Patterns of Patronage

“Who is the client?”


With respect to the classic relationship shared by an artist and his patron, the profession of architecture inherently responds to the societal forces of opportunity, market patterns, and the influence of the culture. Architecture has unfailingly bemoaned the loss of the right kind of patronage.

How deep does the issue of patronage root itself in the matrix of architectural practice and its parallel narratives? In the recent history of Indian architectural landscape, patronage was sought or received post-Independence from the State and the philanthropic and adventurous will of industrialists. There were projects in the civic domain / the public initiative / the co-operative. Somewhere along the line, we largely started to believe that the market governs its position and discourse.  

To be understood as a variable to this notion of patronage is the predictable equation of the ‘client’ and the architect in a collaborative process and thereby its effect on the participation and contribution of the architect towards the aspirations of the many. Maybe, the borrowed autonomy the practice pertains to is paracentric to the social premises it is located in.

As artists, we must recognise a political agenda parallel to our artistic agenda as the two are not un-linked. We must steer this process to create an agency that can influence policy through direct and indirect intervention. “- Sankalp Meshram

We must organise our readings of ‘patronage’ and ‘the making of architecture’ towards newer forms of fulfilment whether perceived as: Architecture as an art, Architecture as a service, or Architecture as a skill. The fact that it is ideological, may not mean the purpose may be abandoned.

These notes will be deliberated upon in essays to be published on thinkmatter.in. If you wish to present a comment (views / counter-views), please write to us: think@matter.co.in