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MUMBAI

INDIAN ARCHITECT & BUILDER

IN CONVERSATION

JULY 2013

Alfredo Brillembourg & Hubert Klumpner, Urban-Think Tank SUSTAINABILITY (?) MANIFESTOES Dr Brinda Somaya, Somaya & Kalappa Consultants

VOL 26 (11)

Prof Neelkanth Chhaya, CEPT University Sanjay Prakash, Studio for Habitat Futures (SHiFt) Suhasini Ayer, Auroville Design Consultants Anne Feenstra, arch i platform Vikas Dilawari, Vikas Dilawari Conservation Architects ETHOS

Image Š courtesy Labib Mohammad Sharfuddin

Code of the Habitat


VOL 26 (11) | JULY 2013 | ` 200 | MUMBAI RNI Registration No. 46976/87, ISSN 0971-5509 INDIAN ARCHITECT AND BUILDER

36 CURRENT

Au courant updates on events, exhibitions, competitions and news.

EXPLORE

40 PRODUCTS

Chairman: Jasu Shah Printer, Publisher & Editor: Maulik Jasubhai Shah Chief Executive Officer: Hemant Shetty EDITORIAL Assistant Editors: Maanasi Hattangadi, Ruturaj Parikh Writers: Rashmi Naicker (Online), Shalmali Wagle Design Team: Mansi Chikani, Prasenjit Bhowmick, Kenneth Menezes Event Management Team: Abhay Dalvi, Abhijeet Mirashi Subscription: Dilip Parab Production Team: V Raj Misquitta (Head), Prakash Nerkar, Arun Madye Head Office: JMPL, 210, Taj Building, 3rd Floor, Dr. D. N. Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 001, Tel: +91-22- 4213 6400,+ 91 -22-4037 3636, Fax: +91-22-4037 3635

Objects and details designed for architectural settings from across the globe.

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CONSTRUCTION BRIEF

Inverted Office

The Inverted Office designed by Chaukor Studio in Noida, Uttar Pradesh,

utilises a framework based on the metaphysical to materialise the

psychological and semiotic aspects of architecture into the reality of

its design.

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IN CONVERSATION Public – Interest Architecture

Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner of Urban-Think Tank discuss the

need for practical architecture that is more relatable to the common man.

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SUSTAINABILITY (?) MANIFESTOES

With due consideration to the idiosyncrasies of the Indian context,

the column initiates a discussion within the community of architects to

help steer the ‘sustainability’ concerns of architecture towards a more

contextual agenda.

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Dr Brinda Somaya

Dr Brinda Somaya presents her thoughts on the re-evaluation of

contemporary building patterns to create contextual architecture that will

respond to sustainability.

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Prof Neelkanth Chhaya

In a time of constant societal change, Neelkanth Chhaya emphasises on

the adaptation of a built form to physical and social context rooted in strong

cultural factors.

Chennai / Coimbatore: Princebel M Mobile: 09444728035, 09823410712 E-mail: princebel_m@jasubhai.com

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Sanjay Prakash

With a strong sense of optimism, architect Sanjay Prakash elaborates on

Kolkata: Sudhanshu Nagar Mobile: 09833104834, E-mail: sudhanshu_nagar@jasubhai.com

what he envisages as a Regenerative, Sufficient and Efficient future

Pune: Parvez Memon Mobile: 09769758712, Email: parvez_memon@jasubhai.com

through architecture.

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Suhasini Ayer

Suhasini Ayer explores the collaborative process in architecture which she

likens to a choreography between the user’s needs, the builder, the site, the

climate, the culture and the architect.

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Anne Feenstra

Leaving behind the commercial pressure, Anne Feenstra pursues a humane

approach which he establishes through constant interaction and research

with the sole purpose of improving architecture and the urban fabric.

SALES Brand Manager: Sudhanshu Nagar E-mail: sudhanshu_nagar@jasubhai.com MARKETING TEAM & OFFICES Sales Co-ordinator: Christina D’sa E-mail: Christina_dsa@jasubhai.com Mumbai Parvez Memon 210, Taj Building, 3rd Floor, Dr. D. N. Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 001, Tel: +91-22- 4213 6400,+ 91 -22-4037 3636, Fax: +91-22-4037 3635 Email: parvez_memon@jasubhai.com Delhi: Preeti Singh / Manu Raj Singhal 803, Chiranjeev Tower, No 43, Nehru Place, New Delhi – 110 019 Tel: 011 2623 5332, Fax: 011 2642 7404, E-mail: preeti_singh@jasubhai.com, manu_singhal@jasubhai.com Gujarat: Parvez Memon Mobile: 09769758712, Email: parvez_memon@jasubhai.com Bengaluru/ Hyderabad: Sudhanshu Nagar Mobile: 09833104834, E-mail: sudhanshu_nagar@jasubhai.com

Printed & Published by Maulik Jasubhai Shah on behalf of Jasubhai Media Pvt. Ltd (JMPL), 26, Maker Chamber VI, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021 Printed at M.B.Graphics, B-28 Shri Ram Industrial Estate, ZG.D.Ambekar Marg, Wadala, Mumbai 400031and Published from Mumbai - 3rd Floor, Taj Building, , 210, Dr. D. N. Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 001. Editor: Maulik Jasubhai Shah, 26, Maker Chamber VI, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021 Indian Architect & Builder: (ISSN 0971-5509), RNI No 46976/87, is a JMPL monthly publication. Reproduction in any manner, in whole or part, in English or any other language is strictly prohibited. We welcome articles, but do not accept responsibility for contributions lost in the mail.


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Vikas Dilawari

By implementing a traditional ethic and retaining the true essence of the

past, Vikas Dilawari’s conservation projects are an ode to contextual and

sustainable architecture.

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CAMPAIGN: Architectural Education If I Were To Teach

Veteran architect and educator Sen Kapadia talks about multidisciplinary

learning in IA&B’s inaugural column on architectural education.

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BOOK REVIEW

Kenzo Tange’s pioneering architecture is depicted through a compilation of

essays on his projects of a lifetime in the book ‘Architecture for the World’.

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SPACE FRAMES

Under Construction

In this edition of Dr Mathew’s Space Frames, Labib Mohammad Sharfuddin

documents the surreal dominion of construction sites over their landscape,

through a series of photographic images.

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ETHOS

Code of the Habitat

In the architecture of India, culture, context and place-making are

crucial aspects in defining ‘identity’. The third edition of the column

explores the forces that influence our habitats and hence the atmospheres

that they radiate.

Kenzo Tange: Architecture for the World

Printed & Published by Maulik Jasubhai Shah on behalf of Jasubhai Media Pvt. Ltd (JMPL), 26, Maker Chamber VI, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021. Printed at M.B.Graphics, B-28, Shri Ram Industrial Estate, ZG.D.Ambekar Marg, Wadala, Mumbai 400031and Published from Mumbai - 3rd Floor, Taj Building, 210, Dr. D. N. Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 001. Editor: Maulik Jasubhai Shah, 26, Maker Chamber VI, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021. Indian Architect & Builder: (ISSN 0971-5509), RNI No 46976/87, is a JMPL monthly publication. Reproduction in any manner, in whole or part, in English or any other language is strictly prohibited. We welcome articles, but do not accept responsibility for contributions lost in the mail.

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Category Type Deadline

: : :

International Open to architecture students and professionals August 16, 2013

The program challenges participants to design a new Urban Vertical Farm and Botanical Gardens Skyscraper in Seoul City that takes into account the current situation of burgeoning urbanism and consumption in populated cities. The design should explore possibilities for Urban Vertical Farming communities and maximise the positive impact of Vertical Farming while being visually and aesthetically engaging. The end product must be an acceptable addition to the Seoul City Skyline and should respond to matters of spatial constraints and social, environmental, cultural and economic issues. The winning entrants will receive prizes totalling up to USD 6,000. For further information, log on to: Web: www.superskyscrapers.com

The future of architecture Category Type Deadline

: : :

International Open to all September 01, 2013

The online platform ‘Crap is Good’ is organising another participatory book project tilted ‘What is the future of architecture? ll’, where participants are required to submit their answers to the question through any medium of their choice. The competition has also invited answers from several innovative architectural practices, thinkers and theoreticians to share their points of view as well. The successful first edition was able to publish all the entries that were fiction stories, philosophical email discussions, and series of images, photographs and poetry. Since it is a self-initiated project, the registration will require a participation fee of 20 Euros which will also cover the cost and delivery of the previous book to your doorstep! For further information, log on to: Web: www.the-future-of.org

Spartacus Alive — international competition

Date Venue

: :

August 29 - 31, 2013 Goa, India

Kyoorius DesignYatra is holding its 9th edition of the design conference under the theme of ‘Create Change’ at the Grand Hyatt in Goa. The three day event touted as the total embodiment of the aspirations of the creative in India, will feature lectures by prominent personalities in the field of art and architecture. Established in 2006, the conference has attracted a large fraction of the society from various creative and corporate fields. It spreads awareness amongst design buyers such as corporations, organisations and governments. Kyoorius is a non-profit organisation initiated by Transasia Fine Papers to serve as a great platform for interaction and promotion of design in the country and is also one of the best conferences in India to gain tremendous knowledge of design from. For further information, log on to: Web: www.designyatra.com

The London Design Festival 2013 Date Venue

: :

September 14 - 22, 2013 London, UK

Conceived by Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans, the London Design Festival 2013 is a major event since its initiation in 2003. It is a culmination of 300 events and exhibitions by several partner organisations across the design spectrum and from around the world. The event is held ‘to celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world, and as the gateway to the international creative community.’ The Festival promotes the city’s design activities that are considered as both cultural and commercial. The programme ranges from major international exhibitions to trade events, installations, talks and seminars. For further information, log on to: Web: www.londondesignfestival.com

Tent London 2013 Date Venue

: :

September 19 - 22, 2013 London, UK

The objective of the Spartacus Alive – international competition organised by the Government of Yaroslavl Region and the UNESCO World Heritage Committee among others, is to revitalise the ‘Spartak’ stadium in the historical center of Yaroslavl, a zone protected under the UNESCO. The competition requires the participant to re-invent the zone by providing a closed space for exhibitions, festivals and fairs. The goal is to create a new pavilion type of which a significant part will be a new exhibition space of the museum of local lore and history of the city.

An exciting event in tandem with the London Design Festival is the Tent London known for showcasing the most innovative designs in the industry. Now in its 7th year, the event serves as a significant platform for over 200 established and undiscovered talents to exhibit their creativity. The event is an excellent platform for all the young talent in the country providing them with the a broad visibility. It presents a great opportunity for interaction and learning as visitors are introduced to diverse points of view through installations, inspirational talks, and presentations from country pavilions. Since it is a juried event, the products exhibited are of high quality as they go through a selection process held throuhout the year. International trade buyers and key players from the media and design world are also expected to attend the four day event.

For further information, log on to: Web: www.cih.ru/bie/spartak.html

For further information, log on to: Web: www.tentlondon.co.uk

Category Type Deadline

COMPETITIONS

Kyoorius DesignYatra 2013

: : :

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013

International Open to all October 01, 2013

EVENTS

Seoul City Vertical Farm and Botanical Gardens Skyscraper


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Charles Correa Donates Work of a Lifetime to RIBA Library

CM Firm on Retaining Status of Mahalaxmi Racecourse, Mumbai

One of the country’s most renowned architects, Charles Correa donates an archive of over 6000 drawings and 150 projects to the RIBA Library, thus forming the largest single gift by an architect working outside Britain. Correa’s substantial archive joins those of Denys Lasdun, Leslie Martin and Ernö Goldfinger in the collections of the RIBA which has organised an ongoing summer long exhibition from 14 May 2013 - 04 September 2013 of all his work under the title ‘Charles Correa: India’s Greatest Architect’. Upon this, Correa commented, “Perhaps the most inventive, or the most innovative might have been better. Greatest is so...so definite, it leaves no room.” The archive consists of original drawings and models generated during Correa’s involvement in over sixty projects in India and across the world. The comprehensive nature of this body of material will offer researchers insights into his work. Curator Dr Irena Murray says, “Correa is brilliantly inventive in his deployment of certain timeless themes in Indian culture and philosophy – journey, passage, void and the representation of the cosmos. He uses them as a means to creating ambitious new spaces and structures. His deep understanding of the implications of climate, demographics, transport and community life has a universal quality and has helped structure the thematic arrangement of the exhibition.”

Plans to convert the Mahalaxmi racecourse space into a theme park has been rebuked by the Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan who suggested that the presence of a racecourse in the city was a sign of its metropolitan nature while adding that, “If someone floats a new theme at the time of the setting up of such a park, the possibility of construction of a hotel or an aquarium cannot be ruled out.” The Racecourse is a significant green lung of the city and the Chief Minister is keen on preserving the large open space. About 30 per cent of the racecourse land belongs to the Municipal Corporation, while the rest to the Government. The Municipal Commissioner has also submitted his report on the Mahalaxmi racecourse to the state urban development department in which he clearly refrains from recommending any change in the status of the Racecourse.

Museum Designed by Zaha Hadid Wins European Museum of the Year Award 2013 Zaha Hadid Architects’ Riverside Museum in Glasgow, Scotland, has won the prestigious European Museum of the Year Award 2013 held in Tongeren Limburg in Belgium over a period of three days. The EMYA Judging Panel travelled throughout Europe to visit the candidates from Azerbaijan to Portugal, and the Lofoten Islands in Norway to Turkey. The winning entry was selected out of 40 other museums across 21 European countries as it fulfilled the EMYA criteria of ‘public quality’ at the highest level by ‘satisfying the needs and wishes’ of its visitors. According to the eminent jury, the Museum was chosen for its ability to “demonstrate brilliantly how a specialist transport collection can renew its relevance through active engagement with the wider social and universal issues.” The Museum showcases Glasgow’s transport, shipbuilding and engineering heritage and has had over two million visitors since its opening in June 2011.

NEWS

Sir Richard Rogers and Rem Koolhaas Offer Support to Preserve Preston Bus Station World renowned architects Sir Richard Rogers and Rem Koolhaas have joined the protest against the demolition of the landmark Preston Bus Station in Lancashire, England. In a bid to preserve the 1969 iconic brutalist structure, Richard Rogers expressed his concern by stating that, “Preston Bus Station is not only admired internationally, but it also continues to be fully functioning. It is a critical transport hub. I would encourage you to consider listing the bus station and support a much-needed refurbishment.” Rem Koolhaas voiced his support stating that England’s brutalist tradition is “one of its most creative and imaginative architectures” that should be treasured. Although there have been aggressive protests by local and international supporters, the English Heritage is yet to make a concrete decision on the station’s listing status. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013

Plan for £1bn Development of Business District in London Farells, a London-based practice, will be teaming up with UK developer Stanhope and commercial developer ABP China to revive the city’s historic docklands into a mixed-use business district. The £1 billion development will eventually transform a 35-acre site at Royal Albert Dock into over 3.2 million square feet of high quality work, retail and leisure space, including 2.5 million square feet of prime office space, in order to create a vibrant 24/7 district on London’s waterways by 2022. The prime location is owned by the Greater London Authority and is situated in the heart of Royal Docks Enterprise Zone. It is the first time a Chinese developer is directly investing in London’s property market. Chairman of ABP, Mr Xu, clearly states that the initiative is to provide the Asian market with a gateway into the Europe in order to bridge the gap between the eastern and western economies, thus enabling the expansion of the Asian economy. On completion of the project, the Albert Dock will have some of the best transport links in the capital providing connectivity to central and western London via the new Cross-rail station coming in 2018. It also benefits from close proximity to the University of East London and City Airport, providing direct links to Europe’s key business destinations.

Breakthrough in Elevator Technology May Enable Taller Skyscrapers The Executive Director, Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Antony Wood stated that the new hoisting technology that replaces the conventional steel rope used for lifting with the UltraRope developed with a carbon fiber core and a high-friction coating , will enable the construction of skyscrapers above its 500m mark. The new technology can overcome the height limitation of 500m beyond which a steel rope is rendered unsupportable. The new elevator technology introduced by a Finnish elevator manufacturer will enable elevators to travel heights of one kilometer in half the time that is currently possible by elevators that run on steel ropes. The new technology even surpasses the fastest elevator designed by Toshiba and the high-speed elevators of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Among its many advantages the UltraRope will have twice the lifetime as a steel rope. It even requires less maintenance that will in turn help reduce material waste and environmental impact.


products

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Ding3000 for Discipline, a Germany-based design firm has conceptualised a unique multifunctional chair, the Pocket Chair.

POCKET CHAIR Text compiled by: Chandrima Padmanabhan Images & Drawings: courtesy Ding3000 for Discipline

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he Pocket Chair, well exemplified in its name, is an easily detachable settee which allows the user to slide the body of the chair onto the structural legs, like a glove. Inspired to emulate the comfort of a snug pair of pants, the Pocket Chair allows for an easy adaptability. With its reassuring yet classy appeal, it can be used in a variety of settings from a lounge to a home or an office. In keeping with the principles of Discipline, the material palette enriching the design involves Cuoietto Leather for the body, a luxurious leather which is locally produced in an environmentally friendly manner, inducing a soft, natural aesthetic. i Leather also ages much better than most materials, thereby allowing the product to evolve beautifully over the years. The structural shell of the chair is made of Oakwood which is equally durable and whose rich texture complements the leather, giving it a look of sophistication. The chair’s versatility, owing to the detachable settee enables it to be fitted atop any structural setup to suit the occasion. With longer legs at a bar setting, or shorter ones in an office meeting room, or colourful ones in a residential set-up, its multifunctionality is its prime feature. It is mainly anchored at the constant dimensions of 48.5cm length, 60cm width and 78cm height. It is produced and distributed by Discipline. Ding3000 is the studio of the German designers Carsten Schelling, Sven Rudolph and Ralf Webermann. After learning together and working together in different studios, they decided to collaborate in 2005, designing consumer goods like furniture, luminaries and residential accessories. They have received many awards for their work including the renowned iF Product Design Award and the RedDot Design Award. Designer: Ding3000 Contact: DING 3000 GbR Ratswiese 18 30453 Hannover Germany Tel: +49 (0) 511 353 93 76 Email: info@ding3000.com

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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UK-based designer Benjamin Hubert challenges the norms of task lighting efficiency with his innovative design, Paddle.

PADDLE Text compiled by: Chandrima Padmanabhan Images & Drawings: courtesy Benjamin Hubert

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lamp that enhances the functional aesthetic of any room, Paddle by Benjamin Hubert, is a chic and utilitarian response to task lighting. The Paddle is modelled after the 360 degree movement of a canoe blade through water, thereby tempering its efficient, sculptural form with the more fluid, compliant character of its proposed use. The stand and the arm are both flexible as it is hinged on a rotating ball. The light is given by a highly powered micro-LED with high intensity and vibrant control of light through capacitive touch. The angle and height of both, the stand and the head, can be separately regulated. The structural shell of the lamp is made of textured, lacquered aluminium so as to soften the bright light source, which is housed in the pressed-aluminium, paddle-shaped head. With the importance it bestows on adjustability, the light affords maximum usability in myriad work environments. Benjamin Hubert has an Industrial Design studio in North East London and relates to a material-driven process, with the studio challenging the everyday application of materials, traditions of construction and ideas of context.

Designer: Benjamin Hubert Contact: Benjamin Hubert Ltd Unit 106, Regent Studio 1 Thane Villas, London N7 7PH, UK Tel: +44 0207 5613658 Email: studio@benjaminhubert.co.uk

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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Italcementi arcVision Prize – Women and Architecture The arcVision Prize is an initiative of the Italcementi Group, which recognises and celebrates the contribution of women to the field of architecture. Brazilian Architect Carla Juaçaba was bestowed with this prestigious award in its inaugural ceremony on 7 th March, 2013 held in Bergamo, Italy.

Scientific Director Stefano Casciani addressing the crowd at the Award ceremony. (L to R) Samia Yaba Christina Nkrumah, Victoire de Margerie, Vera Baboun, Shaikha Al Maskari, Odile Decq, Martha Thorne, Yvonne Farrell, Benedetta Tagliabue.

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he Italcementi Group is the world’s fifth largest producer of cement with an industrial network spread across 22 countries and four continents. The company is actively involved in the promotion of sustainable building materials and is also the member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). With sustainability as its foremost priority, the company has taken a positive step by signing the Cement Sustainability Initiative’s Agenda for Action. Italcementi’s i.lab located in the Kilometro Rosso Science and Technology Park, one amongst many of the Group’s environment-friendly initiatives, is a centre for research and development dedicated towards exploring sustainable solutions with respect to building construction and technology. The exclusive laboratory in Bergamo, Italy designed by renowned architect Richard Meier, is in itself an embodiment of sustainability and is one of the few LEED Platinum Rated buildings in Europe. The arcVision Prize is an exemplary initiative of the company, recognising and lauding the contribution of female architects for their high quality research and design sensibility. The prize is awarded to the candidate, whose work responds to key issues in building technology and sustainability, reflecting the humility of the designer as well as addressing social and cultural implications. The candidates with a strong sense of conviction and who are able to overcome limitations imposed due to project type, scope and context and yet come up with innovative solutions are selected by a group of Advisors, who shortlist finalists and submit them to an international jury. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013

In its inaugural award ceremony held on 7 th March, 2013, the coveted Prize was awarded to Brazilian Architect Carla Juaçaba by a women-only panel of prestigious jurors. In their opinion 37-year old Carla was selected out of 19 finalists for her ability to embody “complete” architecture while adopting a sustainable outlook. The jury was particularly impressed by the construction method used in the Humanidade 2012 pavilion for Rio Mas 20, a UN conference on sustainable development, designed by her. The impermanence of the Pavilion itself indicates “humility” in her architecture as it does not impose upon its surrounding as a permanent entity. Use of low-cost materials that can be easily dismantled and re-used also gained Juaçaba an additional point to winning the award. The other nominated candidates included Anupama Kundoo from India; Izaskun Chinchilla from Spain and Siiri Vallner from Estonia each of whose contribution towards sustainable architecture was highlighted at the arcVision Prize. The recognition will not only provide women architects with a better foothold in the world of architecture but also give them the visibility they deserve. Enthused by the positive outcome of the award ceremony, Carlo Presenti, CEO of Italcementi, expressed his hope that “With this award we want to highlight the growing importance that female designers have been assuming in architecture in recent years and pay tribute to a ‘positive discrimination’ in favour of women.” For further information, contact: Zuari Cement Ltd. No 1, 10 th Main, Jeevanbhima Nagar, Bengaluru - 560 075, India Tel: +91 (0) 80 4119 4408 Web: www.zuaricements.com

The Jury (L to R) - Odile Decq, Kazuyo Sejima, Martha Thorne, Benedetta Tagliabue, Vera Baboun, Victoire de Margerie, Shaikha Al Maskari, Samia Yaba, Christina Nkrumah and Yvonne Farrell.


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Exemplary Endeavours

Spearheaded by Dutch architect Anne Feenstra, arch i platform’s exceptional efforts in defining the promise of change are reflected in initiatives like DELHI 2050 which has entered its third phase and projects like ‘House with Dancing Windows’ which was selected for the ‘Good Cause Exhibition’ organised by ARCHIS Foundation. Text: Ayishwariya Balagopal Images: courtesy arch i platform

Good Cause Exhibition: ‘House with Dancing Windows’ Anne Feenstra’s ‘House with Dancing Windows’ was chosen for the ‘Good Cause Exhibition’, an initiative by the ARCHIS Foundation in Kigali, Rwanda, along with six other projects as an example of ‘Architecture for Peace’.

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he Dutch architect, Anne Feenstra established his own design firm AFIR in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2003 and is also the Principal of arch i platform, a collective for architecture in New Delhi, India which he founded along with fellow architects, Apoorv Goyal, Himanshu Lal, Sneha Khullar and Tanvi Maheshwari. He has taken lectures and has even taught at the universities in India, United Kingdom, Afghanistan, Germany and the Netherlands.

(L to R): Architect Killian Doherty, ARCHIS Director Lillette Briddel and Anne Feenstra.

Feenstra follows the concept of cohesion in his architecture wherein he involves the locals in the entire building process giving them a sense of belonging. It is for this sense of ownership and unity that he was able to instil in the locals belonging to the conflict zone of Kabul that he was honoured with an invitation to the ‘Good Cause Exhibition’ in Kigali, Rwanda. The exhibition as a part of the ‘Architecture of Peace’ initiative by ARCHIS Foundation brings to focus the thin line separating ‘architecture of war’ from the ‘architecture of peace’. Through projects of a select few based on the criteria of Context, Publicness, Skills, Communality, Trust, Sustainability, Identification, Legitimacy, Modesty and Safety, the exhibition could explore various aspects to sustaining peace through architecture. The ‘House with Dancing Windows’ located at an altitude of 3000m was built by the local community and comprises of three dwelling units which responds to their surrounding context creating architecture that is unique to the place. As the name suggests, the irregularity of the window frames appear as if dancing. This is due to the irregularity of the locally-made rock stone walls which make fitting a regular-shaped window difficult.

A local school teacher looks at the photographs of Anne Feenstra’s ‘House with Dancing Windows’ .

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013

The locals were included in the process right from its nascent stage. With the help of 104 skilled and unskilled labourers, Feenstra established an architecture that is contextual and relevant to the peace-keeping initiative.


post event

(L to R): Yatinder Suri, Country Head, Outokumpu India Pvt Ltd, Anne Feenstra, Principal, arch i platform, Arun Madhok, Manager, Ambuja Cements Ltd addressing the press-conference .

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Yatinder Suri inspects some of the work displayed.

DELHI 2050 – Phase III DELHI 2050, a public awareness initiative to visualise and prepare the city for the future has crossed onto its next phase with the re-launch of its website and through Knowledge Tours conducted in reputed institutes of New Delhi. A process open to all, DELHI 2050 was initiated in December 2010 by arch i platform that seeks to resolve the burgeoning urban scenario of Delhi and create alternative future models through a multidisciplinary approach. Since its inception, the process has come a long way from just data collection to preparing demo models with sustainable design solutions for several regions in the city. The website of the DELHI 2050 initiative was relaunched at the press conference held on 18th April 2013 at the Indian Women Press Corps in New Delhi. It was inaugurated as a public awareness initiative to visualise and prepare the city for its future. The press conference was addressed by eminent personalities from the field of architecture such as Ashok B Lall, Principal, ABL Architects; Yatinder Suri, Country Head, Outokumpu India Pvt Ltd; Arun Madhok, Zonal Head, Ambuja Cements Ltd and Anne Feenstra, Principal, arch i platform. The conference deliberated upon several valid points and Anne Feenstra elaborated on the significance of the initiative by stating, “Two cultures know more than one: let us bring together the best solutions.” Ashok B Lall voiced his concern on the urgency of the matter by saying, “As the percentage of middle class people in Delhi is constantly rising, the consumption will also increase tremendously. In the future, we need to think how the city will

Members of arch i platform at the Jamia Geography department.

meet the rising demands”. From 2011 to 2012, different themes such as People, Planet, Profit were explored in multidisciplinary ateliers consisting of representatives and experts of governments, knowledge institutes, engineers and designers in and from India and the Netherlands. The ‘new phase’ being supported by Outokumpu India Pvt Ltd and Ambuja Cements Pvt Ltd, will focus on the subject of ‘Urban Harvest’ and ‘Life Street’. ‘Urban Harvest’ relates to sustainable communities that can be created through the process of recycling of water, urban farming and harvesting energy. ‘Life Street’ deals with the improvement of spaces for public interface. Knowledge Tours are conducted through workshops and talks in several top institutes to promote the sustainable future of the city. The public platform seeks to come up with long term solutions through extensive research work and gathering public opinion which is where the website will play a vital role. Audience from India as well as other countries are encouraged to present their opinion of the future of the city. DELHI 2050 was the only Indian project to be selected amongst 26 projects from all over the world for the esteemed 5th International Architecture Biennale 2012 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands that showcased interesting projects and processes dealing with the ‘making’ of a city.

Workshop at the Pearl Academy, Delhi as part of the Knowledge Tour. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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Sketch showing the conceptual development of design.

Inverted Office The Inverted Office designed by Noida-based Chaukor Studio utilises a framework based on the metaphysical to materialise the psychological and semiotic aspects of architecture into the reality of its design. Text compiled by: Ayishwariya Balagopal Images & Drawings: courtesy Chaukor Studio

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ocated in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, the ‘Inverted Office ‘ is designed by Chaukor Studio to illustrate the hypothesis of architecture based on metaphysical notions such as psychology and semiotics to develop into a 4000sqft of functional office space. This hypothesis is manifested through the uniqueness in the materiality which brings about a scalar complexity to the space. A natural look is established by the use of materials such as wire-cut brick, red stone, bamboo and jute in their natural form. After a long process involving research, conceptualisation and fabrication, the design complies with all threes stages of the design process. The programme of functions for the mid-size web development and design firm comprises of a reception area, two spaces for conference, a cafeteria, an outdoor green court and a work hall. Generally, when one is presented with a rectangular plan the idea will be to have a linear organisation of the workstations. Instead the design of the Inverted Office for optimal use of

Hexagonal configuration of workstations defined in brick.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013

Steel trusses resting on red stone.


construction brief

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'Jaali' work in cement allows free flow of cool air.

space introduced the concept of a hexagonal formation, as stated by the architect, “after deriving various iterations for the spatial layout, the number of workstations was maximised in a hexagonal formation.” This formation of spatial layout helps in accommodating more number of workstations within the restricted space. The encapsulating shape of the work tables creates an illusion of spaciousness without appearing to clutter the interiors. The spaces are thus defined by the workstations dominating the layout. Cement 'jaali' separations between the interior spaces allow for a natural flow of cool air while segregating the private area. They also stand in contrast to the dense texture of brick offsetting from its bold redness.

Varying patterns and textures break the monotony of the surfaces.

The carbon footprint of the structure is reduced significantly by the use of natural building materials and reuse of resources. The brick is left untreated at strategic locations with some creating a different pattern to break the monotony in the surface. Table tops for the workstations are made of block board with laminate on cantilevered MS sections. Steel trusses placed on red stone act as partition between workstations and can also be used as a clipping or pasting surface for worksheets by the users. The work hall opens into the adjoining cafeteria that serves as a breathing space for its employers. Window blinds in bamboo tied with jute strings also emphasise on the rustic ambience of the interior composition.

FACT FILE: Project Location Client Architect Design Team Project Area Civil Contractor Carpentry contractors Project Estimate Initiation of Project

: : : : : : : : : :

Inverted Office Noida, Uttar Pradesh Intellisoft Services Chaukor Studio Nilesh Bansal, Tejeshwi Bansal, Dinesh Bansal 4000sqft Vinay Gupta Shaukat Ali `15.5 Lacs January 2013

Window blinds in bamboo and jute. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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Public – Interest Architecture Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner talk about the pragmatic multidimensionality of their practice emphasising on making architecture more accessible to people where it matters the most. Photographs: courtesy Daniel Schwartz, Urban-Think Tank.

Alfredo Brillembourg received his Bachelor of Art and Architecture in 1984 and his Master of Science in Architectural Design in 1986 from Columbia University. In 1992, he received a second architecture degree from the Central University of Venezuela and began his independent practice in architecture. In 1993 he founded Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) in Caracas, Venezuela. He has over 20 years of experience practicing architecture and urban design. Hubert Klumpner graduated in 1993 from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna in the Master Class of Prof Hans Hollein. Klumpner later worked with Enrique Miralles and Paul Rudolph before receiving a Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University in 1997. In 1998, Klumpner joined Alfredo Brillembourg as Director of Urban-Think Tank (U‑TT) in Caracas.

In 2007, Brillembourg and Klumpner, who were guest professors at the Graduate School of Architecture and Planning, Columbia University, co-founded the Sustainable Living Urban Model Laboratory (S.L.U.M. Lab). Since May 2010, they have also held the Chair for Architecture and Urban Design at the Swiss Institute of Technology in Zürich, Switzerland.

Alfredo Brillembourg (L) and Hubert Klumpner (R).

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


in conversation IA&B: Tell us about Urban-Think Tank. It is a unique idea for a practice. What are the origins of UTT and what is its core philosophy? AB: Around 1993, after I moved back to Caracas from New York where I got my Masters, I was doing very traditional, corporatestyle projects. But with the new perspective I had, coming back to my home city with fresh eyes, I began to grow curious about these huge portions of the city that no one in the architecture, design or planning communities were talking about. These areas, the ‘barrios’ or slums, were literally left off the official city planning maps—just big green or white zones amidst the formal city. So I, and some friends and collaborators, started going into these areas, connecting with residents and community leaders, and trying to understand how the built environment had come into existence and how it might change in the future. This curiosity turned in Caracas Urban-Think Tank, an NGO we founded to do research and community projects. HK: When I came to Caracas a few years later, I thought that this is a place where I would definitely like to stay a little bit longer, and one thing led to another. There was a moment when Alfredo and I had the opportunity to make a more formalised organisation out of the Urban-Think Tank; into a design practice, from the garage project that it was until then. It was also an extreme transition moment for Venezuela, at the beginning of the Chavez revolution, if you want to call it that way… AB: One of our first projects was an exhibition called “Caracas 2000” supposed to be about what the city could be in the millennium. Well, incredibly enough, by the year 2000 we never got to do the exhibition because things happened…Chavez, mudslides, elections, coup d’état, interim presidents…anything you can imagine! By then, we had already started doing a few lectures and walking tours through the slums, ‘barrios’ and other places, and we had built up a good relationship with the Mayor’s office of Chacao, a district where we lived and where we would play soccer on Saturday afternoons. This eventually led to our first big project, the Vertical Gym prototype. IA&B: You have worked in the informal Caracas, thinking and practicing in some of the most demographically diverse and complex sites. Can you elaborate on the experience? What drives your work in these contexts? HK: When we founded Urban-Think Tank, it was a time of profound transformation around the world in terms of global awareness and connectivity between different cities. I think that it also brought to the fore the topic of informal cities and the culture in the ‘barrios’. In Caracas, 60 per cent of the people live on around 40 per cent of the city’s inhabited territory, which is quite an astonishing fact. Our interest with this way of urban living now became also the interest of other people, which it had not been before. That gave us a reason to be and to become more professional at this point. AB: In relationship to your question about the Urban-Think Tank’s goals and ways of working, I would like to point out that it was a reaction to what we found in the informal city, or better, what we did not find there. You know, it was a sort of design approach towards an environment where nothing had been done until then, and everything seemed to be possible. This automatically triggered a number of different opinions and disciplines, not because we laid them out but just because we helped to define that area of

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interest. It simply seemed to be the only logical way of looking at things, to do this from a multitude of viewpoints. Obviously, a lot of people like to label themselves interdisciplinary nowadays; it is almost the norm rather than the exception. But at that time, it had developed out of the specific situation in Caracas; it was a necessity, if you want. It was a bit like in the old saying of Frank Lloyd Wright that “the job finds the man, not the man the job”. IA&B: As a purpose-oriented design studio, do you see developers and policy makers catching up with your ideas? How do you find amicable ground between developmental forces and social needs? AB: Policy makers can no longer turn blind eye to informal cities that are now the norm, not the exception. We have always worked very closely with mayors, community leaders, municipal bodies. When they are thinking intelligently, which is to say looking for long-term solutions not just short-term political gain, then economic development and social needs don’t need to clash. Those interests, which are often described as competing with each other, can actually benefit and reinforce each other. For example, we are currently working with the Inter-American Development Bank – advising them on a program called Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative. This is exciting, as usually big development influencers like them do not have the time or resources to approach projects with the type of sensitivity that they demand. We think this partnership can prove that alternative models of urban development are possible. HK: Developers and policy makers sometimes get trapped in a linear model, convinced that the informal city needs to evolve in the direction of the formal city. But actually, informal settlements already tick a lot of the boxes! A lot of the preconceptions for better or more sustainable cities that you hear today are can be found in the ‘barrio’. They are pedestrian, they produce little trash, they have a low output in the metabolism of the city, they consume few resources, and a lot of this has to do with the general lack of infrastructure. AB: Development in informal cities, are definitely not the Western standards, because if they would be, then the problems that we already have – about limited resources and lack or shortage of energy and supply networks – would be much worse. So before intervening in slum areas, we have to think very hard how to

Image of the Grotao Music School, Caracas. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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do this, how to improve, what to maintain, what to take away, and what to add on. If we, as top-down city makers (architects, planners, etc.) want to build the 21 st century city that everybody talks about but nobody knows how to make, then you really have to develop a new mindset. And part of that mindset is to understand that a slum has a lot of the characteristics that will be key for the future city. This is about making better environments for people, rather than cars, real-estate speculators, or the egos of a few architects. IA&B: Your built work encompasses many typologies, situations and contexts while addressing many issues – of architecture and society. Can you tell us about your most significant project? AB: It is hard for us to pick the most significant project. If by significant, you mean large-scale and completed, then the Metro Cable in Caracas probably fits the bill. This was an aerial ropeway system that we designed, which connected one of the largest informal communities of Caracas, known as San Agustín, to the Central Business District. Previously, the residents were geographically marginalised from where most of them worked. They lived up on a large hill without proper road access, and on the other side of a 6-lane highway and river. During the rainy season, it became very dangerous for many residents to leave their houses, as mudslides were a constant threat and the steep foot paths would flood. This all amounted to a major mobility and access dilemma. Thousands of citizens were without proper transportation infrastructure. HK: The government eventually recognised this problem, but their proposed solution was inappropriate. They planned a network of roads to go through the slum, which would bring the city’s public bus system into the ‘barrio’. We did some mapping and calculations, and we realised that the bus system would have demolished over 30 per cent of the built landscape. These were homes, businesses, and public spaces that residents of San Agustín had made and invested in for decades. So we worked with the residents to devise an alternative transportation solution. The result is the Metro Cable system, which opened in 2010 and has played a huge role in the lives of most residents of San Agustin every day since then. It’s what we call urban acupuncture - an intervention that is delicate but profoundly impacting the community for the better. By not having to clear much land with the small ‘gondola’ towers, we were able to expand the stations and consolidate other types of programming within or attached to them. Some stations have things like commercial retail fronts, recreational space, and civic meeting spots. In this way, the whole system acts a catalyst for other changes in the urban environment—not just mobility. IA&B: How do you manage socially driven projects like slum redevelopment to make them financially viable/revenue generating? Beyond design, what roles does U-TT play in a project of this nature? AB: The areas we work in are at the margins of the city – in Latin America, many economies have concentrated wealth in the hands of a very few, leaving millions in economic deprivation. This is not about capitalism vs socialism. This is simply about a growing inequality in society that has caused a great deal of harm and wastefulness. It has also made it harder to build good architecture for a majority of the world’s city dwellers. The fact is, good and Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013

Metro Cable – Caracas, Venezuela.

innovative design has largely become something for the privileged. We believe that design professionals have a certain obligation to work for the common good, not just an elite few or the highest bidder. So we have spent much of our careers trying to build projects with a different model in mind. For example, we often go looking for clients rather than wait for them to come to us. And most of our clients usually cannot pay for the projects. We are interested in new modes of financing projects. HK: Yes, a lot of private developers are interested in getting their hands on the land that informal settlements are occupying, but not necessarily investing in them. We need bold and inventive companies to follow us in to the ‘barrios’. Some companies have done so, like the Austrian-Swiss Ropeway company, Doppelmayer, which worked with us on the Metro Cable. With them, we completed an innovative urban project and improved the lives of thousands of people, and we also opened their business to a brand new market. We have started working with The Schindler Group now as well, thinking about new modes of vertical transportation. IA&B: You are constantly associated with academics – how does your teaching and your practice overlap? What is the common ground? HK: We are both working at ETH Zurich (The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), and we have a research Chair of Architecture and Urban Design. Being in an academic environment is the best way for us to both teach what we know and care about,


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Development in informal cities, are definitely not the Western standards, because if they would be, then the problems that we already have – about limited resources and lack or shortage of energy and supply networks – would be much worse.

The ‘Favelas’ of Caracas.

while also exploring and discovering brand new projects. This has been our working methodology for over ten years, and the research and teaching constantly inform our built projects and vice-versa. This cross-fertilisation is good for everyone, from our students to our researchers to our team of architects. Learning can’t always happen in a classroom, and building can’t always happen without rigorous investigations and conceptual development. Why separate these two modes of thinking and acting? AB: We also believe that it is a great opportunity to take Swiss and European architectural students out to see places in the world that they normally would never visit, let alone research and propose design projects within. Again, going back to the stratification of today’s global society—how can we break down barriers to make better systems of transferring knowledge, resources, and technology? Academia is one of the great systems in place, and we believe that architectural educations must have a global focus in today’s world. Even though most structures and spaces are inherently local, they’re almost always connected to the world—through materials, energy, labour, and images. We believe in teaching future generations of architects how to navigate and innovate within this context. They are our best bet for making better cities. IA&B: Your latest project, the Centro de Acção Social por Música won the silver Global Holcim award last year. Can you talk us through the significant features of this project? AB: Our project is an urban community hub located in Grotão, an area in the heart of the Paraisópolis, which is the secondlargest ‘favela’ or slum of São Paolo, Brazil. It will be a music and community center with a vertical park. The area of Grotão is a high-risk zone characterised by poverty and dangerous mudslides. In challenging areas deemed unfit to build by planners and local residents, we propose urban catalysts—interventions that make a direct impact but also make it easier for future, incremental development. The Grotão building and park offers a number of topographical solutions, transforming the space from a precarious and neglected territory to a desirable and productive space. This practical infrastructural solution expands music and cultural programs into the ‘favela’ while utilising cost-efficient technologies. The building retains the hill to stop further erosion and utilises both passive and active sustainable systems for

maximum efficiency. Water is reused on site, so what was once a danger will become a valuable resource. IA&B: You have worked closely with communities that are stakeholders in informal settlements in Caracas. What are the challenges you face while negotiating design in informal communities? HK: Regarding the bottom-up approach: we have found that the top-down initiatives and the bottom-up initiatives have generally failed meet in 20 th-century style urbanisation. There is a big dichotomy of what people want and what authorities, governments, decision makers are willing and able to provide them with. We think there’s a big challenge for all of us – as civil societies and engaged citizens – to change that, because we are losing a lot of valuable time and money. Building up this consciousness is maybe even more relevant than any realised project. AB: And it’s important to understand that community leaders in a lot of informal communities are outspoken, intelligent, passionate and natural leaders—this means that they care a great deal about their homes and the people they live around. They embody great potential, and their expertise and efficacy has gone to waste as professionals like planners and architects try to assert alien visions. And some of these community residents are well educated! It is not that everybody living in the slum area is poor and ignorant. There are different levels of thinking. I remember the head of the Pérez family in the Caracas slum of Petare, saying that “the city is not prepared for the people, and the people are not prepared for the city”, which was a very fitting understanding of today’s reality. IA&B: In terms of a formal office and in terms of an idea – how does your multidimensional practice function? AB: While we started in Caracas, our practice has expanded and shifted and is constantly in some state of reorientation. When we started teaching at Columbia University, we created an office in New York. We are active in Sao Paulo now, and our main base of operations these days is in Zurich. We’re always trying to bring together a very cosmopolitan bunch of people – we have architects and urban designers, but also writers, film makers, anthropologists, graphic designers, etc. It makes for dynamic offices and a dynamic practice. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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We, as the initiators of this manifesto, refuse to consent to another failure on the part of design in responding suitably to the concerns pertaining to the sustenance of human habitats. We announce our responsibility in undertaking actions and encouraging commitments to communicate a vision for a better India. We call for a comprehensive consideration of its context, equitable justification for architectural actions and ethical confluences that shepherd a shift towards a sustainable, contextually appropriate and innately Indian future. We pledge ourselves to proliferate respect for India’s landscape, sensitivity to its communities, reverence to its cultures and pride in its ethos. We acknowledge the need for a different sort of architecture – one with a revised understanding of the elementals, a new approach to problem-solving and a wiser wielding of the power of design. A different, better India is possible. And we commit to propel a transition towards its truly inclusive future.

“

Sustainability (?) Manifestoes

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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An advocate of the reevaluation of contemporary patterns of building, Dr Brinda Somaya believes in a careful consideration of alternative building elements in design for effective and contextual response towards sustainable development.

Dr Brinda Somaya Somaya & Kalappa Consultants Over a three-decade leadership of Somaya & Kalappa Consultants, a Mumbai-based firm focussed on architecture, planning and conservation, Dr Brinda Somaya has conceptualised, designed and executed projects of varying scale - from residences to housing to restoration and master-planning work. Her buildings and interventions are sensitive and responsive to the context in which they are built as their respect for the environment underlines all their major work. Dr Somaya is also the founder trustee of the HECAR Foundation supporting research, critical analysis and conceptual work. Images & Sketches: courtesy Somaya & Kalappa Consultants Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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BS: Dr Brinda Somaya There seems to be a certain ambiguity on what exactly constitutes ‘sustainable’ architecture. What, according to you, is the definition of ‘sustainability’ in the Indian context? BS: Our ancient scriptures have always told us to tread the land lightly and I think that is a belief which I have had from the very first building I designed over thirty years ago. This was long before ‘green’ became such an important word in an architect’s practice. Apart from treading the land lightly for the new buildings we build, recycling and restoration of our existing built heritage has always been an integral part of my practice. Today we read how ‘preservation is one of the most sustainable of the building arts’, to quote Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and about how Preservationists cite the embodied energy present in existing structures as one rationale that allies their cause with the green movement. As we are aware, buildings produce an estimated 43 percent of all carbon emissions. In the words of Moe, the energy required to build an 800.000sqft building would be 7 million gallons of gasoline. In addition there would be more waste of energy to tear down, cart off and then rebuild a new building in its place. At this time of economic and climatic change, architects need to understand the value of retrofitting and re-architecture. India has a huge body of existing buildings which need to be adapted for the new generations ahead. In India, ingenious solutions, which can mitigate the concerns of the environment, exist traditionally. Can you comment on why these intelligent concepts suffer a dwindling importance? BS: Concepts like rainwater harvesting existed in India, several centuries ago. Each household in the village collected its own rain water. However, the recent hydro-engineering projects made the supply of water dependent on government infrastructure, which is not always reliable. The omnipresent courtyard of ancient Indian architecture was replaced by large floor plate areas that supposedly make the buildings more efficient. Thick load bearing walls that greatly cooled the indoors from the summer heat are no longer built owing to carpet built-up area ratios

TCS House in Mumbai: A Grade II Heritage Structure with a modern, contemporary office space within a shell of a historic building – a metamorphosis of function and meaning.

The Goa Institute of Management (G.I.M) campus in Goa reads the landscape of the site well. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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Cavity walls, deep overhangs and pergolas as protection from the wind, rain and sun.

and once again reduce efficiency. I feel that the need to create buildings that make a statement should not overtake the necessity to create climate responsive architecture. Economics also plays a very vital role in the adaptation of these energy saving methodologies, which often make a building 15-20 per cent more expensive. Higher capital investment on a project is required for long term gains. The awareness however, is growing especially at the school levels and attempts have certainly been made to create zero discharge projects and re-implement some of these age old strategies in some recent projects.

Can you elaborate on the way your practice understands sustainable architecture and how your projects reflect the same?

G.I.M Campus: Laterite from the excavated from site has been used as wall fillers, rubble soling and even external cladding.

BS: We believe in conserving, restoring and adapting existing buildings to a contemporary way of life by innovative space planning and introducing modern technologies. For example, in TCS house Mumbai, a Grade II Heritage building, the challenge was to create a work environment representing its global image as a software major. The unique feature of the process was that, the external stone wall or shell of the building was left standing while the entire unstable inside was ‘gutted’. A modern office interior with state-of-the-art technology was created inside the shell that stood intact. The challenge of restoring this structure was further compounded by various other factors such as working on a site located in Fort, in the heart of Mumbai’s commercial district and fighting the torrential monsoon rain with the stone walls propped and the high ground water table which required constant use of dewatering pumps to enable work to proceed. The metamorphosis that commenced in October 2005 concluded in June 2007 and demonstrates how historic buildings need not be razed to the ground for reconstruction even if they are damaged by fire or other disasters. As far as Greenfield projects are concerned, we believe in implementing passive strategies from the inception of the design. Building aesthetics are derived from their response to the elements of nature. The Goa Institute of Management, a recently completed campus by us this fact is further reinforced. The main academic block includes Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013

The Nalanda Institiute of Learning: Ideas that have contextual connotations and contemporary forms.


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Apart from treading the land lightly for the new buildings we build, recycling and restoration of our existing built heritage has always been an integral part of my practice.

Ideas embedded in the design: Placemaking in architecture through the conscious design of well placed niches, courtyards and arched entryways.

classrooms designed around a courtyard and the roof is so designed to allow north light into all the classrooms. Several sustainable elements like cavity walls, deep overhangs and pergolas as protection from the wind, rain and sun have been incorporated into this design. Laterite from the excavated site has been used as wall fillers, rubble soling and even external cladding. Using the site contours carefully, minimising cutting and filling of soil along with the careful location of the individual buildings on the site succeeded in reducing its ecological footprint. Rainwater harvesting, recycling of garbage, solar power for hot water and the usage of treated water for flushing, air-conditioning and landscaping are some of the additional green features introduced on this campus. In the Nalanda Institiute of Learning, we have once again used cavity walls in several areas and designed wide corridors that act as heat buffers for the classrooms. The classrooms have high volumes which also aid in dissipating the heat by convection. The Nalanda International School in Vadodara was a LEAF (The Leading Europeans Architects Forum) awards 2006 winner in a highly commended category for the use of traditional methods of environmental control. LEAF states “This award is for all companies, individuals & technologies that have made an outstanding contribution to the world of architectural design and build. There is particular recognition of those who have not only had exceptional success, but also demonstrated industry leadership within their respective fields”.

Traditional methods of environmental control: The Nalanda Institute of Learning. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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With a deep interest in the cultural factors that affect architecture, especially in societies of rapid change, Neelkanth Chhaya’s practice emphasises the adaptation of built form to physical and social contexts, especially landforms and landscapes.

Neelkanth Chhaya Dean, Faculty of Architecture, CEPT University Architect, academician, and thinker, he is the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at CEPT (Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology) in Ahmedabad. He has researched and worked extensively in the domain of appropriate architecture for India, extensively documenting places of historic significance and authoring numerous critical papers on the same. The wholehearted investment he has made in teaching architecture, and his intense involvement with the school, is reflected in his practice. Images: courtesy Neelkanth Chhaya Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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NC: Neelkanth Chhaya There seems to be a certain ambiguity on what exactly constitutes ‘sustainable’ architecture. What, according to you, is the definition of ‘sustainability’ in the Indian context? NC: Simple, frugal, flexible, diverse, adaptable, appropriatelyscaled and context-responsive would be the terms which would describe a sustainable architecture for India. Let me articulate why I define it that way. In order to discuss sustainability, I think we first have to look at the big picture but quickly get down to specifics. We have a large and diverse population and limited natural resources. Energy too is in short supply. Also, most parts of India have a tropical climate. Therefore: a) Our architecture must consider orientation with respect to sun and breeze as a key organising and form-making principle in order to give comfort with the least use of energy. b) An architecture which allows people to use their skills in the best possible way while using resources as sparingly as possible would be more sustainable in our situation. This implies that we must tailor our technologies not for economies of scale based on mechanisation and industrialisation only, but also on the diversity of skills that are available, as well as appropriate scales of operation for different purposes. c) We are also very diverse in our ways of life. An architecture that allows diverse modes of inhabitation would be sustainable. This implies that we should make spaces that offer or suggest a variety of use possibilities through appropriate scale and degrees of enclosure. Further, it must be an architecture capable of being changed and/or extended, and the user should be able to initiate these changes.

Khamir Craft Park, Kutch: Infused with intelligent design, the use of recycled materials like the fascia boards for the roof instil a rural sensibility in the local architecture.

The Western model of sustainability has measurable benefits globally. However, a home-grown solution sensitive to its particularities appears more appropriate in India. What are your thoughts on this? NC: Every geographical, social, economical and technological context would have particular and specific potentialities and limitations. Obviously therefore, India, and even various locations in India, would have distinct characteristics. It appears natural and logical to pay attention to such potentialities and limitations offered by place in order to evolve sustainable architecture. The opposite approach proposes that choice of technologies of environmental and other types of control and modification would result in savings of material and energy, thus resulting in a sustainable architecture. This is difficult to believe. In simple terms “there is NO free lunch”! Every intervention to modify environmental conditions would use resources and energy, and the impact of such use is bound to be felt somewhere. A dependence on technology alone, without reference to character of place, results in a banal and monotonous environment. To make good architecture, sense of place is an excellent starting point,

Khamir Craft Park, Kutch: The clustered arrangement of classrooms and open spaces create beautiful enclosures. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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Centre for Environment Education, Ahmedabad: Structural concepts explore notions of scale to break out of the ambiguity of concrete.

and as a bonus, you get a sustainable architecture. Immeasurable relations to nature, which encourage a sensible, sustainable way of life, would lead to greater measurable benefits rather than a calculation of measurables alone. The term ‘sustainability’ encompasses varied perspectives. For instance, while some exercise restraint in design, others incorporate advanced technologies and yet others justify cause through sensitivity. What is your approach to sustainability? NC: We work with the conviction that a careful consideration of geographical, social and material factors as the basis of design would lead to a more sustainable architecture. The choice of technology too, the tools used, the scale of operations, the management of the building process – all these are also essential considerations in our design process. Yet the design process must not result only in a technical demonstration of sustainability, but must create an architecture that makes you acutely aware of nature both as a benign support as well as an awesome threat. This means that the same technical solutions need to integrate into a poetic experience where architecture enhances the experience of the beauty and wonder of the seasons, yet conveys the fragility of life processes on earth. Then the architecture will be sustainable in use, and at the same time stimulate a more sustainable way of living in sheltered space. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013

Centre for Environment Education, Ahmedabad: The differing scales are orchestrated such that they inspire both a sense of comfort as well as that of innovation.


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A building should protect and shelter, modify the extreme effects of weather, and help create opportunities for convivial interaction as well as individual solitude.

you aware, makes the workings of the world, natural and human, transparent and understandable. Paul Klee said that the work of art is about “making the invisible visible”! Therefore the expressive and experiential potential of sustainability needs to be explored so that perhaps a more sustainable way of living is brought about. In India, ingenious solutions, which can mitigate the concerns of the environment, exist traditionally. Can you comment on why these intelligent concepts suffer a dwindling importance? NC: New urban life-styles have reduced the time available for adapting and maintaining environments to specific needs. Therefore certain traditional materials and techniques, which were sustainable, are now difficult to use. Thus there is a gradual disappearance of these ingenious solutions. More importantly, the adoption of a consumption-driven economic model distorts economic, political and social relations that were at the core of a more sustainable way of living. Architecture too becomes a product competing in the market, each form continuously fading into obsolescence as new stylistic fads appear in the race for visibility. So sustainable ways of life become “old-fashioned” and the veneer of “new” increases consumption.

Rural Knowledge Centre, Centre for Environment Education, Halvad.

There appears a need to extend the fundamental understanding of ‘sustainability’ and to incorporate more relevant aspects in its conception. In reference to our context, what do you think is missing? NC: Sustainability is not a technological add-on. Technology should be a tool to facilitate and make more efficient the tasks that artefacts should perform. A building should protect and shelter, modify the extreme effects of weather, and help create opportunities for convivial interaction as well as individual solitude. Architecture should make one aware of the natural environment and its resources, offer us opportunities to actively intervene in adapting it to our ways of life. In that way, the work of architecture does not remain a “black box” which is not understandable but only operable. Much recent technology is presented as “smooth”, devoid of indications of how it works and what are its consequences. In this sense, it is opaque and leads to excesses because the user does not realise what is the effect on both on the self as well as on the environment. In the same way, architecture and sustainability have been swept into the zone of opacity, of being products to be used without understanding. This has vitiated the possibility of being sustainable. Sustainable Architecture has become a consumer product, and that can only lead to more consumption, not more sustainability. So what is missing in the discourse of sustainability at present seems to be the exploration of architecture as something that makes

Architects need to study the new needs, materials and techniques critically, and use them with some understanding of the economic, political and social impacts of what they propose. Only then would it be possible to present possibilities which have learnt from the tradition but address the present. Can you elaborate on the way your practice understands sustainable architecture and how your projects reflect the same? NC: We try to follow the principles outlined in the answer to the first question. The resulting architecture should specifically achieve the following: 1) A good fit into the topography and vegetation. 2) Reasonably consistent orientation for climatic response using mainly passive solutions. 3) Create a variety of scales of open, shaded and enclosed spaces that allow diversity of use patterns. 4) Achieve an enjoyable experience of light, breeze, sky and ground through the configuration, allowing the user to actively connect to “being in the world”. 5) Break up the form and space into recognisable sub-wholes, thus making a sense of ownership and belonging possible without compartmentalising or fragmenting the experience. 6) As far as possible to make materials add to the sensory experience. Use of materials in their raw or less worked-upon forms, use of a diversity of materials locally sourced to a great extent. 7) Use the techniques and crafts that give predominance to human skill. The simpler the technique, the more appropriate in general. 8) Use all resources, including land, water, energy and material in the most efficient way. 9) Lastly, in Einstein’s words: “Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler”! Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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A strong adherent of a future that is Regenerative, Sufficient and Efficient, Sanjay Prakash looks to a future extrapolated from a past of high consumption and high waste. Known for an innovative design approach, his multidisciplinary studio believes in a healthy mix of originality and efficiency.

Sanjay Prakash Studio for Habitat Futures (SHiFt)

An architect with a commitment to energy conscious architecture, eco-friendly design, people’s participation in planning and production design. Over the years, he has integrated all his work with the practice of new urbanism and sustainability, in both his professional and personal life. His area of practice and research over the last 32 years include passive and low energy architecture and planning, hybrid air-conditioning, autonomous energy and water systems, earth construction, community-based design of common property and computer aided design. He is the Principal Consultant of his design firm, SHiFt: Studio for Habitat Futures (formerly Sanjay Prakash and Associates) and was a partner of DAAT and Studio Plus; firms that predate his current firm. Images: courtesy Sanjay Prakash

SP: Sanjay Prakash There seems to be a certain ambiguity on what exactly constitutes ‘sustainable’ architecture. What, according to you, is the definition of ‘sustainability’ in the Indian context? SP: Sustainability in architecture refers to processes of building, building design, and lifestyles within built habitat, that do not draw on fossil resources, and are viable on harvestable yields of resources (basically, income-using systems, not capital-depleting ones). What people are confused by is that industry is scrambling to define sustainability in terms of ‘green’ production of resources (e.g., substitute coal-based electricity with ever increasing amounts of solar power generation) and downplaying its other side, i.e., responsible consumption (how much space or safety or light or water or air-con is sufficient?) This is because we are all caught in the American dream of valuing consumption as the basis to define progress. Even many Americans do not subscribe to that impractical dream any more, but they are being compensated by an Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013

ever-increasing acquisitive middle class in China and now in India. The criteria of harvestable yields of resources are mainly applied to energy, water and materials. They also apply, though it is not commonly understood as such, to that central unit of economic consumption in the building industry: land, or rather, space. By pretending that we can now design net resource producing buildings, we are suppressing the simple fact that the most sustainable building is no building at all. This definition is applicable to every part of the world, but the term “do not draw on fossil resources” changes from place to place because “harvestable yields of resources” are different, so what is a fossil resource is a matter of degree and context and not a black-and-white proposition. The definition is intrinsically contextual. You can see that in the Indian context the priorities, systems, materials and architecture will be different than, say the Australian context, but also for sub-regions within these vast nations and for the building type and the social class being designed for! How do you reduce the energy or water consumption of a house with


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collared workers could not afford), you got factory shutdowns because garment entrepreneurs could not get, say, embroidery workers to commute to the workplace. So you can “metrify” the provision of affordable housing as a necessary program requirement underpinning fundamental economic viability. Our twenty-first century wave of development cannot create cities in the image or scale of those that were created in the developed world in the first wave of urbanisation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Our cities will be much larger, much denser, and be built much faster than the global cities of the twentieth century. While they will bring millions of people out of poverty, they will contain significantly more populations of poor people than in the industrialising West. Therefore, we will have to discover our own identity and make its own patterns: our own measure, so to speak. Since originality has not been a hallmark of the colonial legacy of our educational system, most Indian professionals are not ready for this change.

Embassy of Switzerland and Swiss Development Cooperation, New Delhi: Efficiency defines sustainability in a narrow sense but is also useful. With the expansion of the office, there was a simultaneous cut-down in operating energy, water consumption and enhancement of the life of the buildings.

no access to electricity and piped water, a common building type in Indian cities? The most sustainable construction material in Germany nowadays is timber, but does that mean that India should now ban concrete and make timber houses, whereas we have done exactly the reverse? The Western model of sustainability has measurable benefits globally. However, a home-grown solution sensitive to its particularities appears more appropriate in India. What are your thoughts on this? SP: I am not against measurement, in fact being a numbers person I am a supporter of measurement. Sensitivity and measurement are not mutually opposed. We live in a world where measurement changes behaviour more than talk. What we have to recognise is that the Western world is strongly wedded to high consumption. So, with a high benchmark, the Western world has a different measure of sustainability. For instance, one of the guiding principles of measurement is that market prices encode real value. But that justifies using cheap granite floor tiles from a Shanghai factory for middle class housing in Tamil Nadu, itself a treasure trove for granite. It leaves many local residents jobless and rewards the Chinese exploitative industrial system. The same local people rendered jobless would be in line for buying affordable housing if they had a job! How do you measure such economic linkages? We are improving on the metrics nowadays. There are inventive ways of “metrifying” many parameters nowadays, and new case studies. For instance, in planning a green field industrial township with tall apartment blocks (of an economic level which blue

The term ‘sustainability’ encompasses varied perspectives. For instance, while some exercise restraint in design, others incorporate advanced technologies and yet others justify cause through sensitivity. What is your approach to sustainability? SP: In addition to the simple definition earlier, sustainable architecture is, for me, one that: • Encourages Sufficiency and Frugal Lifestyle (how much is enough?), • Celebrates Identity (belonging to the place where it is, fitted to and happily owned by that culture), • Engenders Equity (rather than includes only those who can pay for a certain kind of sustainable consumption), and • Produces Resilient Outcomes (is adaptable, can withstand changes circumstances). There are other factors that I feel are missing that are of an even higher level of integral domains, but I do not think India is ready for these unless it begins mastering the above. You can also see that if we take the BIG six: sustainable energy, sustainable water, sustainable materials, resilience, equity, and identity, the Western world has been focusing on the first two consumption parameters and so their metrics are the best developed, while others have to catch up now. This lead has to be taken by India, even more than other developing Asian nations. In India, ingenious solutions, which can mitigate the concerns of the environment, exist traditionally. Can you comment on why these intelligent concepts suffer a dwindling importance? SP: This is because traditional systems have been pushed into a dead-end by the breakdown of our feudal past, first by colonial and now by modern society. Only those systems that are industry-friendly may survive. The traditional house was climatically responsive, requiring no mechanical systems to keep it cool, but the modern apartment block or congested squatter settlement is not so. Instead, air-conditioning is becoming more “affordable” by lowered EMI to Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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Agilent Technologies Office, Manesar: Measurability does not need to be one-dimensional. An extreme energy and water conserving office, it demonstrates the future of ecologically appropriate office architecture in continental tropical climates, using verifiable measurements.

Maati Ghar, a ‘temporary’ exhibition pavilion at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi: Traditions need to be developed to come alive again. It includes an earth air tunnel ventilation system and a complete use of improved earth construction techniques.

pay for energy-guzzling machines in a regime that does not have the power to begin with! Persons involved in the building industry are not entirely unaware of these problems, though most get by with the ‘business-as usual’ approach. However, even from the most unconcerned architects, the output of designs are at least energy conscious in that they contain massive walls, reasonably correct sized openings, windows protected with overhangs, and a thick and somewhat insulated roof, though the reasons for incorporating these features may be economy and tradition than concern about energy conservation. Yet, these are being continually bypassed in favour of a ‘worldclass’ glamour, the aspiration of a suburban home-owning, car-driving, consumer utopia, which even the Western world cannot aspire to any more. The resources required to do this do not exist, will not exist, or cannot be used without disastrous social, economic consequences, let alone larger long-term geo-political or environmental ones. With increasing urbanisation, Indian cities have willy-nilly followed Western patterns of urban growth, with results that are not always successful. This has created some of the largest slum settlements in the world, and also some of the most distressed middle-classes, denied access to resources: especially water and energy. All this has happened despite the fact that India is one of the lowest of all nations in pre-capita consumption of commercial energy. So it is our life, and our aspirations, that no longer nurture tradition, except in a curiously, museum-piece sort of way. A colleague recently wrote to me that for a building applying for green certification, the “use of ‘chajjas’ [was] mentioned as an innovative method” to gain some points! This says it all. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013

A luxury wildlife resort for Taj Safaris Limited, Kanha: Sufficiency and a light footprint can also be five-star. This project involves tent constructions which retain the natural vegetation and drainage, with fogging systems for cooling and floor heating for warmth.

Can you elaborate on the way your practice understands sustainable architecture and how your projects reflect the same? SP: After decades of working in sustainable built environment, it is sad that the world now confuses us with being ‘green’ architects. It must be clarified that we are neither. We are neither green (which is just convenient brand for behaviours that may push towards more efficient and renewable resources consumption, but does not address deeper ills of the human condition), nor really are we architects (having somehow journeyed towards creating lifestyles than merely styling buildings). We are sustainable community lifestyle visualisers. In this context, we see Sustainable as containing all aspects of Green, which in turn contains all aspects of the Mainstream. The Mainstream is concerned largely with legal compliance, codes, and quick profitability at least capital costs. Green adds to that the dimension of slower returns at drastically reduced operating costs and substitution of fossil resources with renewable ones. Sustainable on the other hand, as I said earlier, is concerned not only with all these but also issues of: • Sufficiency (how much is enough?), • Identity (does this belong?), • Equity (does someone get excluded?), and • Resilience (can this withstand future shock?). Sufficiency involves developing space standards and linking them to resource consumption. By identity, we also include a ‘living crafts’ building vocabulary, and I do believe that we manage to incorporate equity in our work to some extent.


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The traditional house was climatically responsive, requiring no mechanical systems to keep it cool, but the modern apartment block or congested squatter settlement is not so.

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) RETREAT, Gurgaon: A future-ready, resilient, smart-grid building. It includes training facilities and a hostel, with near-autonomous state-of-the-art energy, water and recycling systems and thereby achieves a sense of the ‘campus of the future’.

The T-Zed housing development, Biodiversity Conservation (India) Limited, Bengaluru: Materials, water, energy, resilience, identity and equity can all provide for an abundant lifestyle. The project was informally used as a benchmark to calibrate the IGBC Green Homes rating system and achieved a Platinum rating.

But Resilience is the most important of them all – implying adaptability. • Resilience is a building program that can adapt to an economic downturn, the kind of thinking that asks: Can Gurgaon today retool its infrastructure when its BPO jobs are lost to English-speaking Chinese youngsters? • Resilience is a building ready for climate change events, whether increased heat, dust storms, or rain. It is the ability to withstand drought and forced shutdowns by storing your own water. • Resilience is an office complex ready for the dwindling ownership of cars, connected to public transport, and ready for transforming its parking spaces for other functions by having parking slabs that can be removed and reused. • It is the ability for greenhouse architecture of Ladakh to have its

The Mirambika Institute for Free Progress Education and Integral Human Values, Delhi: Places are for people; they have an identity. It features an open design concept which creates a dust-free environment without creating rooms through reflective surfaces, courtyards, and an integrated vertical passive solar hot water system.

The India Pavillion, Internation Expo 2010, Shanghai: Resilience comes in many forms. It consists of a ‘haat’ and a dome, showcasing future technologies like bamboo, ferrocement, herb roofs and walls thereby highlighting construction in a post-concrete world.

residents survive growing spinach when the road to Manali and Leh is closed. It is about being able to grow your own food in a world where the oil to run trucks just disappears overnight, say due to supplies. I would like to believe that we internalise all the above principles in our work. In the future, I would also like to see us working towards transforming aspiration (people currently are made to aspire for only what is sold), generating harmony (between mind, body and spirit), and in short, literally breathing consciousness into matter! However, we are not there yet, far from it, and are exploring how such transformational work can be done without making the organisation unviable from a day-to-day perspective.

RMX Joss, Noida: Equity does not mean someone has to lose. A LEED rated garment manufacturing unit. With marginally higher investment and operational cost, it transforms the workspace by the use of the adaptive comfort standard and daylight. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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Perceiving design and architecture as an active collaboration between the people involved - the potential users, the builder, the site, the climate, the culture and the architect, Suhasini Ayer likens it to a choreography that takes a life of its own, that you mould with your preference, experience, skills and available opportunities.

Suhasini Ayer Auroville Design Consultants A graduate from the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi, she set up practice in 1987 in partnership, co-creating Auroville Design Consultants, a multidepartmental institution that works with appropriate development and architecture, solar energy, water management and recycling. She has designed over 40 projects (mostly institutional and some residential) with five major projects that are demonstration projects in sustainable development technologies. She has received several awards, such as the Egyptian Hassan Fathy award (jointly with Satprem Maini of Auroville Earth Institute), and the American Most Innovative School Design Award. Images: courtesy Suhasini Ayer Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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Suhasini Ayer: SA There seems to be a certain ambiguity on what exactly constitutes ‘sustainable’ architecture. What, according to you, is the definition of ‘sustainability’ in the Indian context? SA: Indian population demographics show that more than 65 per cent is under the age of 35 presently. This implies that reproductive capacity of this country needs to be taken into account in any development strategy unlike those adopted by Western European or North American nations, who presently drive the global economic policies. Sustainability within the Indian context will be an exercise finding balance between growth and stasis. In the building sector, this demographic places an impossible challenge in housing, access to primary resources like water, energy and open spaces, provision of infrastructure like sanitation, waste management and mobility and other civic amenities like health and education.

Our models of sustainability cannot be dependent on high-tech engineering solutions that will pull rabbits out of a hat as many of our cities and towns do not have a hat yet. Indian urban planning will need to re-invent the wheel literally as the wheel as we know it is a disaster for the environment; both human and natural.

Auroville Visitors Center: The process of building was used as a training exercise for the local villagers in earth construction techniques such as arches and domes and ferrocement roofing techniques.

Sustainability for India will have to be a self-regulating, symbiotic system that is based on dense interdependency in an urban – rural network that minimises transport, specialisation and sector fragmentation. For example, consider urban framing; 88.2 per cent of land in this country is arable and most our cities and town have been built on the best agricultural lands near secure water sources. If urban planning policies encourage urban farming in the public green spaces it would close the loop of food, waste, employment, reduction of transportation, foot print on the hinterland and add value to the open spaces which often become neglected waste lands. ↑

The term ‘sustainability’ encompasses varied perspectives. For instance, while some exercise restraint in design, others incorporate advanced technologies and yet others justify cause through sensitivity. What is your approach to sustainability? SA: I look at sustainability like financial management; use only the interest generated by the capital that is managed in a manner that makes it shock resilient. No amount of creative visualisation or perspectives will rebuild ecosystem services that are compromised. Solar and wind energy fed into a smart grid as an alternative renewable energy support will partially help in meeting the demands but to rehabilitate the mining areas but will not reverse the polluted water ways, de-slit the lakes and revive the fertile soils that have been built over with roads, factories and housing. I personally look at achieving sustainability as a process that needs to designed and strategically managed. We have inherited a planning and design methodology post independence that looks at development as a plug and play, a throwback on the industrial revolution model. This model is not suited for the Indian psyche or diversity. Integrated planning within a participatory model of policy planning would be more suited. Besides given the demand, the

Centre for Indian Studies, Auroville: An interesting play of materials between rammed earth walls, waste stone strips and exposed concrete.

question of advanced technology that would be economically viable is moot. The Western model of sustainability has measurable benefits globally. However, a home-grown solution sensitive to its particularities appears more appropriate in India. What are your thoughts on this? SA: The Western slogan of “reduce, reuse and recycle” is seductive to all of us because it allows us to overcome our collective discomfort, for when we talk “reduce” we “think” of energy efficient fixtures and appliances, low flow faucets, low consumption vehicles and low embodied energy products. But “reduce” cannot be interpreted with such a narrow bandwidth in the Indian context; we need to look at it more holistically, beyond technology. Indian culture of frugality and cooperative transactional society mores is presently being sidelined in our race for a double digit growth rate fuelled by consumerism and compartmentalised lives. A model of development that is indigenised with our real needs would be in the long term more sustainable; economically and socially. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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There appears a need to extend the fundamental understanding of ‘sustainability’ and to incorporate more relevant aspects in its conception. In reference to our context, what do you think is missing? SA: Sustainability in the Indian context would need to integrate security along with development. The capitalist model of the winner takes all cannot work for a complex diversity of religious and social groupings. The pre-colonial community based networks that managed the collective infrastructure and resources like surface water, food distribution and habitat creation should be main-streamed through education, activism and awareness campaigns. Policies and politics need to empower the people to take back and relearn systems that have fallen to the wayside in the 150+ years of the colonial governance. Our adaptation to a system of government based on this heritage has not brought freedom beyond midnight to our cities where even the rich can sustain their lifestyles only within gated communities. In India, ingenious solutions, which can mitigate the concerns of the environment, exist traditionally. Can you comment on why these intelligent concepts suffer a dwindling importance? SA: I have lived in rural Tamil Nadu since the mid-1980s; in comparison to the present, the settlement systems to the geographical history of the place come across as fantasy fiction. The rainfall pattern with handful of seasonal waterways crisscrossing the state, it is not possible that all these traditional towns could have held it together, they should have been abandoned due to food shortages, lack of water security throughout the year, epidemics due to poor sanitation and class wars due to economic disparity; which is what happens today even with energy to mine water, transport food and state legislated policing. But Tamil Nadu had well-organised towns with a high density of population within complex urban systems. Consider only one aspect of settlement planning; water, we see how they planned without the back up of a fossil fuelled economy. Contour planning for rainwater harvesting with water bodies that were community managed and integrated into local religious taboos that prevented

Prarthana Housing Project, Auroville: This housing is laid out along a pedestrian street with a mixed development model of diverse dwelling units. The building envelope design is contextual to the climate interpreted with local building materials.

contaminations with collective labour to keep the systems alive sustained these settlements. Today, the entire state is water starved, its coastal aquifers damaged due to salt water intrusion and most of the traditional water harvesting structures silted over, sometimes even land filled to be traded off as developable parcels. How can this historical ignorance lead to sustainability? Can you elaborate on the way your practice understands sustainable architecture and how your projects reflect the same? SA: As an architect, I often find myself walking on a fine line between being a “designer” and a “planner”. Having been educated to put aesthetics as the bottom line, I am often conflicted between the process and product. The unconscious part of designing is always prejudicing the planning stage of a project, infecting the data collection and analysis from being non-partisan. Often when I visit a potential site for the first time, I find that only development that the land needs is restoration and not more stress, while the left brain is playing a completely different movie, seeing forms

Kindergarten, Auroville: A reinterpretation of the local vernacular style in a minimalist architectural language using earth as the predominant building material from foundation to roof.

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Indian culture of frugality and cooperative transactional society mores is presently being sidelined in our race for a double digit growth rate fuelled by consumerism and compartmentalised lives.

Auroville Library: The openings are deep set within fins and roof overhangs to prevent glare and heat gain without compromising on the ventilation and lighting.

accompanied with other supporting interventions. Maybe it is time to redesign the designer; the present educational process of architecture is one of the impediments to sustainable architecture. Due to our work and reputation, many of the clients who approach us are already sensitised and aware but during the process of planning and designing, the present methodology of development muddies the decision making. Between the planning regulations that are counterintuitive, uninformed decision making process, financial systems that values speed/quantity over quality and the lack of coherence in our construction industry it is almost impossible to bring about a lasting change. I tend to use the projects we do as a “client education” program, I talk to them extensively and refer them to materials and project so that their aspiration for green or sustainable project is matched with information on what it implies. We provide a checklist of ideas/technologies and groups; induce the clients to re-evaluate their program so that building less is sustainable building. During the preliminary stages of the planning and design, I hold back from the act of drawing or sketching, so that the script remains flexible playing out multiple storylines. This can be a deterrent in the present climate where developers want the project designed and ready for tendering over a weekend. Finally, with most of our projects, we design them so that they are adaptable, keeping the storylines open like the people and the functions within. Over specialised perfection is fatal like in nature, human needs evolve and buildings need to be adaptable to be sustainable too.

Solar Kitchen, Auroville: An embodiment of solar, passive design which maximises natural ventilation, natural lighting and solar chimneys. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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With a strong belief in putting the commercial pressure aside for a more tangible, humane, perceptible and sustainable architecture, Anne Feenstra makes research an inclusive part of his design process, by delving into the complex layers of history and culture, into the specifics of the environment, biodiversity, building materials and craftsmanship. Through a constant social, cultural and economical engagement, he strives for a better architecture and urban design.

Anne Feenstra arch i platform A Dutch architect, with design practices based in Kabul and New Delhi, he is the recipient of the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture 2012, Paris. Post his graduation as a Master in Architecture from Delft University, Netherlands, Feenstra had been practicing architecture in Europe and London (William Alsop architects) before setting up his own design practice in 2004 called AFIR. He is constantly involved in imparting knowledge to architecture students in many countries in the world. He has also been teaching pro bono for five years at the Kabul University and more recently, in Delhi’s renowned School of Planning and Architecture. Images: courtesy Anne Feenstra Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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Anne Feenstra: AF There seems to be a certain ambiguity on what exactly constitutes ‘sustainable’ architecture. What, according to you, is the definition of ‘sustainability’ in the Indian context? AF: While many are trying to give one definition after another, I think it is important to point out what is NOT sustainable. In 2010, while observing the massive rows of unfinished residential blocks, Mario Botta asked me in front of the Sushant School of Architecture in Gurgaon, “Dear Anne, what is this ?!”.I answered; “Dear monsieur Botta, this is uhh...this is certainly NOT sustainable!”. Let us also not fool ourselves by the idea that sustainability is something new. If one traces history, many systems have been developed by cultures that are in balance with nature. In Hindi, the word ‘Tikau’ would probably give a good idea of what it is; something can be produced ‘Tikau’ or something can be built ‘Tikau’.

The arch i platform, DELHI 2050: Looking at a long term plan for self-sustenance in the Indian capital by reviving the ecology of the city.

Observations of developments in different countries in the last 200 years have shown that the challenge for sustainability perhaps lies with greater sense of individualism and materialism. More me, myself and I. Everybody seems to be obsessed by economy, including newspapers, TV channels and websites. Why do we not have this for culture?! If culture reflects who we are and culture defines who we are and architecture is a very visual and important expression of culture, we should perhaps rethink our businessas-usual scenarios. With the process we started with arch i platform called DELHI 2050, we have started to redefine, with a huge support of knowledge institutes and many stakeholders and experts, the fundamental idea of the quality of life in the Indian Capital. Perhaps we started idealistically, but now the complete DELHI 2050 network, including the Indian Government, believes there have to be alternative ways forward. The term ‘sustainability’ encompasses varied perspectives. For instance, while some exercise restraint in design, others incorporate advanced technologies and yet others justify cause through sensitivity. What is your approach to sustainability? AF: All truly responsible architects, designers, planners, bureaucrats, entrepreneurs, NGOs etc are trying in her or his way to make the best of it. With my teams, we always send out the message of inclusion; be it in India, Afghanistan or (more recently) in our work in Nepal and Rwanda. We always create ownership of the projects with the local people, the community and the stakeholders involved. This way, we believe it does not become our project or our building, but as they have been involved in the engaging process of conceptualising, designing and building, they feel the ownership. The other approach that we follow is usage of materials that are sustainable; these can be low-tech solutions of local mud-strawlime mixtures or they can be durable materials with high-embedded energy that last for many years like stainless steel and glass. In both, experimentation and innovation are important as we should try to use the knowledge that is available to us. One concrete example is the Kargyak Learning Centre (refer article IA&B June 2012) where we used a maintenance free, low-tech micro-Trombe wall system. At 4200m altitude, the thirty Zanskari children have no clue that

Kargyak Learning Centre: Capacity building and creating ownership by involving the local community in the building process.

we use these very difficult words to describe a system that simply provides them a comfortable place. The Western model of sustainability has measurable benefits globally. However, a home-grown solution sensitive to its particularities appears more appropriate in India. What are your thoughts on this? AF: First of all, there is NOT a Western model of sustainability. If one would study carefully how sustainability issues regarding the built environment are addressed in Germany, Italy, US, or looking East, Japan and South Korea, one would see fundamentally different approaches. In a comparative study of Green Architecture Rating Systems in the world, which we (Mr Sushil Bajracharya and I) conducted earlier this year at the Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, it turned out that the Japanese Casbee method has a lot to offer to a mountainous and earthquake prone country like Nepal. This means that there are good reasons to study Casbee carefully for the parts of India with similar terrain and conditions. With India being more of a continent than a country, if one looks at the massive variety and richness of diversity in climatic zones, area specific solutions and guidelines will be the best solutions. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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Second of all, India has in the last five years, following very good arguments, gone beyond the idea that a rating system like LEED can provide the answers needed in the Indian context. Most professors and students at SPA, CEPT, KRVIA, RV College etc. would give you a stern correction when one would mention LEED. Third; if one would believe in the concept of ‘Cradle to Cradle’, it means that if one messes up more, one has to clean up more, one can see much better how the mess can already be reduced at the stage of production. In that sense, California is showing a better way forward than Texas. The average per capita figures of energy consumption, CO2 and other emissions in India is much lower than many other countries. But let us not forget that some individuals in India can compete easily with the highest carbon footprint personalities of the planet. There unfortunately does not seem to be a need for justification and there is too much admiration!

Kargyak Learning Centre: Thinking it through with detailing.

There appears a need to extend the fundamental understanding of ‘sustainability’ and to incorporate more relevant aspects in its conception. In reference to our context, what do you think is missing? AF: More international exchanges would be a good start. Last year, we were very lucky to be able to go with Tanvi Maheshwari and Kushal Lachhwani of arch i platform to the International Architecture Biennale ‘Making City’ as we got selected with one of our projects and processes! It was very exciting that the Dutch brought everybody from the whole world for this event in Rotterdam and a great experience to exhibit on this fantastic world platform, but we actually learned much more from people who work in and on cities like Istanbul and Sao Paulo, than from people who work on very static or even shrinking cities like Detroit, which lost 237,500 inhabitants in the last 10 years.

Sustainable Mountain Architecture Exhibition, Nepal.

We discussed if it would perhaps be an idea to have a BRICS Architecture Biennale! I am sure India would do a marvellous job of hosting this, while experts from say South Korea and Netherlands could be invited to be observers. In addition to this long term hope, I sincerely wish more serious public debates will happen in India about architecture and the built environment. In the Netherlands – with only 17 million people – we have 62 (!) architecture platforms in the country. We discuss public space, infrastructure interventions, architecture and ‘Making City’, go on excursions, organise contemporary architecture city tours. At these very dynamic platforms academics, private sector, government, architects, designers and planners all come together. Initiatives are being taking in Mumbai, Chennai and few other places to provide this space for discussion. But much more needs to be done. How many people in India write about making cities? How many people in India can call themselves an architecture critic?

International Architecture Biennale 2012, Rotterdam.

In India, ingenious solutions, which can mitigate the concerns of the environment, exist traditionally. Can you comment on why these intelligent concepts suffer a dwindling importance? AF: What is needed is to highlight positive an inspiring examples of different scales and complexities in India. The Development Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013

DELHI 2050: A Knowledge Tour organised at Pearl Academy, Noida.


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In both, experimentation and innovation are important as we should try to use the knowledge that is available to us.

Alternatives HQ in South Delhi designed by Ashok B Lall or the recently completed low cost fishermen villages by Nandan Balsavar’s ARTES in Nagapattinam at the Tamil Nadu coast are good examples of architecture done in a different, more inclusive and environment-friendlier way. Another positive example is that, as far as I know, no new shopping malls are coming up in Delhi in the last two years. That is an interesting development as these malls have always been presented as the ultimate paradises that are very hard to resist. Can you elaborate on the way your practice understands sustainable architecture and how your projects reflect the same? AF: If quality is the result of an intelligent effort (John Ruskin), perhaps a responsible and sustainable architecture starts with research, or simply put, doing your home work. All my teams, all our processes and projects are based on that principle. Our work in Afghanistan has already received a lot of attention, but I would take the opportunity here to talk about an ongoing project with WWF and Forest Department (FD) in East Sikkim.

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On-site: In conversation with the locals.

The only road in that area has recently been opened for the public after many years of restricted access because of the proximity to the international border. With visitors coming to this area and the limited capacity of this high altitude natural environment (above 3500m), it is important that any intervention in this area is very carefully calibrated. On my first visit we mainly listened to the local people, the communities and the nature protectors. Based on this and previous research, valuable input of WWF and FD, we identified internal space heating as a main concern. The habitat of many species, including the beautiful Red Panda, is under threat as people cut the rare trees and bamboo for heating up their houses. The thermal insulation quality of these houses is however so dramatically bad, that much more fuel is needed than when we do basic insulation improvements of the houses. With WWF, we were asked by the local community to demonstrate this by improving three existing houses. We started to work on this and found creative ways to actually reuse waste material. With a lot of army presence, an abundance of glass bottles, rubber tires and Tetra packs was available. Over a period of several weeks, we worked side by side with the people to work on the improvement of the three houses. Half-open ceilings were fixed (in some places one could actually see the sky), washed and dried bottles were placed horizontally in such a pattern that the roof insulation improved dramatically. Educational posters were made, so also illiterate people could understand the basic idea. Then washed and dried unfolded Tetra pack was installed with overlaps to block the open slits (that let in cold and wet winds) and the rubber profiles were installed to improve the window closings. Halfway through the process of improvement work, people from other villages joined to see what was happening and how they could improve their houses. In 2014, we will continue the existing houses improvement and with the FD, we will demonstrate that this can also be applied for new buildings. We just finished the design for a compact multi-use Forest Outpost at Kupup on 3900m altitude, where we use all principles of sustainable design that can be followed in a wet and cold climate. With a second project coming up in

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Working with the locals to protect the habitat of the Red Panda, Sikkim.

Ladakh, I am working with Himanshu Lal and Sandeep Bogadhi on a larger scale to create another example of Sustainable Mountain Architecture. Improving and restoring a historic Nobel House and a carefully landscaped intervention of seven small new buildings in a sprawling orchard of apricot, apple and walnut trees. On a larger scale, within one of the quintessential programs of ICIMOD, the cross border mountain institute in Nepal, I am looking forward to be working on Guidelines for Sustainable Mountain Architecture for the Hindu Kush and Himalaya Mountains in the year to come. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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Conserving old buildings through the use of local materials and the retention of features that made them climatically responsive, is a course of design that Vikas Dilawari strongly believes will be more sustainable than the introduction of artificial parameters. His design process revolves around minimum intervention and retention of the maximum, thereby contributing greatly to energy and resource saving.

Vikas Dilawari Vikas Dilawari Conservation Architects A practicing conservation architect with two decades of exclusive experience in conservation, ranging from urban to architecture, he is presently the Head of the Department of Conservation at KRVIA, Mumbai. He was instrumental with INTACH, the Mumbai chapter in listing the CST station as World Heritage Site in 2004. Several of his projects have received national and international recognition. One of the significant ones being the restoration of Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai. This received the UNESCO Asia Pacific Award of Excellence in 2005. Images: courtesy Vikas Dilawari Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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Elphinstone Building, Mumbai: Conservation by restoring the building to the state the architects had originally intended them to be.

Vikas Dilawari: VD There seems to be a certain ambiguity on what exactly constitutes ‘sustainable’ architecture. What, according to you, is the definition of ‘sustainability’ in the Indian context? VD: The global and institutional definition might be different but for Indian context or what we try to practice is; we emphasise a lot of 3 R’s (Repair, Restore, Recycle), we believe in using traditional materials and skills which if revived and brought into mainstream construction it makes it affordable and environment-friendly, and thereby sustainable in our context. The term ‘sustainability’ encompasses varied perspectives. For instance, while some exercise restraint in design, others incorporate advanced technologies and yet others justify cause through sensitivity. What is your approach to sustainability? VD: As mentioned above, our practice revolves around conservation, restoration and repairs…so we try to save structures which otherwise can be pulled down and reconstructed with new

materials and technology with a lot new resources and energy which will be used in its reconstruction. While repairing, restoring and recycling, we try to conserve resources and try to make it as economical by doing minimum intervention that is essential for prolonging the life of the fabric. Majority of traditional architecture is environment-friendly like which does not require complete air-conditioning etc and our focus is on its conservation philosophy and ethics and sustainability is a by-product. The Western model of sustainability has measurable benefits globally. However, a home-grown solution sensitive to its particularities appears more appropriate in India. What are your thoughts on this? VD: Traditional means of water harvesting in its underground tanks ‘takki’ in Gujarat houses or screens/‘jalis’/arcaded verandahs, courtyards, cavity floors in Rajasthan ensure harsh sun is away but breeze is allowed to cool the houses. Use of traditional materials load-bearing walls lime rendered, ‘chajjas’ etc keeps the house cool in summer. These concepts are more appropriate and its best to integrate it with present day technology and design and materials to achieve sustainable results like traditional windcatchers coupled Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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Lal Chimney, Mumbai: The project sought to conserve their existing lifestyles and social interactions while giving the buildings a new lease of life, with increased property value.

While repairing, restoring and recycling we try to conserve resources and try to make it as economical by doing minimum intervention that is essential for prolonging the life of the fabric.

Royal Bombay Yatch Club, Mumbai.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013

Craigie Burn Bungalow, Matheran: Use of traditional materials of construction, local materials, respect and highlight the architectural character and undertake minimum interventions.


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YMCA, Mumbai: Keeping the simple colonial structure intact and highlighting its features; ornamental friezes and the use of right colours that could blend in with the rest of the architecture.

with present day light funnels can enliven interior spaces. After all, its meets the one of the sustainable definition i.e. “taking less from the Earth and giving more to people”.

Can you elaborate on the way your practice understands sustainable architecture and how your projects reflect the same?

There appears a need to extend the fundamental understanding of ‘sustainability’ and to incorporate more relevant aspects in its conception. In reference to our context, what do you think is missing?

VD: Our practice predominately revolves around Conservation which means maintaining someone else creations and whenever there is an opportunity of intervention vis-a-vis addition we try to incorporate these past wisdom which is environmental conscious and energy saving. As far as possible, we avoid using artificial means of cooling rather than accepting it as a present day necessity. We try to convince and educate our clients, sometimes they agree and sometimes they do not. While renovating the interiors, we also emphasise on energy saving light fixtures and are slowly incorporating solar panels too.

VD: We have to be more innovative looking into the past for solutions rather relying on Western solutions. In India, ingenious solutions, which can mitigate the concerns of the environment, exist traditionally. Can you comment on why these intelligent concepts suffer a dwindling importance? VD: These suffer a dwindling importance as these have not been scientifically researched and its results are not shared. Also, as traditional techniques and materials and design is not considered progressive in our present day context (unlike Vastu Shastra is…)

By and large what our practice contributes is sustainability, according to me, by preserving these old structures by repairing it and giving it a new lease of life as otherwise these would be replaced by new development of substantially very large scale replacing it with new materials and technology and thereby reducing the natural resources. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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IF I WERE TO TEACH...

By Sen Kapadia

In the introductory piece of IA&B’s column on Architectural Education, veteran design educator, Architect Sen Kapadia writes about multidisciplinary learning and the fact that learning is sought, not given.

From ‘School is Hell’ by the legendary Matt Groening (© Matt Groening; 1987)

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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architectural education

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here was a time when education was enough to tame the loitering mind; enough to allow culture to percolate into a civilisation. Then again there was that time when focused education honed us for professional performance in an urbanised society. These assumed proportionate availability of ideal teachers, libraries and an excellent syllabus evolved by inspired scholars, with acute attention for individual needs and the growth within. Seminars, debates, discussions, search and expressive resolutions formed a theoretical base. Students produced inventive presentations that merited high in socio-cultural impact. Such possibilities arrive only after dedicated inquiry into congeniality of various disciplines. This expands horizons of knowledge and ensures discoveries of new realities. Suddenly, with increase in competitive environment, studies were reduced to a battle field for accumulation of marks at each examination. With such a dense synopsis, the Kamla Raheja Experiment started in 1992 with a goal to arrest the drift in architectural education. In pursuit of illusive profile for a new syllabus, a positive and inclusive system seemed appropriate. Without negating existing archaic courses required for redundant exam oriented teaching. K.R.E. converted them into discourses by deconstructed university prescribed syllabus. Interactive discourses by non-tenured scholars put dynamic charge into these topics to lift them from banality into deep inquiries. These events produced a new and congenial academic environment for learning. This notion was nourished by open minded approach to learning by its enthusiastic and largely adjunct faculty who practiced and then preached the value based professionalism.

There is also an express need to encourage self-learning: a process that encourages discoveries by personal inquiry.

It would be pertinent to stress that the primary task for any school would be to locate the Director. The Head of faculty would be a person with proven credentials not merely assembled university degrees. A widely travelled, deeply interested in historic icons and their reasons to be so. Simultaneously scanning for leaps in world knowledge that will yield tomorrow’s iconic people, events and products. One who

is acutely aware of new visual language of the millennium, Cinema and its role in deciphering new codes of urbanised and differently-wired universe. This role model educationist will even be a writer, sensitive architect and an intellectual who has a pulse of youth. Here, you might say ENOUGH and cry out “This is a description of a fictional character.” Not really. While most of us are not even asking “What is a school”? Reinventing a school of architecture is not even on our agenda. Perhaps, it is easier just to wait for some new developments across the seas, then grab ideas in garb of collaboration and once again deny the individual authentic personal approach. We remain at the bottom. Denying such timid routine, K.R.E. attempted an approach on conceptual premise. Any object attributes its existence on three translations. Before its physical existence, it is on illustrated level and above all, it is on an imaginary platform. If the inquiry for a conceptual form is embellished with new multilayered language, it is sure to yield fresh new image. That is what the creative architect strives for. That is what K.R.E. focused on, the conceptual architecture. In search of new outlines of a deep educational program. Central to which is a multidisciplinary learning. Design studios will begin with conceptual contents and attempt to find a fresh set of guiding forces that generates a new discourse on possibilities. Next direction to find out lines of amorphous form will be a clutch of subsets absorbing climatic, geographical and contextual signs. Allowing various combatant subsets interplay to develop a new vocabulary for Form/ Space exploration. Discarding existing grammar, each student presents a personal library of emergent objects - seeing the whole process as a subject of inquiry that prepares young minds to personally absorb rules of problem solving as a creative process. In course of a five year study, students will grow up to look at any situation positively and as an opportunity to create with confidence. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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Sen Kapadia is an architect, educationist and planner based in Mumbai. He has worked with Louis I Kahn and the space management office in New York. He is instrumental in conceptualising and institutionalising the KRVIA (Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture) in Mumbai. Sen Kapadia has written extensively on design, architecture and visual culture and has lectured in premiere institutions in India and abroad. He lives and works in Mumbai.

Every presentation being made to external jury reaffirms the process of learning. The argument, elaborations and insights are open for everybody to share and learn outside the class room. In fact this is the climax that Design Studios can reach and in return a grand opportunity to personally hone the skill of “concept delivery“ as well as an open invitation to learn by observation for all other students. Then there is the school for open learning, after re-questioning class rooms as spaces for teaching. They are merely instruments for teaching for exams. Without them, space for learning is a new landscape. Perhaps, History of Architecture could be a non-exam subject and narratives could be condensed in a set of audio- video classes with the only compulsion to attend each session. A few iconic examples would then be seriously studied in their original environment by site visits and then debated, deconstructed and represented with arguments for their being so and socio cultural environment that induced their special characteristics. There could also be a display as learning tool and teaching tool. Drawings on walls and models on floors; learning by observing. Construction can be learnt by observing existing examples and presenting them in graphic records of your perceptions. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013

Technology as an instrument for change in education: a school can focus on producing learning modules that can be usable universally. A specific charismatic person can give his observations on a chosen topic and present it with the cross references of today’s visual art and philosophical benchmark in a concise digital format (DVD or like). To induce the reinventing agenda, there are several books available now globally, but always the inner voice has to provoke to put the claim. Additionally, there is this notion that the design studio in its present avatar, must be disassembled. Everybody cannot become a design architect. Some people are good in assisting an office; some others can be good in site work or in dealing with approval authorities. It is obvious that all schools need not have similar curriculum. A less intense course could offer an abridged Bachelor of Building Sciences for such a program. Then there could be schools of architecture that have built-in programs for training Fellows in a variety of subjects. It would be a sunny day when a well-educated and creative architect will one day teach construction on site, or on another day an architect will go on site and monitor spirit of architecture and adjust measurements. With the uneasy awareness of 250 schools


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Technology as an instrument for change in education: a school can focus on producing learning modules that can be usable universally.

of architecture already in existence and 100 more already being approved, a devastating scenario is being developed by unknowing authorities to unleash upon us. Where do we get that illusive Director from?! And essential faculty? And in these numbers? One wonders the efficacy of such a grand program. Perhaps the only way to avoid this calamity is to educate with aid of “Video Learning�. Most classrooms would now have to be audio video rooms where students will learn through projection of a lecture by accomplished authority on a specific subject. Such lectures will, of course, be interactive, debated, deconstructed and reassembled. This video conference would be its other manifestation, where scattered participants will come under 'one roof' electronically and debate issues with the urgency of face to face confrontation. Technique of video learning has long been utilised corporate houses to inform and educate vast army of employees. With advancing technologies and satellite transmission, knowledge transfer could be way outside classrooms. Soon our libraries would be air-conditioned databases accessing best of learning modules globally. An open source library not restricted to a stack of books. And we will all be rich with knowledge for that. There is also an express need to encourage self-learning: a process

that encourages discoveries by personal inquiry. When this is ingrained, the mind will be on a flight to wonderment. Education will be a preferred experience. Perhaps there will be a new dawn.

Sen Kapadia, June 2013

This column invites eminent academicians, ethical teachers, teaching architects, institution builders and design educationists to comment on architectural education (and design education as an extension) in the context of India. Concerned architects / academicians / educationists / teachers and students are invited to write to us / call us / email us for further discussion. Your deliberations / observations / critique / counter-arguments and agreements will be deeply valued. We must create a meaningful community of like-minded people to negotiate our future as professionals and responsible citizens of a globalising India. We must hold ourselves responsible for the quality of architectural and design thought in the coming decades. Please send your feedback / comments to iabedt@jasubhai.com. IA&B believes that this issue is of prime (and unprecedented) importance at the moment for the future of architecture in India.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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Cover.

Back Cover.

In a structured narrative that analyses methodology, projects and philosophy, ‘Architecture for the World’ chronicles Kenzo Tange’s journey to becoming an authoritative pioneer of 20 th century architecture by epitomising his life through his work.

T ↑

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Exhibition Hall (Front View).

Staircase and Pilotis space under the Exhibition Hall.

Through a cohesive compilation of diverse articles, the book paints a more nuanced picture of Tange and Japanese architecture in six capacities – Tange as an architect, a medium, a process, a network, a modernist and as an internationalist. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013

his collection of essays, which has been put together by Seng Kuan and Yukio Lippit, makes a valuable addition to the already extensive literature on Tange through a rediscovery of his ideals in the context of Japan’s unique embrace of modern architecture. In addition, the recent revival of interest in the Metabolist movement of the 1960s and the post-war architecture of Japan, allows this to be a relevant discourse on the subject of cultural identity, technology, and the synthesis of the arts. These clarify Tange’s wide-ranging interests which are defined as much by his investigative lab, collaborations and research as by his surviving buildings and urban plans. Through a cohesive compilation of diverse articles, the book paints a more nuanced picture of Tange and Japanese architecture in six capacities – Tange as an architect, a medium, a process, a network, a modernist and as an internationalist. Within this broad premise, his role as an ‘architect’ reassesses his built projects such as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Complex (1949-55) and the 1960 Tokyo Bay Project with a purview to showcase the shift in priorities from building structural edifices to instead envisioning urban hubs that foster social interactions. A detailed analysis of the process of designing these buildings and the Yoyogi National Indoor Stadium further substantiates the Metabolist principles of ‘city in the sky’ and plug-in towers that incorporate organic growth, as solutions for Japan’s urban congestion. Interspersed with pictures and preemptive sketches of the design process, each commentary on Tange highlights a differing perspective that consequently builds his personality. In the critique, ‘The Social Ambition of the Architect and the Rising Nation’, by Yatsuka Hajime, Tange is also used as a ‘medium’ to understand


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the modern tradition of building at the time, as he plays a pivotal role in the post-war period in Japan. This conversely projects Tange as the anchor in a textured historical context. Articles that explore Tange’s process by Toyokawa Saikaku showcase intricate interlinkage between his research at the Tange Research Laboratory and his physical buildings. Saikaku writes of the differing facets of Tange’s interests and how they cumulate in a comprehensive design process that strives at a deeper connection with history and, at the same time, with its present users. His disfavour of iconic buildings in the search of meaningful architecture is clearly seen in the way his quantitatively driven studies of population migration and the economic benefits of urban centralisation, were actively utilised in the building of the office towers in the 1950s and the 1960s.

Further, as Yasufumi Nakamori records in his commentary, Tange had a universal response to architecture rather than a regional one. At a time when Japan, post the World War and subsequent American occupation, was gripped with the ‘tradition debate’, Tange was largely influenced by the Gropius and Drexler ideals of a simplified notion of tradition. While he looked to incorporate aspects of historical Japanese architecture, he was, in essence, a ‘modernist’ with global bearing and aspirations. Tange’s ‘international ‘engagement with the CIAM, teachings in MIT and his inclination to the philosophy of Corbusier and Michelangelo only further emphasise the different aspects of his career. The ‘networks’ that were fostered during the evolution of the Japanese modernist movement through a medium of horizontal and vertical connections across the spectrum of design, engineering, critique, artistry and photography is thereby an evident part of the entire narrative. Boston Harbour Project Model.

(Top Left & Above) Scans from the book.

FACT FILE:

Yoyogi National Gymnasium.

Book : Kenzo Tange: Architecture for the World Edited By : Seng Kuan, Yukio Lippit Publisher : Lars Muller Publishers Language : English ISBN : 978-3-03778-310-8 Reviewed By : Chandrima Padmanabhan Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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Under Construction Building is an inherently violent act. Labib Mohammad Sharfuddin visits sites which have evidences of intrusion – construction and building activity that surreally dominate the landscape in this edition. Text & Images: courtesy Labib Mohammad Sharfuddin Curator: Dr. Deepak John Mathew

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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his is a series of photographs which deals with the construction works around the developing city of Dhaka. In 2011, I took a few photographs of a road extension work near my house, which was part of a huge flyover project. There were so many things happening there and they were happening fast. I saw the place changing day after day and the place attracted me more. There are thousands of small and big construction works going on around Dhaka city. Commercial, non-commercial and some are done by the Government and it is changing our city day by day. The area of Dhaka is 815.8 square kilometers, as we know, and the Government is seriously considering giving approval to the Dhaka Metropolitan Development Plan (1995-2005) covering 1528 square kilometers. Even 3/4 years ago places like Mirpur DOHS were nothing more than an empty land full of grass now it has become a huge housing society. To me it is very interesting. Simple things like a dredging pipe spilling sand or a half sliced building beside a road, has a mysterious benign presences which we do not notice very often. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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Labib Mohammad Sharfuddin Labib Mohammad Sharfuddin is a Bangladeshi photographer with a keen interest in Documentary photography. He was born on November 5 th 1989 in Rangpur, Bangladesh. He is a business student specialised in marketing. He has studied photography from Pathshala (South Asian Media Academy) for three years. There he has participated in various international workshops conducted by prominent professionals and artists including Munem Wasif, Abir Abdullah, Peter Bialobrzeski, Laurence Leblanc, Philip Blenkinsop and Shahidul Alam. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013

Space Frames investigates issues of architecture and environment through the medium of photography. To contribute, write to us at iabedt@jasubhai.com or to the curator Dr Mathew at dr.djmathew@gmail.com.


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Code of the Habitat Culture, Context and the Fundamentals of Placemaking

The architecture of India has an intuitive understanding of its context. Forms, devices, articulations, layouts, and patterns seamlessly come together in an incredibly unique image – one that develops from a deep-rooted understanding of the lay of the land and the everyday lives of its people. The forces of climate, situation, function, history, culture, society and economy form an influential secondary layer, while in the primary layer, exists a fine harmony even in the seemingly disparate elements. This architecture of our people is valuable; not because it reveals ideas that are new to our understanding, but because, it embraces ideas that are already known as integral. And what makes this architecture eternal is its ordinariness. Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


90 [1] – The Leh Houses in Jammu & Kashmir are built on elevated unclouded sites facing the south. The old town of Leh, with its narrow alleys and lanes, consists of almost two hundred such houses, fashioned with a distinct Tibetan vocabulary. [2] – Responding to their situation and extreme weather conditions, the houses utilise indigenous materials like stone, mud and timber sandwiched between thick rammed earth walls. They are generally built on stone foundations employing local clays and soils ingeneously to create waterproof roof layers and dust-free plastered surfaces.

The architecture of our habitats has, at its core, an age-old code through which we extract the order of the world from our own living. It is not an external imposition, but instead a process that lies deep within us, in our own idiosyncrasies.

[1]

And so, at the center of all that is diverse and distinct, lies one fundamental invariant feature – the code – sprouting from ordinariness to define identity, often unconsciously so.

Some of the most eloquent responses to Indian realities are found in the architecture of our habitats.

[2]

General, yet, profound reflections of life, habitats are the most fundamental archetypes – cohesive and implicit reactions to the forces of situation. Unique to their context, they are distinctly identifiable with the place of their being.

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An important junction for caravan trade on the Silk Route for centuries, the culture, language and religion mainly come from Tibet. Minor architectural developments were initiated during the reign of the Namgyal dynasty in 1600 AD.

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In them, we find the essential traces of our identity. Location: Leh, Jammu & Kashmir Population Density: 10/km2 Government: Semi-autonomous Society: Rural Lifestyle: Ethnic Tibetan Income: 16000 INR (per capita)

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91 [3] – The Bhungas of Kutch are single cylindrical structures, placed close to each other to form a house. They comprise of dome-shaped bamboo and thatch roofs and walls of mud, twigs and dung. [4] – The circular design and independent structure helps resist wind pressure and earthquakes. Thick mud walls, meagre openings and overhangs keep the interiors cool. [5] – The interiors are simple and walls are painted beautifully depicting colourful geometrical and floral patterns with inlaid mirror-work and local textiles.

Understanding the patterns therein, helps understand life in its most fundamental sense. [3]

The natural extremities of landscape and climate are consistently negotiated through architecture. And the most essential responses to these extremities are found in the remotest of lands – candid expressions of a restrained availability, in terms of materials and means, manifested proudly in native forms and skills. It is egoless and inclusive, and yet the architecture is not exclusive of the individualities that orchestrate it. In the process, the simple act of building begins to manifest complex, internal and almost sacrosanct implications.

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The region developed organically inhabited by the ‘Banjaras’ or nomads. Traditional salt production is a recorded 600-year-old economic activity. The epicentre of the 2011 Gujarat Earthquake was experienced here.

[5]

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The underlying idea is adequately specific, so that it negates, through a mix of practicality and ethics, the fear of what happens naturally.

Location: Kutch, Rajasthan Population Density: 35/km2 Government: District Governance Society: Aboriginal Lifestyle: Semi-nomadic Income: 18000 INR (per capita)

PARTICULARS Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


92 [6] [7] – The Bamboo Houses of Assam are detailed to combat heavy monsoons. The floor is a bamboo weave that allows water to flow in, while the inhabitants utilise the canoe stored in the stilt area below. The belongings are protected by putting them up on the bamboo loft. The roof is built with local grass and can last upto ten years before demanding a replacement. [8] – The Sema Houses of Nagaland follow a similar principle. The bamboo weaves make the walls and floors porous allowing cross-ventilation and natural lighting. An earth plastering is often done over the close-knit bamboo wall for further protection.

And men build as naturally as birds do.

[6]

While the materials and techniques change drastically with location, the ethics of building, with due and profound respect to nature, remain central. Crude in their structure and unrefined in form, the habitats become the immediate outcomes of contextual parameters.

[7]

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Throughout history, the region is known as a physical and cultural bridge between India, East Asia, and South East Asia. The region is predominantly inhabited by tribal people with a fair degree of diversity even within the tribal groups.

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[8]

And so, though the underlying code does not fit a particular description exactly, it is exact in its adaptation to the forces that influence it. Location: Villages, North-Eastern States Population Density: 200/km2 Government: Unicameral Governance Society: Aboriginal Lifestyle: Mixed Ethnic | Tribal Income: 13000 INR (per capita)

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93 [9] – The Agraharam Houses of South India are row houses with sloping roofs and common walls lining a street. The front space of the house is divided into an outer and inner ‘verandah’ with a raised plinth used as a seating area. A typical house comprises of an open courtyard in the middle and wooden beams with terracotta tiles for the roof. [10] – The house is characterised by symmetry and decorative features such as mouldings, cornices, and large openings. The backyards of the houses are linked by narrow lanes. The street in front of the house transforms itself into an active community space.

As the theme is set by elements of placemaking, the variations are specific and unique.

[9]

In moderate situations, more patient and seemingly permanent responses emerge. While geography continues to dictate form and material, culture and socetial systems gain prominence and govern the spaces around which life revolves. There are variations in repetitive patterns and alterations in sequential regularities, but in the end, all incongruences converge in a complete harmonious idea.

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Many Pallava, Chola and Pandya kings established Brahmin settlements in Tamil Nadu which later migrated to other South Indian states. Traditionally, they abutted the temple and life revolved around the rituals of the community.

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[ 10 ]

And the wonder remains that that certain, now internalised, code is so firmly rooted in the architecture of India, that many individuals, unconnected and anonymous, collectively arrive at a coherent output, without the slightest need for rules, crafting orders and patterns out of circumstance and communities, out of individuals and spaces. Location: Coastal villages, Tamil Nadu Population Density: 600/km2 Government: Municipal Administration Society: Rural | Traditional Lifestyle: Religious Income: 19000 INR (per capita)

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94 [11] – The Kath-khuni Houses of Himachal Pradesh consist of stone and timber walls, constructed in an indigenous style of construction, in which the walls are made with alternate courses of dry stone-masonry and timber without any cementing mortar. [12] – Built to withstand the extreme low temperatures of its locale, a typical house comprises of a cattle shed in the ground floor, an elaborate storage in the first floor and the living areas in the single or multiple floors above.

In the architecture of our habitats, every space gains character from the events it harbours. The action of moments, the people involved and peculiar situations shape architecture.

[ 11 ]

And so, typology no longer remains an issue of form – it becomes an issue of use.

Thus, within a system of similar building techniques, similar forms embrace multiple meanings. In this ambiguity of form and purpose, we find instances of divergent functions and multiple layouts while the fundamental pattern from which they emerge remains unswerving and coherent.

The elements of architecture remain consistent while the levels of their finesse vary with the economic situation. A typology, thus, finds its presence throughout the landscape defining the way people live in that landscape and in return, being defined by the meeting of the two.

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The history of the villages of Himachal Pradesh dates back to 1100 AD. The rulers of this region belonged to the Rathore Clan. Today, the villages are reputed for their apple orchards and cattle rearing which is their main source of income.

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[ 12 ] Location: Villages, Himachal Pradesh Population Density: 1300/km² Government: Municipal Administration Society: Rural | Traditional Lifestyle: Ethnic Pahari Income: 22500 INR (per capita annual)

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95 [13] – The ‘Banglas’ of West Bengal comprise of a public entrance that leads to a courtyard, the public ‘baithak’ and a ‘puja’ area which are social spaces. These lead to a study and other semi-private spaces. The first floor is entirely dedicated to private spaces. [14] – Balconies run along, both, the ground as well as the first floors and act as buffer-spaces, which moderate the extremities of climate. The ‘Bangla’ represents a confluence of cultures, born from traditionalism and colonialism.

But when the traditions of the land meet alien stimuli, the latter intervene and influence, and hybrid typologies emerge from the overlap. Thus, a conventional and consistent typology borrows new elements, from an intruding idea. But in this superficial transfer of forms, the intent in the deep structure remains intact. [ 13 ]

The forms and appellations evolve, but the patterns remain intact, unchallenged, reflecting a strong ingrained native understanding.

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Kolkata’s recorded history begins with the arrival of the English East India Company, consolidating its trade business. Prior to this, it was a part of an estate belonging to the Mughal emperor; the taxation rights held by private landowners, or ‘zamindars’.

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[ 14 ] Location: Kolkata, West Bengal Population Density: 22000/km² Government: Mayor Council Society: Urban | Metropolitan Lifestyle: Multicultural Income: 55000 INR (per capita annual)

PARTICULARS Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


96 [15] – The ‘Havelis’ of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan are built as grand mansions featuring courtyards, the number of courtyards varying with economic status. They are characterised by ‘chajjas’ (sunshades), ‘jharokhas’ (balconies), ‘jaalis’ (screens) and archways. Large corridors, pavilions and ceilings which resemble those of palaces are typical. [16] [17] – Ostentatious carvings, etched out with infinite detail and then painstakingly pieced together in different patterns on surfaces, each more lavish than the next, depict status and wealth. Coloured in various shades, the ‘Havelis’ often adorn wall paintings, frescoes.

And so, responding to economic structures and incidental prosperity, the architecture employs the finest crafts in its making.

While ingenious evolutions continue to respond appropriately to contextual influences, fine details control and articulate the spaces within enclosures. This employment of architectural devises bears no restriction on the habitual expressions of craft as they attain complete finesse and beauty. Even in the crudest examples, the form is finely detailed and embellished. In the scheme of things, the layout is usually consistent with the established patterns that define it. The code thus begins to impose as naturally as memory and intuition.

[ 16 ]

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[ 17 ]

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Jaisalmer was a halting point along a trade route of India and Asia. During Islamic invasions, it escaped direct conquest due to its geographical situation in the desert. During the British Raj, it remained a princely state ruled by Rajputs.

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Truth becomes beautiful and beauty, true. Montane

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[ 15 ]

Location: Jaisalmer, Rajasthan Population Density: 11000/km² Government: Municipal Administration Society: Rural | Traditional Lifestyle: Ethnic Folk Income: 45000 INR (per capita)

PARTICULARS


97 [18] [19] – The contiguous pink city dwellings in Jaipur form the basic urban fabric. Conforming to a rectangular or square shape, the plan typically comprises of a ‘poli’ (entrance), a ‘tibari’ (courtyard), ‘kothis’ (rooms) and a ‘chaubara’ (chamber). [20] [21] – Façades show ‘gokhdas’ (sit-outs) on either side of the entrance. The dwellings range from a single courtyard house form to an assemblage of multiple courts, depending on the status of the owner and number of family members.

[ 19 ]

[ 18 ]

With change in situation and possibilities, the archetype changes; the typology remains intact. Rooms change orientation, courts change scale, spaces change sequence and the nomenclatures vary. But the influences that shape the plan remain. Deep-rooted ideas - ideas that define the fundamentals of space-making, remain unchanged in their essence, altering connotations and relationships once in a while.

[ 20 ]

In these condensed continuities of ancient patterns, we find our ceaseless continuum...

[ 21 ]

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Jaipur was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II consulting Shilpa Shastra, Vaastu Shastra and similar classical treatises. During the regime of Sawai Ram Singh, the whole city was painted pink to welcome the Prince of Wales.

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...for the pattern of the code is absorbed in the collective memory of its people. And so, even in a regulated, planned and inorganic system, the same ideas are re-employed though distinct. Location: Jaipur, Rajasthan Population Density: 17000/km² Government: Mayor Council Society: Urban | Traditional Lifestyle: Multicultural Income: 68000 INR (per capita)

PARTICULARS Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


98 [22] – The Pol Houses of Ahmedabad comprise of the ‘Oatla’ (entrance platform), ‘Khadkee’ (main entrance), ‘Chowk’ (courtyard), ‘Parsal’ (verandah around the court), ‘Ordo’ (central hall), ‘Diwankhana’ (formal living space), ‘Paniyara’ (storage), ‘Baithak’ (informal living space) and ‘Agashi’ (rooftop terrace). Adjacent houses share side walls and have minimal frontage. [23] – The street façade is heavily treated with wooden structural and decorative elements, including carved columns, brackets, window shutters and balconies. The essence of a Pol is a network of narrow streets, shrines, open community spaces and ‘chabutaros’ (bird feeders on a raised pole).

Culture is a consistent influencer in India. In the paradigms of our cultural identities, we find idiosyncratic traditions.

[ 22 ]

At times, traditions are incredibly common yet intrinsic to the place where they are manifested in the built fabric. Intricate craftsmanship, hierarchies of enclosure, privacy gradients and combinations of built and open are defined by and in turn define the culture of the place. In this relationship that our habitat shares with its local structure, we find individual expressions of the facade, fenestrations, stairwells, balconies, brackets, courts, rooms, ladders, cabinets and everything within.

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Mahmud Begada, the ruler, fortified Ahmedabad in 1487. It became the provincial headquarters under the Mughals, until it was surrendered to the Marathas. The Indian freedom movement developed here under Mahatma Gandhi.

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And typical elements of the grain narrate the story of this culture. The elements absorb and dissolve into a fabric of relationships – with nature, with history and with community.

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Collective ideas show great tolerance to individuality, thus rendering each house unique, even in a uniform whole.

[ 23 ]

Location: Ahmedabad, Gujarat Population Density: 14000/km² Government: Mayor Council Society: Urban | Metropolitan Lifestyle: Multicultural Income: 87000 INR (per capita)

PARTICULARS


[24] – The Dawoodi Bohra Houses of Sidhpur imitate Victorian architecture in a ‘shared-parallel-walls’ typology with deep house plans having three (or four) sequential rooms one behind the other. A typical Bohra House comprises of ‘Otla’ (entrance platform), ‘Deli’ (arrival space), ‘Avas’ (courtyard), ‘Parsali’ (verandah), ‘Ordo’ (room) and the ‘Agashi’ (terrace).

99

[25] [26] – A unity of facades is achieved by similarity of building types, materials of construction and commonality of a design vocabulary. The surface of the facade is visually broken by ornamented columns, brackets and mouldings, at times bringing multicoloured cohesion to the streets. The enclosed balcony takes the form of a window-seat looking into the street.

However, our habitats are incredibly sensitive to change. In settlements that are completely regulated by systems of planning and collective living, influences of alien styles get wrapped in images for incorporation. The symbolism and iconography of the native belief stays. What also remains persistent is the scheme, enabling fine blends with conflicting ideas evolving new adaptations, unique to its place.

[ 24 ]

With contact and exposure, there is a metamorphosis in form and detail. In the former, the idea evolves while in the latter, the craft does. In both the cases, the distinct identity remains as the pattern; and the skill that enables ideas and crafts remains shielded from influences.

[ 25 ]

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In 1000 AD, under Solanki rulers, Sidhpur was at the zenith of fame and glory. It was home to the Dawoodi Bohra merchant community that travelled to Europe for trade. In 1400 AD it was brought under the Mughal rule by Akbar.

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Continuity is thus ensured.

[ 26 ]

Location: Sidhpur, Gujarat Population Density: 250/km² Government: Municipal Administration Society: Traditional Lifestyle: Ethnic Muslim Income: 25000 INR (per capita annual)

PARTICULARS Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


100 [28] – The Nalukettu Houses of Kerala are rectangular structures with sloping roofs laid with tiles or thatch on wood and timber roof frames. Within, four blocks are joined together by a central courtyard open to the sky. [27] [29] – ‘Thatchu Shasthra’ (Science of Carpentry) and ‘Vasthu Shasthra’ are the chief governing sciences in its architecture. The skilful choice of timber, accurate joinery, artful assembly and delicate carving of wood work for columns, walls and roofs frames is the unique characteristic.

And, as always, form continues to follow climate. Our houses, the most private and individual of our architectural domains, are hence understandably receptive to its atmospheres. But the idea of the code is sacrosanct.

[ 28 ]

Thus, the details and devices employed take the simplest but not the easiest route to the solution. [ 27 ] Recurring typologies of universal elements find incredibly diverse manifestations. Each courtyard, window, roof, column and capital is indeed practical, but unique to the last detail. And an inherent identity continues to ensure that a courtyard in the Deccan is invariably distinct from that of the desert.

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For centuries the Malabar region, was ruled by Cheras kings. In 1757, it came under Hyder Ali of Mysore. It was ceded to the English East India Company in 1792 and finally came under the princely state of Cochin and Madras state in 1947.

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[ 29 ]

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In the process of expressing individuality, the identity is never lost.

Location: Coastal Districts, Kerala Population Density: 650/km² Government: District Governance Society: Rural | Traditional Lifestyle: Mixed Ethnic Income: 22000 INR (per capita)

PARTICULARS


101 [30] [31] – The typical Chettinad Houses in Tamil Nadu are tile-roofed with a small two-storeyed tower at both ends in elevation. The basic plan consists of a ‘Thinnai’ (outside verandah) with a room for conducting business, an interior courtyard to be used in ceremonies, with a raised seating area, a series of rooms opening off the courtyard, for prayer, sleeping and storage and a small courtyard behind for cooking. [32] [33] – The houses display ornate embellishments like glasswork, intricate woodwork, spectacular ceramic tiles, and carved stone, iron and wooden pillars.

Houses become the first and the most permanent expression of this identity and, hence, of our prosperity. They become reflections of the economies that enable them. Being the most personal of all realms of architecture, they adorn the most eloquent and the most affordable skill. Embellishments and ornaments thus express more than merely finesse and taste – they become formal manifestations of our individual aspirations, our collective sensibilities and our cultural obligations.

[ 32 ]

[ 33 ]

And though the inherent patterns of these vary from culture to culture, each culture definitely depicts a particular set of these patterns. Our individual existences are made from them and so are our collective lives. It is through these that our culture maintains itself, keeps itself alive and builds realities that mould our collective identity. [ 30 ]

Like architecture, identity too is encoded in the culture of a place.

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The Chettiars were considered as elite and enterprising among the trading communities. They travelled widely in South East Asia looking for opportunities. They played a dominant role as private bankers, money lenders and financiers.

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[ 31 ] Location: Chettinad, Tamil Nadu Population Density: 1300/km² Government: District Governance Society: Rural | Traditional Lifestyle: Mixed Ethnic Income: 24000 INR (per capita)

PARTICULARS Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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[34] – The Wadas of Maharashtra are typically large buildings of two or more storeys with groups of rooms arranged around an open courtyard. Wadas being introverted, the central courtyard is the source of light, ventilation and space for social activities. The entrance from the street has platforms on either side that encourage interaction with the street. Water is collected in open tanks called ‘Hauds’. [35] [36] – The most significant feature is the zoning of public, private and semi-private spaces. The ground floor comprises of the courtyard with the cattle shed (later offices) and storage. The first floor has the ‘Durbar’ (living areas) while the floor above is exclusively used by the inhabitants.

And so, as culture and societies change, the architecture of habitats undergoes transitions.

[ 35 ]

Sometimes, the most obvious of all systems becomes the most adaptive of all. The same scheme manages to translate into many situations and thus, many independent structures. Extremely local in language and central to the politics of space, the habitats get shaped by the realities of our land and frameworks of our scoiety, all the while altering the realities with intervention. [ 36 ]

And as always, the psychology of human relationships is kernel, while ingenious practical modifications create exclusive individual units within inclusive collective communities.

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In 1625, under the Marathas, initial developments of the town into ‘peths’ began. The Peshwas succeeded the Marathas in 1720. Settlements developed around the Peshwa Residence into wards that centered around the village life.

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[ 34 ] Location: Pune, Maharashtra Population Density: 10500/km² Government: Mayor Council Society: Urban | Metropolitan Lifestyle: Multicultural Income: 42000 INR (per capita)

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[37] [38] – The Chawls of Mumbai are often four to five storeys of about 10 to 20 tenements, referred to as ‘Kholis’, which literally means ‘rooms’ on each floor. The architectural similarity between all Chawls is their balcony corridors which look into the common courtyard and allow inhabitants to interact with each other.

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[39] – A typical ‘Kholi’ or tenement consists of one all purpose room, that functions both as a living and sleeping space, and a kitchen that also serves as a dining room. A frequent practice is for the kitchen to also serve as a bedroom. The ‘Mori’ (toilets and bath) and the staircases are common shared facilities.

Communities and the way we live in them are undoubtedly influenced by the economic engines that govern enterprise. At times, habitats become structural expressions of the very forces that dictate this enterprise. And in a seemingly regulated and governed system of things, our habitats, out of sheer necessity, metamorphose a scheme into a typology, which continue to linger long after the forces that shape them cease to exist.

[ 38 ]

In the course of time, what remains is a trace of the force and the footprint of the type.

[ 39 ]

As different events, traditions and living patterns co-exist, distinctive characteristics arise from their combined situations and infinite habitats come together in a single unified fabric.

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Educational and economic progress began during the British rule. The textile mills contributed significantly to growth in the early 1900s. With the transformation into a major industrial metropolis, mills were shut down and immigration increased.

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[ 37 ]

Every habitat develops a distinct character owing to the events it hosts. And it is not that patterns and codes in the grain create these events. In India, it is simply that the events and their patterns are inseparable from the code of the habitat. Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra Population Density: 27000/km² Government: Mayor Council Society: Urban | Cosmopolitan Lifestyle: Multicultural | Informal Income: 125000 INR (per capita)

PARTICULARS Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


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The forces that shape our habitat are unique to our land and its landscape. This implies that the architectural responses to the same are implicitly unique and specific. This also implies that while global forces and surge of speculative developments define our contemporary lifestyles, we are consistently being alienated from the patterns that shaped and defined our individuality and our architecture. While modernism has wonderful things to offer in terms of technology, materials and means, the architecture of our land cannot be discarded as kitsch. In our architecture, lies the code that defines our living and the spaces that emerge from the continuities of these patterns. We cannot, even in the most rash of our actions, discard these intrinsic patterns for the want of the byelaws. For unless these are continued, unless these are understood and expressed with contemporary means and methods, unless these become a part of our living atmosphere, our identity – individual and collective – will be lost in the bargain. Modernity for the sake of modernity will be the end of our individuality as we lose our future to a global world – a world where no street is unique to its culture, no square is identifiable with its context and no place is ever made like it deserves to be.

This column is an attempt to decipher and understand the ideas and elements that are sacrosanct to the architecture of India. [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [

A ] Leh Houses, Jammu & Kashmir B ] Bhungas of Kutch, Gujarat C ] Bamboo Houses, Assam D ] Sema Houses, Nagaland E ] Agraharams of the South, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka F ] Kath-khuni Houses, Himachal Pradesh G ] Banglas, West Bengal H ] Havelis of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan I ] City Dwellings in Jaipur, Rajasthan J ] Pol Houses of Ahmedabad, Gujarat K ] Bohra Houses of Sidhpur, Gujarat L ] Nalukettu Houses, Kerala M ] Chettinad Houses, Tamil Nadu N ] Wadas, Maharashtra O ] Chawls in Mumbai, Maharashtra

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Authors : Photographs : Drawings : Website :

Ruturaj Parikh, Shalmali Wagle IA&B Archives, Various Contributors Ruturaj Parikh, Shalmali Wagle, Maanasi Hattangadi www.iabforum.com

The images, drawings and references in this column are representational only. All drawings are to proportion and not to scale. The scale of facts and particulars at the bottom of each page is approximate and true to the best of our knowledge.

Indian Architect & Builder - July 2013


July 2013: Under Construction Indian Architect & Builder Magazine


Space Frames investigates issues of architecture and environment through the medium of photography. To contribute, write to us at iabedt@jasubhai.com or to the curator Dr. Mathew at dr.djmathew@gmail.com.

Labib Mohammad Sharfuddin Labib Mohammad Sharfuddin is a Bangladeshi photographer with a keen interest in Documentary photography. He was born on November 5 th 1989 in Rangpur, Bangladesh. He is a business student specialised in marketing. He has studied photography from Pathshala (South Asian Media Academy) for three years. There he has participated in various international workshops conducted by prominent professionals and artists including Munem Wasif, Abir Abdullah, Peter Bialobrzeski, Laurence Leblanc, Philip Blenkinsop and Shahidul Alam.

INDIAN ARCHITECT & BUILDER

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