Devdutt Shatri, has a B.Arch from The Cooper Union in New York where he studied under the late John Hejduk. An exercise given in the third year at Cooper Union is the analysis of a masterpiece building. A list is provided of select buildings and students are required to choos from this list or suggest their own choice with sufficient reason for doing so. Noting that there was not a single Indian building on the list, Devdutt proposed Kandariya Mahadeva temple in Khajuraho and presented the meagre yet compelling images available at the time. It was approved for study and led to Devdutt's own awareness of the depth of ideas inherent in the architecture of temples such as this one. Devdutt continued his new interest in his Thesis project trying to find a contemporary and yet timeless expression of these ideas in the design of a house.
Ten years of architectural practice interspersed by architectural nomadism followed, during which time Devdutt passed his qualification exams for licensure. He also visited the Khajuraho temples and found in them an expression of movement that could not be captured either by photographs or raw video. Something akin to breathing and even to dance suggested itself to him and he began to make video experiments fusing dance and architecture. In 2004, Devdutt decided to continue his education in an M.Phil programme at Cambridge University called 'Architecture and the Moving Image'. During his Thesis he came across the work of Dr. Adam Hardy and realised that he would like to continue his research under Dr. Hardy's supervision.
Devdutt's research attempts to trace the instances of the expression of movement via architectural form in various cultures, how architecture addresses the movement of the observer and how this, coupled with the study of dance expression, using video and animation techniques, can lead to design strategies for future works of architecture.
The Dance of Architecture
The aim of this thesis is to develop a theoretical framework that is based on the body and on the theme of Movement, for the analysis, interpretation and creation of Architecture. My research proposes that Movement rather than Form may be the way forward for Architecture.
A theory that is based on the experience and perception of Movement, requires a Movement-focused re-search of Architecture, and is furthered by examining the discipline that is primarily concerned with the design of human movement in space, namely Choreography.
My central argument, therefore, is that there is sufficient commonality between the process of creating Architecture and that of Choreography to warrant examining principles of the latter, to advance our knowledge of the former.
The term 'movement' can conjure different associations and so it is necessary to define the scope of the term as it pertains to the research at hand. This study identifies five treatments of Movement, namely, Pictorially Affective , Literal, Animated ,Choreographed and Expressed, which are subsets of three broad categories based on the movement of: 1 - people in space: P, A, C; 2 - the building (actual) : L; 3 - the building (implied) : E
The thesis a) discusses the historiography and theory of Architecture from a movement-themed perspective, and provides a brief overview of Choreographic theories about Movement, b) uses photographs, video and other digital media as documentary and interpretive tools to analyse both Architecture and Dance and interpret the treatment of Movement in Architecture, according to P/L/A/C/E and, lastly, c) the thesis then takes a syncretic step towards the making of a movement-based Architecture, based on Architecture and Choreography. Here, the video camera and video editing are used as some of the creative tools explored to study the design of movement in an architectural context.