Rajni Chavda

Architect and planner Rajni Chavda, an alumnus of Ahmedabad’s Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology University, has worked in Bhutan for close to 28 years. In that time, he’s built two palaces, and worked on numerous projects including the Royal Thimphu College. The traditional palaces – built for two of the former king’s wives – were not huge mansions. “They were four bedroom houses,” says Chavda. “And the former king lived – and still lives – in a two bedroom timber cottage.” This lack of ostentation and passion for tradition was emphasized at Chavda’s lecture at The State of Architecture’s concluding conference ‘Windows and Mirrors’ at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. “The development strategy adopted seeks to tread the ‘Middle Path’ – merging tradition with selective modernity,” writes Chavda in his lecture brief. By decree, all buildings need to be constructed with traditional façades and cornices, sloping roofs, and decorated trefoil windows.