It all began when architect Prasanna Desai shifted to Pune from New Delhi in the late 1990s. He felt that many architects, who visited the city, had experiences to share. “Learning in architecture is a continuous process. Architects experiment with design of spaces, forms, materials and technology, and their experiences can enrich others. There was a need therefore to create a platform that would be accessible to students from across the institutions and could quickly act on opportunities to arrange programmes at short notice,” says Desai. With urban designer Pushkar Kanvinde, he began Forum for Exchange and Excellence in Design (FEED) in 1999. Their first programme was on July 6, where well-known architect Achyut P Kanvinde gave a talk, followed by a dialogue with architect-thinker Narendra Dengle on modernism in architecture, the next day at Balgandharva Auditorium, Pune. From 1999 to 2006, Sunday mornings would be dedicated to the FEED Lecture series, where Dengle held dialogues with master architects, including Delhi-based Raj Rewal, Hasmukh Patel and Balkrishna Doshi from Ahmedabad, and Mumbai-based Charles Correa.
As FEED completes 20 years this month, its journey shows how they addressed different aspects of the profession, be it science and architecture, micro-urbanism, bio-mimicry, or algorithmic design, among others.
Self-funded, FEED conducts nearly 12 sessions in a year, and has now come to be known as an “academic classroom”.Delhi-based architect Ashok Lall, talking about the impact of FEED, comments, “What is wonderful is that it is an open platform where there are no boundaries and no person or institution who can claim this territory for their own.” In an age where sponsorships matter, FEED had shied away from that in its 256 events in the last two decades. It stands as an independent channel of communication, keeping generations of architects connected. As part of its 20-year celebrations, FEED is holding multiple events this month, including an interaction with Pritzker Prize winner Doshi, who will be in conversation with Dengle and architect Neelkanth Chhaya, on July 26, at Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe Auditorium, Pune, at 6 pm.