Contemporary House India offers stunning portrait of the country's new modernism

Contemporary House India, a new monograph by photographer Edmund Sumner and architect and academic Rob Gregory, charts the South Asian country's modern residential architecture

Moving Landscapes house by Matharoo Associates in Contemporary House India book by Edmund Sumner and Rob Gregory
House with Moving Landscapes by Matharoo Associates
(Image credit: Edmund Sumner)

Edmund Sumner and Rob Gregory’s new monograph shines a light on one of the most audacious environments in modern residential architecture. Contemporary House India is a survey of more than 20 examples of new Indian houses, spanning the vast country and including the work of many of India’s most pre-eminent architects, as well as new faces. Casting its net wide, this architecture book celebrates a new modernism in Indian architecture

With an introductory conversation with the Pritzker Prize-winning architect BV Doshi, featured studios include Matra Architects, Studio Mumbai, Romi Khosla and Architecture Brio. There is a special focus on the kinetic experimentation of Ahmedabad-based Matharoo Associates, where walls and shutters flip and transform, creating endless interior variations. 

Lattice House by Sameep Padora

Lattice House by Sameep Padora

(Image credit: Edmund Sumner)

Sumner has travelled extensively in India and his photographs place each house in context, from urban density to suburban sprawl, to remote villas that are set against a backdrop of spectacular scenery. The very welcome addition of plans and sections makes this much more than a glossy picture book – even though the glossy pictures are exceptional.

Detail designs and the wide variety of different materials and hand-crafted elements throughout the houses are covered with precision, juxtaposing fine finishes, rich textures and dramatic interiors with the dramatic variety of sites and locations. 

Wood House by Matra Architects

Wood House by Matra Architects

(Image credit: Edmund Sumner)

Ultimately, this is the architecture of individualism, a broad sweep of programmes and approaches that reflects the country’s extraordinary diversity, as well as the craft and construction skills that are available to create such detailed designs. There’s a broad taxonomy at work – remote villas, urban living, new settlements and improvisation – but the 92-year-old Doshi sets the tone.

‘Analysis has freaked our brain and attitude to life,' he says in the introduction. ‘If you just use the word “dwelling” for everything and print it like that, nobody will question what it is.’

The Shadow House by Samira Rathod

The Shadow House by Samira Rathod 

(Image credit: Edmund Sumner)

INFORMATION

Contemporary House India by Edmund Sumner (opens in new tab) and Rob Gregory, Thames & Hudson (opens in new tab), £45

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.

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