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A Call to Return: A Journey with Didi Contractor

A Call to Return: A Journey with Didi Contractor



Compiled and Edited by : Lakshmi Swaminathan

168 pages | Paperback

Section Sewing with Perfect Binding

  • About the Book

    A Call to Return: a Journey with Didi Contractor offers a record of the life, values, and creations of an extraordinary self-taught woman architect. This book emerges from a collection of transcripts of conversations that Didi had with students and admirers in the last decade of her life. With her passing in 2021, these transcripts coupled with published interviews and articles continue to offer a source of knowledge and inspiration for diverse undertakings.


    Collated by her last student Lakshmi Swaminathan, A Call to Return covers Didi’s biography, philosophy, approach to architecture, ecology, tradition, and the creative process. Each chapter moves between Didi's words and anecdotes of her everyday life. With a close focus on Didi’s lived experience and the ethics manifest in her relation to the natural and material world, this book offers insights for all who are committed to a more sustainable way of life. As the chronicle of a vibrant exchange across generations, A Call to Return reminds us to cooperate with nature in all of our endeavours. 


    Lakshmi Swaminathan is an architect from Chennai. Seeking inspiration for her own practice, she came to Kangra intending to spend a day with Didi in 2017. She ended up living with her for the next four years, and assisting her on multiple projects. Currently, Lakshmi lives in Tiruvannamalai where she continues her independent architectural practice, undertaking projects on Earthen building techniques. She also focuses on disseminating Didi’s work through different publications.

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