‘Good Architecture Has To Transform The Physical And Human Environment’ Says M.N. Ashish Ganju

Munishwar Nath Ashish Ganju was an architect, writer and lecturer who started his private practice in 1972. He has been teaching since 1968 in many colleges of Architecture in India and Europe. During his practising year, Ar. M.N Ashish Ganju has worked with the Tibetan refugee group in Dharamsala, which studies sustainable architecture in the Himalayas. He has travelled across the Indian subcontinent as a consultant to UNICEF and the Governments of India and Afghanistan. He was also the founding Director of the TVB School of Habitat Studies, New Delhi. 

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Munishwar Nath Ashish Ganju_©Archinect

He has served on many committees within the Government of India, including the Committee to Advise on Maintenance and Modifications in Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi and the Ministry of Urban Development’s Committee for Redevelopment of the Lutyens Bungalow Zone in New Delhi.

Ar. M.N Ashish Ganju has received many awards at both national and international platforms. He recently co-authored “The Discovery of Architecture – A Contemporary Treatise on Ancient Principles and Indigenous Truth” with Narendra Dengle, published by GREHA. 

Here are some notable projects by Munishwar Nath Ashish Ganju: 

1. Dolma Ling Nunnery at Dharamshala

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Verandahs flanking the assembly courtyard_©architecturelive.in

The Tibetan Women’s Association funded Dolma Ling Nunnery at Dharamshala, while the construction was carried out as a self-build exercise by the users. The design was created with input from users and following the Buddhist concepts of harmonious interdependence of all living beings and things. The project began 20 years ago, and it continues to grow while providing homes for nearly 300 refugee nuns and also provides facilities for academic, cultural, and primary health care.

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Site Plan of Dolma Ling Nunnery at Dharamshala_©architecturelive.in
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Nuns Housing Terraces_©architecturelive.in

The architecture of Dolma Ling Nunnery reflects the memories of the colourful, adorned houses the Tibetans left behind in their homeland while remembering Kangra Valley is one of India’s wettest sites. The judge of aesthetic expression is the Buddhist ethos of the interdependence of all living forms.

2. GREHA – The Residence and Studio of M.N.Ashish Ganju- Delhi

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GREHA – The Residence and Studio of M.N.Ashish Ganju_©architecturelive.in

The author/architect’s residence and the studio is located in a rapidly urbanising area on the outskirts of New Delhi, in a community with minimal modern infrastructure. As a result, the building’s life-support services had to rely heavily on natural resources. The house construction evolved a low-rise structure with sloping roofs to control solar heat gain and protect from the rain, made of low-embodied-energy roofing materials such as clay tiles.

An entrance verandah directly connected from the public driveway connects the home and studio. It is divided by an open-to-sky courtyard off this verandah. The internal courtyard provides natural light and ventilation to the studio, designed against the property’s northern compound wall, thus expanding the size of the residence’s south-side greenhouse. 

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GREHA – The Residence and Studio of M.N.Ashish Ganju_©architecturelive.in

A collection of service spaces clustered around the interior courtyard, such as staircases, toilets, closets, and storage spaces, form the centre of the built environment. All habitable rooms are oriented to offer major openings on south-facing walls to permit the winter sun, low within the southern sky in Delhi, to penetrate indoors and maximise solar heat gain. The summer sun, on the other hand, does not penetrate any of the rooms, reducing heat gain. The upper-floor bedrooms have a pyramidal roof with a ventilating monitor at the height, allowing hot air to escape naturally and maintaining thermal comfort throughout the summer. A pair of trapdoors close the monitor ventilation in the winter.

The materials chosen for construction represent an excellent range combining the natural and vernacular like brick, timber, stone and terracotta, with industrially produced and modern steel and glass elements. A system provides the predicament; therefore, the large area of the south-facing roof can support photo-voltaic panels for generating electricity in the future when the prices of those panels are affordable. A linear reed bed did the treatment of sewage and wastewater along the boundaries of the plot.

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GREHA – The Residence and Studio of M.N.Ashish Ganju_©architecturelive.in

3. Proposal for Bundi, Rajasthan 

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Bundi Proposal_©Optima Travels
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Bundi Proposal_©www.greha.org

Rajasthan is culturally diverse, with artistic and spiritual practises that represent the way of life in ancient India. The area has its own musical and dance dialect. Internationally recognised dances include Udaipur’s Ghoomar and Jaisalmer’s Kalbeliya. Rajasthani folk music is an important part of the state’s history. 

Rajasthan is culturally diverse, with artistic and spiritual practices representing the way of life in ancient India. The area has its own musical and dance dialect. Internationally recognised dances include Udaipur’s Ghoomar and Jaisalmer’s Kalbeliya. Rajasthani folk music is an essential part of the state’s history. 

Rajasthan’s architectural heritage includes magnificent forts, intricately carved temples, and magnificent Havelis. The Rajputs were professional architects and builders. The parched Aravalli milieu is marked by some of the world’s most majestic and glorious palaces and forts, which tell anecdotes of their glorious bequests.

There are several palaces in Bundi, but the most popular is called Taragarh, situated on a hill overlooking the town, is an impressive monument, being an example of medieval Rajput architecture in its most vigorous and delightful expression.

Several parts of the palace feature frescoes from the renowned Bundi School of miniature painting, which were discovered during fitness.

Bundi’s flourishing in this exceptional school of art was not by accident.There’s something special about the environmental quality here. 

There’s something unique about the composition of the air here. The combination of sun, air, water, and soil creates a fertile environment for beauty to flourish. This blending of the weather has also produced the architecture, best exemplified in Taragarh Palace.

It is not a mere chance that this remarkable school of painting flourished in Bundi. There’s something special about the environmental quality here. The light, the air, water and soil, combine to supply a fertile matrix for beauty to emerge. This blending of the weather has also produced the architecture, best exemplified in Taragarh Palace.

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Bundi Proposal_©www.greha.org

The present proposal is to convert the palace to a world art centre with some residential facilities for visiting artists and students. True connoisseurs of art and architecture from any part of the planet will appreciate the worth of this remarkable architectural monument. Once restored to its original artistic intent, the palace could become one of the foremost beautiful venues for artistic performances and productions to be found anywhere within the world.

3. Basti Hazrat Nizamuddin : A conservation programme- Delhi

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Basti Hazrat Nizamuddin : A conservation programme_©Archnet

In 2009 a physical mapping/survey of the Basti was undertaken to be documented. The survey had led to the preparation of street improvement plans which the Municipal Corporation of Delhi can implement. Small public parks were planned along the western fringe of the Basti in deteriorating areas and were no longer safe and clean for the public. These spaces were going to be landscaped that fulfil the requirements expressed by the resident community. There will be parks earmarked for ladies, girls, cricket, group events, and weddings to add much-needed community space and nodes of civic life back to the world and increase pedestrian circulation through the Basti.

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Basti Hazrat Nizamuddin : A conservation programme_©Archnet

Therefore, the conservation of monuments and the rehabilitation of open spaces within the Basti aimed to revive their intrinsic cultural, historical and spiritual significance. Using state-of-the-art technology, including ground-penetrating radar survey, high-definition 3D laser scanning and geotechnical assessments, conservation started on the fourteenth-century Baoli (step-well).

4. Community Embedded Approach for Conservation of Mehrauli Heritage Area- Delhi

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Conservation of Mehrauli Heritage Area_©www.greha.org

Historic temples and archaeological remains exist in the Mehrauli settlement and its environs. The Qutab Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage site next to the community, draws tourists from all over the world. The site has potential for tourism on a world and national level; on a city scale, it’s the potential for becoming an “Archaeological Park”, an area to spend each day and rediscover the medieval structures.

Centred on the position inside Mehrauli, the curriculum will be split into three phases. These sites were chosen because of the cultural significance of the region’s historic properties and the essence of local people’s use of the area.

The program’s goal in each step would be to “initiate a process of social and economic transformation of the region” as part of the overall vision.

  • Improvement in the condition of the heritage assets
  • Upgradation of usable public space for the community and visitors
  • Progress in the basic infrastructure – drainage, sewerage and lighting
  • Regulation of mobility

(Source of Information: www.greha.org)

5. Residence for Dr. Kubba, at Paschim Vihar, New Delhi, 1981-84

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Residence for Dr. Kubba_© Architexturez South Asia

The property is a 400-square-yard rectangular plot with a long south-facing side and a short west-facing side with access to the roads, a group wall on the north side, and a service lane on the east side. The house is occupied by Dr. Kubba and his wife, along with his aged parents. The home’s construction utilises brick and timber, with roof/intermediate floors of reinforced concrete and flooring of stone.

The architecture was based on a central courtyard into which all of the main entrances lead. A timber frame with louvres inset partially screens the courtyard from the street outside. The structure wraps around all of the exterior walls, with louvres placed at various angles to provide visual privacy, let winter sun into the courtyard, and shield the windows from monsoon rains.

The house is divided into two sections by the interior planning,  a two-level open plan set of spaces for the doctor and his wife, while also having a more traditional series of bedrooms around lounges for the parents and live-in visitors. 

The courtyard is divided into two parts on the first floor by a gallery that links the two sections and shades the courtyard in the summer. 

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Residence for Dr. Kubba_© Architexturez South Asia
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Residence for Dr. Kubba_© Architexturez South Asia

Other contribution: 

“The Discovery of Architecture”: A contemporary treatise on ancient values and indigenous reality

Book by M.N. Ashish Ganju and Narendra Dengle.

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The Discovery of Architecture”: A contemporary treatise on ancient values and indigenous reality_© Amazon.in

The book is a dialogue between two architects,  M.N. Ashish Ganju and Narendra Dengle, with an architectural experience of 40 years. The book has four sections in which it proposes an analytical matrix for clarifying the theoretical understanding of architectural practice: 

  1. Self as community, 
  2. Action coupled with awareness, 
  3. Maintenance as renewal and 
  4. Regeneration with learning.

Citations:

Greta-Environment Development, Habitat Design and Architecture. https://greha.org/

Discovery of Architecture | Greha-Environment Development, Habitat Design and Architecture. https://greha.org/discovery-architecture 

Munishwar Nath Ashish Ganju | Greha-Environment Development, Habitat Design and Architecture. https://www.greha.org/munishwar-nath-ashish-ganju.

Ganju, MN. Portfolio of Works, MN Ashish Ganju. 2007.https://architexturez.net/doc/az-cf-123566

Ganju, MN. Residence for Dr. Kubba, at Paschim Vihar, New Delhi, 1981-84. 1984 .https://architexturez.net/doc/az-cf-123566

Images

Dolma Ling Nunnery at Dharamshala, ©architecturelive.in

M.N. Ashish Ganju and Narendra Dangle (1st January 2013), “The Discovery of Architecture”: A contemporary treatise on ancient values and indigenous reality, India

Ganju, MN. Residence for Dr. Kubba, at Paschim Vihar, New Delhi, 1981-84. 1984 .https://architexturez.net/doc/az-cf-123566

Ganju, MN. Residence for Dr. Kubba, at Paschim Vihar, New Delhi, 1981-84. 1984 .https://architexturez.net/doc/az-cf-123566

Ganju, MN. Residence for Dr. Kubba, at Paschim Vihar, New Delhi, 1981-84. 1984 .https://architexturez.net/doc/az-cf-123566

GREHA, Conservation of Mehrauli Heritage Area © www.greha.org 

GREHA, Conservation of Mehrauli Heritage Area_© www.greha.org 

Samanata Kumar
Author

Samanata Kumar, is a young interior designer, driven by keen interest for Architectural heritage and culture. Her curiousity includes parameters of architecture and design,photography, travelling, writing, roller skating and air rifle shooting for leisure. Her latest focus includes gaining knowledge in development of housing typologies around the world, space psychology and conspiracies in architecture.

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