PhD/ MPhil Projects
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.
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.