Cement in the early 1960s

When we started our practice in 1963, cement was controlled and it used to take 3 years to obtain from the time one applied for it! 

Drawings in Gujarati

We realized years ago that neither our draughtsmen, nor the supervisors on site know English well. All craftsmen on site are educated and can read and write Gujarati. In fact, the craftsmen are most often smarter than their supervisors. If the drawings were made in Gujarati (the local language) then the craftsmen could read our drawings themselves and would not have the need of supervisors whose only role often became interpretation of drawings.

We have been making our drawings with words in Gujarati script with Roman numerals. The advent of computers has made the task more difficult.


First our drawings were with pencil on tracing paper- we couldn’t draw in ink as it was very difficult to make corrections. The great improvement over sand-paper strips was a rotary pencil sharpener that we had brought back from abroad which made a point at the centre of the lead enabling us to rotate the pencil as we drew and make the point last much longer.

Then came polyester sheets on which we could draw with ‘Rotring’ ink pens and easily erase with a wet eraser. Sheets coated on both sides were even better as we could draw different details on each side enabling selective erasing.

Came computers and people just stopped hand draughting ! What a pity- when we look at our hand draughted drawings we really delight at what beautiful drawings we used to make. Revit is good, but is anyone producing beautiful, detailed images like Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio?