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Rahul Mehrotra held a masterclass hosted by Godrej Culture Lab in Vikhroli, Mumbai

The gathering of peers, students, young architects and other admirers of the architect-urbanist’s work were inspired by his presentation on ‘Architecture and its Context in Contemporary India

The long weekend began on a very positive note for those who attended architect-urbanist Rahul Mehrotra’s masterclass at Godrej One, hosted by Godrej Culture Lab.

Held on the evening of August 9, the masterclass explored the idea of ‘context’ and how its understanding could be a productive instrument for the development of architecture in India. In his lecture, Mehrotra talked about our sphere of concern and our sphere of influence - and how we can make them intersect. His masterclass was about space, community, culture and how we interact with the buildings we inhabit.

Mehrotra also spoke about the recent trend in architecture and governance in India which is creating absolute solutions for transient problems. Most critically, he wanted us in the audience to focus on the human dimension.

Through his case studies of Kumbh Mela and his own work at Hathi Gaon, he gave examples of contemporary design challenges in India.  Mehrotra focused also on not building absolute solutions for temporary and transient problems.

He ultimately emphasised the need for empathy in how we build and how he ensures that through his work: highest paid corporate personnel in the building and the lowest paid workers in the building can experience what it is like to be in someone's shoes.

About India Culture Lab:
The Godrej India Culture Lab is a fluid experimental space that cross-pollinates ideas and people to explore what it means to be modern and Indian. The Lab was launched in January 2011 as an attempt to create an alternative intellectual hub in Mumbai city that would serve as a catalyst for conversations about contemporary India, by brokering interactions between academia, the creative industries, the corporate world and the not-for-profit sector.

The Lab’s interactions take the shape of curated events of different sizes, most of which are held within the Godrej campus in Vikhroli and are free and open to attend for all. These include regular monthly events like the Friday Fundas speaker and performer series, and Film and Book Clubs, with filmmakers and authors in attendance respectively.

The Lab also organises larger events within Mumbai including full day conferences like Urban (Re) Imagination (2011), or lectures with internationally acclaimed speakers like Tadao Ando (2012) or Henry Jenkins or Sheena Iyengar (2015). It also organizes pop-up spectacles like the Museum of Memories (2012) and Vikhroli Skin (2013) that combined art, science, performance and design in unexpected ways, in an unused factory location. And the Lab also often collaborates with other organizations and institutions such as National Film Development Corporation, or Lakme Fashion Week, Stanford University, in its attempt to connect to wider audiences.

Most of the Lab's talks and performances are available as videos on www.indiaculturelab.org. It is hoped that this website will become an important resource on contemporary India in the future.  You could follow the Godrej India Culture Lab on Twitter – the Twitter handle is @indiaculturelab; on Instagram @indiaculturelab as well as on Facebook - www.facebook.com/IndiaCultureLab

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