Contemporarizing Traditional Water Architecture: a 21st Century Step Well in India

Wednesday, October 16, 2019
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm, Fowler - Lecture/Classroom - A103B - Lenart Auditorium

Lecture by A. Mridul and Shilpa Mridul

See below for additional information.


Free and open to the public. Advanced registration required


Fowler Museum at UCLA
(310) 267-4007


Additional Information

Stepwells, subterranean aqua-structures, were an integral part of Indian communities from 2nd century A.D. till the end of 19th century. Relegated in favor of canal and piped water-supply, these exquisite stepwells were gradually abandoned and forgotten. However, as ecological and sustainability issues took center-stage amidst growing concern over the deepening water-crisis, it became vital that ancient wisdom of harnessing water be revisited and adapted by resurrecting the traditional water systems, creating new ones, rationalizing the modern and integrating the entire gamut of aqua-architecture to build a sustainable water-network. The talk will focus on the how using traditional language in contemporary context, the Mriduls have designed a new subterranean structure, Birkha Bawari, fashioned like a stepwell, in a residential colony in Jodhpur. With a capacity to hold over 17.5 million liters of rain-water, it is a unique structural system built of sandstone quarried from its own site. This project exemplifies that such large water conserving structures are still architecturally feasible and economically viable.

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