Mudita Agarwal Kapoor
Blue Printed in Benaras
This is a story about a girl born into one of the oldest jeweller families in Varanasi,a city often referred to as the Cultural Capital of India.Jewellery being one of the main attributes of Indian culture,is an imperative component of Indian Designs so ,its fair to say ,that Mudita Aggarwal Kapoor grew up surrounded by creation and craft.Design and creation being the basis of the family business,and her growing up in a city with ancient,fascinating architecture.
Most parents urge and expose their children to various art forms and mediums that interest them with the hope that the next generation absorbs and develops ideas and intelligence based on these efforts,to evolve into knowledgable and cultured human beings.
Mudita's father introduced the works of Somayya and Kalappa architects in a design magazine to her when she was about 11 years old.In retrospect,she feels that this exercise was his unspoken desire to see her in this very space someday.
Growing up in an environment such as Varanasi,means daily exposure to various disciplines of Indian arts and crafts.Saree establishments,weaving techniques,temples,antiques,stonework etc.Thus forming a deep love for handloom textiles and design in Mudita's case.Enhancing her personality further,she also trained in Kathak,Bharatnatyam by Shri Shyam Keshari ji .A disciple of Shri Chandrasekhar ji of the famed Benares Gharanas- a system of social organization linking musicians or dancers by lineage or apprenticeship.
After spending 5 years at a boarding school in Dehradun,Mudita joined the School of Planning and Architecture,SPA ,New Delhi.A brief training ar ARCOP associates in New delhi itself ensued,after which she returned to Varanasi.
Varanasi,being one ofthe oldest living cities in the world,presents an abundance of old buildings in a state of disrepair and abandonment ,wasting away and crying out to be restored,to be redeemed ofthe value and and prestige of time gone by.
These very negative sounding attributes make it the perfect playground for adaptive re-use projects and persons interested in working with Heritage Architecture.To actualize and call forth the days of yore is both a challenging and awe-inspiring job.
Mudita's understanding of Heritage architecture was further strengthened after a documentation study of the buildings of Varanasi ,conducted under the aegis of INTACH -an organization dedicated to conservation and preservation of India's natural,cultural,living,tangible and intangible heritage .
In 2007,she was approached for work on a waterfront colonial building at Fort Kochi ,Kerala.A stately 1920's residence.The job was to alter it into an 11 room boutique hotel equipped with its own spa,dining area,swimming pool along with reserving a private area for the original residents to live in.Back in Varanasi,Mudita created a music school for a client in a space that once was a horses stable.
Waterfront properties seemed to be forming a pattern for Mudita,when soon after Kerala,she was asked to work on a similar waterfront project back home in Vintage Varanasi.A dilapidated 19th century building on TheGhats(sloped embankments).
The Great Ghats of Varanasi on the banks of the Majestic and Holy River Ganga.The marvel and expanse of these ghats is unique.A sight to behold and one that is etched in memory long after a visit. Ancient structures,mosques,temples,forts,havelis old and new all placed one after the other .Some cemented to each other ,others separated by narrow gals(little lanes).
Amongst many of these relics,stood a home on Guleria Ghat.A complete ramshackle and now home to a few families of squatters-people who unlawfully occupy uninhabited buildings or unused land.
This was no state for any structure to be in and by no means,for a structure on the banks of the River Ganga.
Mudita began her work and expertise on the home and painstakinglytransformed it into a 15 room Heritage Hotel,now known as Jukaso Ganges.Strategically located and possessing beautiful views,Jukaso Ganges is a must see or stay on a visit to Varanasi.
We,at AST are constantly in quest of extraordinary Indian Talent.Indian People and their stories.Featuring Mudita fills our pages with a story of a young passionate woman who imbibed the threads of her hometown and weaved them into both her livelihood and personality.India's legacy to its citizens and the world lies primarily in the heritage She possesses.A heritage that must be preserved and protected.Mudita ,is a contributory to that body of architects that we,at AST endeavour to cover and bring to the fore.