Submitted by Pappal Suneja
Castles in the Air: Misadventures of an Architectural Profession
India Architecture News - Dec 19, 2017 - 01:59 15825 views
The new fictional Novel, "Castles in the Air: Misadventures of a Profession" authored by Sangeet Sharma, the Indian architect, and partner of S.D. Sharma and Associates is an attempt to explore misadventures of the architecture profession.
According to him, while Architecture is in itself a spiritual exercise, the practice of the same may not be. The pleasures and pains experienced by him and many others were needed to be penned— and so, he did it in the form of his novel.
The courage required to do so inspire him to lead, and he thought, this was the right path to spew the venom that his heart and hearts of many others had stored for a long time. The novel starts with an expression that ‘Architecture is one hell of a profession’, but is undoubtedly one of the noblest.
Sharma states that it was important to communicate the misadventures of the architecture profession and regale at it.
"Laughter is said to be the best elixir and the novel is a satire on architecture written by one who knows the bricks and concrete of the profession by heart. The author, an architect himself, delves into the journey of a professional practice. The novel is witty with acerbic humor. Word by word, sentence by sentence, page by page, every scene unfolds like a screenplay, leaving the reader amazed at the brutalities of life in architecture, and life itself," stated in the back cover of the book.
"Writing this novel was necessary: Necessary because the nature of this profession was on a somersault. It was important that someone bell the cat— He became the bell, and He eventually becomes the cat also," said the author.
As architecture is all about habitat and human comfort, the book is therefore about life and its challenges. What we learned in architecture schools and what we practice is often in contradiction. Beginning from college days to a thesis, to the opening of an office, procuring a job, interaction with the clients, payments, competitions, running of the office and bearing the challenges of the daily strain in architecture—all these and more became the basis for this novel.
Many contributed to making the framework of this narration:
Author’s observant eyes, naughty banter at parties, agonized clients, contriving builders and contractors, jealous fellow professionals, vindictive teachers, unprofessional colleges, unsupportive professional bodies, lecherous girls at architects’ meets, conniving staff members, clueless government officers, sadistic engineers and high-headed bureaucrats, flawed architectural agreements, uninterested students, unconcerned hostel wardens, aggressive principals, brutal seniors, scheming invigilators, heartless examiners, nagging wives, incompatible families, interfering patrons, egoistic couples, partial journalists and opportunist vendors formed fodder for this novel.
Some of the occurrences narrated here, without doubt, would have happened to him or others. All said and done, architecture is not full of pitfalls and hurdles alone but good things don’t need to be written about—the unsavory aspects actually glue the readers to a book.
The author candidly sums up the novel with the last expression:
"I might be wrong—but I am not untruthful."
Some Reviews of the Novel:
"Castles in the air ‘ is an honest affirmation of an architect's imagination. The manifestation is evident."
- Prof. K.Jaisim, JAISIM-FOUNTAINHEAD
"Very readable, enjoyable, a must read by all concerned with building industry in any way."
- Ar S.D. Sharma, Eminent Architect
- Ar Rajiv Katpalia, Vastu Shilpa Foundation
"As incredible story of the practice of modern architecture an engrossing read as the author uses the technique of the fiction writing to bring alive the saga of a profession."
- Nirupama Dutt, Literary Editor
"Castles in the air’ is a sarcastic, macabre and acerbic depiction of a life of an architect."
- Ar. Sumit Kaur , Former Chief Architect, Chandigarh Administration
"Strongly worded, and direct. It is venomous: Thoroughly enjoyable."
- Ar Sarbjit Singh Bahga, Bahga Design Studio LLP
"It is the beginning of a new era in Indian Architecture; whereby novel outlook towards architecture as a profession shall be more clear in the minds of the general public as this genre caters to a wider audience."
- Ar Pappal Suneja, Freelance Architectural Journalist, India
This Novel is Published by Rumor Books India.
All Images © Sangeet Sharma