Image source: Sebastian Trujillo

What is the difference between design and research? Or, more interestingly put: are design and research similar processes -if not part of the same continuum? Who is entitled (and responsible) of designing vis-à-vis, researching? How does it happen in professional environments? Why is it relevant to question this relationship? What would be the purpose; towards what?
This course will address these questions by probing into a fragmented locus of verification: contemporary architectural practice in India. A platform where architects, urban designers, and planners occupy a smaller role within larger networks of action: a new paradigm of experimentation which is no longer set in the historical epistemic centers, but in the radically challenging and diverse ‘peripheries’. From mainstream practices like Studio Mumbai with its “material fundamentalist” investigations to RMA and their inquest on Indian modernism or SP+a’s housing documentation to emerging practices as URBZ` with its participatory processes or Mad(e) in Mumbai with its ‘Typological investigations in public sanitation’. What if we could map contemporary practice across India as a varying index of the design-research continuum? What would be the geographical coincidences? What would be the tendencies?
Through this course, we will explore to what extent research and design are intertwined, or rather bounded as a particular manifestation of privilege. An investigation that could allow students to locate themselves within this spectrum of practice, envisioning possibilities, and even adopting methods that could couple professional circumstances with academic discourses. A learning process manifested through a very ambitious output: a comprehensive map of contemporary design-research practices in India.

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