Nariman (Nari) Dossabhai Gandhi, born in 1934, is known for his spartan life, and believed in the ideology of organic architecture. Khadi wearing architect, Nari Gandhi’s ideologies and works were in sharp contrast to the mainstream architectural thinking. Though, in a career spanning more than 30 years, Nari Gandhi had done around 30 projects for his clients, there were two projects which were very close to his heart. Do you know which were they?
Nari who completed his schooling at St. Xavier’s School in Mumbai and thereafter architecture course in famous Sir J.J. School of Architecture in mid-fifties, never used to make any drawings. Nari used brick, stone, steel & timber as structural materials. Each material persists of some emotion and this formed a base to select a particular client, of course the materials were also based on what the site demanded. All his work has a strong base of geometry. Light for him was the soul of architecture. His work was inspired from nature, as he believed that the land is the purest form of nature. Like a plant, building grows from the earth towards the light.
Though he has done many memorable projects, two projects among them stood out for their architectural qualities and materials used. The first one was a house made for one time top actor Ms. Asha Parekh. Her house was totally made of stone. In those times, it was known as one of the most unusual houses in Asia. The house was made in red stone, which came from Kota and the marble, which came from Makkrana. The whole house was very spacious. Valia residence was another project of his which stood out for the material used in the construction. It was influenced from Frank Lloyd Wright’s work.
Unfortunately, both the houses have been demolished now. Asha Parekh’s stone house was demolished in 2006 while Valia House saw its end in 2003. Who knows if Nari was alive then he would have done something to save those masterpieces. But he passed away in a tragic car accident in 1993.