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Pearl Academy of Fashion


Pearl Academy of Fashion
By Michael Webb -

Around the world, architects are challenged to infuse new forms with the legacy of the past and the spirit of place. That has become a crucial issue in emerging nations, many of which have uncritically embraced generic modernism and eccentric novelty. Sudden wealth can destroy the heritage of many centuries, disrupt the social order, and develop a flurry of wasteful extravagance, as has happened in China, Russia, and oil-rich Arab states.
India has changed at a slower pace, and the Pearl Academy of Fashion, located in an office park east of Jaipur, is a brilliant demonstration of how to marry past and present, the local vernacular and contemporary building techniques. It employs passive strategies to achieve sustainability, and it provides an inspiring work environment for up to 700 students and faculty at a cost of about 220 euros a sq m.
The college is a recent work of Morphogenesis, one of the most productive and creative architectural firms in Delhi. Manit and Sonali Rastogi met at the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi while pursuing their undergraduate degree in architecture. Then they moved on to the Architectural Association in London to continue their postgraduate studies, got married and, back to India, established their practice in 1996. “We view our practice as a laboratory, looking to expand the boundaries of architectural and environmental design”, declare the partners in their mission statement.
At Morphogenesis, architects, designers, urbanists and environmentalists collaborate on research projects that feed into a diversity of built work. A steady flow of corporate commissions has allowed the partners to build themselves an uncompromisingly modern family house that doubles as their studio in one of the best residential neighborhoods of the capital. Sleek offices dominate their portfolio, but they are constantly seeking fresh challenges. One of their most ambitious projects was the reshaping of Amarnath, a celebrated...

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