Didi Contractor: Delia Contractor, popularly known as Didi, passed away on July 5 due to age-related issues. She was 91-year-old and had made a name for herself as an artist, self-architect and designer.
Most importantly, her work was known for its low-waste aspect. She had designed over 15 homes and was part of several public projects in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra.
In 2019, Didi was awarded the highest civilian honour which recognises the contribution of women in different fields, Nari Shakti Puraskar. She was known for her peculiar choices which were aimed at being responsible towards the environment. As per reports, the architect used to use recycled materials for her clothes and her home in Himachal Pradesh.
Didi Contractor had come to India in 1951 as she was raised in Germany. This was when she got married to Narayan Ramji Contractor. In her early years in the country, she used to live in Mumbai. Soon her artistic skills were demonstrated when she decorated the Lake Palace Hotel in 1961.
As per reports, Maharana Bhagwant Singh Mewar, the Maharana of Udaipur was friends with Didi’s husband. Didi had also built connections with social reformer Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay. This led Didi to branch into textile designing and other projects influenced by Indian crafts.
Out of her many projects, she had also designed the Sambhaavnaa Institute of Public Policy and Politics in Palampur for lawyer Prashant Bhushan. She had moved to Kangra in Himachal Pradesh in the 1980s and had made use of many sustainable objects for building projects. She used to propagate the use of mud bricks which in comparison to concrete brick. She also designed a clinic for her friend using mud bricks.