Of Exemplary Practitioners
Shweta Moorthy
WOMEN ARCHITECTS AND MODERNISM IN INDIA by Madhavi Desai Routledge, India, 2017, 430 pp., 12,678
June 2017, volume 41, No 6

Women Architects and Modernism in India by Routledge India is perhaps to date the most comprehensive compilation of notable female architects of the 20th century in India. Madhavi Desai is an experienced writer on contemporary Indian architecture, and herself a woman architect of note in the country. In addition, she is also an established researcher and acclaimed teacher of architecture, a characteristic also of many of the women she profiles. Through this book she establishes an imminent need for removing gender differences in the architect’s profession.

The book is well structured being divided into five parts, with the main body of the text covering thirty-five biographies. The introduction establishes the need for study, with a reference to recent feminist thinking, setting the scene for the rest of the book. This is followed by a brief historical review of the practice of women in the building industry and the surfacing of formal women architects in the practice of the profession in the country. The literature on this past practice being rather limited, the author delves directly into the body of the text comprising the biographies.

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