Press Release
Film Series
Center For Architecture
Press contact: Emily Nemens
Center for Architecture to present first exhibition in US on
contemporary Indian urbanism

Exhibition on view in New York February 10 – May 21, 2011
Press are invited to a press preview with the curator from 10am-12pm on Thursday, February 10 at
the Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, NYC 10012. To RSVP, or for press images,
please contact Emily Nemens at 212-358-6126 or

NEW YORK CITY, January 14, 2011 – The first show of its kind, Jugaad Urbanism: Resourceful Strategies for Indian Cities explores how the energy of citizens “making do” can be an inspiration and a catalyst for the worldwide community of architects, designers, and urban planners. With so much emphasis on high design and high-tech in typical architecture shows, an exhibition focusing on design by the people, for the people, of Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Pune brings a new perspective to the international conversation about designing for life in contemporary cities.

The exhibition, which is on view from February 10- May 21, 2011, is organized in partnership with the India China Institute at The New School, the Indo-American Arts Council and the Society of Indo-American Engineers and Architects. Related programs will include a day-long symposium on informal settlements and low income housing in India, organized in partnership with the United Nations Human Settlements (UN-HABITAT) program, and a weekly film series of documentaries and Bollywood features that focus on life in contemporary India.

“Together, the exhibition and programs aim to educate both local and international audiences about the critical issues of growing cities,” explains Margaret Castillo, AIA, LEED AP, the president of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter. “While Mumbai may seem a world away from New York City, the lessons learned from its empowered citizens and designers can be applied to rapidly expanding cities with similar issues, such as Rio or Guangzhou. Object-based, small-scale urbanism proves that good design has the power to make the world a better place.”

Jugaad: a definition
There is no one definition of the Hindi term “jugaad,” but in a broad sense, the term refers to a certain resourcefulness and innovation found in Indian cities. Jerry-rigged cars, homemade stoves, and do-it-yourself water filtration are all examples of citizens “making do” with what they have on hand. That resourcefulness has proven to be an inspiration for local nongovernmental organizations and international designers alike. The exhibition juxtaposes these homemade solutions and the “designed” ones, showing how the two can build off of one another to improve city life. As curator Kanu Agrawal describes, “Jugaad strategies allow designers to work with maximum adaptability and imagination. Inspired by the skill and ingenuity of grassroots tactics as well as a careful use of meager resources, designers can be thoughtful contributors for healthier, safer, and more equitable cities. With their organizational skills and expertise they can provide examined ways of improving
living conditions.”

Exhibition Content
The exhibition is organized by “resource:” land, water, energy and transportation.

  • The land section will feature a proposal for “In-between Architecture” by Studio Mumbai, an Incremental Housing Strategy for Pune by the NGO SPARC, the Cybermohollah HUB community center planned for a slum resettlement in Delhi, and an investigation of the chawls in Mumbai. These buildings, 2-5 story housing structures, built in the early 20th century around the fabric mills of Mumbai, are at the center of a debate about preservation and development in Indian cities. The commissioned proposal by Neera Adarka and Rupali Gupte will save the chawls, but modernize them for contemporary life.
  • The water section will also feature a commissioned project—a new scheme for community toilets in Delhi by Vir.Mueller Architects, including an example of his innovative low tech ceramic toilet pan—and an assortment of water filtration solutions, including a “jugaad” 3- bucket solution, and a mass-manufactured design by the Tulip Water Foundation.
  • The energy section will display solar solutions, including a solar-powered streetlamp and portable home light, and a set of smokeless stoves. It will also include an energy-generating e-charka, or spinning machine, which is a symbol of empowerment recalling the iconic photo of Gandhi and his charka, spread around the world by Life magazine.
  • The transportation section will present the typical “jugaad vehicle” alongside the innovative, constraint-based design of the Tata Nano. Additional materials include a photo essay on the new skywalks of Mumbai, a presentation of drawings and photos of the Janmarg Bus Rapid Transit system in Ahmedabad, developed with the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, and the Soleckshaw, a solar-powered rickshaw.
  • Additionally, the Center will host an installation by the noted Delhi-based artist group Raqs Media Collective, called “Coordinates of an Everyday City.” The 4-channel video installation was first shown at Documenta 11 in Kassel, Germany. Raqs co-founded Sarai, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, in 2000, and is renowned in the art world for its multimedia projects.

In total, the exhibition features products/prototypes, models, videos, photography, and drawings created by Indian artists, designers and NGOs, but also the designs of practitioners working in India that are based in Sweden, Germany, and New York. “In place of the master plan and tabula rasa urbanism, Jugaad urbanism takes the improvised, actually existing urban conditions of the Indian metropolis as a point of departure to consider the scale and scope of new design interventions,” says Vyjayanthi Rao of the New School for Social Research. “This exhibition raises questions about the nature of innovation itself and the systems that support intervention.”

Related Programs
A robust series of related programs are planned for the three month duration of Jugaad Urbanism. The Center for Architecture will host a day-long symposium with UN-HABITAT on informal settlements and low income housing (February 12); a panel on contemporary construction practices in India (March 10); international architects working on new housing, airports, and commercial spaces in India (March 31); how to create developments with net-zero energy (April 21); and how to design culturally and socially sensitive communities (April 30). The Center for Architecture Foundation will host a “Family Day” at the Center (February 19), where families will explore the exhibition and participate in hands-on design activities. Visit for more details.

The programs of Jugaad Urbanism hope to engage both the public and professional communities working in New York. This diverse group includes the Society of Indo-American Engineers and Architects. “As many regions in India endeavor to rebuild and improve infrastructure, it is imperative that planners, architects and engineers take note of and build upon the resourceful ‘making-do’ spirit of the citizens,” says Ravi Shenoy, President of SIAEA NY. “With this knowledge we can direct growth in a sustainable, economically and environmentally sound manner. This exhibition is an opportunity for scores of architects and engineers, who practice both in US and India, to present their own experience and learn from others. SIAEA is excited to sponsor and participate in this
exhibition which showcases a unique approach to urban planning.”

Film Series

In addition to the programs listed above, the Center for Architecture will host a film each Friday for the duration of the show. The first film, being screened Friday, February 11, will be The Great Indian Jugaad, winner of best documentary film at the Stuttgart Bollywood and Beyond Film Festival. The film series will include full length and short documentaries as well as Bollywood films that feature the complexities of urban life in Delhi and Mumbai. Aroon Shivdasani, Executive Director of the Indo-American Arts Council, explains “This exhibition is extremely important in the context of India’s current crowded environment. Some of the films screened during the exhibition
clearly demonstrate the easy, uninhibited, perhaps unintentional inventiveness of the urban Indian’s living patterns.”

Exhibition on View
The exhibition is on view from February 10 – May 21, 2011. The Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, is open Monday- Friday, 9am – 8pm, and Saturday 11am – 5 pm. A family guide to the exhibition will be available in the galleries and online. The exhibition, like all shows at the Center for Architecture, is free and open to the public.

Related Public Programs

Opening Reception
February 10, 2011, 7-9pm
Music by Red Baraat
Free and open to the public

Design for a Change: Informal Settlements and Low Income Housing in India
February 12, 2011, symposium from 11am-5pm
A symposium about housing in India including presentations on the Incremental Housing Strategy (Sara Goransson and Filipe Balestra in partnership with SPARC), the chawls of Mumbai (Neera Adarkar and Vyjayanthi Rao), and Tata’s market-driven low-income housing (Earl Jackson, AIA and Scott Duncan, AIA, SOM and Brotin Banerjee, TATA Housing).

Reinhold Martin, Columbia University GSAPP, will moderate a summary discussion. The symposium is organized with the partnership of UN-HABITAT.

Free for AIA and CFA members, New School students and faculty, IAAC members, and SIAEA members; $10 general admission.

Invention by Necessity: Construction Practice in India
March 10, 2011, 6-8pm
In the context of jugaad, speakers will present how construction practices respond to immediate necessities in India. Speakers include Aaron Schwartz, FAIA, Perkins Eastman and Sanjeev Shankar (designer of the “Jugaad Canopy” in exhibition).

Free for AIA and CFA members, New School students and faculty, IAAC members, and SIAEA members; $10 general admission.

Contemporary Design Typologies in India: Housing, Airports and Mixed-Use Developments
March 31, 2011, 6-8pm
Recent market demands in India have advanced building typologies that weren’t as prevalent before. New state-of-the-art airports, super high-end residential projects, and high-rise mixed-use developments are now market demands. The requirement of expertise in both design and construction of these typologies has created a need for experienced global architects. Speakers include Fred Schwartz, FAIA, Frederic Schwartz Architects, Nancy Ruddy, CetraRuddy, and Jay Berman, AIA, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects.

Free for AIA and CFA members, New School students and faculty, IAAC members, and SIAEA members; $10 general admission.

Progressive Indian Cities: Moving Towards Near-Zero Energy Development
April 21, 2011, 6-8pm
Indian cities are investing private and public money in enormous new infrastructure, buildings, industries and transportation alternatives to support nearly 40% of Indians by 2021. The session will feature an official from the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, representatives of the cities of Thane, Ahmedabad, and Mumbai, and the India Green Building Council, who together are helping Indian cities leapfrog to advanced, less energy-intensive, clean and renewable energy.

Free for AIA and CFA members, New School students and faculty, IAAC members, and SIAEA members; $10 general admission.

Designing in Context: Ideas for 21st Century Indian Cities
April 30, 2011, 12-4pm
This panel addresses contemporary architecture in 21st-century Indian cities in the context of existing vernacular and historic contexts. Renowned architects Christopher Benninger and Rahul Mehrotra (invited) will present projects in the social and cultural context of urban India. Free for AIA and CFA members, New School students and faculty, IAAC members, and SIAEA members; $10 general admission

Jugaad Urbanism Film Series
Fridays throughout the exhibition duration: February 11 / 18 / 25, March 4 / 11 / 18, April 1 / 8 / 15 The complete schedule of films will be announced in late January.

Free for AIA and CFA members, New School students and faculty, IAAC members, and SIAEA members; $10 general admission.

February 19, 2011
$20 for a family of 4; $5 for each additional guest.

Exhibition Curator: Kanu Agrawal
Exhibition Design and Graphics: Popular Architecture and Omnivore

Exhibition and related programs are organized by the AIA New York Chapter in partnership with the Center for Architecture Foundation, the India China Institute at The New School, the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) and the Society for Indo-American Engineers and Architects (SIAEA).

Jugaad Urbanism
is supported in part by grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. The exhibition was also made possible through the generous support of the following:

Underwriter: Duggal Visual Solutions
Lead Sponsors: Hitachi, Robert A.M. Stern Architects
Sponsor: Grapevine, Society of Indo-American Engineers and Architects
Supporters: Bittersweet, CetraRuddy, Kingfisherr
Friends: Arup, Benjamin Moore, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, Perkins Eastman, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
KeyThe Center for Architecture is a destination for all interested in the built environment. It is home to the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter and the Center for Architecture Foundation, vibrant nonprofit organizations that provide resources to both the public and building industry professionals. Through exhibitions, programs, and special events, the Center aims to improve the quality and sustainability of the built environment, foster exchange between the design, construction, and real estate communities, and encourage collaborations across the city and globe. The Center also celebrates New York’s vibrant architecture, explores its urban fabric, shares community resources, and provides opportunities for scholarship. As the city’s leading cultural institution focusing on architecture, the Center drives positive change through the power of design. For more information, please visit  
The Indo-American Arts Council is a 501 ©3 not-for-profit secular arts organization passionately dedicated to promoting, showcasing and building an awareness of artists of Indian origin in the performing arts, visual arts, literary arts and folk arts. For information please visit

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