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Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Het Schip

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Women’s Worlds - Interview with Natalie Dubois

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At Home in the 20th Century

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16 September 2020


New Centre for Historic Houses of India

The Centre for Historic Houses is part of the School for Art & Architecture at OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana. They preserve, research, document, revitalize and promote historic houses, their interiors, collections, objects, inhabitants, environment and culture as well as the associated creative industries. As such the centre is an interdisciplinary effort drawing support from the diverse expertise and research interests of the faculty at O.P. Jindal Global University ranging from law, to business, architecture, international affairs, journalism to liberal arts.

One of the main aims of is the Centre for Historic Houses of India is the development of innovative management schemes for historic monuments and sites with a focus on family owned properties. It provides a platform for the exchange of expertise and ideas relating to historic houses. The centre is dedicated to advocacy and to the development of partnerships between higher education, owners of historic houses and heritage experts to foster knowledge exchange and entrepreneurship stimulating economic growth through tourism and local business in the heritage sector, the built environment and associated creative industries. It also focuses on non-visitor related business schemes for historic houses -something they particularly accentuate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Princely Palaces of Delhi

To date, Iconic Houses had some of the modernist houses of the 20th century in India on the radar, such as the Villa Shodan in Ahmedabad (1951-56) by Corbusier with Balkrishna Doshi, the Villa de Madame Manorama Sarabhai in Ahmedabad (1951) by Le Corbusier and the house of Le Corbusier’s cousin and collaborator, Pierre Jeanneret (House N. 57), designed by Jeanneret in 1954 in Chandigarh, which can be visited nowadays as the Pierre Jeanneret House Museum.

Villa Shodan, Le Corbusier, Ahmedabad, 1951-’56. Photo: John Gollings ©. 

Villa Sarabhai, Le Corbusier, Ahmedabad, 1951-1955. Photo Architectural Digest India. 

Pierre Jeanneret House Museum, designed by Jeanneret in 1954, Chandigarh. Photo The Heritage Lab.

According to Dr. Esther -aka Mimi- Schmidt, Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Historic Houses, there are a number of interesting buildings dating to the 20th century. ‘Some of them are accessible to the public but the concept of historic house museum is still rare. One of the best-known houses would be the former President's Estate, Rashtrapati Bhavan (aka Viceroy House) by Sir Edwin Lutyens in New Delhi (1929). It is now used by the Indian president but it is possible to book guided tours. The former horse stables and car garage as part of the complex have been transformed into a museum. The Centre for Historic Houses of India is currently developing heritage interpretation schemes for the building.’

Rashtrapati Bhavan, Sir Edwin Lutyens, New Delhi, 1929. Credit: ThinkStock Photos. 

‘At around the same time several princely palaces were built in the vicinity - some of them by Sir Edwin Lutyens as well, others by the architect Charles G. Blomfield- such as Bikaner House New Delhi or Jaipur House. Bikaner House is the former residence of the Maharajah of Bikaner State. Jaipur House is an art museum and Bikaner House is used for exhibitions and various other cultural events - the former princely houses are now in the possession of the state governments (the former princely states).

Bikaner House, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Delhi, 1939. Image source: Glowingthoughts.com. 

The National Gallery of Modern Art at Jaipur House in Delhi. Architect Arthur Blomfield, 1936. File photo: IANS. 

Some of these palaces can also be found on Google’s Arts and Culture.

Centre for Historic Houses of India
The centre for Historic Houses champions the idea of design and social entrepreneurship connecting historic houses with the larger social and environmental questions of our world. It believes that especially in India the heritage sector must be combined with development strategies and a concern for local communities. The centre has formed alliances with heritage organizations and academic institutions and owners of historic houses worldwide. It offers a platform for owners of the historic houses of India and abroad and also organises workshops. While the focus is on historic houses and heritage in India the centre is committed to more general aspects of global heritage and topics related to the built environment and society allowing for meaningful connections with the scholarly community and the heritage sector globally to share research and best practices.

Activities: free online lecture series
The lecture series ‘Resilience: Historic Houses of India and their Custodians’ is organized every Friday at 8 pm IST by the Centre for Historic Houses of India, OP Jindal Global University, and moderated by Dr. Esther.

The series is part of the Centre’s 'Knowledge Transfer' initiative to offer a first-hand account of the life, architecture, art, and design of India’s historic houses and palaces told by the owners and family members or those responsible for their care, upkeep, and rejuvenation. This fascinating insight offers a glimpse behind palace doors not normally found in history books. Each historic property has a different and unique story, and it is the symbiosis between house, owners, and their interests and initiatives that shapes the context of communities - which has not received much attention. From heritage advocacy to protecting living heritage such as Marwari horses; or specific local martial arts to cuisine, education, crafts, sustainability, or innovative business ventures in the area of social entrepreneurship, the historic houses of India have a positive impact on society at large.

These popular lectures are attended by heritage enthusiasts, heritage professionals, academics, owners of historic houses, architects, designers and museum professionals from all over the world and you are invited to engage with the speakers, to visit these beautiful palaces and to get involved, offer consultancy, participate in initiatives or even invest in the social entrepreneurial campaigns to both help preserve and revive historic monuments while impacting local communities. The Centre for Historic Houses of India would also like to invite you to travel virtually with them to many beautiful palaces in India at a time when travel is not possible.

Online registration for these (free) lectures is possible using Eventbrite.

You can either “follow” the Centre on Eventbrite to receive regular invitations to its events or simply register for the particular lecture you are interested in. If you add the event to your online calendar such as outlook the time will automatically be adjusted to your time zone.

You can connect with the Centre online via:

Email: info.chh@jgu.edu.in
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/994968377500743/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_gopVkZZlRO3cdArhNEvTg/about?disable_polymer=1
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CHH_India
Insta: https://www.instagram.com/chh_india/
Website: www.centreforhistorichouses.org

Posted 16 September 2020