Chennai Architecture Foundation (CAF) is a not for profit organization established to promote architecture, urbanism and education in the city of Chennai. It facilitates and promotes critical public engagement with built environment issues by organizing lectures, discussions and events. CAF addresses students, professionals, city mangers and public alike and spotlights the importance of design in enhancing the quality of cities and life in them.
Our programme will include
Monthly Talks by eminent practitioners in the field of architecture and allied disciplines from the country
Biannual lectures by Master Architects from both India and abroad with the city as the audience.
Exhibition on design themes, accompanied by debates and lectures
Design workshops and Scholarships for Architecture students and
On 24 June, 2014, we had a very good beginning to the CAF Intern – Mentorship Programme at “Spaces”, 1 Elliots Beach Roadnear Besant Nagar beach. The first event of the first module – “Self and Society” was a closed event with interns and their respective mentors from the firms participating, invited architects and educationists who were part of the event. The six firms that are part of this pilot programme include Edifice, MOAD, KSM, ArchitectureRED, Threshold Architects, Varsha and Pradeep Architects
At 4:30 pm, the programme kicked off with Pramod Balakrishnan introducing the programme to all present and the six Architectural firms (Edifice, ArchitectureRED, MOAD, Threshold, Varsha Pradeep and KSM) that have volunteered to work with CAF to run this experimental student Internship programme. After this brief introduction we had talks by three young freshly graduated architects, Ranjith Kumar, Sree Lekha and Nishanthi, who spoke about their internships a couple of years ago and shared their experiences with all of us.
This was followed by a general discussion and breaking of ice, the students gradually warming up to the programme and coming out with their views, thoughts and fears associated with practical training in architectural offices. Srivatsan expressed his views in this regard and spoke about a well rounded approach the students should look for in training. The architects representing the six firms shared some thoughts and stressed on a free, open and less inhibited approach to their internship. Mahesh Radhakrishnan suggested that the students should get to know each other and that they should maintain a log for the programme and also open a blog so that they could communicate and interact with each other better.
This was followed by a Talk by V Geetha, who was the Resource guru for Module 1 – “Self and Society”. Geetha is a writer, translator and publisher and is currently the Editorial Director, Tara Books, Chennai and has been active in the women’s movement and in civil rights issues for over 25 years now. Her interests include gender, education, caste and theatre all of which were evident in her Talk that opened our minds to the way we look at and understand spaces. Starting in a conversational mode, Geetha drew the attention of the participants to how one makes a place out of space. She explained that such acts faced limits and boundaries that often needed to be negotiated. The wrap-up point was about the various hierarchies in private and public spaces and the struggle to dismantle them. An interesting conversation followed with questions and comments comparing modern and traditional spaces and the lack of gender consideration in our spatial imagination.
Very clearly, this evening, all of us had had a special insight into our roles as architects in the society that we are a part of – thanks to Geetha! A special thanks are also due to Sadanand Menon for allowing CAF to use “Spaces” for this programme.
Srivatsan wrapped up the session by 7:30 with a reminder that we would meet again for Module 2 at the office of ArchitectureRED on July 2, 2014.