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Architecture, Art and Planning | 2006

“Online Database of South Asian Architecture and Landscape”

Bonnie MacDougall

URL

http://beyondthetaj.library.cornell.edu/

About

Bonnie MacDougall's collection of ~3000 South Asian photographs was uncatalogued and inaccessible by students and researchers. In fact, many of the images required research and documentation. The monuments that are depicted in the photographs are not well-known, some no longer exist. The identification of locations required a team with extensive language skills (Tamil, Telagu, Sanskrit) paired with architectural knowledge. The objective of this project was to bring all of these images online and accessible to the public. Getting input from the public on identifying images or providing additional information was also sought.

Through this award, MacDougall was able to pull together a team of researchers and technicians and this set of unique images were put online through the "Beyond the Taj" website. Because these are images of relatively unknown buildings, and because they show not only the buildings, but their environs, both students of architecture and those interested in the culture of India have found these images of interest. For example, sidewalk games are visible that relate to building practices; to date these have been undocumented. In addition to the website, through this project, MacDougall was able to publish her manuscript "Text into Form: Dwelling, Cosmos and Design Theory in Traditional South Asia" and translations of three key works that relate to building methods in India.

Technologies

  • Luna image database
  • high-resolution image scanning
  • eCommons publishing of manuscripts
  • Lulu on-demand publishing for hardcover book

Publications

Cornell Chronicle: 'Beyond the Taj': To Asia and back again

Glazer, Gwen. 2009. 'Beyond the Taj': To Asia and back again. The Cornell Chronicle, February 2.

Text into Form

MacDougall, Bonnie. 2008. Text into form: Dwelling, cosmos and design theory in traditional south asia. Mycotaxon: Ithaca, NY.

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