Selected Entries 2019

Mending of A Broken Piece of Architecture: A case in Mumbai

Harsh Yogesh Karani
 Lokmanya Tilak Institute of Architecture and Design Studies | Navi Mumbai

We are living in an incredibly exciting and slightly absurd moment, namely that
preservation is overtaking us.”- Rem Koolhas
In this constantly and rapidly transitioning 21st century, world in which we live in where, the
cultural transitions are so rapid that by the time its waves reaches to shores, new waves
already have been formed which clash with the ripples of the earlier wave and result is a
constantly disturbed and in transition water surface. In such times where an architectural
style may have to die prematurely, and be over taken, only mutational or transforming
architecture, which accepts imperfections of old and bridges it to new trends, resulting in an
architectural style which is ‘in-between old and new’, must exist.
‘Kintsugi’ is an traditional Japanese art of mending broken ceramicware. This art of mending
highlights the mend with gold as celebrating imperfection in life of that object. The breaking
of the object is considered to be the death of object, kintsugi gives it a rebirth with accepting
and highlighting the scars of past. This makes the object accepting fate and changing
(mutating) which makes it humane. ‘Kintsugi’ in architecture could generate new identity that
is identity of mutating architecture, organic architecture, transitioning architecture, humane
architecture, which accepts its past, its failures and accepts the new waves of cultural styles.
The project is enquiry and exploration of way in which to deal with the clashes between the
new waves and old ripples, which leaves broken pieces of architecture around cities. Can
there be a way of mending these broken pieces, with humility and grace of ‘Kintsugi’, where
we just do not replace old with new, but accept imperfections of old and add the needs of
new, to make a piece of architecture which is constantly mutating with new waves, but not
still not losing its past, but keeping it as a scar which adds to its character and thus to its
This dissertation involves two parts, first is research, define and prepare a manual to practice
‘Kintsugi in architecture’ and second part is identifying a broken piece of architecture in
Mumbai and applying the manual to mend it.