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Architecture
throughout the world in recent decades has experienced a changing relationship
with its past. The collapse of confidence in Modernism as a panacea, the ready
and reliable solution, came from its tendency to universalize at the expense of
local and particular needs, felt especially by architecture’s users, and from
the loss of diversity in expression. In some extreme cases, the desire to
recover regional or historical elements has led into atavism; but more often
the attempt has been to graft on to the continuing mainstream selected elements
of restored identities. Hence, the variety of Post-Modernisms, and ‘abstract’
or ‘critical’ regionalism, that are by now commonplace. These new approaches
are highly sensitive to the forms, the textures and even the materials of
historical and regional building systems. But for the most parts the borrowed
qualities are rationalized afresh, they are redefined within the context of a
Post-Modern philosophy; and there has been some reluctance to engage with the
organizing logic – the theory – of those original systems. This article
addresses this pressing global issue, taking at the ground for discussion the
development from Pre-Colonial to Post-Modern Ahmedabad.

Founded by
Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1412 AD, the city had been home to the Muzafarids, Mughals
and the Marathas, before the British East India Company took over in 1818. The
fortified walled city consisted of twelve gates, 189 bastions and over 6000
battlements. It was mainly a center for trade in textiles in the fifteenth and
sixteenth century, until Shah Jahan came along and recognized the picturesque Architecture
of the city. Early in the sixteenth century, under Ahmed Shah, builders fused
Hindu craftsmanship with Persian architecture, giving rise to the Indo-Saracenic
style.w71 

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