New UK exhibition celebrates India’s Tropical Modernist architecture

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LONDON: A new exhibition that opened at the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in London this month celebrates the architectural style of Tropical Modernism, associated with newly independent India’s first major building projects including the city of Chandigarh.

International modernism, associated with British architects Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry, was a colonial architecture developed against the background of anti-colonial struggle across India and West Africa. The crux of the style was adapting a modernist aesthetic that valued function over ornament to the hot, humid conditions of the region.

“We deliberately set out to complicate the history of Tropical Modernism by looking at the architecture against the anti-colonial struggle of the time, and by engaging with and centring South Asian and West African perspectives,” said Christopher Turner, the V&A’s Keeper of Art, Architecture, Photography & Design.

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