Rahul Mehrotra describes his new book as "a critical reflection on thirty years of practice" and presents a fascinating read into the evolution of his methodology and practice.
One of India's most recognized Architectural practices, Rahul Mehrotra Architects (RMA), began in Mumbai in 1990. The firm currently maintains two offices, one in Mumbai and the other in Boston.
RMA engages in diverse issues across interior design and architecture to master planning and conservation efforts. His practice and writings over the years have documented the effects of urbanisation on Indian cities. In the middle of that exploration lies Mumbai, a microcosm of a city that has inspired the firm's work.
'Working in Mumbai' presents the evolution of RMA's work through 4 chapters (Architecture of the interior, Between the rural and the Urban, Constructing cultural significance and mediating the local and the global). The book presents firms work in chronological order across various scales and typologies.
Complete bandwidth of the RMA's work in presented in great detail throughout the book. Each chapter begins with an essay written by Rahul Mehrotra, in which he reflects and describes the complex world in which the architects have to operate. With approximately 1200 illustrations, the projects are easy to understand and presented with a sense of clarity.
One of our favourite chapters is the 'Architecture of the interior,' which presents a window into the firm's early years and the struggles as it finds its footing in Mumbai. With the help of various projects, the book does an excellent job of transporting us to the Mumbai of the 1990s. It describes how the studio extracted lessons that later informed its work on more complex projects. The last chapter is a deep dive into RMA's philosophy and describes its journey using Mumbai as a 'generator of practice.' It talks about RMA's process to develop feedback loops between many activities they are engaged with, which ultimately informs the culture of their practice.
This book is an amalgamation of years of RMA's output that includes building projects, books, catalogues, pamphlets, manuals, exhibitions and research publications and attempts to decode the process of creating built environments that are plural in spirit.
'Working in Mumbai' is one of the most important books in recent times, with commentary on our cities complex nature through the lens of RMA's work. It deserves a special mention for anyone who is navigating the complexities of designing our built environment. This is indeed not a monograph.
Working in Mumbai is a critical reflection on thirty years of the practice of RMA Architects. Rahul Mehrotra weaves a narrative to connect his multiple engagements in architectural practice, including teaching, research, documenting, writing and exhibiting since the establishment of the practice in 1990. The book is structured around the subjects of interior architecture, critical conservation, and work and living spaces that straddle the binaries of the global and the local as well as the rural and the urban. While the book is a portfolio of the selected works of RMA Architects, the projects are curated so as to unravel and clarify the challenges faced by architects in India and in several parts of the “majority” world where issues related to rapid urbanization and the impacts of global capital are among the many that dispute conventional models of practice. Working in Mumbai is used emblematically to interrogate the notion of context and understand how the practice evolved through its association with the city of Bombay/Mumbai.
Text: Rahul Mehrotra
Edited: Kate Cahill
Photographs: Rajesh Vora
Dimension: 25.2 x 29.6 cm
Graphic Design: M1DTW
Features: Hardback, full-colour, stitch bound, embossing
Illustrations: approx. 1200 illustrations
Page Count: 352 Pages
Publication Date: July 2020