Manuj Agar­wal, Manuj Agar­wal Ar­chi­tects

Manuj Agar­wal Ar­chi­tects

MGS Architecture - - Changing Face of Indian Architecture -

There is a strong need to un­der­stand the lan­guage of tra­di­tional lo­cal styles of a re­gion as they are not only sus­tain­able in terms of ma­te­ri­als, but also liv­abil­ity of the built struc­tures.

In­dian Ar­chi­tec­ture has al­ways in­duced cu­rios­ity and in­ter­est be­cause of the mag­na­nim­ity and the artis­tic cre­ations. If we look into the se­ries of struc­tures in In­dian his­tory of ar­chi­tec­ture, one could ac­tu­ally pick and pin the build­ings as a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the era it saw. Our coun­try is sig­nif­i­cantly di­verse in terms of cul­ture, so­cial liv­ing con­di­tions, ge­og­ra­phy and re­sources, giv­ing rise to a var­ied mix of baro­ques, mon­u­ments and mod­ernistic build­ings.

As the times are chang­ing, in ev­ery smaller town, peo­ple are ready to em­brace al­ter­na­tive styles to such an ex­tent that the en­tire char­ac­ter of the re­gion is turn­ing het­ero­ge­neous, los­ing the indige­nous style as­so­ci­ated with that con­text. There is a strong need to un­der­stand the lan­guage of tra­di­tional styles as­so­ci­ated with the place as they are sus­tain­able, not just in terms of ma­te­ri­als, but also liv­abil­ity of struc­ture.

The oc­cu­pa­tions of peo­ple are mov­ing from lo­cal ser­vices to global and af­fect­ing life­styles. And the term ‘ap­ing the West’ is be­ing ap­plied not just in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try, but in ev­ery other field of de­sign. Hence, it is nec­es­sary to im­bibe the essence of ver­nac­u­lar mod­ules of par­tic­u­lar re­gion into the de­sign, fit­ting in com­forts and con­ve­niences of present times, to fol­low the fa­mil­iar­ity of the place in cur­rent ur­ban fab­rics.

We need to un­der­stand that ar­chi­tec­ture soft­ware are not de­sign-mak­ing machines but just tools to fa­cil­i­tate our pro­duc­tiv­ity to the next level.

Ar­chi­tec­ture is in the mid­dle of its big­gest trans­for­ma­tion since the in­tro­duc­tion of com­put­ers. Us­ing build­ing in­for­ma­tion mod­el­ling (BIM), where a sin­gle dig­i­tal model of a build­ing that ev­ery­one - ar­chi­tect, client, sup­pli­ers, builders, en­vi­ron­men­tal man­agers - can work on. A Google Docs for build­ings. And be­cause the pro­gram un­der­stands the build­ing, it’s eas­ier to make alterations and au­to­mat­i­cally up­date the mod­els while en­hanc­ing ac­cu­racy for the ex­e­cu­tion.

How­ever, from the past few years, the way we de­sign and con­struct a build­ing has be­come re­mark­ably dif­fer­ent. The im­pli­ca­tions of these pro­grams could un­al­ter­ably change the built en­vi­ron­ments. The space qual­ity of a build­ing ex­e­cuted by an ar­chi­tect with his own hand-made drafts and the ar­chi­tect who uses soft­ware like Rhino to process his de­sign con­cepts, re­sults in cer­tainly var­ied out­puts. We need to ex­am­ine again whether ‘do we con­trol machines or are we con­trolled by them?’ No doubt, hu­man evo­lu­tion has been greatly en­hanced by tools since the Stone Age. Yet, all of us need to con­sciously un­der­stand that such soft­ware are not de­sign-mak­ing machines but just tools to fa­cil­i­tate our pro­duc­tiv­ity to the next level.

Tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als that sup­port least car­bon foot­print and han­dle air, light, rain and hu­mid­ity more ef­fec­tively, are mak­ing a no­tice­able come­back.

Build­ing with sev­eral kinds of com­pos­ite ma­te­ri­als even­tu­ally adds up to the car­bon foot­print of the build­ing. And we know that man­u­fac­tur­ing residues of such ma­te­ri­als have haz­ardous ef­fects on the ecosys­tem. Some ma­te­ri­als like glass and steel made to be eco­nom­i­cal and sus­tain­able are help­ful in mass con­struc­tion of build­ings. But not all the man­u­fac­tured eco­nom­i­cal build­ing ma­te­rial op­tions have the sup­port to be made sus­tain­able.

In the present sce­nario, where hu­man be­ings have de­graded the ecosys­tem by mass pro­duc­tion, it would be sen­si­ble to use tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als like brick, stone, bam­boo, tim­ber, etc, which sup­port least car­bon foot­print and han­dle air, light, rain and hu­mid­ity more ef­fec­tively.

It is ev­i­dent that there is enough aware­ness amongst ar­chi­tects as we can see a sig­nif­i­cant come­back in the us­age of these ma­te­ri­als. More­over, ar­chi­tects have to ne­ces­si­tate the us­age by de­vel­op­ing in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions with such ma­te­ri­als. Ed­u­cat­ing the user group and the in­vestors about the eco­log­i­cal de­mands and sus­tain­able ma­te­ri­als is a de­cent way to step in into the so­lu­tions when en­vi­ron­men­tal preser­va­tion and hu­man well-be­ing is the need of the hour.

Veda5 Ayurveda & Yoga Re­treat, Rishikesh

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