Rethink the Indian cities is not only possible, but mandatory. That’s why, until February 26th 2013, The British School at Rome hosts The Kinetic City, the exhibition realized by the Indian architect and town planner Rahul Mehrotra. A collection of pictures and notice boards that show the consequences of the urbanization in the country. First of all, Mehrotra devices the city as a place divided into two parts – the Static City and the Kinetic City. The first one is composed by permanent and traditional materials, as concrete, bricks and steel. It has a monumental presence and is a stable two-dimensional entity, insomuch as can be fixed on maps. On the contrary, the Kinetic City is three-dimensional, perceived as unity in motion and especially in motion. Built from recycled materials – waste wood, canvas, metallic junks -, its presence cannot be fixed on a map, neither it can be perceived from an architectural point of view. It is a native urbanization with a strictly local logic.
The exhibition concludes the Urban Landscape-Indian Case Studies series, focused on India and on the consequence of the urbanization. Since the city building directly affects the citizens’ life, Mehortra’s point of view is a criticism to globalization. All the projects realized by his studio – RMA Architects, founded in 1990 in Mumbai – aim to rethink the global idea of living space. According to Mehrotra, the Indian urban development has been influenced by the Chinese model, and that led to ignore the local housing traditions. Result: the city extends itself, but the liveable spaces are reduced. Economic growth doesn’t mean real progress. Who knows if Mehrotra has ever read Luciano Bianciardi’s books?

Gabriele Girolamini

Rahul Mehrotra :: The Kinetic City
The British School at Rome
Via Antonio Gramsci, 61
web: www.bsr.ac.uk

Rome, from February 5th to 26th 2013