Parul Zaveri & Ar. Nimish Pa­tel, Ab­hikram


MGS Architecture - - Changing Face of Indian Architecture -

Global ar­chi­tec­ture, we feel, has an ex­tremely strong but ad­verse in­flu­ence on the ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign in In­dia.

We see the state of ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign through the sieve of our na­tion’s con­text. In­dia is cur­rently at an ex­tremely im­por­tant cross­road with re­spect to our pri­or­i­ties of mov­ing into the fu­ture. It has been ob­served that the eco­nomic growth model we have cho­sen to pur­sue, would not lead to, in the long term, an in­clu­sive, sus­tain­able, eco­nom­i­cally mo­bile devel­op­ment of its built en­vi­ron­ment.

A large num­ber of our newly built en­vi­ron­ments blindly em­u­late the Western mod­els. As a con­se­quence, the emerg­ing ar­chi­tec­ture in In­dia is non-con­tex­tual, en­ergy guz­zling and highly un­sus­tain­able, even if it is rated and mar­keted as green. They em­ploy high - em­bod­ied en­ergy ma­te­ri­als, tend to make less ju­di­cious choices dom­i­nated by trends, non time tested newer ma­te­ri­als and pro­cesses, and are un­suit­able for the six dif­fer­ent cli­matic zones of In­dia and their re­spec­tive con­tex­tual needs.

The new tech­nolo­gies and soft­ware are tools, and not the ob­jec­tives.

Mod­ern de­sign, draft­ing and dig­i­tal tools like BIM, Rhino etc. would help the de­signer in the de­sign in all re­spects, in­clud­ing in prin­ci­ples of plan­ning and de­sign, in choices of ma­te­ri­als, tech­nolo­gies, pro­cesses and their ap­pli­ca­tions, to en­sur­ing longevity of built en­vi­ron­ments, pro­vided the de­sign in­tent re­mains re­spon­si­ble ar­chi­tec­ture and con­tex­tual cli­mate re­spon­sive so­lu­tions.

Ar­chi­tec­ture, en­gi­neer­ing and con­struc­tion ought to max­i­mize use of tra­di­tional build­ing ma­te­ri­als, pro­cesses, crafts and crafts per­sons.

Tra­di­tional build­ing ma­te­ri­als like bricks, stone, bam­boo, mud and wood in ad­di­tion to thatch / reed, cane, lime and metal are the ba­sic ma­te­ri­als with which all of our built en­vi­ron­ment was con­structed till the be­gin­ning of the 20th cen­tury. They con­tinue to be the most sus­tain­able and rel­e­vant ma­te­ri­als even to­day

to our con­text, un­like glass, steel and com­pos­ite ma­te­ri­als, with high em­bod­ied en­ergy and waste gen­er­a­tion which are “trend­ing” in our haste to pur­sue the Western mode of growth and devel­op­ment.

The en­tire pro­fes­sion of ar­chi­tec­ture, en­gi­neer­ing and con­struc­tion ought to max­i­mize the use of tra­di­tional build­ing ma­te­ri­als, pro­cesses, crafts and crafts per­sons even in new de­vel­op­ments, wher­ever pos­si­ble. This alone will course cor­rect the na­ture of our na­tion’s devel­op­ment, towards re­source con­ser­va­tion and sus­tain­abil­ity.

Con­struc­tion tech­niques like Pre­cast, PEB, Dry wall etc con­sume ex­ces­sive re­sources, which we do not have the priv­i­lege to squan­der.

Our in­fat­u­a­tion with us­ing the “quick-fix” con­struc­tion tech­niques like Pre­cast, PEB, Dry wall etc with­out check­ing their rel­e­vance to In­dian con­text and cli­mate, as well as our con­sid­er­ing the di­rec­tions of devel­op­ment pur­sued by the West as a role model, would in­vari­ably lead to an in­ap­pro­pri­ate and ir­re­spon­si­ble built en­vi­ron­ment for In­dia. These con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als and tech­niques though fa­cil­i­tat­ing quicker turn­around of work at site, con­sume ex­ces­sive re­sources, which we do not have the priv­i­lege to squan­der. There are, of course, ex­cep­tions to these, but they are too few and too far apart to make a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact to our built en­vi­ron­ment.

We be­lieve that we are not look­ing at the holis­tic devel­op­ment of our cities, towns and vil­lages.

We have to be ex­tremely con­scious of the lim­its to the growth of our set­tle­ments, whether they are mega cities, cities or towns. If, in­stead of try­ing to solve the prob­lems of an­tic­i­pated ur­ban­iza­tion, we can con­sider on pro­vid­ing health, ed­u­ca­tion, em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and re­li­able as well as good qual­ity power to our vil­lages, then they will grow into bet­ter towns and then into bet­ter cities. We will have less in­flux of daily mi­gra­tion in search of the fun­da­men­tal fa­cil­i­ties, in our al­ready crowded ur­ban ar­eas, and much less chaos all around.

Photo credit: Di­nesh and Dipu Me­hta Bho­j­na­gar­wala Res­i­dence

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