Revathi Kamath: A Pioneer of ‘Mud Architecture’

Revathi Kamath (1955-2020)

The Delhi-based architect and planner Revathi Kamath, known for being a pioneer and champion of ‘Mud Architecture’, passed away recently. She strongly believed in environment- friendly architecture and focussed on giving a newer dimension to ‘Mud Architecture’. Her design philosophy stemmed from the holistic nature of architectural consciousness, with a strong contemplation for human culture and civilisation through time and space. She was also credited with building the tallest stainless steel structure in India for a super thermal power plant in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh.

Ms Kamath obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture (1977) and completed a post-graduate programme in Urban and Regional Planning (1981)— both from the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi. After graduation, she worked with Stein, Doshi and Bhalla for a year and later with Rassik International, architects and furniture designers in New Delhi. In 1979, she began working with The GRUP (Group for Rural & Urban Planning), a partnership firm formed by Vasant Kamath, Romi Khosla and Narendra Dengle. She also worked for the National Institute of Urban Affairs in 1981, and served as a Visiting Faculty (1984–87) and Assistant Professor (1987–91) at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi.

In 1981, she started her own firm with Vasant Kamath, ‘Revathi and Vasant Kamath’ that later came to be known as ‘Kamath Design Studio – Architecture, Planning and Environment’ (2005). The studio has handled a wide variety of projects in diverse social, economic and geographical contexts. The Anandgram project for rehabilitation of slum dwellers near Shadipur Depot in Delhi was one of the earliest such projects in early 1983. Revathi Kamath was noted for her sensitive efforts for conceiving the ‘Evolving Home’ concept for redevelopment. She consulted with 350 families to understand individual needs and to give them a first home on the ground. Three of her projects had been nominated for the Aga Khan Award as well.

SOME OF HER SIGNIFICANT WORKS INCLUDE:

  • Desert Resort in Mandawa, Rajasthan
  • Mud House for Nandita and Amit Judge from Delhi
  • Lakshman Sagar Resort, Raipur
  • Jeevashram Animal Shelter, Delhi
  • Akshay Pratishthan School, Delhi
  • School for weavers’ children at Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh
  • Tomar House, Hauz Khas, New Delhi
  • Auditorium at Raigarh, Chhattisgarh
  • Tal Chhapar Sanctuary for Government of Rajasthan, Churu, Rajasthan
  • Gnostic Centre, New Delhi