The next Pecha Kucha night in New Delhi is exactly a week away, and presentations have begun to trickle in, looking fantastic so far! It will be held on the 11th of October at the American Center (Kasturba Gandhi Marg), from 6:30pm onwards. While I set out to introduce all five remaining speakers in a single post, I think it would end up being far too long, so here are three more for now, and the last two speaker introduction will follow shortly.
Karma Wangchuk is the first urban designer and only landscape architect in Bhutan, best known for the design of the iconic 108 Druk Wangyel Chortens in Dochula. While I havenâ€™t yet met with him, itâ€™s been amazing interacting with him over email, and I found his reflections on the cultural aspects of architecture absolutely fascinating. Karma was the Chief of Spatial Planning & Infrastructure Design, Royal Education Council, and a recipient of the prestigious Coronation Gold Medal before resigning from Government Service to contest for the first Mayoral Election of Thimphu in 2011. Karma was a 2007-2008 Humphrey Fellow pursuing urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge and currently works as a private consultant in Bhutan. As an architect and urban planner, he is concerned with the cultural, social, religious and even philosophical aspects of the nation and attempts to conserve them in his architectural designs. This will be the main focus of his presentation at the Pecha Kucha Night next week.
Gautam Gandhi currently manages new business development efforts for Google India, which includes managing early-stage partnerships, explorations and technology licensing. Prior to Google, he was involved with two different startups. He co-founded ClearCount Medical Solutions, which uses patented RFID technology to track surgical sponges and instruments during surgery to prevent retained foreign bodies. Before that, he was part of the founding team at BlueMountain Arts, the largest e-greeting website where he helped launch Danâ€™s Chocolates. BlueMountain was acquired by Excite@Home in 2001. In addition, Gautam was a recipient of the 2008 Fulbright Award for India. My conversation with Gautam was fast-paced and incredibly amusing, spanning a whole bunch of unrelated tangents and then finally zeroing in on the topic he will be presenting at Pecha Kucha – how not to be slaves to technology in an â€˜over-connectedâ€™ world. I found that incredibly amusing, given the organization he works for, and I look forward to what promises to be an entertaining and thoughtful presentation!
I went over to the offices of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture to meet Ratish Nanda, the country head for the Trust in India. A conservation architect, Ratish has extensive international experience in promoting, developing and delivering architectural heritage projects from across India to the UK. He was earlier responsible for the Humayun’s Tomb Garden Conservation (1999-2003) and Baghe Babur Restoration, Kabul, Afghanistan (2003-06). Currently, Ratish leads the Urban Renewal project centered around the World Heritage Site of Humayun’s Tomb. This was something I was very excited about indeed, since I grew up in that neighborhood and often visited the tomb and the surrounding Basti area, all of which come under this large, multi-pronged project. It was fascinating to listen to him talk about the work of the foundation, particularly in the revival of many ancient craft and building techniques, which are now being employed for restoration work on the monument. This not only makes for much better architectural integrity, but also revives and celebrates certain dying building forms and makes use of local knowledge, thereby involving and employing the community. Ratish will be presenting this work in more detail at Pecha Kucha.
Again, I am always fascinated by how certain themes and alignments tend to appear amongst seemingly disparate things once you reflect on them for a while. While I had originally thought these three speakers to be substantially different, I now see a certain theme of cultural reflection and revival emerging amongst these three speakers and extending to the others Iâ€™ve introduced in prior posts (here and here). I have two more speakers left to introduce, which will follow shortly. Stay tuned!
*Pecha Kucha is completely free and open to the public. However, please note that a valid picture ID is mandatory due to security requirements at the American Center. Please visit our facebook event page for more details and join the Pecha Kucha New Delhi group to be a part of the PKN community in the city!