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Birkha Bawari – Contemporizing Traditional Water Architecture: a 21st Century Step Well in India

October 16, 2019 @ 6:00 am - 8:00 pm


Visit the exhibition India’s Subterranean Stepwells: Photographs by Victoria Lautman before the lecture and enjoy light refreshments afterward in the Fowler Amphitheather.

Step-wells, subterranean aqua-structures, were an integral part of Indian communities from 2nd century A.D. until the end of 19th century. Relegated to history in favor of canal and piped water-supply, these exquisite step-wells were gradually abandoned and forgotten. However, with 21st century water crises in India, the ancient wisdom of harnessing water could now be made a part of a new aqua-architecture and sustainable water network.

This lecture is presented given in conjunction with the Fowler Museum’s exhibition “India’s Subterranean Stepwells: Photographs by Victoria Lautman” Victoria Laufman Photographic Exhibit which features, selection of 48 photographs surveys 16 sites built between the 9th and 18th centuries. Lautman’s photographs evoke aspects of each stepwell’s structure, aesthetics, and atmosphere.

The Speakers

The speakers, Architect A. Mridul and Artist/entrepreneur Shilpa Mridul, will talk about their project, Birkha Bawarii. It is fashioned like a step-well, designed and built in Umaid Heritage Housing Township in Jodhpur, a water-stressed city on the fringe of the Thar Desert of India. They will also talk about their efforts to replicate and expand that network, and to integrate the arts, history and culture of the region into this renewal.

Date: Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Location: Lenart Auditorium, Fowler Museum at UCLA Auditorium

5:00pm Visit the exhibition India’s Subterranean Stepwells: Photographs by Victoria Lautman

6:00pm A. Mridul and Shipla Mridul Lecture

7:15pm Light refreshments after the Lecture in the Fowler Amphitheather

Copresented by UCLA Water Resources Group, UCLA Department of Geography, UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, UCLA Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies, and UCLA Center for Indian and South Asian Studies.