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Building on tradition and beauty

DAKSHINACHITRA, THE living heritage centre of cultures of the four southern states, gets ready to add a new dimension to vernacular and traditional architecture. Come January and the best brains in the world of architecture gather here to discuss the `old' but relevant and fast-vanishing architectural heritage of South Asia.

The event will be on from January 6 to 12. The first part, a scholarly seminar coordinated by Prof.Michael Meister from the University of Pennsylvania, will be held at DakshinaChitra from January 6 to 8. This session will focus primarily on conceptual issues.

The magnificent Hampi ruins form the background for the second session to be held from January 9 to 12. Hampi, the capital of the 16th century Vijayanagar empire is a UNESCO heritage site and presents the remains of a royal city with its temples, bazaar and palace foundation.

There will also be a discussion at the British Council, aimed at involving the younger generation of architects and enthusiasts. This event, titled `Future of contemporary architecture: form, design and structure,' will be on January 8, at 10 a.m.

``Traditional and vernacular architecture of this region is quite vulnerable to destruction. This is because of the rapid pace of population growth, migration and development,'' says Dr.Deborah Thiagarajan, president, Madras Craft Foundation. The seminar is part of the Foundation's tradition of organising international seminar on subjects related to the research conducted at the DakshinaChitra heritage centre.

``Will Laurie Baker be there?''

``We have invited him,'' says Dr.Deborah Thiagarajan. ``But given his dislike for structured gatherings it is difficult to say if he will,'' she adds.

By R. K. Radhakrishnan

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