Naina Gupta

I am an architect who researches, teaches and designs. One of the essays that echoes with the way I think about architecture is by Robin Evans, ‘From Axes to Violins’. Architecture is an instrument that forces change. It is never neutral and rarely representational. It is not only a product of society but a blueprint for society.

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” Winston Churchill

Robin Evans is a consistent reference in all my work. One of the details that I have returned to innumerable times is a prison-cell wall section that he highlighted that portrayed architecture less as a set design and more as an integral personality of the space, not unlike Kafka’s use of architecture in his novels. The detail below is an evaluation of what it means to isolate or separate prisoners in adjoining cells. It questions what is the purpose of imprisonment, what is meant by humane isolation, and what constitutes an exchange of information.

I am personally more inclined in the intersections between architecture, and culture, politics and social reform, using an architect’s gaze and tools. In my work, I am particularly focused on institutions and the role of architecture in constructing, transforming and reforming them. Furthermore, I am interested in the transnational spread of ideas and institutions and therefore, all my work at some level looks into the intersections, movements, departures and links that structure an institution or discipline.

As an academic-designer, though I am not averse to writing papers, I am more interested in an inseparability between research and design. In other words, I would argue that the methodology of the research, the writing-style, and the evidence that I use is part of the process of design. I don’t see design as an autonomous action that represents or stems from the research but as an integral process of research. I am interested in continuing a conversation begun in my research through exhibitions, installations, publications, videos to mention a few.

You can view my portfolio below