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Book Review - Method of an Architect

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Method of an Architect
Archana Verma

Adam Hardy, Temple Architecture of India, Wiley, 2007.

An important approach evolved by Adam Hardy, who combines his skills of an architect with his understanding of the way the Hindu temple was – and is – looked at by the devout population. He combines the devotional, spiritual and architectural approaches together to appreciate the ways in which these temple forms have developed in different periods of South Asian history. His study of the Karnata forms of Indian Temple Architecture goes minutely into a study of the stylistic evolution of these temples; his usual approach being to study the temples from top to bottom in a vertical fashion, as opposed to the horizontal studies done by many scholars (Hardy 1995). In a later article on the temples of the same region, which he stresses should not be called as the usual Vesara but rather as Karnata Dravida, he says that certain architectural features of these temples may have been borrowed from the Gandhara region in the north-western part of the sub-continent (Hardy June 2001). Ajay Sinha who has reviewed Hardy’s work feels that Hardy has been able to integrate Stella Kramrisch’s spiritual approach with the stylistic-formalistic approach current in his own days (Sinha 1999).

Adam Hardy does say in the beginning and end of his article that it is important to understand a temple the way it was understood by the people who built it and that it carries philosophical, religious and mythological meanings in its form (Hardy June 2001). in some ways, his method, apart from coming from architectural, religious and spiritual currents, also seems to be influenced by that of Krishna Deva in Michael Miester’s encyclopaedia. His recent book titled the Temple Architecture of India (Hardy 2007) is really the last word in Indian temple studies, in the field of architectural-spiritual method that hardy follows. 
References -
Adam Hardy, Indian temple Architecture: Form and Transformation, Karnata Dravida Tradition, 7th to 13th Centuries, Abhinav and IGNCA, New Delhi, 1995.
Adam Hardy, “Tradition and Transformation: Continuity and Ingenuity in the Temples of Karnataka,” The Journal of the Society for Architectural Historians June 2001, Volume 60 Number 2 Pages 180-1999.
Adam Hardy, Temple Architecture of India, Oxford: Wiley, 2007.
Ajay Sinha, Review of Adam Hardy Indian temple Architecture: Form and Transformation, The Karnata Dravida Tradition, 7th to 13th Centuries, Artibus Asiae 1999, Volume 58 Number ¾ Pages 358-362.   

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