Time­less touch­stones

With­out pa­tron­age from the govern­ment, tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als and tech­nolo­gies have fallen out of favour

Down to Earth - - LIFESTYLE - DHRUV BHASKER Green ar­chi­tect and co-founder of Dus­tu­dio in Auroville

TRA­DI­TION­ALLY, BUILD­INGS in In­dia have been con­sid­ered liv­ing en­ti­ties, and were re­spected by the cre­ator and users alike. From the stone tem­ples of South In­dia to the multi-sto­ried rammed earth struc­tures in Ladakh; from the bam­boo struc­tures in eastern In­dia to the cave ar­chi­tec­ture in the western parts; and from stepped wells to the river­banks, all built spa­ces have been en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­sive and eco­log­i­cally sen­si­tive.

Ma­te­ri­als and tech­nolo­gies that were used to build these time-de­fy­ing build­ings are still avail­able, but builders do not opt for them be­cause they are ei­ther not eas­ily avail­able in the mar­ket, or the crafts­men have for­got­ten the use of these ma­te­ri­als. There is a press­ing need for mak­ing these tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als ac­cept­able and make them avail­able for the end user in the main­stream. There is also a need to mod­ify some of the tra­di­tional tech­niques so that they can be used in con­ven­tional build­ings. These ma­te­ri­als and tech­niques have the po­ten­tial to trans­form our build­ings to­wards a sus­tain­able fu­ture. It is prob­a­bly too much to ex­pect that all build­ings would be green, but the op­ti­mist within me sees that as a pos­si­bil­ity.

Here are a few ma­te­ri­als that have stood the test of time and con­tinue to amaze ar­chi­tects with their strength and ver­sa­til­ity.

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