Drawing from histories of art and architecture, urbanism and planning, landscape, infrastructure, and media, this themed section is premised upon framing architecture beyond the terms of aesthetics or technology toward its agency as a form of knowledge. In this introduction and the articles that follow, architecture acts as an analytic with which to formulate understanding and meaning. Through modern histories and perspectives from the South Asian subcontinent, conceptualizing “South Asia” and “architecture” broadly and inclusively, the articles turn alternately to design and structure, aesthetics and affect, and the human and nonhuman in order to redefine the primary source. From the writings of a Sri Lankan architect, a capitol for a future Bangladesh, the princely state landscapes of a German-Indian planner, films of roads in Bhutan and Kashmir, gardens in Lahore, and towers in Karachi, this collection unsettles borders, writing across South Asian nations and contested territories together to name architectures operating in archival registers. Through habitations and speculations, it reimagines pasts and futures, recasting the architectural beyond instrument, as concept.

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