Architecture throughout the world in recent decades has experienced a changing relationship with its past. The collapse of confidence in Modernism as a panacea, the ready and reliable solution, came from its tendency to universalize at the expense of local and particular needs, felt especially by architecture’s users, and from the loss of diversity in expression. In some extreme cases, the desire to recover regional or historical elements has led into atavism; but more often the attempt has been to graft on to the continuing mainstream selected elements of restored identities. Hence, the variety of Post-Modernisms, and ‘abstract’ or ‘critical’ regionalism, that are by now commonplace. These new approaches are highly sensitive to the forms, the textures and even the materials of historical and regional building systems. But for the most parts the borrowed qualities are rationalized afresh, they are redefined within the context of a Post-Modern philosophy; and there has been some reluctance to engage with the organizing logic – the theory – of those original systems. This article addresses this pressing global issue, taking at the ground for discussion the development from Pre-Colonial to Post-Modern Ahmedabad.
Founded by Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1412 AD, the city had been home to the Muzafarids, Mughals and the Marathas, before the British East India Company took over in 1818. There are about a dozen gates, 189 bastions and more than 6000 battlements within the fortified walled city. It was mainly a center for trade in textiles in the fifteenth and sixteenth century, until Shah Jahan came along and recognized the picturesque Architecture of the city. The Indo-Saracenic style came into existence when, during the dawn of the 16th century, under Ahmed Shah, artisans merged Hindu artistries with Persian architectural design.
The Siddi Saiyyed w71 Mosque, one of the most famous mosques of the city is built in this style. Arches run around the structure and ten prominent rock latticework ‘Jalis’ can be pointed on its rear and side archways. This jailw72 is 16 feet in size and stands 20 feet above the ground, believed to be completed in six years by the continuous efforts of 45 artistsw73 . Square stone punctured panels in geometrical schemes are packed in the furthest back wall. Exquisite patterns of interwoven topiaries and saplings with palm motifs are carved into the smelt slabs made of stone which can be encountered in both the bays abutting the central aisle.
The old city of Ahmedabad, is in itself, an example of excellent town planning. Situated in south of Sabarmati river, a Pol is a typical housing cluster of the old city established during the divided Mughal-Maratha rule by the residents due to tension between Hindus and Muslims.