Architectural History & Theory (AHTG)

Devdutt Shastri

Devdutt Shastri has a B.Arch from The Cooper Union in New York where he studied under the late John Hejduk. An exercise given in the third year at Cooper Union is the analysis of a masterpiece building. A list is provided of select buildings and students are required to choos from this list or suggest their own choice with sufficient reason for doing so. Noting that there was not a single Indian building on the list, Devdutt proposed Kandariya Mahadeva temple in Khajuraho and presented the meagre yet compelling images available at the time. It was approved for study and led to Devdutt's own awareness of the depth of ideas inherent in the architecture of temples such as this one. Devdutt continued his new interest in his Thesis project trying to find a contemporary and yet timeless expression of these ideas in the design of a house.

Ten years of architectural practice interspersed by architectural nomadism followed, during which time Devdutt passed his qualification exams for licensure. He also visited the Khajuraho temples and found in them an expression of movement that could not be captured either by photographs or raw video. Something akin to breathing and even to dance suggested itself to him and he began to make video experiments fusing dance and architecture. In 2004, Devdutt decided to continue his education in an M.Phil programme at Cambridge University called 'Architecture and the Moving Image'. During his Thesis he came across the work of Dr. Adam Hardy and realised that he would like to continue his research under Dr. Hardy's supervision.

Devdutt's research attempts to trace the instances of the expression of movement via architectural form in various cultures, how architecture addresses the movement of the observer and how this, coupled with the study of dance expression, using video and animation techniques, can lead to design strategies for future works of architecture.

PhD Research
The Dance of Architecture

The research explores possible relationships between the expressive movement of the (human) body in space and that of the spatial body. A particular emphasis is paid to the formal, gestural and spatial relationships between Indian temples and temple dance. The methodology includes the use of moving image technology, for analysis and possibly to create architecture. Supervisor: Dr. Adam Hardy.


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