What has been the fate of the architecture of public buildings after Independence?
Our contribution to the architecture of the city and the country has unfortunately been quite frugal. In the British period, the expansion and the development of the city were coherent with its architecture. The Regal cinema and the Eros cinema buildings are fine examples of the art-deco style. That kind of coherence disappeared over time.
What direction, if any, has architecture in the city taken after Independence?
The architecture of any city has to be coherent with its culture and spirit. Unfortunately, after Independence planners didn’t pay any attention to this. Mumbai’s architectural development has been haphazard. This style is a mish-mash of international style and eye-catching designs. We are trying to become trendy, but there is no consistency and no particular architecture language is followed. As a society, we will have to emphasise on making design and architecture a part of our culture.
The best-known buildings in the city are still colonial. Would you call these indigenous? Is there a way to be indigenous and modern at the same time?
One can’t look at colonial architecture as alien. All of this gives an identity to the city. The search for indigenous architecture is misleading. Mumbai was a trading port and has been influenced by many cultures. The idea that colonial architecture in Mumbai is not indigenous is flawed. We must look at colonial architecture as a part of our history and preserve it.
Kapil Gupta, 38, is a Mumbai-based architect, a principal of Serie Architects and a director at Urban Design Research Institute, a Mumbai-based think tank.