DESIGNING THE FUTURE
Ioften wonder why people do not have vociferous opinions about the architecture of Delhi. Clothes, fashion, film, food and music draw a lot of engagement from all kinds of people, but architecture does not, despite impacting their everyday lives. The city is like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle, where through the centuries, outsiders and conquerors have arrived to mould it in their own image. Even the British tore down stretches of the city after the Revolt of 1857. More recently, the BRT’s construction (and demolition) has added to the urban nightmare. Who does not feel a visceral punch in experiencing a fractured city like Delhi?
But there is hope. The design and art fairs being held these days are increasingly popular. I would like to believe that the fairs these past few years have shown that good urban design can improve lives. If this is Dalrymple’s ‘city of djinns’, perhaps it is fitting that the design fairs also appear like genies, once a year, at NSIC in Okhla. To get there, one must negotiate the traffic of Govindpuri, an area that always looks like it’s celebrating National Decay Day. Then, rounding the metro flyover, the squalor suddenly stops. You find yourself in a dusty parking lot, with ushers eager to direct you to a vision of the future in a pavilion some distance away. Hopefully, that future will not remain just a vision.
I’d like to believe the fairs have showed good design can improve lives