to grasp. On the one hand, they were fragmented, historically inaccurate, and lacking in explanatory power. On the other hand, they emphasized surface ornament, without ever indicating its architectural ‘use’. As a result, nineteenth and twentieth century historians and architects declared Ruskin’s writings as being irrelevant to architectural theory and practice. By examining Ruskin’s writings on architecture through the theoretical lens of dress, body, and gender, the thesis demonstrates that he proposed the theory of the adorned “wall veil”.This was a two-part theory. Firstly, architecture was defined by the presence of planar walls. The masonry structure of these walls was masked and decorated by a seamless dress-like surface, consisting of relief and polychromatic ornaments. Secondly, Ruskin distinguished between the ideal and the corrupt dress. The ideal dress celebrated the spiritual aspects of the body (surface, skin, and colour). The corrupt dress represented the scientific image of the body (depth, bones and muscles, and form). The ideal dress was reflected by the surfaces of medieval buildings, and the corrupt dress was mirrored by the Renaissance architectural surface. Through these arguments, the thesis makes two major contributions. Firstly, it shows that Ruskin’s views were consistent with the architectural modernism of the twentieth century, in which the free façade and the atectonic surface were key concerns. Secondly, it establishes that Gottfried Semper’s writings were not the sole origin of the debates on dress and architecture. It shows that Ruskin developed a critical theory of dress by synthesizing debates on gender, science, and spirituality. He used this theory to suggest a new approach towards architecture.

The Eighth Lamp: Ruskin Studies Today (founded and co-edited with Laurence Roussillon-Constanty and Mark Frost)

The Eighth Lamp: Ruskin Studies Today (ISSN 2049-3215) is an online and double blind refereed journal founded by Dr Anuradha Chatterjee, and co-edited by Dr Laurence Roussillon-Constanty and Dr Mark Frost. The journal is also complemented by a ten strong Editorial Board that provides intellectual and pedagogical support and leadership to the journal. The scope of The Eighth Lamp is multidisciplinary and it welcomes submissions related to art, religion, historiography, social criticism, tourism, economics, philosophy, science, architecture, photography, preservation, cinema, and theatre. There have been ten published issues of this journal. 

The Eighth Lamp is particularly interested in new perspectives on Ruskin. In other words, it places emphasis on showcasing new historical evidence as well as critical interpretations that challenge the narrow label of the ‘Victorian’. Therefore, it seeks to foster postmodern readings of Ruskin’s thought in terms of subjectivity, identity, subversion, and feminism. Furthermore, this section seeks to investigate the specific nature of modernity in the nineteenth century by studying Ruskin. Hence, the focus is on newness and innovation in visuality; critical frameworks for interpreting art; dress reform; architectural documentation; literary genres as evidenced in Ruskin’s work.

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