Submitted by Sarbjit Bahga

Book review: "Spaces Inspired by Nature" created by Shirish Beri

India Architecture News - Jul 13, 2017 - 10:21   24149 views

Book review:

"When any building designed by me is occupied, one of the test questions that I ask myself is - 'Has my design helped to bring man closer to nature?' - The answer is expressive of how far I have been successful in addressing one of my basic concerns in today’s life – that of modern man moving farther away from nature."

These are the words of an eminent Indian architect whose works are so ingeniously interwoven in nature that one can’t make out what comes first – the nature or the building. He is none other than Shirish Beri who lives in and practices from Kolhapur and Andur, India. After 40 years of unique architectural practice, here comes his first monograph "Spaces Inspired by Nature".

Book review:

The book tries to explore many ways in which Shirish Beri attempts to address his concern for man’s alienation from nature through his works. His nature inspired designs featured here, aspire to directly and indirectly help in bringing man closer to nature. 

Each project through a number of relevant images and drawings, discusses its genesis and basic concept along with its design expression, technology, construction materials and user feedback. Unlike most of the monographs of contemporary architects loaded with large number of projects, perhaps to gain commercial benefits, this is a unique treatise very much focused on its theme "Spaces Inspired by Nature".

Book review:

The book covers eleven of his completed projects which have been delved in much elaborated way so as to make the reader understand and involve fully in the built environment. 

A closer look at the design concepts and the time of conception and construction of these buildings reveals not only the wonderful journey of life and architecture of Shirish Beri but also the consistency of his design philosophy which we may call "Form Follows Nature". 

Book review:

Apart from this, eight essays written by Shirish Beri himself have been included in this book. The illustrated essays discuss his views on various issues concerning architecture and life. They range from sustainability to art; from immeasurable spirit dimension to vernacular architecture; from aesthetics to ethics; from various tools for connecting with nature to architectural education. 

A number of his poems are also included in the book to give the reader a deeper insight into his thinking as well as to reinforce his thoughts that are expressed in the essays.  At the end of the book eight pages have been allocated to showcase a list of his 72 important projects built over a period of 40 years.

Book review:

Thumbnail presentation of these projects depicts one small photograph of each along with a small paragraph explaining the design intent. Along with this book, comes a DVD of an award winning film - titled "The Unfolding White" - which delves into his works that searches for oneness and wholeness in life. 

Can the quality of our life improve when we live and work in spaces inspired by nature? This book answers this question in affirmative.

Book review:

Shirish Beri graduated in architecture from School of Architecture (CEPT), Ahmedabad in 1974. Since then he has been trying to understand and explore the relevance of the quality of space to the quality of life through his numerous path breaking designs. 

His search for wholeness and his explorations find expressions in his paintings, sketches, poetry, film, eco farms and education besides his architectural designs. His works have won him numerous national and international recognitions. He has lectured and exhibited widely at important forums in India and abroad. 

Book review:

Considering the quality and quantity of his works, the architectural fraternity expects many more monographs from this architect in the coming years. In the meanwhile every architect, budding architect or environmentalist must possess and read this magnificent book to enrich ones understanding of the relationship between building and nature.

Spaces Inspired by Nature: Shirish Beri

Edited by: Yashwant Pitkar

Foreword by: Christopher Benninger

Publisher: Super Book House

3A/4 Sind Chambers, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road,

Colaba, Mumbai - 400005, India.

Email: [email protected]


ISBN: 978-93-81452-01-1

Pages: 244

Size: 10.5”x11” (Hard Cover)

Photographs: 270 (Mostly coloured)

Illustrations: 70.

Book Review by Sarbjit Bahga

Top image courtesy of Shirish Beri

All other images courtesy of Sanyam Bahga  

> via Shirish Beri