Ateet Ven­gurlekar, Bluearch Ar­chi­tects

Bluearch Ar­chi­tects

MGS Architecture - - Changing Face of Indian Architecture -

Our her­itage build­ings have put In­dia on the high­est pedestal in the field of Art and De­sign.

Ar­chi­tec­ture in any coun­try is a mir­ror of the phase of devel­op­ment it is go­ing through. There is al­ways a need to find sus­tain­abil­ity in con­struc­tion, and to make it ca­pa­ble of cop­ing with the dis­tress that any build­ing is ex­posed to. The an­swer can surely be found in our her­itage build­ings that have put In­dia on the high­est pedestal of qual­ity and cre­ativ­ity in the field of Art and De­sign.

In­dian Ar­chi­tec­ture has al­ways drawn global in­ter­est and cu­rios­ity be­cause of the mag­na­nim­ity of the de­signs and the artis­tic cre­ations. Our an­cient ar­chi­tec­ture re­flects the in­flu­ence of the Hindu dy­nas­ties, and of the Mughal and the Bri­tish rulers. There is a var­ied mix of baro­ques, mon­u­ments and mod­ernistic build­ings so much so that one can ac­tu­ally point to a build­ing as a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the era it was built in.

To­day, the in­flu­ence of glob­al­iza­tion can be seen ev­ery­where and is in­evitable in the fu­ture too. This can be seen re­flected in the con­tem­po­rary ar­chi­tec­ture of Mod­ern In­dia. Be­ing world-class is a trend in In­dian ar­chi­tec­ture that ev­ery ar­chi­tect seems to swear by.

The Bri­tish rule had the most vis­i­ble in­flu­ence on the ar­chi­tec­ture of In­dian cities.

The Bri­tish brought ar­chi­tects from their coun­try to de­sign and con­struct build­ings of of­fi­cial im­por­tance, rail-routes, mu­se­ums etc. But post-in­de­pen­dence, town plan­ners had to make homes to ac­com­mo­date the in­flux of mi­grants dur­ing Partition. The ar­chi­tects cre­ated houses for op­ti­mum func­tion­al­ity with a min­i­mal­is­tic de­sign ap­proach for de­liv­er­ing the ba­sic ameni­ties. On the other hand, the mod­ernistic views of our first Prime Min­is­ter Pan­dit Jawa­har Lal Nehru, came to be re­flected in build­ings where 1 per­cent of the cost of devel­op­ment was ded­i­cated to art, sculp­ture and land­scap­ing to en­hance their aes­thet­ics. So, the coun­try’s ar­chi­tec­ture came to wit­ness a classy amal­ga­ma­tion of tra­di­tional and royal de­signs along­side mod­ern aes­thet­ics.

In de­sign to­day, a pre­mium is be­ing placed on the aes­thet­ics of the build­ings.

With land prices go­ing up, the flat sys­tem in res­i­den­tial housing be­gan to evolve as a mod­ern, ur­ban liv­ing where all ameni­ties are pro­vided within gated com­mu­ni­ties. Their de­signs are not only min­i­mal­is­tic, but also sup­port the multi-util­i­tar­ian needs.

When the first five-year plan was an­nounced in 1952, a whirl­wind ef­fect was seen on ar­chi­tec­ture. Com­plet­ing many projects with lim­ited time and re­sources re­quired the ar­chi­tects to bring re­al­is­tic ex­pres­sions into ac­tion. More and more build­ings were made fu­ture-ready with re­duced floor heights, ab­sence of proper ven­ti­la­tion to ac­com­mo­date the air-con­di­tioner etc, with the re­sult that the mag­nif­i­cent be­came re­placed with what was con­sid­ered sim­ply rel­e­vant.

The de­sign of shop­ping malls, of­fices, and other com­mer­cial es­tab­lish­ments have un­der­gone a makeover

in sync with the emerg­ing global tastes. Now, one can pro­cure ma­te­ri­als, tech­nol­ogy and ex­per­tise from any part of the world and in­te­grate global de­signs within the In­dian en­vi­ron­ment. Ar­chi­tects can de­sign struc­tures to re­sem­ble that of Italy, USA or any other coun­try and make world-class struc­tures as per In­dian cli­matic con­di­tions, which are also sus­tain­able and abide by In­dian build­ing laws and reg­u­la­tions.

Back to ba­sics seems to be one of the lat­est trends in In­dian Ar­chi­tec­ture.

The spa­ces are shrink­ing no doubt; but, there is in­creas­ing im­por­tance on liv­ing close to na­ture. The def­i­ni­tion of mod­ern is no more blindly fol­low­ing the West, rather, it is study­ing what the ar­chi­tects did in the past to make op­ti­mum use of nat­u­ral re­sources.

The pres­sure to de­liver projects within set time­frames is bring­ing ready­made fea­tures into struc­tures. Man­u­fac­tur­ing build­ing com­po­nents is not the fo­cus; but as­sem­bling them is. Tech­nol­ogy is be­ing em­bed­ded into the de­signs, and there is a ten­dency for de­sign­ing ge­o­met­ri­cal/ rec­tan­gu­lar struc­tures as per Vaastu ex­perts. En­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns are in­flu­enc­ing build­ing de­sign to ad­dress is­sues like ther­mal in­su­la­tion, ra­di­a­tion and re­flec­tion etc. Thus, it is en­vi­ron­ment-readi­ness that forms the base of ideas in present times.

Pro­posed build­ing, Navi Mum­bai

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