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Early life and education
He was born in Achare, in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, in 1916 in a large family. His mother died when he was two and his father was an arts teacher in Mumbai. Kanvinde was also influenced by his father, who was portrait and landscape painter. Kanvinde graduated in architecture from the “J.J. School of Arts”, Mumbai, in 1942. He was then sent by the government of India to study at “Harvard University” where he worked under Walter Gropius and was influenced by his thinking and teaching.
When he returned to India he joined the council for “Scientific and Industrial Research”. In 1985 he was the winner of IIA “Baburao Mhatre Gold Medal”.
Along with his partner S. Rai, he opened a firm Kanvinde, Rai and Chowdhury in New Delhi (which is currently run by Sanjay Kanvinde, B.K. Tanuja and Murad Chowdhury). The firm has been responsible for IIT Kanpur, National Science Centre, Delhi, The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) in New Delhi, NII Pune, numerous dairy buildings under NDDB and many other great buildings.
Kanvinde plays with space and forms. His designs are slender, balanced, proportionate, neat and well crafted. The building is important but most important is the gate of the user. Example is “ISKCON Temple”. He gave much importance to natural light. He gave such a form to the building that it can solve the problem of ventilation as well as excessive heat. He believed in Vernacular Architecture. He believed that the image should be such that can set the mood and interest for which the building stands for. Both inherent values and historical influences contributed towards good architecture.
An art can be to nourish the senses. Art is purely an aesthetic exercise. He believed that a grid of columns forming a matrix giving structural and spatial aspect would turn a design to more sophisticated and faceted. He treated his building with “Vastushastra”.
- Jon T. Lang 2002 A Concise History of Modern Architecture in India. Orient Blackswan.
- An Architecture of Independence: The Making of Modern South Asia University of Pennsylvania.
- Achyut Kanvinde & His Works Compiled by students of School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi
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