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Indian Foundation Invites Welsh Architect to Design a Hoysala-style Temple

A British architect has been commissioned to design a Hindu temple in India in a style not used for more than 700 years.

Adam Hardy, from Cardiff’s Welsh School of Architecture, believes he is the only person in the world with the knowledge to design in the style of the 12th century Hoysala dynasty.

Unlike other regional architectural traditions which are still practised by Hindu architects in India, this particular complex and ornate style from the south died out seven centuries ago.

The client, the Shree Kalyana Venkateshwara Hoysala Art Foundation, lacked an architect able to design the temple until it discovered Hardy’s work.

Hardy, a leading authority on Indian temple architecture, has been involved in temple design in the UK before but never had the chance to design an “ancient” temple that was not a replica.

He described the new temple as roughly the size of a parish church 40m-high and within a 6,000sq m walled complex.

It will be built on a granite outcrop at Venkatapura, about 60 miles from Bangalore, and hand-carved from grey soapstone.
Hardy, who has just returned from a site visit, said he was delighted by the commission.

“An architectural tradition can be learnt,” he said. “It can be passed down by masters, but if none are around it can be learnt and internalised from its products the surviving temples, in this case.

“I can draw these things from my head but didn’t think it would be a skill anyone would want to use.

“This project is particularly exciting for me because it is not a copy of a medieval temple… but a new creation coming out of the tradition.”

The temple project is the latest commission for Prasada (Practice, Research and Advancement in South Asian Design & Architecture), a research group based at the Welsh School of Architecture.

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