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Achyut Kanvinde is one of the first Indian architects to study abroad when he joined the architectural programme of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in 1946. Here he got to meet several famous architects and also was exposed to contemporary architectural practices. When he returned to India in 1947, he became one of the earliest proponents of an architecture of modernism in the country. Kanvinde was deeply influenced by the great Walter Gropius which in turn had a profound influence on several projects he did in India.
Achyut Kanvinde, a recipient of Padma Shri in 1974, championed the cause of vernacular architecture. He always believed that architect should develop a sensitivity to human nature and a respect for human values. During the career spanning nearly five decades, Kanvinde had done numerous projects – IIT Kanpur, National Science Centre, Delhi, The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) in New Delhi, NII Pune, ISKCON Temple at New Delhi and many more. However, there is one project which he considered as one of the most challenging projects of his professional career. Do you know which is that project?
Yes, it was Dudhsagar dairy plant at Mehsana in Gujarat which Kanvinde considered as one of the most challenging assignments of his career. The project which was completed in 1974, was to be constructed on a site which was on a slope. However, Kanvinde used the slope of the site to evolve a multi-level design and used the principle of gravity feed for the plant operation. Dissipation of excessive heat generated in the plant area and resolving the requirements of movement, structure, and mechanical servicing were the other challenges of the project. At the end Kanvinde was successful in synthesizing a fairly complex industrial process into a powerful building form, with the minimum use of mechanical aids.