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Joseph Allen Stein

Joseph Allen Stein began his career in India, at age 40, as the
first Head of the Department of Architecture at Bengal
Engineering College, Howrah with a sense of purpose. He
undertook research with students in developing prototypes for
urban and rural housing demonstrated at the International
Exhibition of Low-Cost Housing in New Delhi in 1954. His
township development in association with architect Benjamin
Polk and engineer Benoy Chatterjee for government housing
in West Bengal and Orissa and for TISCO in Bihar, were an
attempt to balance Nehrus ideal of an industrialized, modern
India by providing workers with dignified housing.

Stein created an oasis in Delhi where he shifted in 1955 to start


practice, emphasizing the importance of tangible harmony of
buildings in nature. He brought grace in modern architecture by
the settings of nature in which he created them. The series of
major works for cultural, humanitarian, and environmental
institutions Stein designed in New Delhi maintain his continual
striving towards a humble, refined form in a garden setting,
enriched materially by the adaptation of the traditional north
Indian jali and the inclusion of local building stone. Stein was
one of the first architects working in India after independence
to use traditional elements in a modern building. His
development of the jali and several other shading devices
dramatically filter light and create a quality of repose in the
spaces they shade from the fierce north Indian sun. Each of his
projects in and around Delhi were conceived of in order to offer
relief from the intense climate and created a new urban
grammar of form making. He integrated buildings with the idea
of vertical gardens - a prototype for bringing living beauty to
crowded urban settings.

Stein along with structural engineer Vishnu Joshi explored a


variety of shell forms, significant for their purity of form and
inventive conservation of materials, as modestly scaled
structures integrated with the landscape.

Steins partnership with Doshi and long time associate Jai Ratan
Bhalla began in 1977, their designs maintaining several points
in common- a modest, harmonious sense of proportion; an
ongoing interest in the vault as a structural and architectural
form; and an integration of man-made constructions with their
surroundings.
Stein personally focused on two environments for design he felt
to be vital to the earth itself and our human future- the regional
environment of Central Asias Himalaya mountain range
threatened by deforestation and cultural disintegration, and a
more conceptual landscape he called metapolis...
The entire earth, or at least its fertile portions, could be a
garden of paradise, with intensive agriculture in the irrigated
lowlands, protected wilderness in the highlands and wellengineered, pleasant new towns sheltering both industrial and
agricultural workers on the less fertile lower slopes. In case of
India, much of the country has an ideal geomorphological
structure for realizing such a pattern of total landscape, in

which there would be room for all, including the creatures of


the wilderness...

PROJECTS:

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling, 1953


Urban and Rural Prototypes, New Delhi, 1954
Institute of Child Health, Calcutta, 1955
Durgapur Steel Township, West Bengal, 1955-59
Rourkela Steel Township, Orissa, 1955-59
Tata Iron and Steel Township, Jamshedpur, 1955-59
The Australian High Commission, New Delhi, 1958
Triveni Kala Sangam Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, 1957, 1977
Gandhi Bhavan, Delhi, 1958
YWCA Guest House, New Delhi, 1959
Industrial Buildings for Escorts Ltd., Faridabad, 1960
American International School, New Delhi, 1962
India International Centre, New Delhi, 1962
Kennedy General Education Centre, AMU, Aligarh, 1966
Home Science College, Ludhiana, 1966
Headquarters for Ford Foundation, New Delhi, 1968
Master Plan for Lodi Park, New Delhi, 1968
Indian Express Tower, Bombay, 1968
Ethiopian Embassy, New Delhi, 1970
Memorial Plaza, New Delhi, 1970

Master Plan for Dal Lake Area, Kashmir Valley, 1970


Conservatory/Greenhouse, New Delhi, 1971
Master Plan for the Gulmarg-Tanmarg Area, Kashmir Valley, 1972
Child Development Centre, New Delhi, 1976
Environmental and Development Planning for Bhutan, 1970-80
Royal Guest House, Thimpu, Bhutan, 1977
Headquarters for UNICEF, New Delhi, 1981
Factory for Gujarat Steel Tubes, Ahmedabad, 1982
Kashmir Conference Centre, Jammu & Kashmir, 1977-84
Bankers Institute for Rural Development, Lucknow, 1985
Confederation of Engineering Industry, New Delhi, 1987
National Trade Centre and Exhibition Building, New Delhi, 1988
India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, 1988
Headquarters of World Wild Life Fund for Nature-India, New Delhi, 1990
Academy of Rural Banking, Lucknow, 1990

Architecture has long been known to be more than


technique, and that more is usually the effort to express
the imponderable... As the population of the world
doubles, and doubles again, and man squeezes other
life almost off the planet, one of the things we
architects can do, within these limits, is to create some
sort of oasis by trying to work without spoiling the
earth... Joseph Allen Stein
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