indian arch â€˜16
National Association of Students of Architecture, India Department of Architecture, town & Regional pl anning indian institute of engineering science & technology, shibpur
First published in India in 1987 by National Association of Students of Architecture, India. Annual magazine of NASA, India. The 29th edition being published in 2016 by the Dept. of Architecture, T. & R. P., IIEST Shibpur, on behalf of NASA, India. National Association of Students of Architecture, India An ISO 9001:2008 certified organisation. NASA, India is a non profit and non political association registered under the Society’s Act 1860 vide no. 24786 as applicable to the National Capital Territory of New Delhi, India. Address: School of Planning and Architecture, Dept. of Architecture, 6, Block B, IP Estate, New Delhi 110002; Phone: 011-23702390 E-mail: email@example.com Department of Architecture, Town & Regional Planning Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur Address: P.O.Botanic Garden, Shalimar, Howrah, West Bengal 711103; Phone: 033-26684561/26680522; Indian Arch 2016 Country: India Frequency: Annual Category: Architecture and Construction Commercial: Non-profit student’s journal. The Indian Arch ‘16 magazine is owned and published by the Dept. of Architecture, T. & R.P., IIEST, Shibpur, in association with NASA, India. The editors have done their utmost to verify all information before publishing, but do not hold themselves responsible in any way whatsoever, for any inaccuracies that may have been published inadvertently. All contents printed in this magazine are the personal works of the respective authors, and/ or the persons interviewed or associated to it, and are copyright to the respective person, whether named or not. Opinions, or viewpoints expressed in the article or illustrations, are of the authors, and the publishers/editors take no responsibility of any debate, or unrest in any form whatsoever arising from the same. All images used in this magazine if not copyright to the author, or a person mentioned otherwise, are not filtered by any sort of licence. The editorial acknowledges the owner of these images as per the Creative Commons Copyright Licence. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any other information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher, in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright Act 1956 (as amended). Any person, group or organisation who does any unauthorised act in relation to this magazine shall be liable to criminal prosecution. Copyright @ Dept. of Arch. T. & R.P., IIEST Shibpur & NASA, India Publication Cell.
Indian Arch ‘16 | National Association of Students of Architecture, India
“To acknowledge our ancestors means we are aware that we did not make ourselves. We remember them because it is an easy thing to forget: that we are not the first to suffer, rebel, fight, love and die. The grace with which we embrace life, in spite of the pain, the sorrow, is always a measure of what has gone before.” Alice Walker 2016 sees the completion of 58 glorious years of National Association of Students of Architecture, India. And that dear friends, is a long journey. A small association, spiralled out with a handful of colleges on the 13th of September, 1957, travelled through the hands of hard working students, who dedicated themselves to keeping this legacy alive and thriving, and has finally culminated to being what it is today. From a small conglomeration of a few colleges, to the largest independent student’s platform in the entire South East Asia, we have come a long way and have achieved much. NASA, India at present has been successful in bringing almost all architecture colleges in the country under its network, and hardly anyone from the architecture fraternity can be found who is unaware of what NASA is. And that speaks for itself. One of the very first things all architecture students get introduced to, in their first year, is NASA itself. The name creates a preliminary confusion, with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S.A., and those of us courageous enough to inquire of our temperamental seniors as to what it stands for, gets a taste of the divine knowledge (and then clarify the same to those who were too shy to ask, or afraid maybe!), in a way that it becomes an integral part of our college life. The NASA that we knew from our childhood now takes the back-seat, and for the next few years, this term creates multiple vivid and vibrant memories and experiences. Speaking from personal experience, these ventures for us students are in no way short of the thrills of space voyages, time travel, or being left stranded on a lonesome planet, as Hollywood fictions often portray. NASA, India is of utmost importance for architecture students in India. Much of what we learn during our gruelling 5 year course turns out to be a part of some work for this platform. Fun, frolic, and enjoyment aside, the competitions and workshops hosted by NASA, India helps us learn a lot; travelling in groups as delegates to the conventions, staying for a week there, feeling the pressure of the mammoth competitive events and being in awe of the ingenious creativity of people... all of this and the zeal for glory instils a moral booster in all of us, much needed to succeed. Not to lie, we all eagerly wait for the ZoNASA, and Annual NASA days. Much like other aspects of life, NASA appears suddenly, and accepts us as one of its own; and in this process NASA becomes ‘someone’ we all hold close
to our hearts and with the highest of regards. The delegate accommodation and food provisions, which always give us much to complain about no matter how reasonably arranged, the all-nighters we pull through during any A.N.C., the much coveted trophies, the incessant confusion about time, and venue of an event, the workshops and the fun involved in the ever-so-hectic, all engulfing convention - these are the things that we all look forward to. These are things that take us back through a roller-coaster ride we so fondly recollect as NASA! Joy finds a new definition when you hear of your college winning a trophy; or winning the convention itself. Friends turn into families when we all travel to the host college through those sleeper class trains, (well, most of us). Bonds grow stronger and adrenaline runs havoc when we proclaim our support for our college (with the loudest and strongest of words) - all united. Vocal chords give way, but our spirits are untamed! Sleepless, tired, barely walking, we find comfort in those beautifully presented sheets panelled at the exhibition hall. If ever you want to see, what true solace means; ask an architecture student what it feels like to get a jury commendation for his work... True. Life without NASA is unfathomable. And all the reasons stated above fuelled the desire of us “archi B.E.ings” of Shibpur to bid and win the chance to tame Indian Arch. Frankly, this is our first attempt at a publication of such scale and proportions and as much naive we were when we won the bid for it, we now stand equally strong, with a certain amount of expertise and confidence. Happiness is not only when you succeed at something in which you are skilled; happiness is rather profound when you conquer the new, the unknown to the best of your abilities. We are thankful to NASA, India for bestowing faith on us. Thanks to our executive committee members for helping us out at each step. As much as we are happy that we can contribute to NASA, India in our own way, we are happy to bring out a publication that promises to be educative, and enriching, as well as entertaining. This issue of Indian Arch features articles written by some of the foremost professionals and academicians from the world of architecture and also our very own alumni; our gratitude to these eminent personalities who took out time from their busy schedules to contribute to this magazine. Our gratitude to all of them. Without them, we would have been incomplete. We are grateful to Sumitra Nair, Magazine Strategist, Design Detail for helping us out with the endeavour. A special ‘thank you’ to Prof. Keya Mitra, Faculty Co-ordinator, I.A. ‘16 cannot go amiss. Without your help, and guidance, we would have been nowhere. Dept. of Architecture, T. & R.P., IIEST Shibpur 58th NASA, Re-Evolution NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 1
In revered memory of
Ar. Charles Mark Correa
“Every architect is necessarily a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day and his age.’ Frank Lloyd Wright We build our future on the experience of the past. Architecture evolves around a society formed by millennia of experience. Ensuring “future of the past” is as important as ensuring quality of new development. Technological advances over centuries enable the architect to adopt a new vocabulary of expression and space planning. .But the language of architecture need to be consistent and understood. The anthropometrics nor the bio-climatic responses change because of technology. The path of architecture will need to blend technology with the societal requirement with a vocabulary understood by the people. In the shadow of impending environmental disaster caused by climate change, the architect has a major responsibility in conserving environmental resources, and in ensuring sustainable development. Traditionally, Indian culture respected the nature and its attributes in all walks of life. The Bhoomisukta in Atharvaveda says “Whatever I dig up of you Earth, may you have quick replenishment! O purifying one, May my thrust never reach your vital points, your heart! May our dwellings, O Earth be free from sickness and wasting, flourish for us. Through a long life watchful, may we always offer you our tribute.!” This is recited at the time of consecration of land for building. Symbolically it unites nature with man. Construction causes heavy footfalls on the rapidly depleting resources of the earth. The expenditure on construction sector exceeds 60% of the national budget in a plan year. Many of the modern materials have a very large budget of embodied energy. Production of energy involves polluting process, in addition to consumption of scarce resources. Resources of the earth are finite. Rapid consumption of the resources denies access to the same resources by succeeding generations. “Sustainable development means consumption of resources without denying the use of the same resources to the succeeding generations” (Our Common Future). Challenge before the modern architect is to achieve this objective through development.
Indian Arch ‘16
Introduction sustainable architecture
Architecture contributes significantly to the production of Green House Gases (GHG’s), due to the production process. GHG’s are produced by the process of production of building materials and components. The calories of energy consumed in production represent the embodied energy. Assessment of the quantity of building materials used in a building quantifies the embodied energy. Higher the budget of embodied energy, greater is the contribution of GHGs. And consequent contribution to Global Warming, which have the potential to destroy the world and life as we know. Architecture also causes recurrent consumption of energy by lighting, air conditioning, electrical appliances etc. Efficiency of the building is reflected by the economy in the consumption of recurrent energy. Energy conservation can be achieved by the design, i.e the planning of spaces and design of building envelop, as well as by choice of appropriate
low energy consuming materials. This is known as passive energy saving techniques. This may also contribute to the recurrent consumption of energy by ensuring appropriate indoor climatic conditions and efficiency in the arrangement of spaces. Water is a scarce resource. It is a gift of nature. Development of a building covers the soil which used to absorb the rain water and in the process recharged the ground water. More than 90% of water for human habitation consumption is provided by the ground water. Result of development is manifested by rapidly depleting ground water as well as lowering of the water table. For example the ground water table of Ahmedabad has gone down by about 1m per year; as a result many of the tubewells run dry. Harvesting the rain water is obviously a major design paradigm. The facility can be creatively incorporated in the design of the buildings. Provision of variety of sanitary infrastructure is essential for environmentally satisfactory condition of living. Inefficient and wasteful disposal technique of waste can be high resource consuming and cause pollution of the resources, thereby endangering the environment of living. It is possible to treat the waste, both liquid and solid, on site by application of appropriate technologies. There are various technological options varying from highly sophisticated energy consuming to green technologies. The architect has to be alive to the possibilities and adopt the most appropriate option. Therefore we need to pledge to achieve the following objectives : 1. Ensure Sustainable development, i.e; consume the resources in such a way that it does not deny the use of the same resources to the succeeding generations( Our Common Future : Bruntland Report ). 2. Ensure that the development provides the following: (i) comfort and satisfaction to all sections of the population. (ii) health and well being of all residents (iii) a secure and safe environment (iv) conservation of the resources (v ) efficient management and maintenance through the life cycle of the habitation. The likely impact of any development on the environment should be taken into consideration at the time of design. The design process, therefore, should have at least these five objectives: • A clear assessment of potential impacts, which a building may have on overall environmental quality. Mapping of likely impacts and delineate means for adverse impact
prevention and mitigation, enhancement of development benefits and minimization of long term adverse impacts. • Provision of specific public forum to ensure adequate transparency in environmental management & monitoring of development. • Provision of waste control and effluent treatment of Sewage water, management of run-off, etc. to mitigate the effects of resource depletion. • To in-built provisions for maintaining of ambient water quality, air quality as well as for providing for adequate sewage, drainage and treatment structures so as to minimise the impact of development. • Law requires that ambient noise level inside a premise should not exceed a certain level and this has to achieved by appropriate architectural design Architecture of the future will have to respond to these technological challenges and resolve them through improved and consistent design vocabulary. Particularly, in view of the need to obtain environmental clearance by conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment of the building project and the requirement of certain classes of buildings to satisfy the norms prescribed for Building Energy Conservation. I have great pleasure in being a part of this movement with the students of Architecture and pray that they would break the bondage of building professionals only. I conclude with a quote from FLW “A building should appear to grow easily from its site and be shaped to harmonise with its surroundings as if nature is manifest there.”. If every building blends with nature then the entire environment is sustainable. Prof. Asesh Kumar Maitra
Prof. Asesh Kumar Maitra, an alumnus of the institute in B.Arch in 1964 from the then B.E. College, Shibpur, and obtained a diploma in town planning from Leeds School of Town Planning, London. He has been involved in the field of planning and development of human settlements within environmental sustainability for more than 4 decades now. He is conversant with the technology involved in environmental management, conservation and provision of environmental services through practice and teaching. He has headed several committees on the state, national and international front, who are working in the sustainable, and eco-friendly architecture. He is the author of several acclaimed books, and have contributed significantly to many other publications, journals etc. NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 5
It had taken almost thirty years for the people at the helm of the National Association of Students of Architecture to conceive the thoughts that culminated in producing its first magazine. Indian Arch , as they named it, made its first , and quiet, appearance at the Madras (yet to be named Chennai) Convention at SAP, Anna University in December 1986 (officially NASA’87). Each convention prior to this, twas publishing a Souvenir, an effort to allow students to express their thoughts on education, college life and the profession, through articles, sketches and cartoons. The purpose was also to raise some funds to help the host college get through the finances of hosting a Convention. Times were difficult with some 43 members and a handful of observer colleges, waiting on the sidelines. The concept of launching a NASA magazine, egged on by predecessors K. Mohandas (who is no more with us) and Anuj Puri, was to focus more on the literary and academic sides. Incidentally 1986 was also the year when probably the first International Design Competition was launched for the design of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts in New Delhi, a competition which saw Ar. Gautam Bhatia win the second prize. Indian Arch was born, thanks to some very dedicated work put in by my friends at SPA, Delhi, Keshav, Sharan Lal, Aniruddha…
Indi a n A rch ‘16
The two preceding conventions, 1985 and 1986 were literally eye-openers for us. The ’85 convention was scheduled to be hosted by CCA, Chandigarh. Some last minute calamitous events forced the NASA Council to shift the venue to IIT, Kharagpur. Following some very hectic preparations, with some help from all of us, the team at IIT, led ably by President Samir Kishore, could put up a reasonably good show and we spent three cold wintry days at Kharagpur in December 1984. Incidentally, I won my first laurels at NASA – the Bhalla Trophy(as it was called those days- later named the D.Y Patil Trophy).I had been bitten by the bug
and we (Jadavpur University) bid, very unsuccessfully, for the next Conventions. JNTU , Hyderabad were voted to host the next conventions after a bitter fight. Some ten months into the year, the Council found JNTU were not doing enough, and we were called up for a Council meet at Bombay, and Venkatesh from JNTU assured us all was well. The Convention at Hyderabad was rather eventful and fiery Council meetings were held throughout the days. Everybody was complaining about , well, almost everything. In between, elections were conducted, new bakras were elected and we were off to Madras, with a promise to make things better.SAP, Madras proposed a non-competitive atmosphere at the Convention next (except Reubens), and we all agreed wholeheartedly. Unfortunately NASA, India was not able to hold on to this trend in the following years. What we took with us from these two Conventions could be summarized thus - the will to do matters most and without it, every effort would be put to naught. I still remember the meets with the faculty (we used to have one session with them). They were very supportive then, I fondly remember very close interactions with Prof. Tunghare and Arvind Mammania. But even in those days, bucks literally were passed on when it came to handling the few, well, out of the way delegates. Today we are looking at some three hundred member colleges, divided into six zones, and another hundred odd observer colleges, meeting at Zonal Conventions, which look and feel like the National Conventions of our times. NASA activities over the years, have contributed to this phenomenal increase in population of Architecture students. And Indian Arch, with its wide reach, has done its bit too! In the past, students of Architecture have had ominous boundaries to get across. It has always been a very tough job to look ahead and think and feel differently. As a part of the teaching fraternity for quite some-time now, I have felt that students could take the profession to the next level. Architecture is no more that frozen music only, it shall have to be evolutionary – to keep with the times and also to provide directions for the future. We might need to create new avenues and dissolve disparities. Despite the process of Architecture becoming more digital, the more acceptable form of communication, we still get to hear Architects being branded middlemen. Recognition of services take a hit even today, even Government agencies refuse due remuneration for the services. The teaching or learning (as some would like to put it) of Architecture as a subject and profession is still under immense experimentation. NASA, India could have a big role to play here. Over the years I have noticed NASA, India has heightened its activities – ushering in more events throughout the year, in the form of NASA Day celebrations, arranging Panel
Discussions and hosting more Council meets. I would love to see NASA, India go for more interactive sessions and workshops and restrict competitive events only to that extent of adding flavor to the interactive meets. A more collaborative approach is the need of the hour. Historically, publications have been an important tool, to put messages across. I would love to see the magazine do that! Prof. Kalyan Mukherjee H.O.D, Dept. of Architecture, Om Dayal Group of Institutions President – NASA ‘87 (SAP, Anna Univ.) Advisory – NASA ‘88 (MIT, Manipal) Prime Mover – NASA’89 (Jadavpur University)
Kalyan Mukerjee, M.Arch, is a Post Graduate in Architecture from the Department of Architecture Jadavpur University. Presently employed with Om Dayal College, Uluberia as the Head of the Department of Architecture, he has, till now, put in around 25 years in teaching , research and professional service. He is also pursuing a Ph.D degree for a thesis on Investigation of sustenance of Public Spaces in fringes of Cities at the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Jadavpur University, Kolkata. His professional works include residential, public and institutional buildings and business parks in and around Kolkata. He has keen interest in heritage spaces and its conservation and follows writings on impact of physical development of cities. NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 7
My heartiest congratulations to team Indian Arch 2016 for composing such a wonderful and informative magazine for the readers to delight in; a conglomeration of innovation and advancement of ideas and technology for the sustainability of the world and betterment of humanity. Our institute, the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur, has been serving selflessly to the cause of nation building for the past 160 year. Brilliant academicians and educationists, professionals and entrepreneurs, masters in their trade have treaded the portals of this pioneer of engineering education in the country. Since inception in 1856 as the Bengal Engineering College affiliated to the University of Calcutta to the days of Sesquicentennial Celebrations ten years ago as Bengal Engineering and Science University Shibpur, and beyond, the institution has grown from strength to strength with milestone achievements which includes the conferring of the first five year degree course in Architecture in India in 1954 for the student entrants of 1949, the content of which was modelled on international standards and structured by none other than the internationally acclaimed architect Joseph Allen Stein who served the department as its Head. To this day, alumni of this revered institute have made their presence felt all around the globe, among whom mention must be made of an eminent personality, Dr. Fazlur Rahman Khan, known worldwide as the Einstein of Structural Engineering who designed the Sears Tower which was the then tallest Tower in USA. When talking of NASA India, one often gets reminded of the Aeronautics powerhouse in the United States and even its Chief Technologist is an alumnus of our institute, Dr. Kajal Gupta. Various schools worldwide has experienced the felt presence of this institute through professors who had their humble beginnings as students of this institute from Howrah. Interestingly, this institute of scientific education has also conceived protégés of art and culture who are Academy Award winners; holding the salutation of Pandit in Indian Classical music and as pioneers in formation of alternative music in India. Here’s wishing that the architecture fraternity in India continue to help further in the development of the society at large and that the students and alumni of IIEST Shibpur contribute generously for the same.
Indi a n a rch ‘16
Institutional 8 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
With warm regards, Dr. Ajoy Kumar Ray Director, IIEST Shibpur
This year, the students of the Department of Architecture, Town and Regional Planning, Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur, have successfully won the publication rights of Indian Arch, which serves as a gilded canvas for budding architects and professionals alike to shoulder the responsibility along with stalwart academicians to promote good practices in every realm of architecture and construction. It was in this very department that the first degree in architecture in India was introduced and its students were among those from seven colleges in the country who conceived NASA, India (National Association of Students of Architecture) and one can see for themselves what this organization with such humble beginnings has transformed into, touching lives of generations of students of architecture and educating them through competitions, workshops and conventions. Even though we have successfully hosted multiple Zonal Conventions and also the 4th Annual NASA Convention among other events, this edition of Indian Arch is a first for the department and the dedication, perseverance and skill with which the students have composed and designed the magazine and manicured its appearance to excite multiple taste-buds is here for you to see, read and enjoy. It has on its platter a plethora of segments to choose from. From interviews of eminent academicians and professionals to creative endeavours of students of architecture to concocted tales from history, Indian Arch provides a comprehensive and educative journal, which I believe shall appeal to all. I would like to express my appreciation to the entire architectural studentsâ€™ community in India for their active and continued cooperation in all events of NASA, India and a movement to take Indian Architecture ahead with time. This year the Indian Architecture community have suffered a sorrowful loss at the demise of Ar. Charles Correa. I wish that many among the present students grow up to replenish the hollow left behind on his eternal departure and shine among the greats in the whole world to create a sustainable future. Wish you all the best! Prof. Swati Saha, H.O.D. Dept. of Architecture, T. & R.P., IIEST Shibpur
Indi a n a rch â€˜16
5 8 th A n n u a l N A S A C o n v e n t i o n , R e - E v o l u t i o n Words from the E xecu t ive Cou ncil
National Association of Students of Architecture, India
The National Association of Students of Architecture, India (NASA India) is one of the largest Architectural Student Organizations in the world with student participants from more than two hundred colleges all over India and countries around the world. This association was formed on the 13th of September, 1957 by the then seven architecture colleges in India. With such a modest beginning, it is often amusing to note its achievements to become what it is today. The main objective of NASA India is to create a platform for architecture students to learn and interact, engage them directly and indirectly through both online and offline platforms. NASA India conducts events, conventions, seminars, workshops, design competitions & trophies and many other activities. At NASA India we believe that architects can come together, learn and create a huge positive impact on the world and we strive for the same through our activities. Thousands of students have gone through the NASA India experience in its rich history since the year when it was founded in 1957. Today NASA India continues not just providing learning and experience to students from India and across the world, but also creating a connection and voice for the architecture student community. Having 250+ colleges under its head, NASAt India continuously strives towards progress and achievement, and surges on the path of Re-Evolution. The 58th year of NASA India has been tremendous; being an amendment year with lots of changes and transformations rolling in, we sometimes find ourselves over burdened with a lot to do on our plate. This year, the focus has been to scrutinize and standardise all the processes of the association from scratch, strengthen our organisational dynamics and invest in long term innovations rather than short term solutions. The national convention is highly workshop based rather than competitions. Engaging the students with diverse patterns of workshops and encouraging them to be personally involved in community based hands-on experiences has been our prime target. In our search of exploring new ways of engagement with the student community, we sincerely hope that these workshops will bridge an extended gap, and bring the students much closer to the organisational framework of NASA India. In our surge to explore new opportunities for our members, we realised that the best way to promote interaction is not just competitions, but a plethora of interactive sessions, conducted by eminent personalities in the field! A platform to learn new skills would be the ideal strategy to build upon the Annual NASA Convention; giving a considerable output to the local communities through hard work and efforts of our members would be the best way to serve the nation on our limited resource and possibilities as students. The 58th ANC aims to do much of that. With the increasing number of colleges, and students under our association, we strongly feel the need of a well knit framework, in which everybody can take part, and share knowledge and resources. The greatest strength of NASA, India is its members, from all across the country, diversified by cultures, traditions, and lifestyles, and yet unified by the common string of the art of building. In our attempt to bring our members closer to us, we have been working on some very innovative projects; the NASA India Internship forum aiming to connect the gaps between aspiring and inspiring architects deserves a mention. The NASA India Library Project is yet another digital initiative to archive and take NASA Indiaâ€™s publications, right from magazines to competition entries, to every single architecture student with access to internet. Our website is getting a completer makeover, with lots of exciting features, and sections to drool upon. No wonder we are looking forward to some really wonderful days, and all we ask is your support, engagement, and active participation. The 29th edition of Indian Arch is getting bigger, and better than all itâ€™s previous instalments. With a wide variety of reads from a wide section of authors, we are hopeful it will highly appeal to you. However, we also expect our readers to be inspired from this journal; we do not wish to look upon it just as the annual magazine of our association, rather, we would love to see our members take up inspiration from this journal, and work harder to publish better versions of Indian Arch in the future. As good as it already is, we sincerely want to give this magazine a better interface, and an international coverage in an attempt to connect with the outside world. Betterment has no limits by our belief! Wishing luck to all of our members, and a very joyful 58th Year!
10 | Indian Arch â€˜16 | NASA, India
58th Annual NASA, India Executive Council
Sabareesh Suresh 58 National President th
Saagar Tulshan 58 National Vice-President th
Sumairha Mumtaz National Treasurer
Shubhayan Modak Indian Arch Convenor
Akshay Dahiya Public Relations
Ankit Kumar Treasurer Designee
Harsh Chhabra Zonal President 1
Murari Kumar Raja 58th National Secretary
Pranesh Wardam Zonal President 2
Jeffrey Jeeroy NIPC Co-Ordinator
Sashank Rao Divyank Karnawat Devarpan Mukherjee Zonal President 4 Zonal President 5 Zonal President 3
Ankith Narayanan Zonal President 6
The same old lecture hall, and the same old me, sitting in the backbench with my fellow geniuses; I was paying a strange attention to the professor’s words, “Everything in life is double coded, has two distinct layer of meanings.” Well, disagreeing to this was hard; specially when the later considerable portion of my 22 years on this blue planet was spent in search of the actual meaning; the meaning of nothing in particular, but of everything to be specific. And I am still searching. My belief, the meaning is nowhere near; it may take me a lifetime to figure that out but that I must keep on trying, I have learnt well enough. In this search, I have painfully realized that though there is a universal meaning, some ‘how’s and ‘why’s should be left undisturbed, and unanswered; because these undefined instances make life worth living, they are the icing on the cake. Perception is an illusion, is highly relative. You say, “This is good, but this isn’t up to the mark.” Funny statement. Good, or bad- where is the unit? Who sets the benchmark? Something good to you may not appeal to the person holding your hands, standing right next to you. One man’s music, another man’s noise. I strongly believe that sometimes, it’s best to live with our perceptions rather than ask for an explanation; explanations may often eliminate the experience of fantasy.
about nothing in particular
A somehow proper description of good is anything that gives you a feeling of well-being, being with whom, or experiencing which gives you joy, makes you happy. So, at the end, categorizing something (or someone) to be good, or not so good, or bad is an exclusively personal judgement; it portrays your opinion, and intelligently leaves out the public voice from the same. The immortal clash between the good and the bad renders pointless to me after a line of thought. Taking a cue from the fact that good is universally accepted and even worshipped, I feel that the bad has every right to exist on this planet. The good is accepted for obvious reasons; there is a persistent negative and repulsive psychology that associates itself to the term ‘Bad’. This word itself gives people a feeling of uneasiness and guilt, if they are in anyway associated to the same. Now, do not ever confuse the bad with the harmful. Bad always gets associated to a derogatory standpoint, I don’t know why. People have a bad tendency to misunderstand the simplest of things. A debate is pointless. Who is better-good, or bad? Sorry, the question doesn’t arise. Both are accordingly acceptable, if one considers their own views about nothing in particular, but everything to be specific. I am neither testifying for anybody, nor trying to make the good look bad or vice versa. It’s time to take a side I think. I am
a ‘Bad’ according to this thing called society, of whose functionality, and invisible constitutional framework, I have never been sure, and so, have opted to maintain a logical distance from the same. Now, I being a bad have considerable respect for the Good, and consider them quiet highly. I being a self-respecting bad am in no way harmful to anybody or anything, nor am I a criminal with ‘anti’ mentality. I prefer to be that category of human who cultivates the so called progressive mentality in our front yards, and creatively oppose the general clogging stagnation, present in the common orthodox ‘Good’. I am one among those who so desperately tries to break through the rusted philosophies in search for the unseen. I ‘am’ because I feel good about myself, because I choose to be. ‘Bad’ is equally ‘Good’. Equally necessary. And should be equally involved in the path of Re-Evolution. And, to answer the inadvertent self-inquisitiveness as to how I came all this way that I am almost comfortably sitting in my room, and writing this for the magazine, I must credit the ‘Bad’ in me. It goes without having to express that this was in no way planned to be a part of my journey; I never knew that I will willingly take up such a responsibility on myself, but now, I am happy that I did. I had always planned my 4th year in college to be the time, I will be making my portfolio elegantly, and the rest of the time, just idling around, enjoying the days, well aware of the fact that life outside college isn’t going to be easy. But somehow, (strangely enough, I don’t know how) when one day, I was casually strolling through a previous edition of the same journal, I just felt that yes, we can do it too! Why not? And this endeavour is based solely on those three words you see, “Why can’t we?”. I have never felt the need to delve deep and search for the actual ‘why’, or ‘how’, because I already know the answer-because I want to, and love to. Any further self-explanation wasn’t needed, because all ‘why’ and ‘how’ need not be answered. Jed Rubenfeld has always been one of my favourite authors, and taking a cue from his words I say, “Winning the bid was just the beginning; afterwards came the hard path.” Everything looks smooth, and easy from a distance, but the closer you look, the harder it turns out to be (and not the less you see!). But, that’s alright; we didn’t sign up to do easy stuff! What we do, we as budding architects, aren’t always easy, and that’s the fun, the challenge. Imagine life if what we did would have been easy, and simple. There would have been no adrenaline, no thrill. None of us would have had the chance to stand up, and yell out to the space, “Come what may. You may be hard, but that’s because you haven’t had a face-off with me yet.”. Perhaps the word ‘Architect’ would have lost its weight itself. And isn’t that one of the prime reasons why we love architecture so much? Because it
gives us a consistent opportunity to scrutinize ourselves, to test ourselves, get ourselves tempered under the tremendous pressure. And the joy of success is just priceless, ain’t it? Imagine ourselves if there were no gravity to the word ‘Architect’. We’d be flying off to space! And, you have to cross your barriers if you have to take a lead. Remember that good kid we used to be in school? We ain’t anything like that anymore. What we deal in here is purely hard core; we have to be hard enough to go through it. That old school simplicity won’t do anymore. And that precisely is the reason of me saying that I credit the ‘Bad’ in me. I couldn’t afford to be a good boy anymore. I had to deviate, because fitting in an entirely different task in the routine was hard enough. No wonder, I had to miss classes, and assignments too. Angry professors, deteriorating grades, “You have no attendance, you won’t be allowed for the exams…”, had them all. But I had to be ‘bad’ enough to hold on. I couldn’t be regular in my regular chores, because I had to sincerely tend to other responsibilities bestowed on me, out of the regular. And, I blame nobody, because the blame games don’t work you see. A mature thought reveals it all to be the part of a greater plan. Everybody does what has to be done by them, they somehow cannot help it. And, what catches me is that nobody has a way out. Well, there is always an escape route, but the fear of being bad defers people from taking it. We all are so bound by this that a mere thought of taking a break makes us a rebel, more so in the eyes of those who feel they can make a difference, but actually can’t. At this junction, nobody bears the perfect clue as to what can and should be done. You have to step out of the box to see things from a different perspective, and that’s all about being bad; being a confident, and strong human who stands apart. Nonetheless, even after being whatever we are, we have to realize that the pressure shall remain, always. After all, this pushing, and not letting loose has a good significance. They cannot let loose. They just can’t you see. Because if they do, we all will be nowhere, years from now. A message of greetings to the readers has no valid necessity on this day. A generous vote of thanks for being with us, bearing with us, and helping us will be appropriate. So, thanks to all of our readers. Thank you for opening this page, and reading this. No wonder, every bit of myself grew older with experience and knowledge, while working for the Indian Arch ’16. What you have in your hands, is both our sincere effort, and thanks. Live. Love. Enjoy. Cheers!!! Shubhayan Modak Convenor & Editor-in-Chief Team Indian Arch ‘16 National Association of Students of Architecture, India NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 13
FLIP side of a Legend ..................................................................................................................... 16 Sabareesh Suresh, the 58th NASA, India President talks about his unconventional meet with Ar. Charles Correa, and his personal thoughts on this evergreen legend. City of Knights .............................................................................................................................. 120 Ankith Narayanan, the Zonal President of zone 6 shares with the readers his personal experience of European Association of Students of Architecture, which he visited as a representative of NASA, India in 2015.
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Conjecture & Contemplation-Dealing with the what ifs .................................................................... 18 The cover story of this issue of Indian Arch, this article features entries from Swaralipi Bhowmick, & Swastika Deb from P.M.C.A. Cuttack, and Deepika Raghu from S.I.T. Tumkur. The authors engage their imagination, and best of hopes to portray our motherland in the lines of a different history; taking up what if situations, and challenging the history, our authors have portrayed India under two distinct flows, one imagines India under the French Raj instead of British Raj, whereas the other dares to venture deep, portraying India as a self developing republic nation, free of any foreign influence. Sounds promishing!! Timelessness of the legend, Ar. Charles Correa ................................................................................... 58 The dedication article, authored by Paridhi Kedia of P.M.C.A. Cuttack delves deep into the architectural tenets of the legend, Ar. Charles Correa. Its a humble tribute to the legend whose sorrowful loss left a space ever vacant. Limbo ........................................................................................................................................... 110 The citation entry of Writing Architecture trophy ‘15, Sarvesh Singh, Tanya Sreedhar and Dhriti Nadir from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra critically looks into privatisation of public space taking into consideration J.D. High Street Mall’s plaza in Ranchi. Chandrodaya- Building faith in domination .................................................................................... 124 Shayantani Mukherjee, Sourav Ganguly, Srinjoy Hazra, and Shubhayan Modak from IIEST, Shibpur take on their turn to creatively criticise the Chandrodaya-Temple of Vedic Planetorium at Iskon, Mayapur in an attempt to understand the dominating effects that buildings have on their users, and the common masses in general. This article won the citation of Architectural Journalism ‘15 of the Zonal NASA, zone 4.
I A hier a rch y
Talks with Prof. Rahul Mehrotra ..................................................................................................... 32 In an engagling, and strong dialogue, Prof. Rahul Mehrotra dwells upon the globalisation of Indian Architecture, and the factors working within; with his strong statements, and his experienced standpoint, he clears the division between the old, and the young, blending them at the horizons of the built sensations. Talks with Ar. Abin Chowdhury ...................................................................................................... 56 In a short and crisp dialogue with IA ‘16 representative Shubhayan Modak, Ar. Abin Chowdhury dives deep into the common factors affecting Indian architecture, and education in the 21st century. Talks with Prof. Nalini Thakur ........................................................................................................ 90 IA ‘16 representative Somi Chatterjee in a detailed discussion with Prof. Nalini Thakur discovers the intricate details of being a conservation architect in India, and the pros and cons of being the same. Talks with Ar. Madhav Raman ...................................................................................................... 102 In what can be said the longest interview for this magazine, IA ‘16 representative Shubhayan Modak in a skype interaction with Ar. Madhav Raman unravels the common mysteries of architecture, and architectural education in the country, and clears out the common problems and challenges faced by the common Indian Architecture Student. 14 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
I A cel ebr at e
Architecture of, for, by the women ................................................................................................................................. 34 Ar. Gita Balakrishnan, and Ar. Vidya Gopal write on the role and participation of woman in architecture; it looks at understanding the evolution of architecture as a profession of, for, and by the women over the years. Equality is what one seeks when it comes to gender. The authors have penned down the article reflecting exactly that. The Patola Pehelwans- Champion Weavers of Gujarat ................................................................................................... 38 The ancient art of fabric weaving takes a new face when it comes to the Patola weavers of Gujarat. A highly aristocrat piece of Garment, the Patola fabrics have carved out its own niche in the textile industry. With prices starting from 1.5 lakhs for a simple saree, its quiet imaginable the quality they deliver. Read on to find more! Evolution of Architectural Journalism- A Re-Evolution in the perception of Architecture? ................................................ 44 Ar. Apurva Bose Dutta writes on the evolution of Architectural Journalism and its scope in the country. She ponders on how writing and criticism as an integral part of the building industry has failed to make its mark in India, and as to why should we take it up. Structural (Re)Evolution in Architecture ...................................................................................................................... 50 Prof. Andrew Charleson ponders over the gradual evolution of structural features in the building industry over the ages. Going into the details of the change from the Egyptian pyramids to the modernity of steel, it is one interesting read he has written for us. Rurality in transition: Rephrasing the vernacular ......................................................................................................... 70 Prof. G. Shankar writes on vernacular and sustainability acting as the guiding factor for the rehabilitation housing programs in Kerala. He shares his story of his dream to wipe out homelessness from the Kollam district in Kerala, and the lessons he learnt from it. Hacking Architecture Visualisation .............................................................................................................................. 78 Alex Hogrefe, the world renowned visual architect pens down his thoughts about architecture visualisation, and in a visually enriching article, tells us about his personal techniques by which he produces world class visuals. Inspiration time guys. Re-Evolution & Relearning: Introducing Confined Masonry Construction for E.H.P.R. ............................................... 130 Ar. Keya Mitra, Faculty co-ordinator of IA ‘16 attempts in showcasing a construction methodology that has fared well in earthquakes worldwide and one that is neither technology nor resource intensive, as modern buildings are.
I A pa r a digm
Heritage in today’s time ............................................................................................................................................... 30 Fervency of touch of hands ........................................................................................................................................... 42 Architecture- the good, the bad & the struggling ............................................................................................................. 48 Inceptional changes ..................................................................................................................................................... 66 David is Goliath ......................................................................................................................................................... 96 Funeral of an architect ................................................................................................................................................. 99 Galt they did no wrong ............................................................................................................................................... 108 Are concepts in architecture a requisite? ....................................................................................................................... 114 The night that changed the course of modern architecture in India ................................................................................... 116
I A t hre shol d
Woes and wonders- A squatter settlement ...................................................................................................................... 28 Building a woman ....................................................................................................................................................... 88 The architect I know ................................................................................................................................................... 135
I A orga nise
IIEST, Shibpur Memorial Poster ............................................................................................................................... 140 Department of Architecture, Town & Regional Planning, IIEST, Shibpur .................................................................... 146 Vintage Timeless Memoirs ......................................................................................................................................... 150 Excerpts from Indian Arch ‘87 .................................................................................................................................... 158 Acknowledgements & Credits ..................................................................................................................................... 159
We all know about Charles Correa- like every magazine and newspaper I can go on and on about how he is one of the most prominent urban planner and activist, or about how an influential architect he was. And by saying on and on I mean, what’s not there to admire in such a personality! This is definitely a more well known side of Charles Correa, but on the contrary how many of us have had a chance to know him as a person? Not to brag (maybe a little!), this opportunity came to me probably in the strangest of times at the strangest location. A few months ago during a conference, like all other eagerly awaiting students, I was thrilled to leave not only see, but also to listen to him speak- after all, he was somewhat of an architect celebrity! Post conference, in the need to freshen up, I rushed to the rest room. I was pretty sure that I had to look to my left twice and double check to realize that it was none other than Charles Correa walking out there. Yes, it wasn’t the most ambient location to have a discussion with someone, and definitely not with someone of his status. To my surprise he was humble enough to strike a conversation which cleared my confusion, and he asked me about how I liked the talk and enriched me with very helpful comments about architecture- all outside the rest room! It wasn’t the longest conversation, neither was it a formal one, but the fact that someone who had risen to his status was genuine enough to lend his ears and find a solution to any problem, for any individual and not to forget, irrespective of the place was what added on to my admiration for him. He is not only admirable as an architect, but also as a person. I was truly fortunate to have had this opportunity, however small it may be, I will cherish it. And the best part of it all, there isn’t a chance to forget this after the photo that was taken of us. His passing away onto a better world is truly a great loss on this.
I A N A S A
FL I P side of a Legend
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No doubt that Charles Mark Correa truly revolutionized Indian architecture in the post independence era and brought about a modern outlook towards it. It is not simple for me to explain merely through words of how inspirational he is to me. The legacy left behind by him is not only something that we can learn from but also most definitely one which will remain with me and continue to inspire me. Sabareesh Suresh 58th National President National Association of Students of Architecture, India
Tribal Fashion Lovish Joshi | RIMT College of Architecture, Sirhind
18 | Indian Arch â€˜16 | NASA, India
Conjecture & Contemplation D eal ing wit h t h e â€˜ what ifâ€™s...
The metropolitan Indian cities have developed and evolved through centuries to what they are today. If one sits to ponder what the fates of such cities would have taken them to - what changes to the present reality would have unfolded - had certain periods of history been re-written, certain decisions re-taken or certain plans re-drawn, shall end up in a veritable web of concocted situations, each backed by sound logic and profound possibility.
To cite a fitting example, one may take up Babur, the first Mughal emperor who laid the foundation of the Mughal rule in the Indian subcontinent. He had turned his sights on India and decided to try and conquer lands here after his father’s death, the destruction of his mud fortress in Fergana, present Uzbekistan, and also since he faced relentless efforts from his relatives to dislodge him from his throne after his ascension. What if these factors had not urged Babur to invade India? How would the absence of the Mughals have shaped Indian history? What kind of a city could Delhi be or what kind of shift in architectural paradigm could have occurred with the absence of a Mughal lineage? Would India, and specially Delhi, have been better off without them? This was a scenario wherein alteration of historic occurrences is being deliberated upon. On a slightly different note, if we ponder about the Battle of Plassey – It is known that Nawab Siraj-Ud-Daulah had an army numerically superior to that of the small British contingency; and that the Nawab was in possession of a larger number of canons which would have helped him win the battle easily despite the conspiracies of Mir Jafar. Had Siraj owned tarpaulin sheets or some contraption to cover the canons on that rainy night before the Battle of Plassey, his canons wouldn’t have got damp and would have functioned properly, thus resulting in a crushing defeat of the British forces. As Lord Clive recounts, even after the battle as they were returning on horseback, the roads were flanked by thousands of Indian villagers. Clive comments, that if each villager had picked up a single stone and thrown it at the returning soldiers, they’d have been buried alive. What if it hadn’t rained that night? What if the conspirators had failed to act? What if the villagers had won the losing battle for the Nawab? Maybe the Colonial Architecture at large that we find would have been replaced by structures totally indigenous or otherwise…In this case, not just political, but a mere climatological factor, besides the farsightedness, or lack thereof, of the ruler and the ruled, the innate timidity of the villagers who did not dare to pick up a stone, changes the face of history as we know it. What would our country be like, had one little thing gone differently? We shall never know. Among the many entries that the editorial received in response to the brief, we had a hard time figuring out which ones will be published. The final two that got selected, had a common tune in both of them; both of our selected authors took up Napoleon, the great, and recreated history in two different paths, bound by a common link-the military alliance between Napoleon, the Great, and Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore… Many of us know that Napoleon Bonaparte sought an alliance with Tipu Sultan, the Tiger of Mysore, in a 20 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
desperate effort to evade the British from India. Napoleon, a far sighted visionary as he was, he wanted to take up this chance to end the French-British rivalry forever, and also set his hands on the wealth of India. Promises of power and resources from India saw a military alliance between Tipu and Napoleon, who seized the chance to permanently settle the age old French-British rivalry. “I will establish relations with the Indian Princes and, together with them, attack the English in their possessions. Having occupied and fortifying Egypt, we shall send a force of 1500 men from Suez to India, to join the forces of TipuSahib and drive away the English. “ Napoleon, at this point in history, was travelling the lands of Israel and the Middle East to establish French presence. At the same time, Tipu Sultan, ruler of Mysore was fighting against the British for the control of South India. Tipu allied himself with the French East India Company to gain support from Napoleon and French government. Soon after, Napoleon wrote a letter to Tipu Sultan appreciating his efforts of resisting the British annexation and plans, but this letter never reached Tipu and was seized by a British spy in Muscat. The idea of a possible Tipu- Napoleon alliance alarmed the British Governor General Lord Wellesly so much that he immediately started large scale preparations for a final battle against Tipu. Maj. Hogan: And what are your intentions, Sir Arthur? Wellesly: Why, Hogan, I mean to give the French a damn good thrashing. First, Napoleon was defeated in Waterloo by the British. This cut off French support to Mysore. Then, Tipu and his army took a beating. It is interesting to note that Arthur Wellesly defeated both Tipu Sultan at Srirangapatna and Napoleon in Waterloo. Coming to our point, what if things had worked in accordance to the original plan? What if Napoleon had visited India? Swaralipi Bhowmic and Swastika Deb from Piloo Mody College of Architecture, Cuttack resort to conjecture to take us on a ride that pecks and blends with history at the horizon. Napoleon was ravenous for power over India but what he was unaware of was that Tipu Sultan was Anglophobic, he wanted India purged from foreign governance, both French and British. Since he was a Muslim emperor ruling over a Hindu land, he wanted to be the sole ruler of a secular India. His plan was to bring two of the greatest superpowers in a massacre against each other and cleanse India of the foreign tyrants with one brilliant move. He wanted to be as secretive as possible owing to the mishap at Plassey and as
Bengal was at the peak of British interests, he amalgamated power where necessary and surreptitiously joined hands with visionaries like Raja Ram Mohan Roy. Sure he had alliances with the French forces but that was mostly due to their expertise in artillery and knowledge. He wanted his mass to be educated and at par with the latest technologies whilst keeping their dignities intact. So let’s assume that the French army joined him against the British and whilst the two ferocious superpowers exercised the cold truth of Darwinism, Tipu stealthily took a step back. It is safe to imagine that during this combat both the French and the British resources got gradually and incessantly depleted and towards the end of the bloodbath, Tipu arrived at the forefront along with other Indian states and demolished the remaining foreign forces in the battlefield whilst capturing the left over foreign militia and presenting them with a choice of death or imparting knowledge to the Indian mass. Tipu brought education and retained the primal resources. This was mid-1800s to 1860s and the end of Tipu’s era. After Tipu Sultan’s death, his son took over the empire but not his father’s wisdom. A power driven ruler, his antisecular policies brought the state to imminent unrests, controlled by religiously willed politics. These nationwide turmoil culminated to the loss of faith in monarchy, and democracy slowly settled in the minds of the commoners. The late 19th century saw the rise of eminent revolutionaries and personalities like Tagore and Gandhi and by 1885, democracy was sought by the Indian populace. Riots and rebellions were ignited, uprisings proliferated throughout the entire sub-continent, Bharat witnessed insurgency like
no other. This persisted till the early 1900s when finally in 1907, India became a democracy. Bringing the people from different religion to work together under a constitution was indeed an uphill task for the then leaders, but not an impossible one; which is where education came in handy. Certain monotheistic philosophies of faith such as Baha’i faith became popular around that time in the sub-continent. The people were hit with a brick of sensibility. It helped in unifying and instilling a sense of patriotism in the hearts of the people. Originally and ironically enough Napoleon was killed in the battle of Waterloo by the same Englishman who had lead to the demise of Tipu Sultan but according to our newly created history, Waterloo never happened under Napoleon’s supervision for he was killed in the fourth Mysore war assisting Tipu against the British in his greed to attain solitary power over India. A single turn of events has the potential to reshape our entire history, if things would have gone as planned, India wouldn’t have been tyrannised for over 200 years rather we would have been free from both French and British colonisers, having driven them out before they could irrevocably exploit our resources. Our country would comprise an educated mass, immeasurable resources and democrats who envisioned India as supremacy. Let us leap forth to the present scenario of India: ‘What could have been’ India would have set an example as to what a nation can be with the culmination of wealth and sound bureaucrats, democrats and entrepreneurs. The country would stand tall with her own distinctive identity and act as an inspiration to
the neighbouring states due to her telling position in the lane of development. The serenity in the diverse cultures would set the country apart from the rest, along with her increasing advancement in the fields of technology and infrastructure. Basically we would have been one of the big shots in the rat race of existence. The numerous rulers, the British and the French colonisers, would have left their vivid imprint on this country, in terms of architecture. Islamic architecture, Hindu motifs and other Indian customary design ideals like the Rajasthani, the Rajput, the Tamil, the Maratha, the Jain, the Mughal, the Bengali along with a fair share of Gothic, Indo-Saracenic, Baroque, Victorian, Georgian, Anglo-Saxon, Romanesque, Medieval, Renaissance and vernacular architecture would have loomed large throughout the sub-continent at the time of independence itself. After independence, India could have embraced modernization at an early stage and turned itself into a superlative colosseum. Due to a potpourri of cultures in the pre-independence era, a concoction of different architectural styles would have been obtained. The Mughals’ affinity to symmetry would have paved its way to the French in redefining the style in post-medieval India. Domical structures might have been a prominent architectural feature. The Indo-Saracenic influence would have resulted in structures with arches and beams, which flourished under Mughal patronage by incorporating elements of Indian architecture, especially Rajasthani Temple architecture. Ethnic corbel brackets with richly carved pendentive decorations fused with pyramidical spires and pinnacles would have acted as a prototype for Gothic facades lining the streets of present India. Buildings would have been constructed in conformance to advanced British structural engineering standards of the 1800s, which came to include infrastructures composed of iron, steel and concrete. The Anglo-Saxon ashlar masonry with porticos and small windows deeply splayed in groups of two or three infused with open pavilions or pavilions with Bangala roofs would have been a symbol of British heritage. The cylindrical piers of Norman architecture combined with the onion domes of the Islam legacy would have served as a palace of serenity. Maybe instead of deciding who enters which religious shrine, people could have collectively sought solace in the Baha’i influenced structures. If the Parliament of India, would have been one of the first structures that was constructed after our Independence, it could have been partly influenced by Baha’i architecture
due to its exceeding popularity among the people at the time. Set in New Delhi, instead of the circular shaped building, the Parliament would have been nonagon in shape (spread over a diameter of around 180 meters) with 9 towers in each corner of the building and 9 entrances, as is the norm in Baha’i architecture. The decorative art inside and out would probably involve shapes and designs made by intersecting lines. The most distinctive feature of the building would have been the tracery on the nine towers which include combination of prominent symbols from different religions of the nation. 1986 authentically marked the completion of the first Baha’i house of worship in Delhi itself, which is commonly known as the Lotus temple. The partition would have never taken place and the subcontinent would have accounted for a greater land coverage for a mammoth development. And since development is directly proportional to transportation and connectivity within the country, a large sum of money would have been invested for the cause by the early governments of the nation. Now, 6 lane expressways would stretch thousands of kilometres that would connect the whole country efficiently with proper entry/exit points. With a well-planned road network starting from alleys to highways, the cities would have been designed in integrated grids. Indian Railways would be a symbol of comfort, punctuality and space. Underground railways and high speed rails would connect the nooks and corners of the metropolitan cities. Public transportation would be reliable, clean and punctual and the preferred form of transportation among the citizens, conserving the resources. Huts would be displays found in museums. Muddy roads, what are they? Villages wouldn’t be synonymous to ‘poverty’ with the required number of people employed for the agricultural work. That would be possible since unemployment wouldn’t be a big issue, thanks to the excellent entrepreneurs that would have shaped our country. Also the combined efforts of agricultural engineers, scientists and skilled grangers could have lead to the fruition of urban agriculture such as vertical agriculture, hydroponics, urban beekeeping, etc. right in the heart of the metropolitan cities. Vertical farming, in particular, would widely gain momentum amongst residential colonies and commercial hubs. It would essentially mean that the cities would not be 100% dependent on rural areas for their crops, leading to an economical boost for the country. Each city would be marked with epic urban infrastructures defined by their distinctive cultures. The Thar desert, Indus Valley desert and Runn of Kutch would have been converted into the solar power hub of the country along with the numerous wind farms in the eastern and western coastal belt of the state that would provide efficient electricity in the western and peninsular region of the country respectively. NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 23
India’s advancement in nuclear power and aeronautics would be impressively high as well. As far as society is concerned, people would have been more receptive to new innovations, slowly fading patriarchy and alternative lifestyle choices. With proper rescue centres for the street animals, the superstition of a cat crossing one’s path would have witnessed an enormous downfall. Merit and financial depravity would have dominated over caste distinctions. Democratic values would probably be exercised with panache and novel architectural ideas would be encouraged. Yet, it is difficult to picture a country full of saints, corruption would exist but curtailed by our sturdy constitution. With laws not only being made but also followed and the government officials actually doing their job, India would not have been a gigantic chamber pot. It would be a scrumptious cocktail of rich Indian architecture with proportionate amounts of technological influence. With our cities festooned with magnificent amenities and well ordained edifice, India would have been one of the superpowers. Also, with wealth and resources far greater than the current leading nations, India would stand with one rupee amounting to sixty dollars. Or, India could have become a theatre of war after the Fourth Mysore war with gluttonous supremacies constantly slitting each other’s throat for authority over voluptuous reserves, in turn reducing it to crumbs. For all we know, India would have become a fourth world country. There are no end to the courses that our country could have taken had Napoleon visited India. But visualising India in the upper pedestal is a flight of fancy, for imagination knows no bounds. Now its 200 years since Napoleon lost the Battle of Waterloo, and Deepika Raghu from Siddaganga Institute Of Technology, Tumkur has another story to tell us on the same context. It has been exactly 200 years since Napoleon lost the Battle of Waterloo. Seemingly, the cake wasn’t worth the candle, albeit what if Napoleon had indeed won at waterloo? How would that have affected the course of world history? And, more intriguingly, how would it have affected the course of Indian history? What if the French ruled our nation? Would we blame the French for our downfall as severely as we blame the British? It is suggested that if Napoleon had come up roses, he would have created a unified Europe that would, in his own words have “a European law code, a euro high court, a 24 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
single currency, the same laws…I must make all the peoples of Europe a single people.” While all this would happen in Europe, Britain would as a result, slide into decades of turmoil, with mass starvation, riots and ultimately a full blown people’s uprising. With Britain in decline and a French dominated Europe in ascendance, the obvious question is, what happens to India, the jewel in the crown? How different is a French Raj, in comparison with British rule? • British tended to exude the local people, while the French would readily co-opt with them as long as they adopted French language and French culture. French would become our national language and there would be a number of institutes springing up at every corner promising to teach French in just 30 days, a purposive inception in account of the Franco Sahibs, who would look down on those who spoke in any other language. We’d dress with an effortless air as high fashion or ‘haute-couture’ as they call it would make us stunningly chic and for all we know Sachin Tendulkar would be signing soccer balls instead of cricket bats. The
French were humane and respectful of local cultures and would govern with an equitable approach by allowing their colonies to grow. French homes would be adorned with hand-crafted French- oak benches, chests and stools with deep handmade carvings, a line of work locals would take up. Undoubtedly, industrialization would also unfold. • British believed in governing locally and set up sophisticated local administrative infrastructure while the French had a more centralized system, overseen from Paris, with colonies being considered as more or less “overseas departments.” This means less interference in local governments administered by natives, resulting in a placid environment without violence and bloodshed. We would have adopted the French Presidential form of Government, instead of the British Parliamentary democracy. Our policies would have been more welfare statist, with a cradle to grave welfare model. • British considered decolonization as the end of relationship with the colonies, while France treated it as merely a redefining of the relationship and worked hard at continuing its ties- economic, political and cultural. Peaceful
attempts by the French to maintain cordial relations would have led to mutual discussions, and unlike the British, they would have tried to bring rationality among the masses. The French would have been robust enough to hold on to their colonies, and hence India would have to wait till at least the mid-1970s for independence when- who knows? French speaking Indira Gandhi might have become its first President. The architectural interventions that would spread all across the country if the French ruled over India would be astounding. The native lime coated earthen buildings would have been replaced with an urbanism of quality and better materials viz. bricks and wood. They would introduce a multitude of large, symmetrical houses on the long and wide aligned streets, which would also have trees planted on both sides, creating a lovely verdant appearance. An outward and sustained expansion of French influence would be seen. India would have been struggling and the French would have only seized the opportunity to make the presence of their power felt. Relations between French and Indian communities would have remained very distant: buyers-sellers, rulers-
ruled, employers-employees. Instead of street vendors screaming ‘tamatar’, they’d say ‘pomme d’amour’ on the country’s grid-iron patterned streets. Most streets would be lined with French style villas and would have French names. The street facades would usually be characterized by a continuous construction of high garden walls and elaborate gates. The facades would be divided into smaller panels by use of vertical pilasters and horizontal cornices. The residential buildings would be simple and solid. Each quite similar to the other with flat roofing systems. Partial street frontage of the buildings with the main façade facing the garden would exist. This would allow visual connections to the street. Another prominent feature of the façade would be the straight flight staircase leading up to the first floor from the forecourt. The paths and walkways would be wide enough for pedestrians and cyclists, both. The buildings, mostly two storied structures arranged in a regular manner would create a certain pleasing repetitive visual. Large compound walls for public buildings, separate them for street activity and make them distinct from homely French styled villas. Exchange of architectural patterns would be evident. Especially in two storied buildings where the ground floor would be Indian type with street verandas, raised platforms and carved doors, while the first floor would feature French influence with plaster decoration, fluted pilasters and columns with capitals, as seen in Pondicherry. In the beginning, the main mode of transport introduced would be steam carriages and steam boats. Rails would be brought into India much later on. This is admittedly a major drawback. Transportation by bullock carts would continue for several years to come. Urban patterns reflect political relations, social contradictions and functions. Botanical Gardens would be laid out French style, with pruned trees, flower beds and gravel lined paths and fountains. The French would introduce many exotic plants from all over the world. Churches would be erected by French Missionaries. They would be notable for its masonry – which would use the finest of limestone mixed with white of the egg – making for a texture identical to that of white marble. This is presuming colonial architecture as seen today would spread to the rest of the country. The imposing façade would present paired Doric columns below and ionic above. The interior design would consist of barrel vaults and a central dome pierced with circular openings in most cases. Public buildings would be surrounded by a large fenced-in compound. These buildings often had an impressive stair to an elevated ground floor to show its grandeur. After colonial French architecture, Empire style would flourish. Empire style is the style that was considered to have
“liberated” and “enlightened” architecture just as Napoleon “liberated” the people of Europe with his Napoleonic Code (forbade privileges based on birth, allowed freedom of religion, specified government jobs should go to those most privileged). It intended to idealize Napoleon’s leadership and the French state. Mansard roofs, unlike a triangular gable, had almost no slope until very top, where it abruptly flattens. This nearly perpendicular roofline creates a sense of majesty and was used in all stately French buildings at that time. Just as fashion flips from skinny to baggy, architecture flip-flops from one extreme to another. This is when there would be an influx of architects from France. So Neo-classic architecture would follow, paralleling what architects were trying in France. Architecture and Art would develop extensively. Indigenous structures coupled with French elements would have gained great popularity. “And when all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful.” -Ruskin Bond Perhaps a French Raj would be conducive to development in India. Or perhaps not. That said, we do follow the metric system that originated in France, instead of the British FPS system. So we do have some traces of French influence in India too. All the same, what has been done cannot be undone. Everything today is because of one single decision, or possibly just a fleeting moment. Thus, the affairs of one night can, truly, change all that exists forever. Thus, we can gather from the numerous inferences cited above, that the answers to ‘what could have been’ are infinite, the ‘what if ’s countless... Limited only by our imagination. We may depend on logic and argue on the probability of our conjecture, but it is impossible to be certain. The changes that can be thought of because of one small alteration of the past, simply reiterates our belief in The Butterfly Effect, showing us how something apparently insignificant can cause the world to not remain the way we know it today. We can but wonder, and wonder alone... Because even the ordinary, that we see today, are connected by a chain of events that when studied makes the entire cause-effect saga to unfold as miraculous... Swaralipi Bhowmick, Swastika Deb | P.M.C.A., A.B.I.T., Cuttack Deepika Raghu | S.I.T., Tumkur Moderators: Soham Karmakar, Srinjoy Hazra Illustration Concept: Swaralipi Bhowmick, Swastika Deb, Deepika Raghu Final illustration touch-up: Hiran Biswas, Sulagna Mukherjee NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 27
In a world where streets are extensions of homes And windows are merely punched into walls; Where wealth is a meal and warmth to share And Health is escaping death, itself; Where they burn old planks to boil broken-rice grains And their entire lifetime fits in a carton box; Where marriages are fixed not by love or tradition But by the needs of the owners of their livelihoods; Where kids play in the sand that the Parents build houses within an unpalatable haste; And School is an abstract idea of keeping kids busy; Where streets are front yards and backyards for entertainment. Tiny boxes are living rooms where dreams are seen, love is made And so is food and violence between short spells of sweaty sleep; Where people bathe upon the drains because pipes are too expensive And kids are washed away in drains when the rains are excessive; Where money is made on daily wages and the threat of displacement and Poverty wakes them from their light slumber: a predicament; Such is the land where I see children filling coins in plastic jars Dreaming of owning cycles pedalling them to Schools. Where women laugh despite the scars they hide. And men buy kids scrap toys and things to play with Despite their bones sticking out through their hide. Each hut here is the same: Single rooms with leaky-roofs. But everyone has a story. A beginning and an end.
Woes and Wonders
A squatter settlement...
Shreya Sudesh | Siddaganga Institute of Technology, Tumkur
28 | Indian Arch â€˜16 | NASA, India
Patterns floating in gravity Simar Kindra | U.S.A.P., G.G.S.I.P.U., Delhi
H e r i t a g e
in todayâ€™s time
“We need to broaden our sympathies both in space and time - and perceive ourselves as part of a long heritage, and stewards for an immense future.” - Martin Rees Heritage is a reflection of our past, not only encapturing the physical dimension like the built form but also the intangible cultural values. The definition of heritage has a personalized character linked with it, where people base their notions to it as per their ancestral norms and philosophies, which may vary universally. Thus it becomes crucial to understand these perceptions framed by the people, who are the true legatee of this heritage overtime. With the ages of industrialization and the resultant globalization, the world saw its moments of unison, blurring the boundaries leading to an exchange of ideas and formulation of philosophies at religious and cultural levels. People became enlightened about the existence of the multiple customs based societies across the globe, displaying a plethora of folk styles through dances, music, and so on, as part of their ancestral practices. Western culture being in lead has had the maximum influence over the minds of people superficially, yet they tend to be well connected with their traditional roots owing to their unique heritage. So is the case of India, located towards the eastern end of the globe. It is multi-faceted through the interplay of the diversity in its traditional features reflected through the ancient scriptures, festivals and religious beliefs at an intangible level to the built monuments, sacred structures, and cultural landscapes forming the tangible whole. India displays an inter-laced constitution in the name of heritage from the Hindu temples to the Islamic architecture, as well as the colonial Victorian architecture. Each comprising of a variety of palaces, civic buildings, fully functional cities and sprawling green spaces. Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World is part of the Mughal contributions to India, while the Rashtrapati Bhawan, earlier known as the Viceroy’s House, has been constructed during the country’s colonial rule. These along with many other such eminent designs and built forms diversify the heritage, each telling a different story in the shaping of India’s identity. An interesting aspect in the time-line of the design and massing of the subcontinent is the fact that the old, new, monumental and ordinary are all well knit into the same fabric, thus leaving bare minimum scope for differentiation between the settlements and the heritage sites, especially in the rural areas. India is known worldwide for the exotic character it generates through its ethnic cultural and traditional legacy, which is what attracts maximum tourists as well. Be it to notice the paradise imagery created by the mughal architecture, or to take a dip in the holy Ganga River, by the Ghats of Banaras. The Indian heritage has
always been instrumental in shaping world heritage, and thus must be conserved to its maximum potential, through the involvement of the general public along with the government bodies. People are the recipients of this legacy who should be able to relate with it, not only in terms of the physical form, but also at a higher level of understanding. The lives of people are interconnected with remnants of their heritage, which they come across daily, and are dependent on to a certain extent, at the socio-economic level. However, the western culture has somehow rendered the cultural outlook of people worthless, causing adverse effects to the cultural traditions of the country, resulting in a great demand for conservation, preservation and restoration practices. The idea of conservation cannot be restricted only to the monuments but also spans to the cultural landscapes and gardens in India. Acknowledging the living aspect of these gardens is important not only at the historic level but also at an ecological level giving due consideration to the living plant bodies and the other flora and fauna. An important feature of cultural landscapes is the water bodies, a result of the well planned water systems, beautifully incorporated in the design in the form of fountains, water streams or ponds. The intricacy of the gardens can be drawn from illustrations in the form of paintings, photographs as well as the Persian carpets especially in the case of the mughal char bagh, the image of paradise on earth. The char bagh garden typology seemed to be undergoing a drastic reversal during the British rule, with the conversion of the char bagh into large span green lawns, surrounding a club, as a place to hangout for leisure by the British. Both styles are uniquely relevant during their own times, and thus can’t be chosen between, leading to a dilemma of the image to be created for the future, with due respect to all the colors of this historic rainbow. In today’s time the real question is not to define heritage but to give the existing definition, a new meaning. Heritage is to be carried forward, this doesn’t mean that we stop developing. As of today, land is a precious commodity and leaving vast pieces of land in heritage’s name sounds impractical. Why then, is there a need to keep the built and open the way it was, when it can be incorporated with the new? We lack quality public spaces in almost all urban areas. Delhi for instance, may have open public spaces but it surely lacks in the functioning of quality public areas. Why can’t we then fuse today’s need with yesterday’s pleasure and craftsmanship to create a meaningful heritage for the future? Change is the only constant and viewing conservation in a holistic way, the only approach to define our identity. Nandini Bhandari | U.S.A.P., G.G.S.I.P.U., Delhi Illustration: Anubhav Sheoran NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 31
1. Given such a small population of registered architects practicing, how do you feel they can affect the overall built environment in a land as diverse as India? Architects and the profession will have to be strategic about how and where we intervene. Currently as a profession we are fixated on the Mega cities. We will necessarily engage with smaller towns and the rural landscape where our services are needed more than ever. This shift in the model of practice we engage with and the patronage we seek will determine the effectiveness as well as the relevance of the profession in the coming decades. 2. Can there be any specific values and/ or benchmarks to judge the architectural variants? If yes, what, and why not if no. For me social relevance is the key underpinning benchmark for architecture. Yes beauty and the skill with which we represent societal aspirations etc. are important but fundamentally good architecture is one that is socially relevant â€“ all the way from the values it encodes as well as the aspirations it represents and how best it does that in spatial and visual terms.
IA Hierarchy Talks with
Prof. Rahul Mehrotra Rahul Mehrotra is a practicing architect and educator. He works in Mumbai and teaches at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, where he is Professor of Urban Design and Planning as well as a member of the steering committee of Harvardâ€™s South Asia Initiative. His practice, RMA Architects (www.RMAarchitects.com), founded in 1990, has executed a range of projects across India that include houses, institutes, office buildings as well as conservation and master planning projects in Mumbai. Mehrotra has written extensively on architecture, conservation, and urban planning, some titles that Mehrotra has coauthored are Bombay: The Cities Within; Banganga: Sacred Tank; Public Places: Bombay; Anchoring a City Line; Bombay to Mumbai - Changing Perspectives; and most recently, Bombay Deco. His most recent books are Architecture in India, since 1990 and a coedited volume on the Kumbh Mela - Mapping the Ephemeral Mega City.He has been a member of the jury as well as of the Steering Committee of the Aga Khan Awards for Architecture. He currently serves on the governing boards of the London School of Economics Cities Programme and the Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS).
3. The socio-economic reforms in the country have led to rapid upsurge in the national architectural scenario. Your views on this. Is it because of this economic surge that India in the 1990s slowly started accepting the global (or should we say western) school of thoughts? The changing economy and its liberalization in India has connected us to the global economy. With this there are flows of capital, which perpetuate a particular kind of predictable architecture. This is an architecture that has to respond to speed of construction and is most often vendor driven and by default results in global images of the curtain glazed box! This really results from a particular kind of corporate client and sadly all the Information technology companies, which hold the economic power, are also perpetuating this mindless form of architecture. Fortunately in India there are resistances and a lot also get built using
other modes that are more relevant to the locality. This is the strength of India – its inherent pluralism that challenges and counters a homogenizing trends – political or architectural. 4. What opinion do you have of the imminent clash between the traditional and global school of thoughts, once India accepted modernism? In India aesthetic modernity arrived before the social modernity. Modernism as a style was patronized by Nehru and became by default the official style. Society had not modernized and so we have also in ways sensed this disjuncture and now its become acute as our politics is becoming more regional in its formation with collations and localized power bases that want to use different architectural expression for their States. India is now a highly decentralized economy as well as political system and this has resulted in a landscape of architectural pluralism. The obsession is now, I believe rightly so, is not with national identity but rather regional identities. 5. What special vernacular tenets of Indian Architecture do you feel can set the Modernism in India apart from its global counterparts? I think India is still a society that operates frugally and so responses to availability of material, climatic constraints etc. all play an important role in defining the local architectural idiom. Also, a large part of the built environment in India is self-built and incremental and gains its intelligence from the local vernacular traditions, crafts and building cultures. Having said that, Modernism when it confronted cultures with strong traditions always encountered this resistance – and the result was always a richer version of the pure modernist tenants. I believe this happened in Japan, Latin America and India. So it’s a localized modernity. The first generation of post independence era architects like BV Doshi, Charles Correa, Raj Rewal, Kanvinde, Hahib Rehman etc all played a crucial role in this process of assimilation. And played an amazing role in making this modernity relevant to India both in an economic as well as an aesthetic sense. 6. Recently, we can see the resurfacing of the ancient architecture in India. Contemporary structures like religious places being built by architects whose concepts lie in the age-old traditions. Your views on this. This is all part of the reaction to globalization. Traditions and cultures that feel an anxiety of influence resort to forms of fundamentalism and the aesthetics of the ancient for this is the simplest ways to represent these aspiration. A sort of counter modernity – at least in aesthetic terms. What is interesting is that in India a lot of these impulses are faith based and not necessarily religious in a literal sense. In fact, some of these association of faith have agendas that are about social transformation – much like the modern architecture had a socialist agenda – it’s just that in India today these
modernist and social transformation agendas are being manifest using ancient imagery. An interesting inversion! 7. What exact role does the architect perform once he works hand in hand with the builders and local experts? Is he still the design head, or does he sensibly modify his role to a supervisor to his team? In a pluralistic society like India and also one that’s is very unevenly developed with the most acute forms of inequity, the architect has to play different roles depending on the constituencies and client base that he or she is serving. For me what is critical for the younger generation of architects and by extension for the schools of architecture is how we recognize different ways of doing things and accepting their simultaneous validity. That is understand different modes of engagement depending on what we are building and where and in collaborations with whom. In fact, I believe our relevance for India society will depend on how we can identify these relevant modes of practice and engagement. Further more, this ability within a practise to adapt to different conditions and understand the protocols and process for these different conditions will be the challenge for us as practioners in India. 8. Architecture acts as a valid standpoint of authority and subordination in our society. Agree? You in your personal works have gone down to mining the local resources and work expertise to give your buildings a different perspective. What do you think the local knowledge sets apart the building from the rest? Don’t agree. This might be true in some cities but not as a generalized statement. I think the most powerful pieces of architecture are the ones that can simultaneously respond to both the physical context they are located in but also the political, social and cultural context that defines the locality of their operation. The physical context involves climate, materials available, the lay of the site etc. But the context of the context is the broader more fluid and sometimes abstracts factor that define the larger or broader context of our operation. To straddle these extremes and productively give expression to their intersections is what makes great architecture. Of course not forgetting beauty. 9. Do you feel that architecture, as an experience is extremely personal? Yes, at some levels its very personal. But its also about collective expression and experience. This is the importance of architecture it responds differently to the individual, the collective as well as to different emotional conditions etc. In fact, good architecture creates the physical armature for a broad range of experiences as well as representational possibilities. The broader this spectrum of influence the more timeless is that piece of Architecture! NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 33
Architecture O f , Fo r , B y
There is ample debate about women in any field of work ranging from suppression and under-recognition of women; to equality; to a false sense of feminism, wherein women are trying to prove almost constantly, that they are one step ahead. However, a profession is gender neutral – after all it isn’t author and authoress, doctor and doctress or architect and architectress! We are evolving and we will soon get to a stage wherein one doesn’t need to write articles that specifically talk about any particular gender! Slowly but surely, the progress shall be evident! This article will look at understanding the evolution of architecture as a profession – of, for and by women over the years. Architecture of and for women The early Islamic architecture of India showcases the difference in the spatial arrangements and architectural features of the areas used by males (mardana) and the females (zenana) depending on their usage and activities. This practice was prevalent in the commoner’s homes but more so in the royal palaces and forts. In the Red Fort, this distinction is apparent. Apart from the public spaces or the Diwan-i-Aam(marked in blue); the private spaces are divided into the mardana (orange) which is more open and extrovert in comparison to the Zenana (green) which was more confined, in keeping with the social norms of the ‘purdah’ during those times. There was also a difference in the architectural detailing and materials used in these two spaces. Source: http://www.scribd.com/ doc/22853608/ZENANA-vs-MARDANA#scribd; Author: Abhishek Behera Architecture can be many things, but one thing it always strives to be is the mirror to society.
Ar. Gita Balakrishnan, Ar. Vidya Gopal A graduate from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, Gita Balakrishnan completed practical training at the Centre for Building Performance and Diagnostics at the Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. She underwent a training programme on Stabilized Mud Blocks and other alternative methods of construction at IISc Bangalore. She has designed and constructed buildings using alternative methods of construction. She was a shelter coordinator in the slums of Bangalore through the NGO AVAS where she is now a trustee. She started Ethos in 2001 with the intention of making the architectural and civil engineering community alive to the changes happening globally and in our country in the field of architecture and construction. Gita is currently the Chairperson of the West Bengal Chapter of Indian Institute of Architects. 34 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
The evolution of society may not be consistent. In different parts of the country, superstitions, customs, prejudices might take varied times to evolve, but that is a different debate altogether. For convenience sake, we could look at the evolution of a middle class society. Thus came a phase post the purdah – where the roles of men and women were still different, but society didn’t believe in keeping women behind closed doors, at least not literally. Men were the bread winners and the women were homemakers. So the offices and workspaces were being designed specifically keeping men in mind, and the homes started to be more neutral with no specific demarcation of male and female spaces. Today, we are inching towards equality, where the man
Image 1: Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caryatid#/media/File:Porch_of_Maidens.jpg lends his hand in the matters of the home and the woman article (Feb 20th, 2004) mentions Prof. Kirshna Menon’s also steps out to win the bread. As lines get blurred, we as comment in a debate on “Youth against Violence against architects are probably losing clarity on how to deal with Women” - “The concept of defensible spaces is becoming this shift in society. Do we specially accommodate women, very popular in the West. Engendering public spaces and considering their anthropometric needs maybe different reducing their vulnerability can result from simple design from those of men? Or, do we make workspaces gender solutions,’’ to which he adds “Traditionally architecture has neutral, and if so- how? been an expression of a patriarchal society but things are changing.’’ As mentioned earlier, the woman was initially assigned The article concluded with the note “The insular nature one part of the home, then eventually the home and everything within was hers to share and now she is beginning of architecture as a profession must give way to its becoming to step out of the home and explore the world beyond. But part and parcel of building a caring society which is sensitive unfortunately, independence can come at the cost of safety! to the needs of all including the elderly, children, women and the disabled.” Safety has always been one of the bigger concerns for womankind. Today, we can’t afford to ignore this aspect in Architecture by women our city and urban planning. Architecture will have to catch Woman and her rights in any field of work has always up with society and its evolution and answer the concerns been a point of debate, since time immemorial, and it hasn’t raised. been any different for the field of architecture. Questions about the impact of design on safety of One may looked at architecture by women from two women, was raised in an article in ‘The Hindu’ titled “Design changes to check crimes against women” post some perspectives: - Understanding a female architect’s approach to disturbing incidents of crime against women in Delhi. The NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 35
Image 2: Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Fort#/media/File:Red_Fort_drawing.svg design vis-à-vis a male architect’s approach to design. environment right from the time of the pharaohs of Egypt. - Understanding the numbers, recognition and acceptance of women in the profession. There are several organizations and bodies that are now being formulated specifically keeping women in mind For the former, there are numerous debates on the showcasing and recognizing their work in the field such comparison of sensitivity of women as compared to men as– Women in architecture; MISS which is a platform in their design approach. However, these debates hold no that celebrates femininity in design at the Architecture concrete or evident conclusions. Association; WikiD: Women, Wikipedia, Design which is an international education and advocacy program working As for the latter, there have been studies conducted and to increase the number of Wikipedia articles on women in instances and anecdotes that convey some very strong points, architecture and the built environment. The world is seeking to evolve and surely there is a marked change. which is what the article will now focus on. The article “Where Are the Women? - Measuring Progress on Gender in Architecture” by Lian Chikako Chang, ACSA Director of Research + Information dated October 2014, maps the number of women that graduate from architecture schools to the ones that have thriving practices and are recognized for their excellence in the United States of America. According to the study, only 30% of women hold posts such as that of the directors, heads and chairs in Architecture schools; only about 20% are licensed AIA members and finally; women winning Pritzkers and AIA Gold medals are almost negligible. You may have a better look at the study at http://www.archdaily.com/553700/whereare-the-women-measuring-progress-on-gender-in-architecture Another article named “Unforgetting Women Architects: From the Pritzker to Wikipedia- write women architects back into history” by Despina Stratigakos, in June, 2013 throws light on how there always has been a bias when it comes to recognizing a woman’s efforts in the built 36 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
Although The Pritzker refused to acknowledge Denise Scott Brown’s contribution to Robert Venturi’s work, the AIA recognized her efforts and awarded a joint gold medal to the partners for 2016. The AIA also finally awarded Julia Morgan her gold medal, although 50 years too late. It was awarded in 2014 while she passed away in 1957. Equality is what one seeks when it comes to gender. Each individual, however, needs to believe in egalitarianism and must choose to be the architects of a more sustainable society. “Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance” – Kofi Annan Right: Hearst Castle by Julia Roberts, http://www.cravingsf. com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Hearst-Castle-3.jpg
The art of Patola involves a centuries-old tradition of weaving dyed fabric. It takes three to four months only to prepare a tie-dye design on warp and weft threads. These threads when woven together combine to form the desired pattern on a saree. Patola designs are also used in a range of tablecloths, borders, scarves and handkerchiefs. It is a time-enduring custom in Gujarat to gift a patola saree to a daughter on her marriage. Earlier, women wore patola sarees on auspicious occasions and these were considered as valuable as jewellery. It is also regarded as a symbol of status. In India, this extraordinary craft originated in the patan region of northern Gujarat. There is no reverse side to Patola textile as both sides have an equal intensity of colour and design. The fabric is renowned for its qualities of durability, design and gem-like colours, and is revered by textile scholars for its singular process of production. In the 1930s, a Patola sari cost Rs 120. Today, it is priced between Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh, depending on the intricacy of the design. A single sari takes at least four to six months to complete, and one has to wait in turn for over a year before it is their chance to own a Patola. The technique Weaving one saree is an arduous process and requires immense skill, dexterity and precision. The entire process of the preparation of one Patola saree can take between four to six months with four or five skilled craftsmen working on it. First, the design is drawn on a graph paper and then bleached and dyed onto silk threads imported from China. The process of dyeing requires extraordinary accuracy, as an error of even an inch can distort the pattern. Then, the threads are arranged in rows and columns on the loom. After dyeing is completed, two weavers work together to weave just eight to nine inches each day, so that it requires upto 50 days to weave a 6-yard saree, depending on the complexity of the design.
Patola Pehelwans Champion Weavers of Gujarat
A design is repeated only once in many years and the Salvi family is able to produce less than six patolas in a year. Celebrities, industrialists, politicians as well as textile connoisseurs are equally drawn to this unique textile. Every child in the family is introduced to the art at a tender age to develop a sustaining interest in it. There is division of labour as well- the women work on tying and dyeing the silk while the men do all the weaving. Traditionally, natural dyes and pure silks were used. NASA, India | Indian Arch â€˜16 | 39
Recently, some have adopted chemical dyes instead. The Salvis though persisted in using natural colours in the footsteps of their ancestors. Natural colours are extracted from flowers, barks and herbs like turmeric, marigold flowers, onion skin and indigo. These dyes are not only eco-friendly, but also ensure that the colour of a genuine Patola does not fade for hundreds of years even if the fabric tears. The designs on Patola frabric are based on traditional motifs as well as human figures, birds, animals, flowers, etc. Recently, geometrical patterns have also been included among this varied collection of patola designs. Origins of the Patola History records the beginnings of Patola in India during the reign of King Kumarpal of the Solanki dynasty in the 12th century. According to legend, he invited 700 families of patola weavers from lalna in South Maharashtra to migrate and settle down in Patan. Once the capital of Gujarat, today Patanâ€™s legacy is largely in ruins except for the rich textile heritage of patola which continues to fascinate both amateur and specialist. An entire street on which the weaving community lives is named Patolawalas. Though there were numerous artisans in the Patola weaving fraternity, the Salvi family today is the only one in the country continuing to keep the tradition alive after more than 800 years.
40 | Indian Arch â€˜16 | NASA, India
Ikat, an Indonesian word that means to tie, knot or bind. It refers to a type of textile which is woven by hand after the warp or weft of the fabric is tied and dyed to achieve intricate patterns. This style of Ikat is prevalent in various cultures, especially, Indonesia, Thailand and Uzbekistan. Double Ikat is practised in Japan, Guatemala and Bali among other places. But the more intricate version of double ikat, the Patan Patola originated in India. The Patola technique is also supposed to have its origins in another unique and difficult knot dyeing process known as Bandhani. In AD 1342, the traveller Ibn Batuta gifted kings with patolas in an attempt to secure their friendship and favour. Patolas were highly popular in the 17th and 18th centuries and before the Second World War, Indonesia was a major buyer of patolas. The handicraft of Patola suffered a severe setback when most craftsmen stopped making it following the Second World War which led to a standstill of trade with the outside world. Over time, more and more of these craftsmen migrated or sought alternative professions until patola was becoming an extinct craft. But the Salvi family, who originally migrated from Maharashtra at the invitation of King Kumarpal, worked on reviving it. Over the years, students of international design and textile institutes have visited the workshop of the Salvis and attempted to mechanize the patola weaving process. But the Salvis have been steadfast in conserving the tradition of
preparing this textile by hand since a mechanical process can never equal the outcome of a handcraft such as this. Members of the Salvi family have repeatedly received prestigious awards for their work including Keshavlal, who received the President’s Award for craftsmanship in the early 1960s from Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the then president of India. His younger brother Kantilal won the National Award in 1978, followed by Chhotalal in 1987. Vinayak received the title of “Shilpguru” from A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2002 and Rohit received the National Award in 2005. A Patola Museum The Salvi family has established a museum dedicated to showcasing the preparation process of this fine textile as well as to exhibiting artifacts that have survived the years. The museum, called Patan Patola Heritage boasts a board at its entrance that bears the names of the family’s National Award winners and it is the only museum of its kind in the world. It documents the history of the Patan Patola, a textile that combines techniques of tyeing, dyeing and weaving. The oldest piece is a tattered red vintage Patola sari carefully stored in a discreet drawer. Other enticing exhibits include century-old artisanal sketches on yellowed paper, made by the Salvi ancestors, documenting the process of making the Patan Patola, photographs of celebrities including Jaya Bachchan and Sonia Gandhi wearing the fabric, a 200-yearold red Patola frock for a child, old spinning looms, and samples of single Ikat textiles from various countries. Vinayak Salvi, Bharat Salvi | House of Patola Patan, Gujarat
Knuckles turned red from the warmth of the touch The warmth of that softness never can be forgotten Delicacy and ferocity not only will love hold It’s a power of touch of your own hands saying “Namaste” to me….. A softness which holds all the wrinkled lines is so powerful that its delicacy has ability to destroy everything what floods can do and its ferocity has ability to turn the dust to castles. Just the games played by two hands describe what you think about your own world. A newly born baby’s fingers hold the softest touch ever felt in this whole world. I mean how a little baby who doesn’t even know how to spell a single world can turn a devil to flying angel. I think, that’s the power of touch from where the whole life begins to write down the whole story. I am not a writer but somewhere I think my hands are in love with the blue ink when they keep touching the bubbles forming words which I write. My biggest power and weakness is controlled by my hands when they let my demons come out. People say from the soft to strong hands – wrinkled lines keep designing its new forms. It is because of the fervency of touch and affection towards the things, the people we meet in our way, feeling the texture of everything when these wrinkled lines shape themselves (which hold dreams) according to the reality of world. The most wonderful experience was during my tour when I touched the walls of forts I visited last week. Touching the walls built by the ones who wrote their own history, touching the history, touching the aura of breaths of life which once existed. I felt lucky because I could feel the warmth of the stories and breaths hidden in those cold walls. I could smell the fragrance of those stories when I was taken to the time of those rulers with grace and elegance. I know that seems quite funny but that feel of touching those walls was the most wonderful experience I could ever have. I myself felt touched by the history. The power of the touch of a hand can do anything.
Fervency of touch of
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Ask a six year old girl when she holds hand of her father while crossing the road, did she still have fear. Ask two lovers how their love story began. Ask a writer who loves his pen. Ask the old walls standing high against the time if touch of hands of workers did a magic. Ask the god how he created you. People will forget about the looks, people may forget about the memories you made with them, people will forget about the dresses you wore, people will forget about the smiles but never will they forget how you made them feel. Anmol Arora | Gateway College of Architecture, Sonepat
When the clock strikes twelve Tulika Shrivastava | U.S.A.P., G.G.S.I.P.U., Delhi
Caption: Simar Kindra
A Re-Evolution in the Perception of Architecture?
Ar Apurva Bose Dutta Architect Apurva
Bose Dutta is a Bangalore-ba sed architectural journalist. Apurva graduated in architecture from Chandigarh College of Architecture in 2005, and obtained a diploma in freelance journalism from UK. She has been a part of the core editorial teams of India’s leading architectural magazines. Presently, she collaborates with a number of publishing houses, on line portals, design firms and organisations—nationally and internationally, to write and talk about architecture. She enjoys exploring new subjects in design, comprehending their ideologies and bringing forth architecture, that makes a difference and needs to be noticed. Apurva has been responsible for conceptualizing and spearheading the first magazine issue in India, dedicated entirely to architectural journalism. Through her various initiatives, she is persistently working towards promoting the subject in the country. She has been awarded for ‘Excellence in Architectural Journalism’ (2015); ‘Creative Excellence in Architectural Journalism’ (2010) and ‘A3F award in Architectural Journalism’ (2009). Her website www.apurvabose.com gives an overview of her work. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org 44 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
Having completed a decade in the field of architectural journalism, I ponder on,first the evolution of the subject in itself, and second, whether the subject has been able to bring about any re-evolution in the mindset and perception of architecture amongst its readers—the design and building industry, and general public. Architectural journalism is a step towards architectural criticism, a subject that has been discussed over the last 2-3 decades, particularly overseas where it has for long worked as an acknowledged off-shoot of architecture. Architectural critics there have made their voices and presence emphatically felt! In fact, the long presence of the subject overseas can be comprehended from the fact that way back in 1982, as stated in the book Architecture Criticism Ideology, there was a conference of architects and architecture critics held in New York, which led to the realisation of how architectural criticism was being avoided in their side of the globe . In India, surprisingly there weren’t much murmurs about the subject of architectural journalism till the end 2000, though the country had a couple of good genuine design journals operating from the ‘1950s, the subject was introduced as an elective in the ‘1980s, and in the late ‘1990s there were architects who had already stated that architectural journalism would be the next big thing in architecture. While it certainly hasn’t become the ‘big thing’ yet, but the subject has been evolving. The number of design magazines emerging in the country is huge, though not gratifying, and many definitely need a quality-check. There are a large number of students and professionals from the industry who have expressed a keen desire to follow the subject. Architectural firms are opting for in-house writers— the biggest example being set overseas by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) who recently appointed a design editor in their company’s roles. I find it quite heartening when students express their desire to do their B.Arch final internships in architectural journalism, though the Council of Architecture doesn’t allow it presently. There are those students too, who undergo a regular internship with an architectural firm, but simultaneously stick to their passion for architectural writing by bringing out eBooks or e-magazines. Students today, are undeniably more curious, more vocal, and more enthusiastic to explore the unknown; more well-read, confident, aware and full of energy to take on new initiatives. Even the college magazines brought out by them are extremely superior in content. Many architects have come out in the open and categorically stated that they are looking for objective analysis of their designs, instead of magazines just eulogising them. Various design schools have felt the need to introduce subjects of design journalism, and a number of them publish quality-content research journals. With time, print
magazines have developed their e-versions to cater to a wider audience. My various talks with the national bodies connected to architecture have revealed how architects feel the need to promote the subject, and gradually, the subject is being acknowledged as one having its own identity, and not being labelled as a stream pursued by those ‘who would like to escape the monstrosity of bad design’. At a international conference in Goa few months back, I was elated when in one of the panel discussions, a question of the need of ‘architectural criticism becoming mainstream’ was posed to the august panel, even while the conference was on hardcore architecture. A speaker also highlighted the need to connect with everyone to convey what designs could do. The need to connect, I believe comes directly from communication, where the written word is the most effective form of communication. Still, a lot needs to evolve—the national bodies need to put into ‘action’ some regulations, and a few years down the line, the vision would be much clearer and a more evolved-one.
any genre remains a challenge with its many constraints and delays, however there has been an upsurge in the number of architecture books in the country. Ironically, only a handful of them probe into deeper roots of architecture, while others are happy being mere coffee-table books. But an architectural writer can escape this scenario when working not directly with the publishers, but with the architects/organisations bringing out the book. However, scan an architectural library and one would be disappointed to see only a few Indian authors. I have had some pretty disappointing experiences in Bangalore itself, trying to locate libraries which stock good architectural books, barring the libraries of Schools of Architecture. It hurts to see when you realise that good libraries like the British Library or renowned book stores like the Landmark store have removed their ‘architecture’ section. The Central State Library has a collection of 2.5 lakh books, but only three rows dedicated to architecture, where only a handful of books are related to architecture, the rest are on topics of photography or art. My experiences with libraries overseas, especially in Australia and UK have been tremendous—apart from the diverse collection of architectural books in the national libraries, they are most meticulously arranged, and the built structure is so dynamic that one just wants to linger on in those libraries browsing through the books.
Apart from the subject and its acknowledgment developing over the times, I have also felt an evolvement in the mindsets of the Indian society especially towards newer streams of profession. This is a revelation in a societal set-up, where till a decade back the accepted professions were only those of an engineer, doctor or a MBA. The vast amount of students wanting to opt for the subject is indicative of the fact that students are trying to curve towards their natural Coming back to the subject’s growth in India, the inclinations, rather than their parents defining their career- question remains, are the scores of design magazines paths. evolving too? What is commendable is that besides regular architectural and design magazines, there has been an effort With things going digital, the charm of print media to publish magazines exclusively dedicated to sub-streams evidently seems to be getting faded, and this could be in architecture. Today there are exclusive magazines on perhaps counted as a down-side of this evolution. In my construction, lighting, sanitation, green buildings, washopinion, technology can convenience dissemination and rooms, materials, urban planning, landscape, tall buildings, access of information, but the power of the written word etc. Apart from which, there are Indian editions of wellcan never be replaced by a digital word. Today phones and known foreign architectural magazines available too. iPads have swiftly replaced books that used to be favourite pastimes of people. The recent opening of a bookless library However, the quality-assurance varies. A couple of at the Florida Polytechnic University is a sharp reiteration of magazines are reasonably of good quality; there are others the changing dynamics of the publishing industry. Overseas, that are making efforts, while some are there just because especially in U.S. and UK, where architectural publishing they want to be there! For many, good architecture writing has been an integral part of architecture, there have been a is basically defined by only bigger names in the industry, in lot of deliberations on the ‘death of architectural criticism’— which case we need to be clear whether it is architecture that issues discussed include the pressure on magazines to cover we are wanting to highlight, or architects! certain subjects & architects & critics being told to stop criticizing. Simply put, ‘architectural criticism seems to have There are a number of self-checks that magazines need to lost his original power’. do for their quality-assurance and for retaining respect for their writers. ARCHITECTURAL PUBLISHING IN INDIA Print Media • The presence of a number of writers with an architectural background in the core team of any design Print media includes books, magazines and journals. magazine should be mandatory. It still puzzles me how a Though the book publishing industry in India, irrespective of writer without an architectural background can possibly NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 45
understand the drawings of a project, or sit through a 2-3 days conference on architecture and cover it, without getting bored! Here, it is ironical but true that some of the world’s best architectural critics have been non-architects, but that’s also credited to their enormous amount of experience in the field. • The quality of magazines should not be left on individual writers or freelancers. The core team should have enough skilled people to look into every article and take ownership of copy-editing, proof-reading layouts, and managing pictures and drawings, instead of simply passing all this additional load of work to individual writers. In case it becomes the responsibility of the writer completely, the pay structure should be looked into accordingly. Also, with regard to the pay structure, the research done by a writer for his/her article should be a component in the remuneration, instead of following the remuneration per word policy. • While commercialization becomes imperative for money inflow, there needs to be a fine balance between allocation of spaces for advertisements and editorial content in a magazine. An advertisement occurring right between an article becomes a sore point. At the end of the day, at the core of a magazine has to be its content. Also, whether it is right for some magazines to have an editorial policy where they don’t name the sponsors in any event coverage, unless the magazine receives some advertisement or sponsorship from them, is highly debatable. • Basic captioning for images should be mandatory, and at least a basic plan should always accompany projects even in an interior magazine, while sections are a must in hard-core architecture magazines. Also, the plans need to be blown up to the scale to make them legible.
negative statement that an architect in his/her interview might have given on architecture. • Copyright issues also need to be stringent—there have been instances where a magazine has reprinted a published article with a mere shuffling of a few paragraphs under another author’s name. Any architect who re-uses published text on his project written by an author, needs to inform as well as credit the author. Also organizations lifting published write-ups by authors and sending it further to magazines stating it as ‘their official in-house press release’, is unethical. It is pertinent to add here that a few good magazines in India are fortunately following these checks, are doing well, and it’s important to look for them in the future! Digital Media Online architectural portals, websites and blogs have carved their own niches. While now everyone becomes an architectural writer evidently ‘evaluating’ a building with the vast amount of pictures shared on networking sites, the visit to the site and experiencing the building in person is missing. But then, that’s the case in much of print media too, where the personal experience and understanding the architect’s response to the site is lacking. Whenever possible, a visit to the site should be binding for the writer to gauge his/her own experience of the project.
• It is also time to bring in design journals where ‘text’ is important and not only the ‘pictures’. Barring two-three magazines, how many magazines really approve of projects on the basis of its history and drawings, and not merely by the pictures?
However, it is also true that the common man has found an interest in art and architecture through digital media. The interest that needn’t be technical or critical, but more as one where basic information or knowledge is shared. In fact the interest in architectural writing has been found to be not limited amongst students/professionals of architecture only—I can recall my chance meeting with an investment banker, with an interest in design, who wanted to get into architectural writing though he wasn’t even aware of the existence of a subject called ‘architectural journalism’.
• The extent to which one needs to depend on digitalization needs to be curbed. In some cases, magazines are found to do zero research on the themes they want to pursue for their issues. This is compensated by a simple invite by them on all LinkedIn groups through which projects land directly in their inboxes.
A couple of design blogs by some enthusiastic youngsters who have an interest in art and architecture are quite commendable; the ‘analysis’ might be missing, but the ‘research’ is much apparent. In a scenario, where there are no architectural magazines for the layman, digital scores as it does with its easy cost factor too.
• Any major editing or reframing of content needs to be cross-checked with the writer before publication, in order to retain the voice of the writer in the final piece. If architectural journalism has to gain solid footing, it needs to do away with policies that some magazines follow—policies like avoiding criticism about any project, and avoiding any
However, an architectural journalist should understand that good architectural writing shouldn’t be restricted to ‘interior ideas for a home’ or ‘lifestyle blogging’, but on more serious topics; also one might earn a lot doing ghost writing assignments, but if you are serious about the subject, your voice should come out only in your name.
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RE-EVOLUTION IN THE PERCEPTION OF ARCHITECTURE There are no two ways about it that architecture and architectural journalism/criticism exist in a mutual relationship. Good writers can actually influence people’s decision because their writings are not limited to a building’s aesthetics—they probe further into the society, cultural and historical relationships. Whereas overseas, design becomes a daily discussion between people owing to the great weight age it gets in newspapers like New York Times, in India, gradually one notices serious topics of urban cities, urban heritage being discussed in newspapers like the Hindu and Times of India, though on a very micro level. A couple of newspapers have also started dedicated design columns that speak on common concerns of architecture, without restricting themselves to architects and projects. However, ‘design supplements’ that accompany these newspapers provide no more than interior design ideas or the state of real estate. The discussion of design needs to work at the macro level which makes the common man aware of the issues, challenges, solutions involved—at the end of the day, a city is of the people, not of its designers alone; it becomes crucial for the common man to have a say, or at least an opinion about what he wants. Alexandra Lange in his book ‘Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities’ rightly states, “What we need are more critics—citizen critics—equipped with the desire and the vocabulary to remake the city”. As architectural journalists and critics, we open topics on architecture to a wider spectrum of people, who could also interpret it in their ways. We need to construct discourses, apart from mere evaluation or translation of the building onto the paper or the reader’s minds. Of course, once a building springs up, and a writer writes about it, he/ she can’t alter the building, but definitely can build up a better demand for design. Hence, for writers, to design a future keeping in mind the present, should be an important goal of their written pieces. For the common man to contribute in making decisions, it is essential to continuously keep them feeding information so that a big public debate can ensue on architecture and urbanism. This underlines the need of architectural journalists as correspondents in the newspaper, rather than the core newspaper editorial team writing on architecture. The phrase ‘activist criticism’ seems to be much in vogue, indicating writers who take on the dual role of an activist, wanting to change scenarios through their constructive criticisms. It will be nice to see some of them in India too. There exists a relationship between an architectural writer and an architect too. A good writer reflects on the architect’s creations in a very introspective manner, and can
voice some constructive feedback and tactile experiences of the built structure, that the architect might have not intended to build too. However, architects have to be open to criticism. Also, it is funny how many of them feel that today the emphasis of magazines is on photographs, but are conscious themselves about which angles and in which light to photograph their own buildings. This is credited to the magazines who generally like choosing projects on the basis of what looks ‘good’—but I guess, this unnecessary importance of ‘presentation’ has become a part of everything in life. A writer also needs to maintain the authenticity of the design and the architect—the famous case in example being of a publication and a particular critic that were sued by Zaha Hadid for apparently ‘giving wrong information on her project and defaming her’. THE COMING YEARS The subject’s acknowledgment is proof enough about its validity in the profession. The fact that even UGC has recently decided to include architectural journalism in its list of e-courses under architecture, further establishes the subject’s importance. The subject along with lesserknown specialisations in architecture is being awarded and honoured for its contribution to architecture. The coming years are crucial as they will charter the course and the foundation the subject has to stand upon. While one can hope that the acceptance of criticism would be there, the schools of architecture also have a very strong role in moulding students to become good architectural writers—exposing them to art, literature and history so that they can interface all these in their writings. In fact, all forms of communication (written/verbal) should be introduced to the students. The magazines can play vital roles by offering internships and roles for writers with architectural backgrounds, thus promoting architectural journalism. The curriculum needs to be framed for the subject. For the existing architectural journalists in India, though I can hardly name a few who are full-time into the profession, a society binding them is important. This also could be a common platform for all editors of architectural journals where standards could be set to improve the existing publications. Architectural journalism is not a subject that only works in a horizontal dimension, as a mere career to be followed to gain livelihood and contribute to society. For such subjects which are much needed, but not there, there is a vertical dimension too where one should possess an inner yearning and a desire to follow such a path and bring a differencepaths that re-revolutionise existent thoughts, paths that open new worlds of beliefs, and paths that change the way we perceive things. NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 47
is still left, I sit on my desk that is fairly more disorganised than I’d like it to be, dying at the amount of work I need to do and I have broken down and had a semi-good cry. I have caved in and I have cried. When I mistakenly cut my hand, I pray that there is no blood on the model (this is when I am homophobic-the fear of blood) or the life altering decision making moment where I have to decide whether to take a bath or sleep in the 15 minutes break I could afford while working. I can’t even take my tears seriously now. I am chuckling because I am crying -not over the amount of work I have to do, but at the pressure to be creative and unique with my designs in the way my professors want me to. Sometimes it is as if I am a recovering addict trying not to stray from the right path, people say when you are passionate about things it automatically drives you in the right direction with undivided focus. But for me these moments come and go. When all this is over, I am back to feeling great and I can take over the world. This is not the only issue in our lives. No, oh god no! The work pressure and the added drama is not enough. We also have the usual college student’s issues as well the -friend circle, what is cool and what’s not? And, of course, other trivial matters. It is amazing how there is too much of everything in this course.
the good, the bad & the struggling I have been in architecture school for a little more than 2 years now. I have received my brief, worked on my brief and had my brief criticised so many times. Sometimes I feel great, ignoring the sadness, fear and nerves lingering in my head. But sometimes in my moments of weakness and when the submission is just within a few hours while half of the work 48 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
When I start to look at the positive side, I find it not so dull either. The group projects, all-nighters, creating a ruckus in the metro as you haven’t sleep all night and don’t care what others are thinking about you, seeing the parts of Delhi (the city in which I was born and raised) which other people don’t even know about, annual college trips. These make us feel special and that we are different from other courses. A professor once said that people think of doctors as life givers as it is in their hands to save you during a complicated surgery, accident etc. but what about us architects? We neglect one thing and the next thing you know the structure has fallen down, many people are dead and the architect is behind the bars. I think that we have the power to influence people and hence the society. As all Spiderman fans must know, with great power comes great responsibility. As exhilarating and thrilling the power part may be, we should not forget the responsibility we have. Disclaimer: This course is not for the weak hearted people. Shruti Aggarwal | U.S.A.P., G.G.S.I.P.U., Delhi
The heavens touch Earth through architecture Divya | U.S.A.P., G.G.S.I.P.U., Delhi
If evolution is thought of as a gradual increase of complexity and a process which makes a form more suited to its environment, this essay argues that although structural systems in architecture have evolved over the many periods of architectural history, in very recent years we are witnessing and can ourselves participate in what can be described as a (re) evolution. We certainly can discern enormous changes in the structures of works of architecture over the past several thousand years. Structural elements and their materials have developed considerably since the times of Egyptian hypostyle halls roofed with hewn rock slabs, and mass pyramids. Structure essentially consisted of massive elements of construction. And even in subsequent periods, from Greek to Roman, and even up to the 19th Century, most structural elements, with the exception of roof structure, resisted and transferred their self-weight and other loads, in compression.
in A rc h i te ctu re Prof. Andrew
Andrew Charleson is an Associate Professor at the School of Architecture, Victoria University of Wellington. He is the author of Structure as Architecture: a source book for architects and structural engineers (2nd ed. 2015) and Seismic Design for Architects (2008). Andrew has contributed to earthquake engineering education during several periods in India where he has been based at IIT Kanpur. 50 | Indian Arch â€˜16 | NASA, India
Now days, contemporary buildings rarely rely upon stone and masonry load-bearing elements. The exception is vernacular architectural tradition which is still strong, particularly in developing countries. The 2015 Nepal earthquake tragically demonstrated the vulnerability of these types of construction that still provide shelter for large populations around the world. But the focus here is upon architecture, rather than buildings. So the vernacular, with its usual reliance upon natural and readily available inexpensive materials is excluded from this analysis because by its very nature, it has evolved little through the centuries. As already mentioned, until relatively recently, works of architecture have been supported mainly by load-bearing walls of stone or brick masonry. The introduction of metal structure created a revolution in the construction industry. No longer did most load paths rely upon compression, through piers, vaults, arches and buttresses. Now, floors and roofs were more likely to be supported through elements in bending, like beams. The use of iron, and then steel, has transformed our ability to span horizontally. Whereas floor spans were limited by the availability of timber lengths and their cross-sectional dimensions, now steel beams and concrete beams reinforced with steel are able to span much further and are much shallower. Totally new structural systems including moment frames, special because of the rigid joints between columns and beams, and post and (continuous) beam structures and space frames have been introduced and are now well-established in architectsâ€™ structural vocabularies. Even the most basic beam has been reinvented as a composite beam. Formerly, a steel beam would support a structurally separated concrete slab. But now, with steel studs welded to the top flanges of beams the concrete slab bonds to the steel, forcing steel and concrete to work as one structural element. This composite T-beam is
stronger, stiffer and uses less material. Even plain reinforced concrete beams have experienced a degree of transformation. Shallower and longer spanning beams can be achieved by pre-stressing or post-tensioning the primary reinforcement that resists bending moments. As part of the development and technical refinement of structural members we have also witnessed major advances in the way structural members are connected. Take, for example, welding and the connection of heavy timber members. Structural welding, which we now take for granted is less than 100 years old. By replacing rivets as the means of connecting steel members, faster and more efficient construction has been achieved. Architectural detailing benefited as well. Very clean and invisible connections were possible. Recall the hidden plug-welds connecting beams to posts on Mies van der Roheâ€™s Farnsworth House. Timber structures have also benefitted from similar technological developments. Computer controlled cutting machines have expanded the range of timber connections and other approaches such as pressed-in steel dowels and epoxy grouted steel rods into the ends of members have enabled rigid joints in timber to become more cost-effective and architecturally acceptable. The advent of these modern structural systems and
materials has certainly changed the face and body of architecture. They have speeded up construction by facilitating prefabrication and off-site production, and reduced the plan areas of structural foot prints, thereby releasing more usable space. Consequently, modern structural systems have increased opportunities for openness, transparency and a greater sense of spaciousness. The open plan could not have been realized without the move away from masonry construction. Todayâ€™s architects have far greater freedom when it comes to spatial planning due to the less obstructive nature of modern structure. So there is abundant evidence that architectural structure has evolved. It is now more complex and sophisticated. Modern structure has the capability to span further with shallower structural depths, and there are many different ways its members can be joined, shaped and curved. This in turn has led to greater complexity in the architecture it supports and literally opened up interior architecture to enable it to better meet the needs of building owners and users. It is inconceivable that this evolution of structural capability and its ensuring architectural impact will cease. Researchers are continuing to develop new construction techniques, such as 3D printing and improved materials that
Fig. 1: Crude and irregular structure of the Attic Conversion, Vienna, designed by Coop Himmelb(l)au. NASA, India | Indian Arch â€˜16 | 51
Fig. 2: Güell Colony Crypt, Barcelona, Spain, designed by Antonio Gaudi. The rough-hewn columns slope away from the centre to carry all loads in pure compression. will eventually find their way to building sites. Structures embraced other architectural roles. No longer is structure are becoming more effective and efficient, especially in their just intended to function only as a load-bearing system. No use of materials. But in recent years, say the last thirty, it longer must it be always on a grid, or perceived of being appears that we are witnessing both that positive structural rational. No longer must columns be vertical or even evolution and yet simultaneously, a (re) evolution. Architects straight, beams prismatic and other structural members are denying evolutionary gains from the past and employing structure in less structurally effective ways in order to enrich their architecture. As a consequence, from a technical perspective, architectural structure is becoming less fit for purpose. Up until about thirty years ago structure was generally the epitome of rationality and construction efficiency. Architectural plans were ordered by regular and orthogonal structural grids. This is how the buildings of the modern movement and most of those constructed since then were structured. Regular structure often led to regular architecture in terms of its outward appearance and its internal planning. But since then, iconic works of architecture including Coop Himmelb(l)au’s attic conversion in Vienna in 1988 (Figure 1)and Rem Koolhaas’s Gallery of Contemporary Art, Rotterdam 1992 have challenged conventional and conservative structural configuration. Structure has 52 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
Fig. 3: Chaotic interior structure in the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, Royal Ontario Museum designed by Daniel Libeskind.
detailed for uniformity. With the exception of architects like Antonio Gaudi, whose inclined columns traced the state of pure compression force transfer through structure (Figure 2), for the first time in architectural history, we are witnessing columns being moved off grids, and columns and struts inclined and orientated in ways that question notions of order, regularity, and even stability. From the perspective of structural engineers, contractors, and even conservative members of society who are resistant to change, this dynamic treatment of structure appears like a backward step technically. It is a move away from the easilydesigned and constructed, the rational, the predictable, the static and the ordered. But for many others, including growing numbers of architects, this (re) evolution represents a path towards greater freedom of expression. By moving beyond structural elements being associated as bland and static, they are now becoming key expressive components. Now, structure is understood as more than a necessary evil, but an ally in helping reinforce and communicate design ideas in the interests of a richer, more diverse architecture. The ultimate hope is for a better quality of built environment that can lift the human spirit. Structure in the past has usually been passive and dumb. Architects have wished structure wasn’t necessary. But given how unrealistic that dream was, they would wish structure could fade into the background and not detract from what they considered to be their most important architectural intentions. In fact, the situation is worse than that. For example, some architectural students are in a state of denial regarding structure. That they would much prefer to avoid structure altogether in their design projects is obvious from wafer thin floor slabs and an absence of beams, columns and load-bearing walls on their plans. Of course, as a consequence, even though their work may exhibit seductive ethereal and floating qualities, there is for instance a cartoonlike quality that results from the lack of structural reality.
Fig. 4: Structural elements at the base of the Olympic Stadium, Beijing, designed by Herzog & De Meuron.
So through creative architectural design from the minds and hands of skilled practitioners, structure is being given a voice, yet simultaneously playing its primary load-bearing role. Just as a curvy line drawn on paper can convey different moods and emotions, so structural elements can be expressive and be read in ways that enrich the architecture they support. Structural vocabulary confined to vertical and orthogonally grid-locked posts, columns and walls, may reinforce notions of order, stability and regularity, but more commonly are barely noticed. Consider what impact the columns you encounter in your day-to-day life have on you. Do they invite or force you to question their orientation or detailing; do you enjoy them, do they arouse in you some sense of aesthetic or intellectual delight? I’d love you to answer ‘yes’ to even one of these questions. But, NO, they are completely NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 53
Fig. 5: ‘Unstable clustered columns in Sendai Mediatheque, designed by Toyo Ito.
expressionless! Is this because they have been intentionally and skilfully designed to play such a passive role? Almost certainly not. The overwhelming emphasis in the past upon design and construction efficiency and economy, coupled with other architectural preoccupations, has all but erased a vision of architecturally expressive structure.
We are seeing more and more examples of structure being given a voice. In the early period of this (re) evolution, for instance in the rooftop extension in Vienna, the tone of the structural voice was reactionary, rough and strident; almost angry. But this is but one of innumerable voices. As well as barking, structure can also shout joyously and even sing. Its repertoire can range from the soothing and melodic to more frenzied and discordant pieces. Once structure is designed to speak it can express an enormous range of emotions and moods. Just as human speech can be clear or confusing, invoke humour or have a depressing effect upon its hearers, so can structure. But structure doesn’t only connect emotionally. Expressive structure can engage our intellects. It can raise questions, cause us to wonder, surprise us, and stimulate us intellectually. Many examples of such structural voices can be discerned in the work of leading contemporary architects. Several that come to mind are Daniel Libeskind (Figure 3), Peter Zumthor, Zaha Hadid, Toyo Ito and Herzog & de 54 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
Meuron (Figure 4).
At this juncture, and to conclude, several words of warning to those considering participating in this (re) evolution. First there is the issue of safety. A primary responsibility of architects is to provide what Vitruvius called “firmitas”. Our buildings must be safe for all possible loads acting upon them. Once we start inclining columns or walls, unless that is done perfectly symmetrically, the building becomes less stable. There are sound structural reasons for structure that is regular and vertical. They are most important in areas of significant seismicity, including large swathes of India. Regular structure is the best choice in seismic areas because of how building codes allow it to be designed so weakly as compared to the forces that occur in a large earthquake. The regularity of a structure enables structural engineers to understand, predict and determine where that inevitable damage will occur. Engineers protect the main gravityresisting structure from serious structural damage to ensure the building remains standing. Any structural irregularities therefore must be modest. A helpful strategy to consider when introducing more expressive structure is that of structural specialization or hierarchy. First, this means providing conventional
regular structure, like moment frames, cross-braced frames or structural walls, designed to resist all seismic forces in the two main horizontal orthogonal directions. Then the more expressive and probably irregular structure is relieved of any responsibility for seismic resistance. It can just concentrate on carrying gravity forces. This is usually a far more straight forward task than resisting seismic forces, and leaves the other structure, located elsewhere in plan to ensure building safety in the event of a damaging earthquake. Toyo Ito employed this strategy in a particularly subtle manner in his design of the celebrated Sendai Mediatheque building. Within the building plan the weight of suspended floors is supported by sloping and transparent circular clusters of slender steel tubes. Their inclination expresses strongly a sense of instability (Figure 5). However, around the building perimeter, larger diameter vertical clusters contain triangular bracing. They speak the same structural language by virtue of their scale, slenderness and detailing as those that are â€˜unstableâ€™. But their triangulation renders them fit to resist horizontal as well as vertical forces. The second warning concerns overuse of structural expression. Designers must be very self-critical when designing expressive structure. Any structural expression should be justified by the way it contributes to the overall architectural intent of the design. It should reinforce the design concept or introduce an intended architectural quality to the building exterior or form, or to one or more interior spaces. Moving structure off the vertical, or off grid, should be done intentionally and carefully due to the ensuing construction and cost implications. The extent of structural expression can also vary greatly. If the construction budget is limited it might only be possible to introduce one or two expressive structural elements. Where this is done, close attention needs to be paid to the potential criticism that the localized expressive structure is a oneoff gesture and therefore lacks integration with the rest of the design.
1. In this era of C.A.D.D., what significance do you feel remains of the butter paper, and pencil? The pen, pencil and butter paper and architecture, go hand in hand. The touch and feel of butter paper, gives you the satisfaction in the designing process as a whole. There’s a must read among the best of books on architecture, called the “Thinking Hand”. In the book, one can find the relationship between the mind, the hand and the butter paper, thereby one realises the importance of the touch and feel factor involved in the olden ways of designing. 2. What do you feel about the present architectural education scenario of the country? A delicate question, indeed. India produces something more than 20,000 architects annually. A share of these architects have their degree without proper knowledge owing to the lack of proper guidance. So things aren’t really looking up for architecture, and the education scenario altogether. However, if the authorities look into the screening process, to produce talent, India might be on the forefront of the world’s architectural scene. Bangladesh has only seven colleges, Sri Lanka has only two. You see, quality there, not quantity.
IA Hierarchy Talks with
Ar. Abin Choudhury Ar. Abin Chowdhury graduated from Jadavpur University, Kolkata in 1998 and pursued Industrial Design at Domus Academy, Milan. Recently, he attended the Glenn Murcutt International Master Class 2014. He set up Abin Design Studio in October, 2005, a multidisciplinary architecture firm. Over these 10 years, ADS has executed a range of diverse projects that have engaged many issues, multiple constituencies and varying scales, from interior design and architecture to urban design and Art . He describes himself as a creative mind constantly in the process of exploration of new thoughts and ideas, new materials and technology, drawing inspiration from ordinary things . He believes in extensive research work, and is open to what’s happening worldwide and is extremely passionate about the work he does. IA ‘16 representative, Shubhayan Modak in a personal discussion with Ar. Abin Choudhury dwells deep into the common facors facing architecture in 21st century India.
3. How do you feel has architectural practice revolutionized over time in India? Post-independence, when Nehru asked Le Corbusier to plan Chandigarh, we see a touch of brutalism. However, if you look at Charles Correa and B.V. Doshi, they have taken to modernism. Then again, there are maestros and there are rest, who progress over time. The scene is such that, in architecture, in India, sab kuch bikta hai. Design nowadays, has a new practice - that is copying from Google images. In this way, the understanding of material, conceptuality, is being lost. Innovation is being derailed, but all in all you do get to see some good work, once in a while. In Latin America, the courses are well structured- they are producing some excellent work. We need to change the way budding architects are being trained. A 20,000 strong architectural fraternity, having inferior architects can prove disastrous to the architectural scene of India, as a whole. 4. What is the most definable relationship between art and architecture? To define art, you need a lot of parameters- time, experience, etc. To define architecture you need practicality. You can’t expect Indian architecture to find its place in the States. Architecture is an abode of potential, unlike art. Interestingly, art can be adopted
into architecture. Art tells you about a time, its feel. 5. Architectural criticism is an important part of the science of buildings, and its absence in this country is a negative. Your opinion on this. Of course, it is so. People who understand architecture, are nowhere to be found as far as architectural criticism is concerned. Commercializing this practice as a whole might be a solution. For example, instead of narrating architecture, there should be criticism of the same, by an architectural critic. Workshops, conferences, get-togethers might be a way to get the word for constructive architectural criticism out. Architectural journalism however is completely different from architectural criticism. 6. Architecture acts a valid standpoint of authority and subordination in our society. Agree? If we talk about public buildings, then we will see, that in European countries, they have public voting, for reviewing of how successful the building is in terms of public usage. But that is not the case in India. Here, it is dictated by bureaucrats or non-technical people in power. Hence, mostly, the public cannot relate to such existing buildings and there is always a gap between the built environment and the user even though they are termed as ‘public’ buildings. The scale or size or other physical attributes of public buildings should be in tandem to their usage and user groups. The architecture should hence maintain that balance, I believe, and not tilt towards any one extremity. 7. What exact role does the architect perform, once he works hand in hand with the builders, and local expertise? Does he modify his role accordingly? I believe it is the architect’s responsibility to work hand in hand with the local craftsmen and be present with them as much as possible. Just designing a building on paper does not do away with the architect’s responsibilities. 8. The architectural data codes we use are mostly from the west, and at times, a misfit to the local context. Why aren’t we developing our own set of anthropometric regulations? They are references… not absolute laws. So, I feel, we can always bend them according to our needs. Books like Neufert’s, Time Saver’s are given so that we have a rough idea… They are not to be treated like the Bible. It is important to know the difference between a code and a standard… like NBC is a code, a set of rules to be followed; but the standards are not mandatory. What we should do is, merge the two as per our design requirements… 9. For the benefit of the students, what do you feel should be present in the portfolio of a student, applying for an internship, or job? How to make it optimum? For me, personally, a 6 page portfolio of one’s best work is
enough. But what most of the portfolios we see here lack, is a sense of graphic design. The basics of design fundamentals we study in our course, is simply not enough. Hence I feel, it should be introduced as a separate subject in architectural education.The architect who will look through the portfolio, does not have enough time to go through page after page. It should be short, crisp and powerful. 10. Within two sentences, your views on the following: a. Your inspiration to take up architecture: Charles Correa. b. What is design for you: Everything is design, for me. c. Not being able to sketch-is it a drawback for an architect? Yes. Have you ever heard of a music director, who can’t sing? d. On the observation power of an architect: Really important. Architecture is an investigation. e. The different mind-set/vision that architecture has given us: A holistic understanding of the society. f. Students getting roasted in design vivas: People taking the viva should at least go through the designs, first. There’s always the less-expressive student. Also, the examiner must be honest in his/her evaluation. Aesthetics must be judged with an open mind, so as to not impose ones feelings on to the student, since aesthetics is one issue that differs from one man to another. g. The usefulness of deadlines: Absolutely, 100%. 11. On your favourites: a. Indian city- Mumbai b. Colour- Black c. Cuisine- Bengali (There’s nothing like Aloo Bhaja) d. Travel destination- Goa, Thailand e. Architect- Charles Correa f. Artist- Piet Mondrian g. Genre of music- I love all kinds of music. Folk-Jazz h. Singer/Musician- A.R. Rahman, Yanni i. Travel companion- Sketch Pad j. Your prized possession- Nothing as such. k. Place to unwind yourself- My football club. l. You are in love with- Any sort of design, task of designing. m. Brand of accessories- Nothing really... I’m not a brand person. n. One thing you hate about architecture- It is agonizing, when the design given by the architect, is not executed properly, for whatever reasons. 12. What has been your experience in all these years of practice? Fabulous. Absolutely. 13. A word of advice for our readers sir. Students should deeply analyse the cause and effect relation in whatever design he/she is implementing or even when studying the work of architectural greats who serve as inspirations. NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 57
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‘Perhaps the reason is not so hard to fathom. The sky, all said and done, is the source of light – which is the most primordial of stimuli acting on our senses. And across its face, every day passes the sun – the origin of Life itself! ...Small wonder then that man has always perceived the sky above to be the abode of the gods, and that down all these millennia, it has exerted such extraordinary power on us and on the architecture we build.’ Charles Correa (The Blessings of the Sky) Architect, planner, activist and theoretician, Charles Correa is one of the few contemporary architects who addressed not only the issues of architecture, but of lowincome housings and urban planning as well. Celebrated for his sensitivity to the needs of the urban poor and for his use of the traditional methods and materials, he was credited for the creation of modern architecture in postindependence India. On 16th June 2015, the world received the bitter news about the demise of a poignant architect, “Charles Correa dies at 84...” this statement flashed on every news channel, newspaper and architectural magazine. Born on 1 September 1930 in Secunderabad, Charles Correa ended up pursuing his education in architecture which was driven by his love for model trains.
legend. Ar. C h a r l es of the
“We must understand our past well enough to value it- and yet also well enough to know why (and how) it must be changed. Architecture is not just a reinforcement of existing values – social, political, economic. On the contrary, it should open new doors- to new aspirations.” He believes that an architect can use the past only to the extent that he can re-interpret it; re-invent it. Correan architecture is architecture of recession, of indoor and outdoor spaces that merge into one another, the use of which is determined by the climate or the seasons, and not just by the activity within them. It is architecture of horizontal planes- of roofs and platforms, open colonnades, verandas and courtyards with fountains. He laid special emphasis on the prevailing resources, energy and climate as major determinants in the ordering of space. In the essay, ‘The Blessings of the Sky’, Correa penned down, “...subtle changes in the quality of light and ambient air generates feelings within us- feelings which are central to our beings.” A very pre dominant feature of the Correan style of architecture is that he plays with the hierarchy of spaces and terraces as in the case of Kala Akademi, Panaji and the Cidade de Goa. He creates an ‘acropolis’ of terraced gardens and sunken courts. He believes that these are spaces where the eyes can rest and the mind can meditate and these small little pleasures of
life are deserved by all irrespective of their income in this ghastly world. Hence, such private terraces are not only a part of his projects of high income group but also forms a part of low income housing for the Gujarat Housing Board at Ahmedabad. The arrangement of these special features serves dual purpose by allowing him to play with natural light in conjunction with semi-open spaces to create tonal gradations in illumination and shadows. Correa uses certain basic designs principles like that of merge and contrast in his works to break the stereotype of the building with the setting that is, the topography. The Kasturba Samadhi is set in an open countryside in a built form of horizontal planes and long lines of seats and parapets playing a truly complementary part to the landscape, and hence the contrast. In another project, The Kovalam Beach Resort at Kerala, he blends the built form with the topography. The accommodation is built into the hill slopes and the buildings themselves take on the shape of the hill. Yet another unique example of blending with the setting is the design of the Vidhan Bhawan, Bhopal where not only the main structure blends but also the main access road is not axial but swings toward the site in an irregular pattern following the contours of the hill on which it is perched. Another feature which has more of an experiential value than visual value is his way of controlling the movement of the people which he prefers to be ‘processional’ in nature. He controls the movement by playing with the platforms and steps which has again been a part of Indian tradition especially in the monumental Hindu temples of South India. Based on the platform theme is the substructure of the Handloom Pavilion which is nothing but a stepped horizontal platform contained by vertical walls. Even in the Kasturba Samadhi in Pune, movement is majestically portrayed in a long earth ramp which leads to the terrace over the museum and to a commanding view of the Samadhi, itself. The unbuilt Indian Pavilion for Expo’70 at Osaka and the Crafts Museum in Delhi are also based on the same theme of platforms and steps- movement and pause.
Correa’s designs were strongly governed by the climate and he left no stone unturned in incorporating intelligent climate responsive techniques. One may think of this as a constraint in designing considering the varied seasons in India but Correa with his commendable extraordinary ability of perceiving things in a different manner says that in Europe and North America, one is either ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ the weather-resistant box which is through a clearly defined boundary-the front door. But in India we can play with the ‘inside-outside’ concept by interlocking them antd providing very smooth and intangible transitional areas-the semicovered terraces and courtyards. In Tara Apartments, Delhi, he has projected the terraces in response to the hot and dry climate there as they act as the coolest places on warm summer nights where as in Kanchenjunga Apartments, Mumbai, he has given corner recessed terraces to combat the high humidity. In his project of Cablenagar Township at Kota, Rajasthan, he has given stepped sections reducing to a minimum the amount of roof surface exposed to the sun. He has also made the use of protective belts of verandas, studies and bathrooms keeping the heat away from the main living areas at the core. Correa’s main motive was to conserve energy and designing climate responsive buildings were the first step towards this motive. “In a poor country like India” said Correa, “we simply cannot afford to squander the kind of resources required to air-condition a glass tower under a tropical sun. And this, of course, is an advantage, for it means that the building itself must, through its very form, create the ‘controls’ the user needs.” In his design of the energy conscious project of the administrative complex for the Electronics Corporation of India, Hyderabad, the building creates its own micro climate without air-conditioning as it is built around a courtyard. The courtyard in turn is sheltered by a single roof on giant columns which is partly slated and
partly covered with a sheet of water reflecting the sunlight back into the sky.
Peru, suction of air is increased by the louvered air-scoop over the double height volume.
“....such a response necessitates much more than just sun angles and louvers; it must involve the section, the plan, the shape, in short, the very heart of the building.” Correa imagined his projects not only in plans but in sections as well. As a climate conducive environment was on his priority list, he laid importance on the natural light and ventilation into his buildings. In the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, he has used operable wooden louvers for light and ventilation. To especially suit the hot and dry climates, he designed the ‘tube house’, a form that was conceived as a means for conserving energy in society that in the main, cannot afford air-conditioning. In this, each house had sloping ceiling for the hot air to rise and escape through vent. Doors too are omitted but visual privacy is compensated by use of different levels. In his project of Kanchenjunga Apartments, Mumbai, he has shown how section of a building may control air movements by capturing the prevailing breeze through double height volumes. Even in the Previ Project for Lima,
“The problem is that many of the traditional solutions aren’t viable in the urban context we have created. What we must do then is modify that urban context so that these solutions become viable. That is the role of an architect.” One of the pre dominant features of the Correan style is that it stitches new, innovative ideas into an old social fabric and produce a seamless wonder- innovative and functional form to meet the needs of a modern building. A very good example of his traditional-contemporary feature is the Vidhan Bhawan in Bhopal. Here the use of gateways (toranas), enclosures (vedika), courts, small domes (stupas) and other architectural details develop a new imagery based on traditional forms. This is very subtly sprinkled with the contemporary murals, sculptures, paintings by the local artist that enlivens the space. His works are a reflection of the past eras in one. The British Council in Delhi is another such example which is set in a series of landscaped gardens
and loggias, each symbolic of India’s Hindu, Muslim and European past. His works draws inspiration through many cross-cultural sources. Even his concept of sunken courtyards (kunds)which act like an access to a lower level of rooms and the use of canopied pavilions (chattris) is inspired from the Mughal architecture. ‘Chatris’ – an overhead canopy, is used in many of his projects with the function of protecting the building set within it and defining and giving shade to the outdoor spaces below it. As climate has always played an important role in Correa’s design, he has used these chatris in the form of pyramidical tiled roof supported on brick piers in the memorial museum of Mahatma Gandhi at Ahmedabad, giving minimal protection required by the warm climate and also makes it architecture of deep recession and of extreme contrasts of light and shade. A more obvious use of chatri is in the even earlier Handloom Pavilion for the International Exhibition in Delhi, where the roof is a wooden structure in the form of inverted umbrellas covered in translucent handloom cloth. And now, the protagonist of every ‘Correan’ play- the open-to-sky spaces. It is a paradigm that, irrespective of its many variations, is a pervasive theme in his architecture. He believes that buildings are machine for the living and these open-to-sky spaces are the breathing cubes! May it be the Kovalam Beach Resort at Kerala where every room has its own open-to-sky terrace cut into the artificial hill
or the State Assembly for the Government of Madhya Pradesh with verandas overlooking courtyards as the means of circulation and access to the offices, these open-to-sky spaces predominate the Correan style of architecture in almost every project. Correa attempted to bring out the ‘art’ in ‘architecture’. In his project, Cidade de Goa, he has revived the classic relationship of fresco to built form, going back to Florence and Ajanta. Here, the flatness of smooth, painted wall planes is emphasised by bands of contrasting colours to openings and edges. The actual and the virtual are both too unreal for illusion to work. His Kala Akademi is a piece of more poetic rather than scientific truth. A wall is painted to look like windows through which a panoramic view of a cricket match on a full swing, actually there on the other side of the wall, can be enjoyed. This is the setting in the Gymkhana Bar, Bombay, where the illusion of the real thing as well as the real thing are both there, surprisingly one behind the other. These projects of his are the rare instances in which the artwork makes the building rather than the other way round. Correa was keen to use the vernacular materials. The National Crafts Museum, New Delhi, is brought to life by use of stone, bamboo, brick, mud and thatch. Even in Vidhan Bhawan, Bhopal, local red stone and handmade ceramic tiles are used.
Dubbed “India’s Greatest Architect” by the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2013, Mr. Correa worked on the master plan for Navi Mumbai, a satellite town of the western Indian city of Mumbai, in the 1960’s.“To work in India is the great advantage of life in the Third World. The issues are so much bigger than you are; they gave you a chance to grow,” Correa wrote in his book ‘Housing and Urbanization’. In the last few decades, Correa’s success had led him to foreign commissions. The Ishmaili Centre of Toronto and the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown in Lisbon were his recent buildings. But unlike the earlier Indian work- and perhaps because of the foreign location- Correa had turned away from the powerful pictorial realism of his earlier days and produced, instead, artefacts of abstraction. His style of architecture is a poem to our eyes for he creates a different dialect by playing with the hierarchy of spaces which rhymes with the topography. His use of vernacular architecture is a reflection of the past. The world of architects will always be indebted to him for his contribution in the field of architecture though Padma Bhushan Charles Correa is living with us through his designs. Paridhi Kedia | P.M.C.A., A.B.I.T., Cuttack
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs, Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls. Khaled Hosseini (A Thousand Splendid Suns) Silence persists. Another round of waves hit the shore. The amber of the rising sun, sparkles over the jingling water and dazzles back to the city around. In her cosy little bed Sazia is fast asleep, but the sun plans otherwise. Through the open window the rays enter and hit her face, bright and beautiful. Clinging sound of metal cans is heard, probably the milkmen on their cycles. Sazia is in no mood to get up, she covers her face with her blanket and grabs her pillow tighter. The clock strikes six. Now even the alarm clock on her bedside table becomes restless and starts beeping. Sazia decides to ignore the alarm, she buries her face further in her pillow and continues sleeping. The slender rays of the sun have started brightening by now. The door opens with a creaking sound and Sazia’s mother enters. She turns the alarm off and takes the blanket off her daughter. “Get up, my princess.” She imparts a slight nudge. “Five more minutes, ammi.” I am too sleepy. “You have your history exam tomorrow. Remember?” She questions with a smile. Sazia replies with a nod, eyes still closed. “Get up now, my child.” Sazia forces her eyes open and hugs her mother.
empty handed. The battle of Bijapur was not over yet. Allies of Afonso de Albuquerque joined hands with the Hindus of the state who were against the Muslim king of Bijapur. Albuquerque returned with force on 25 November, with a fully renovated fleet that had a Portuguese army and was supported by the Hindu community of Bijapur. Ismail Adil shah remained unaware of the situation for long. Nevertheless Ismail Adil Shah and his men had to do even less than the first battle. In the battle of humans and conquest of land, nature interfered and the famous Arabian Tsunami of 1510 started. Albuquerque’s ships were washed away overnight and thousands of soldiers died not even having fought the battle. The Hindu allies supporting the Portuguese then attacked Bijapur on their behalf. This was quiet an easy task for Shah and his massive army. The Hindus were killed and other Hindu refugees were held captive. Ismail Adil shah then announced Hamizpur to be a fully Islamic state.” Sazia turns to the next page and places the empty mug on her table. Outside the sun is nowhere to be seen. The clouds have taken over. Sazia gets up from her chair and reaches the window near her bed. A slight drizzle has started. The house opposite to her window is of Khursheed Chacha’s. His wife Moshina is seen in the kitchen. The arched windows of the house along with the custom made red coloured bricks are a joy to Sazia’s eyes. Even their place has windows with arches but arches are all dull from inside. The carvings
Sunlight now dances up on the small mirror works of the embroidered piece of decorative cloth that hangs on the wall. Sazia is seated before her study table placed next to her bed. She sharpens her pencil while her mother places a cup of hot, steaming milk on her table. Sazia opens her history book. She takes out Chapter Five. The battle of Bijapur. And starts reading out loud. “1350 AD. - Hamizpur was conquered by the Bahmani Sultanate. However, in 1370, the Vijayanagar empire, a resurgent Hindu empire situated at modern day Hampi, reconquered the area. The Vijayanagar rulers held on to Hamizpur for nearly a century, during which time its harbours were important port of arrival for Arabian horses on their way to Hampi to strengthen the Vijaynagar cavalry. In 1469 Hamizpur was reconquered by the Bahmani Sultans of Gulbarga. When this Sultanate broke up in 1492, Hamizpur became a part of Adil Shah’s Bijapur Sultanate, which established Hamizpur Velha as its second capital. 1510, Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque attacked Hamizpur at the behest of the local chieftain Thimayya. He lost the first battle with Ismail Adil Shah and fled back NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 67
made precisely on the outer façade of the buildings make them aesthetically appealing and Sazia loves the vivid use of colours. Although engravings have worn out by now but there is still a fresh feeling in them. A climber or two coming out from a wall. The plaster worn out in places. Sazia had read earlier that Hamizpur could never be conquered by the British or the Marathas and she was proud of that. The walls in the alleys of Hamizpur have so many stories to tell. They are old yet they stand strong and firm. Sazia keeps staring at the walls, arches and Moshina aunty cooking in her kitchen. The drizzle has now paced up and bigger and heavier droplets start pouring. The narrow alley between the rows of unorganised houses is empty now. Droplets of water wash the brick embedded pathway. Sazia has pulled her blanket over. She has her history book in her hand. The pictures of Adil Shah and Albuquerque, flashing before her eyes. Outside the downpour gets more intense. It’s noon by now and the cold is getting bitter. Sazia falls fast asleep. Albuquerque is approaching Hamizpur with his army and the support of the Hindu community. No, wait. They are calling the place Goa. ‘Such a strange name’ Sazia thinks. Adil Shah is unaware and helpless. That night there is no Tsunami, no thunderstorm. The Portuguese are going strong. The forces of the Muslim leader is falling apart. Soon, Adil Shah has to surrender and Hamizpur is taken over by the Portuguese and is called Goa now. Sazia is walking down the alley, she does every day to reach school. The buildings are not the same anymore. The alley looks bigger and the roads are plain and smooth. What happened to the arches and the domes? The carvings of the walls and Jali works that could be seen now and then? The walls are now plain and simple and coloured in plain dull colours. The engravings, the bright colours, the stone works aren’t there anymore. The houses that had domical roofs have pitched ones now. No brick works just plain and simple concrete. She walks down the alley and to her horror finds out that the Masjid that she visits every Friday is no more! There stands a long plain and simple white coloured building. The building has pitched roof again and the roof is made of tiles. Probably mud tiles, she is not sure though. Sazia spots a lady dressed in white, She has a similar coloured scarf on her head. It’s not like the one she puts on during namaaz, but she has seen that somewhere. Yes! Mother Teressa, she remembers her from her General Knowledge book. She runs out to her and questions timidly. “Aunty, where is the masjid?” “Mosque? There has been no mosque here. This is a church. The biggest one out here.” She replies with a disgust. 68 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
Sazia is scared now. The streets look open and the roads are wide not like what she knew Hamizpur to be.’If this is not Hamizpur, then where am I?’ She thinks to herself. She walks furthermore and spots a beach nearby. The beaches by the sea are open and look beautiful unlike what she knew. As if the Arabian Sea has met it’s long lost love and people are celebrating for it. ‘Beaches are dirty, never go out there like that.’ Her mother had told her once. Sazia now starts running across the streets. It feels as if she is not in India, it’s not her country anymore. Sazia is scared. She continues running along the streets, the people around her look happy and merry. Many have backpacks with them. They must be tourists. Sazia thinks. But not many visit Hamizpur. ‘What do people love in plain houses, rather than works of art and works of labour? Why can’t people appreciate a building that has so many stories to tell. Hamizpur has these old buildings with sandstone and marble works on them. Once when she was a little girl she had thought the Grand palace of the Badshah’s which happens to be a museum now to be the Taj Mahal. Such beautiful minarets and those fine detailed works on the facades. The palace had a big arched entry and verses of Quran engraved near the entrance just like that of Taj Mahal. She had seen the tombs of Badshahs. One could sit in peace on the benches made of stones by the tombs and the serenity of the place would wash all their pain away. But this place has nothing as such, then why are so many tourists around? Maybe people like simplicity more than art, maybe those buildings are only meant to awe the innocents and the young and the sad. Sazia is still running. She sees sunlight glittering through the houses and remembers the Jali work she has in her house. How she likes to play with the strokes of sunlight falling on her palm. How magical the jali looks during those cold winter mornings, sunlight dangling in through it. She misses her home. She wants to go back. But how? Is there no way back? Sazia starts crying now. Someone holds her by her hand and brings her closer. “What is it you are crying for my child?” An old man with a mouth full of smile asks. Sazia tries to control her emotions and wipes her cheeks with her sleeve and replies. “What has happened to Hamizpur? Where is my home?” “Hamizpur? This is Goa my child.” The old man now points to a shop nearby and says. “That’s a bakery shop. You must be hungry. Let’s get something to eat and then we shall find your parents.” Sazia is still wiping her tears. She gives a slight nod and they both enter the bakery shop. The door opens with the jingling of a bell. Sazia is seated on a wooden chair, unlike the ones she has back at home. The ones made of cane. A small circular round
wooden table before her and on it is a cup cake and on the other side that old uncle. “Where are you from?” He speaks after a long pause. “I am from Hamirp…..” Sazia could not complete. All of a sudden the bakery shop has started filling up with water. Water rushes in from every direction and Sazia is drowning. She struggles for air. She is dying. Everything turns dark and bang suddenly there is light everywhere. Someone nudges Sazia by her shoulder. A familiar nudge on her shoulder and Sazia wakes up in an instance and finds her mother before her. She hugs her tight. It is still raining outside. “Are you done with history?” Her mother asks. Sazia replies with a nod. “Come, lunch is ready.” She rubs her eyes closes her history book. ‘Just a dream’ she thinks to herself. She is now seated on her bed looking at the mirror works of the embroidered piece of cloth that hangs on the wall. Outside the rain continues. “Sazia where are you come over” Sazia leaves her bed and runs over to the dinning. And as she does she spots the jali work in the passageway. She stops there for a while and peeps outside through it. Sad that there is no sunlight today. “Sazia? Are you coming or not?” Her mother has raised her voice. She has to run. Sazia has had her lunch now. She peeps out of her window again. Hamizpur is still the same. The beautiful old arches. The sandstone and marble facades. She can spot the minarets and domes of the Masjid stretching her neck. The alleys have again become smaller but she is glad. She likes them this way. Moshina aunty is still in her kitchen, maybe washing the dishes. She waves at her from the small kitchen window before her. The rain slows down gradually. Sazia thinks of the place she had been in her dreams. ‘What if the Portuguese had actually won that battle’ Sazia thinks to herself, Hamizpur would have been Goa then or maybe something else but nothing could have been better that Hamizpur is. The beautiful small city of Hamizpur and her walls and her architecture remain all the same for Sazia. If not anyone, she will be always there to love it more. Souporno Mukherjee | P.M.C.A., A.B.I.T., Cuttack Girl in market illustration: Sulagna Mukherjee, IIEST Shibpur
Rurality in transition: Re-phrasing the vernacular Padma Shri
Prof. G. Shankar did his B.Arch from Kerala University, and M.S. from Birmingham School of Architecture, UK. He is the founder and chairman of Habitat Technology Group since 1987. He has been involved in housing sector, and disaster mitigation activities, serving as chairperson and/or consultant to both the governments of India, and Sri Lanka on disaster rehabilitation projects. Also an acclaimed educationalist, he Chairs the Board of Studies (Engineering & Technology), University of Kerala. He has received numerous awards for his leadership capabilities, and for his contribution to the field of science & technology. He was honoured with the Padma Shri Award in recognition of distinguished service in the field of science & engineering by the Govt. of India, 2011. Habitat Technology Group is the largest NGO working in the building sector in India. It was registered as a charitable society in 1987. It has completed around 25,000 projects of varying scope and magnitude. Around 300 architects and engineers work with us and we have a support base 0f 30,000 workers. We have 34 centres in 10 states in India and 4 countries abroad. 70 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
‘Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future Robert. L. Peters In the transition from rurality to urbanism, visual memory operates much less consciously. Urban living demands labour all the year round; there is no time for building and maintenance. Shanty settlement dwellers acquire a new know-how: obtaining waste materials from the city itself with which to make lamps, cookers, rope – and their houses. Eventually, more elegant solutions to the problems of building in the city periphery will evolve, differentiation of skills may appear, know-how will be expanded and passed on to subsequent generations. With the possible growth in literacy, problem isolation and the conceptualizing of solutions may become commonplace. But if it does, will the resultant forms of shelter still be ‘vernacular’? The author draws on his experience from housing projects for the disadvantaged and those affected by disasters in Kerala and all over the world. However, it seems likely that we witness the processes of emergent vernacular and the acquisition of new knowhow, as successive waves of migrants to the city learn to cope with it. We are in a position, as the traditional builder often is not, of seeing his building types in the context of others built by comparable cultures in similar physical or economic conditions. With the knowledge to which we have access and with the advantages of mobility, comparative data and the means of information exchange, we are in a position to
determine the place of the new vernacular architecture. The lessons of this heritage are a wonderful encouragement; they will probably motivate the social choices of those who will be capable of understanding them. While looking at vernacular architecture and the concept of sustainability, the question of how they are connected arises. The concept of sustainability, which arose during the eighties, evolved very rapidly from an ecological friendly approach to a series of rather high-tech and expensive responses. Nevertheless, vernacular heritage throughout the world was, and is, very much alive and can still play an active role in contemporary society and its architecture.
Wheel of environmental,socio-cultural & socio-economic sustainable principles assist in the sharing of technological know-how. For those who are facing the difficult adjustments necessary in a period of cultural change; for those who have been subjected to fragmentary exposure to modern technology but who are still deprived of the basic necessities of shelter and services; for the victims of natural and man-made disasters who have seen their homes disintegrate; for those who are ciphers in a statistical survey and are numbers to be housed in a planning scheme; for all these and more, we should surely have much of value to offer. Vernacular & sustainability : Context Lessons learned from vernacular heritage can be systematised through principles that define a wide number of strategies to consider and to integrate for sustainable contemporary architecture. This is possible through the initial establishment of operational definitions, regarding vernacular architecture and sustainable architecture. It is also critical to define a profound reflection concerning the state of the art of environmental, socio-cultural and socioeconomic sustainability, as well as resilient vernacular heritage, and the definition of parameters for vernacular sustainability during the 20th Century. These lessons also raise a central problem, which is how humanity will distribute,or on the contrary, how a part of it will monopolize the world’s resources. This is a fundamental point. Indeed, we believe that faced with the fact that vital resources are available in finite quantities,passengers from planet earth will seal their fate and survival in the way in which they will configure how to manage and distribute these resources. The answers given to these questions will
So the main question is: which are the lessons embedded in vernacular heritage that can contribute to sustainable architecture today? The symbiotic linkage between Design, Culture and Values Many forces, public and private, make it tough to get any interesting architecture. Architects give up and settle for tiny gestures. Better design does not mean architectural “statements” by so-called “starchitects”. Good design for the Innovation is architecture that supports public life, neither more nor less. Design roles are expanding in society and the public sphere. This is reflected in a range of new formulations of design, such as “service”, “transformation” and “social” design, and a growth of interest and funding in the public and social sectors. Such design practices, often premised on user-centered, participatory, iterative, and rapid-prototyping processes, have been highly effective in addressing complex social problems and societal challenges. Vernacular heritage represents a great resource that has significant tpotential to define architecture and its methods and strategies are undervalued and seldom applied in recent building trends.principles for sustainable design and contemporary architecture. Learning from the vernacular and application in the contemporary context Very important ecological and sustainable lessons can be learned which have an enormous potential to be applied nowadays. Vernacular architecture is composed of traditional buildings, which represent a morphological response to both environmental and climatic constraints,as well as to the socio-economic and cultural characters of societies. Additionally, the materials and architectural components NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 71
depleting natural resources and dependence of vulnerable communities on external markets. Disaster rehabilitation projects give us opportunity to try out new sustainable technologies. It was our experience in different rehabilitation projects that enabled us to undertake a project on a grand scale like Total Housing Scheme in Kollam district. Before going in detail into the project, it would be better to have an idea of the whole context. Barring minor landslides and small incidents of flood, the state of Kerala never had a history of natural disasters. So, there was a lack of preparedness. Kerala is a long narrow piece of land situated on the Arabian coast of peninsular India. Although the land area is less, it has a long coastline. The entire coastline, from Kasargod to Kanyakumari was hit by the Tsunami. The government did not have a disaster mitigation plan or any experience dealing with situation like that. There were hardly any systems in place to address such kind of an issue. used are climate responsive and tailored according to distinct locations, and have therefore adapted to seismic, geographic and topographical features, as well as to local climates. This type of architecture normally presents a good climate adaptation and provides good thermal comfort due to the choice of natural materials and bio-climatic features adapted to the environment. Besides, it is a cost effective architecture, both in economic and social terms, self-sufficient as regards natural and knowledge resources and with a low environmental impact, and therefore, with a sustainable input. Much has been published recently concerning both sustainability and sustainable architecture, but a real discussion is missing on the connectivity and “overlapping linkages”. My journey and experiences I would like to illustrate and enlighten these issues based on my experiences in rehabilitation housing programs during the course of my work in Kerala. At Habitat, we stress on adequate shelter and sustainable human settlement that are economically viable, socially vibrant and environmentally sound. Housing projects all over the world stand testimony to the fact that any design that does not take into accounts the needs and aspirations of the people will ultimately be a failure. In face of an increasing exposure to climate change and natural hazards, post-disaster response becomes an opportunity and a challenge for the use of safe and local building techniques integrated with environmentally sustainable materials and renewable energy sources. Employing renewable energy and alternative technologies in post disaster reconstruction reduces the exploitation of
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Help did pour in from different sides. Several rehabilitation camps were setup up. However these camps did not benefit the people in the long term. In weeks, the shoddy quality of work began to show. There was no privacy and rainwater flooded the units after a long downpour. There were also several sanitation issues like septic tanks filling up. Rehabilitation projects are challenging because they have to be completed in a very short span of time. The people who are rendered homeless have to be rehabilitated at the earliest. These projects are not only a challenge in design, but also in management. We took over the rehabilitation in one village in Kollam district. This served as proving ground for new design ideas, sustainable materials and technology, and it was from this that Total housing scheme evolved. This project comprising of 2000 homes later merged with Total Housing Scheme which aimed at wiping homelessness from the district. Through these projects we aimed at promoting the concept of ‘Habitat literacy’ among the people. People should learn about the myriad aspects of architecture and think of it as something more than four walls and a roof. We are not rebuilding walls, we are building livelihoods. People also need to know more about social and environmental sustainability and its increasing importance in today’s world. The projects also served as platforms for technology dissemination. Given below are some of the core principles we applied in the design of these projects. Shelter as a process Shelter is not just a product, the process is also equally important. It involves a long chain of social, economic, technological, environmental, and political & other interactions. Community participation is essential at every step.
Universality in design and cultural sensibility The design of products and environments should be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. At the same time we ensured cultural appropriateness by using local vernacular architecture of Kerala which the beneficiaries could relate to. Focus on the End user Among the different stakeholders in the process of design and construction the end-user is the most important. Since the end-user is the one who is ultimately going to use the spaces, only design that takes care of his needs can be term a success. This is in contrast to the stereotyped approach where a type-cast design is imposed on the beneficiaries. We provided a menu of designs from which the beneficiaries could choose according to his/her preferences. Demonstration units were also made. Appropriate technologies and Materials Several interventions in terms of materials and labour were introduced. Soil management, cultural idioms and resource management issues were addressed. As with the housing design process, cautious consideration of contextual conditions is crucial to developing appropriate construction technologies. In addition, any selected technology had to be constantly reviewed and, if necessary, upgraded during
the construction process. When selecting technologies and materials, we took into account factors like local availability, local skills, energy efficiency and eco friendliness in addition to durability, strength, cost etc. About Total housing scheme The project was done with the help of HUDCO. Kerala’s high literacy and popular science movement Shastra Sahitya Parishad contributed to the success of the project. Decentralization of the programme brought it down into manageable levels. Existing Scenario There was a distinct lack of awareness about cost-effective and sustainable technologies among the public. The nexus that existed between the contractors and the builders resulted in exploitation of the clients. The inability to limit one’s requirements within his budget and the aspirations to build with the most expensive and ‘fashionable’ materials resulted in a total disregard for the locally available technologies and materials. The lack of much needed political intervention contributed to the escalating magnitude of homelessness. The vision The ultimate dream was to wipe out homelessness from the district. Housing emerged as the most critical area that needed emergency intervention during village level planning campaigns. The staggering magnitude of the project began to look manageable when it got divided into local units. The
Habitat’s experience with total housing scheme, Kollam district with a special focus on rural housingArea – 2491 SQ.KM Population – 2,584,118 Density of population- 1037/ SQ.KM
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project initially envisaged the construction of 70,000 homes in 2 phases. Issues encountered Issues encountered while preparing the action Plan ranged from insufficient data, absence of survey plans and a lack of ecological concerns. Time restrictions, lack of as structured financial system along with a lack of effective technology delivery system and man power to disseminate and propagate technologies were additional hurdles to be overcome. The anticipated number of homes could be constructed due to policy changes after a change of government in the state, but nevertheless it was great beginning. The process The process involved mass mobilization of resources, labour etc. The local beneficiaries were asked to identify building materials so that prices were not falsified. The dearth of trained masons was countered by organizing Grama Panchayat level camps. The need for trainers for imparting information was met by recruiting around 80 young engineers and architects and training them in sustainable technologies. Training was also given to youngster to work as technical personnel: barefoot architects and engineers. To ensure continued patronage from the government and the public, sensitization camps were organized. Small booklets in the local language, Malayalam with self-explanatory illustrations and information were prepared for both the beneficiaries and the trainers. 74 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
Design methodology Insistence on building systems that ensured • Use of local resources and environmental sensitivity. • Economically viable and aesthetically appealing choices for people. • Increase of local capacity and self-sufficiency by building skills, awareness of green and a team approach. • A menu of designs was prepared. These were taken to the villages and each beneficiary chose his own home from the options, but adapted to his own needs. • The concept of incremental housing: A ‘core’ house that can be later expanded to keep up with the increasing needs of the family • Features were incorporated to ensure free movement of disabled and elderly people, to cater to family size, vocational needs, topography Technology and material options • • • • • • • •
Use of filler slabs for roofs Use of brick bats for floor Rat trap bond in walls Use of concrete door and window frames Use of red oxide and terracotta for flooring Using arches instead of lintels wherever possible Use of brick jallis instead of windows Smokeless chulhas and rainwater harvesting
At Habitat, we realize that building green is not all about the LEED points and that all about buildings that claim to be green. Several local factors which are unique
to the project need to be taken into consideration. Often determining the greenness of a building can be a difficult job indeed. In the rehabilitation schemes, it was ensured that the green features does remain on paper and actually gets implemented. Materials that are locally available and construction methods that only require skills of the local populace made this project genuinely green. The skills that the people who worked on this project acquired through training and experience are assets for them and they can use those skills in future projects. We learned there is no need to go high-tech for the sake of earning points as the traditional materials and technologies themselves are vey sustainable. We should bear in mind that the green movement is still in its infancy and new things are being discovered every day. In the near future we will see green buildings will become a mainstream trend. Projects like Total Housing have told us that it is not only possible to design greener and better, but also to build it. Conclusions : Lessons learnt and internalized Post disaster construction is an excellent platform to showcase green technologies. Such projects can become a model for future projects. The post disaster situation is optimal for trying out new technologies. The budget constraints make sure the designer is forced to think of new ideas which maximize comfort and at the same time strive to be cost effective. In private projects the aim is to make
product which sells really well and green features usually have to seek a back seat. In such projects, it is possible to collaborate with government agencies and NGOs with access to resources that deal with sustainability and ecofriendliness. Success of projects such as these can bring in policy changes in which more stress is laid on greening the recovery process. Through policy changes habitat literacy among the people can increase. There were many obstacles we had to cross in the process of reconstruction. People generally do not trust green construction and have the impression that it is less â€˜sturdyâ€™. Even the government is often not sympathetic to green ideas, opting for conventional methods instead. All the different stakeholders need to be educated about the benefits of sustainable construction. The Donor community should be aware of the different aspects of the reconstruction process and should not restrict themselves to be just providing money. They should take a more active role and make sure that the money they donated is used wisely. World Bank and United Nations in addition to other donors can become more selective about granting funds. Preference should be given to entities that engage in sustainable design and construction practices. Alternatively, green features could be made mandatory for approval of projects. It is inevitable that all parties come together and work for a greener and better world.
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5. Concave moulding, especially between the ceiling and cornice of a room. 7. Intersection of 2 barrel vaults. 9. Small dome like. 10. Exterior framework of a mass or form. 12. Finely dressed masonry. 15. Designer owes a duty to their ................ 16. .................... is the key to product design. 17. High end residential areas beyond the suburbs. 19. When should a designer give up. 20. Point at which two arcs meet in Gothic arch or tracery. 21. It is both inside and outside, around and between ,nothing and everything. 22. Harmonious arrangement. 23. A designer should as â€œwhy and not .........â€?. 24. Examination of nature, its system to emulate. 25. Placed close together or side by side.
1. Used about a room or a building that is small, warm and comfortable. 2. Lower part of the wall. 3. Principal tower in a castle or bastion. 4. The ...................... is a machine for living. 6. Timber framework forming triangles to support the roof. 8. The common man, The Times of India. 10. Balanced proportions. 11. Jamini Roy. 13. Openings in buildings. 14. System of elements ranked ,classified. 18. Semicircular or polygonal end of church, at the east end. 20. The state or quality of being clear. Scan the QR code for your answers. Crossword framing & concept: Beauty Raj
Hiran Biswas | IIEST, Shibpur
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H ACK I NG
Architecture visualization is a constant moving target for me. It seems every few years, a shift in the way I think about visualization takes place, and thus the personality of my images shift with it. The types of visualization being created around the world is also continuously evolving along with the tools that help create them. This is what keeps things interesting for me and why I continue to experiment with styles and ideas. Even with much of the same ubiquitous software being used everywhere, visualization is still capable of having its own identity and personality. For many, visualization is seen as something that needs an enormous amount of technical
training to even start to create compelling images. It is true that there is a balance needed of both technical skills and artistic sensibilities. However, I feel that often, too much weight is placed on the technical side and not on the artistic side. The path that I took to get to where I am started with no computer skills. I grew up painting and drawing every second that I could as a kid. The pencil became an extension of my hand at a very young age. This medium taught me about light, how light interacted with geometry, how light created depth, and how to use light to tell a story in illustrations. Drawing also taught me about composition, organization, and proportion. As I entered architecture school, I carried over those skills into my design work and studio presentations. All my graphics were generated by hand. However, after a few years, the rest of my class transitioned to computers and began generating all of their content digitally. While I didnâ€™t think that the quality of presentation was better, the digitally base workflows allowed them to produce content at a much faster pace than I could. Not only were they more efficient, but they could edit and iterate ideas in ways that I couldnâ€™t. I realized that in order to stay competitive in School, I needed to go digital. The problem was that the computer was very unnatural to me and the graphics that were coming out of them were very weak. My first attempts working digitally lacked the sort of abstract and gestural qualities that hand drafting gave me. Photoshop quickly became the tool that connected my old analogue ways of creating art to the digital work-flows that I needed to use in school. Contrary to Photoshop, rendering software like vray and kerkythea require an understanding of how images are generated by using numerical parameters that have no real time feedback of what is happening visually (At the time this was the case, but now many softwares are now taking advantage of powerful graphic cards that actually render the images in real time). Therefore, I not only needed to learn an entire new rendering software lexicon, but I also need to know how changing each one of the hundreds of parameters affected the final outcome. The other problem was that this software did not allow for fast iterating. With rendering times often taking more than 24 hours, there was a lot of choosing settings and hoping that the image turned out good the next day. Photoshop on the other hand provided me with that analogue relationship to technology that I was used to. Instead of a pencil and paper, I had a mouse and pixels. Being able to edit and see the changes in real time meant that I could iterate and test out many ideas in a short amount of time to find the best solution. I could quickly paint in some light and just as quickly erase it if it didnâ€™t work. I put a big emphasis on iterating
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and testing out ideas because I feel it is crucial to the process of creating compelling architecture visualization. It is rare that I get the image perfect on my first try. Iterating insures that you don’t get stuck doing the same moves over and over again. But it also pushes creativity. I always tell myself that there is a better idea than the one I first think of and the only way that I will find it is by testing and experimenting. This applies to everything from placing entourage to laying out presentation boards. Sometimes, I will study 20 different layouts before choosing the best option. Photoshop naturally allows for iterating in ways that rendering software doesn’t, and why I push for students to learn Photoshop before jumping into rendering software. Along with real time feedback and the ability to iterate, Photoshop gave me something else digitally that rendering software was notoriously bad at; imperfection. When I switched from hand drafting architecture presentations to digital producing them, I couldn’t get past how perfect, and therefore inhuman the illustrations were. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for beautifully crafted vector based floor plans and diagrams made in illustrator. But when it came to perspectives and telling the story of my project, I was leaving a world of sketchy, abstract illustrations full of smudges to a computer generated world filled with terrible repeating tiled textures. I almost immediately began experimenting with ways to literally get my computer generated images to look like hand drafted sketches or painted brush strokes. I
was photoshopping sketchy textures, adding smudge marks, and even editing the linework to not be so straight. This was not an attempt to be â€œdishonestâ€? with how these images were created. Instead, it was a way for me to get comfortable with this new digital medium. I have created several tutorials on my website that describe these techniques and oddly enough, they are some of the most popular tutorials that I have written which shows the power of adding a slight human touch to computer graphics. Even though it may not be overtly obvious, the brain subconsciously picks up on unnatural elements in an image such as using the same tree copied over and over again, or the perfect repetition of a grass texture tiled across the entire surface of the site. These things may not seem like a big deal, but they disconnect the viewer from the image and generate a sense of uncomfort. Very early on, I looked to Photoshop to fix these disconnections. By using Photoshop to insert large textures into architecture illustrations, I no longer had issues of flatness and repetition of bad 3d applied textures. Photoshopped grass and vegetation had all of the imperfections that grass and vegetation had. Showing the occasional leaf or twig on the ground, or the thinning of grass in some areas and thicker in other areas provided moments that seemed more human. Pavement could have worn paths where heavy car traffic passed over. Concrete can show the metal rust stains under the railing or the imprint of form-work. These imperfections are all things that I am constantly thinking about and that I try to build into all of my illustrations As I became more comfortable with the digital medium, I realized that there were some real advantages to working digitally. What digital methods lacked in imperfection, it made up with how it could control complexity and large amounts of data. I began looking for ways to take this complexity and combine it with the analogue techniques of Photoshop. One of my favourites were x-ray images where a 3d model was deconstructed, rendered, and then pieced back together in Photoshop to create and x-ray view of the design. The advantages of images like this was that you could really start to see the tectonic relationship between the interior and exterior in ways that you cannot see through plans and sections. Both the 3d software and Photoshop are working together to make an image like this happen at a speed and precision that just canâ€™t be achieve using only one or the other. Even now that I do this kind of work for a living, the thing that I continue to practice and experiment with the most is the use of light and how it is integrated into
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an image. Rendering software is great at calculating light and bouncing it around in a model to generate accurate shadows, however it lacks the ability to give an image a sense of place and meaning. Architecture visualization is meant to evoke an emotional response from the viewer. I often use the analogy of a photograph. There have been many situations where I was standing in a space trying to capture in a photo the characteristics of the place such as the scale, light, textures, and the emotion I was feeling at that moment. However, when I left that place and later reviewed that photo, it was almost always lacking that same emotion that I felt when I was physically there. Sure it was an accurate representation of the space base on how the sensor in the camera absorbed the information and translated it into pixels. But in order to get the image to express to others what I experienced when I was there, I needed to go into Photoshop to enhance some features and downplay others. These moves may not always be accurate to real life, but they do lead to a more successful telling of the story. I see images created by rendering software exactly like a raw image out of a camera. Photoshop is needed to push the base renderings to the next level of human connection. With that said, it requires an understanding of how light works, and how it changes from day to night, interior to exterior, cloudy to sunny days, etc. The more you understand light, the more you have control over how visualization is expressed. One of the biggest questions I get asked is what software I use. If you follow my website, you probably already know that I only use a few programs. The software can be broken down into 3 different sections: modelling, rendering, and post production. Simplicity is key for me to stay fast and efficient, Most of my modelling done in Sketchup. Over the years, I have worked with many different modellers such as rhino, 3d studio, and Revit but Sketchup still remains my preferred modeller because of its speed and ability to manage large models. Sketchup is quickly becoming a universal modeller meaning almost all of the clients I work with use it to some degree. I do jump into Rhino when geometry gets too complex for Sketchup, but that is rare. For rendering the 3d geometry, I prefer V-Ray because the software integrates so well into Sketchup while still offering all of the features that I need such as proxies and render elements. Between both Sketchup and V-Ray, I get the right balance of speed and quality that I need to produce solid base renderings. Finally for post processing, I use Photoshop which is the foundation of my work-flow. I make it a point to get into Photoshop as soon as I can. It is very easy to get stuck unnecessarily modelling too much detail or experimenting with render settings. The sooner that I can get into Photoshop, the faster the image comes together.
My advice for those just starting out in architecture or that have been in school for a while but not getting the results that they want is to spend less time with render settings and more time in Photoshop. It seems in this digital era, too much emphasis has been put on the technical settings. This is great for photo-realistic illustrations, but this comes at the expense of images that are flat and in my opinion, lifeless. The beauty of a Photoshop heavy work-flow is that you donâ€™t need a fully resolved 3d model or perfect render settings to get a compelling end result. Most of what I did in school and a lot of what I do on my website starts with a simple clay model rendering (a model with no materials applied) as the base image in Photoshop. From there, I use simple techniques to apply textures and lighting effects. That brings me to my second piece of advice, Keep it simple. Beautifully photoshopped images does not mean complicated techniques. Most of the techniques I use are very basic with each one serving a very specific purpose. It is how you combine all of these basic techniques that provide the personality and individuality.
Alex grew up in northwest Ohio where he went to Bowling Green State University for his BA in architecture. He attended Miami University of Ohio for his Masters in Architecture, and moved to Boston after graduation to work for Paul Lukez Architecture. Now a partner of Design Distill, Alex brings with him a high level of mastery in all steps in the visualization process. In his spare time, he is also the creator of http://visualizingarchitecture. com/. Through his website he engages with an online international architecture community focusing on teaching and experimenting with architecture representation techniques. NASA, India | Indian Arch â€˜16 | 87
Amid shallow entities and facades to mere please; she stands tall, has stood tall, through the waves and tides of transient times. The talk of all assemblies, thus, the object of attention of every man. Every man wanting to unravel her secrets, mysteries, courses. To arm himself with the knowledge of her plan. To be permission granted to glimpse through her curtained windows; each yielding a story varied. To discover her strengths of how her life spans across the foundations of adversaries. Her lithe toes reach deep; so grounded is she though she towers. Once one steps over her threshold of tolerance there is no retreat. She will throw her doors open to opportunity. For her it bows and knocks twice. She is a stimulus to thought, to beauty; not the thing itself, but the carrier.
Building a woman Simar Kindra | U.S.A.P, G.S.S.I.P.U., Delhi Picture credit: Asmita Jain
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Mehrangarh Fort, Rajasthan Anmol Ahuja | U.S.A.P., G.G.S.I.P.U., Delhi
1. What is and is not conservation architecture, for those ignorant of it? We are talking about a subject of architecture, a historical architecture, an architecture that is our legacy, which we have inherited from our collective past. There are three ways to look at the subject of Architecture for professionals - firstly, architecture as in design of new structures, secondly, taking care of existing i.e. maintaining and managing existing architecture, and thirdly to have the attitude to conserve architecture, because you respect the achievements of your past professionals and feel the responsibility of taking it to the future generation, the heritage you have inherited, so that it can continue for a longer time. It is this attitude towards the past architecture, and the various actions which ensures the field of architectural conservation. So far in India, we have been educating people only to designin a generic borrowed way from journals. The conventional education in architecture is also a colonial legacy. When we talk about historical architecture for conservation, it all belongs to our own past, which is as true as the sun we see every day. So, it’s basically to do with how to know your architecture, with informed understanding, and to know how to intervene with knowledge and to protect, restore it and conserve, to maintain its values and cultural significance. Conservation is primarily about continuity from past to future with integrity and authenticity of the “substance” taken to the next generation.
IA Hierarchy Talks with
Prof. Nalini Thakur
Nalini Thakur is the senior most Professor at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. Joined SPA in 1977 to do research on Imperial Delhi for an exhibition on “The Making of New Delhi”. Her conservation experience began in 80’s as a founder member of the Conservation Society Delhi bringing Delhi’s Heritage to her people in many pro-active and innovative ways. In the Department of Architectural Conservation where she developed the Masters program for Architectural Conservation based on the Holistic and Integrated Approach, that enabled addressing the complexity of “ living” historic cities/regions/places of this country, very grounded to our reality. IA ‘16 representative, Somi Chatterjee in a detailed discussion with Prof. Nalini Thakur discovers the intricate details of being a conservation architect in India, and the pros and cons of being the same.
2. You are the person who introduced this discipline in the academic and professional arena back in the 1980s. What necessity and/ or compulsions did you feel back then for introducing this new field to the country? As a student, I was not very happy with what was being taught in architecture; just imagine studying in Delhi and unlike what we saw around us in Delhi, which was rich with really outstanding buildings, we were learning something else in the class. That was such a disjoint. This further invoked my interest and curiosity regarding Delhi’s historical architecture. I would say, by final year, I may not have learnt much architecture as taught, but I did know the historical architecture of Delhi very well. And I was happy with that; it gave me a feeling of wellbeing. I was very interested in ‘History of Architecture’ as a subject, and all the class projects I did was connected to historical architecture. That is how I used this. I recall one
particular instance where Prof. Jhabvala observed that I spent too much time on a H.O.A assignment, and that it carried very few marks! Well, at that point, I didn’t understand what he said, but I did what I wanted to do. I learnt a lot. What is interesting is that when I got out of school, I was able to work almost professionally in the Conservation Society Delhi, and to bring the heritage of conservation to the people of Delhi. It was very useful because there was no job for me in my area of my interest. The Conservation Society was a group of 20 foundation members, who were all well-educated, and were in teaching, and were interested in Delhi’s heritage. But working in this group continuously gave me the opportunity to really understand what the limitations are of working as a part of an N.G.O. community like this. It taught me the areas that could be done in an N.G.O., and that professionals and educational institutions had their own role to play. Each group clearly has its own role which matters. .The CSD experience literally helped me to understand the subject of Conservation much better. Also this kind of heavy duty training and taking people on the streets to see Delhi’s heritage really boosted my confidence. It was not a compulsion, just that I found ways of doing work in my area of interest which I enjoyed, and that I continued. By 1997, I left the Conservation Society in Delhi, and started concentrating on SPA and my work in the Dept. of Conservation, because I’ve been teaching there since 198990. This brought in a new area of education-of conservation architecture. By that time, I was quiet clear that teaching and learning architectural conservation has to be done in a holistic and integrated manner. Due to the diversity and complexity there was need for a decentralized organization, at local level for management with protection which I like to call Gandhian decentralization. So it means you cannot have these over-famous architects who can go, and do anything in any place. There is a difference because here the assumption is, each place has a very complex architecture from which a lot has to be learnt for the practice of that architecture, and the process for learning from the world around successfully is we have to teach in our course. So, these ideas were developed into the curriculum, and was called in the Integrated Holistic Syllabus for architectural conservation. The first syllabus of 1994 already started this, but at that point, I was not the H.O.D., but the postmortem work that I did in the department, for all the classes in every course with the students, helped in putting together the ‘94 syllabus. And so, the nucleus was already there, but by 2002, when our minister, Prof Murli Manohar Joshi decided that all the post graduate courses have to be 2 years, and not 18 months, with only the summer vacation to complete the task, it was a great opportunity, and with the involvement of research associates, evolved the new version. It was well structured, with a new module called ‘Developing a philosophical basis’, initiating the path of ‘decolonization’ in education. Architectural Conservation education was an integral part
of architecture with focus on historical architecture of India, both building and cities. This is not an application of Colonial Monument centered Laws and practice. The course enabled new theories and viewed subjects such as Heritage Jurisprudence and Heritage Economics in a different way, not an extension of the way it is being practiced. So, in order to understand the subject, the content and the objective of what we are doing, we needed to rethink, and come up with new way of doing things. Only when education responds to the architectural world inherited, only then, it leads to the issues, and potentials of our heritage, and it can be somehow taken to the future in a way, engaging participation from people. We see that the old buildings built, or cities planned, were done by ordinary people. The difference is that they all had a shared knowledge. That had enough to be able to create a kind of homogeneity with the differences. So, in my opinion, we have to take an attempt in understanding how to get into that mode of thinking. That is the reason for the emphasis on information, and how to process it to knowledge for a particular objective. 3. You have been attached to this field for almost 30 years. How has this field revolutionized over time? I think this field has evolved a lot from what it was 30 years ago. I think, 30 years ago, people were more open and willing... But my students state that 30 years ago, when the department was still young in the late 80s, since then the growth has been quantitative and simplistic. There is not much change as required. The space has been occupied by the ‘awareness campaigners’, but there is systematic generation of knowledge about the heritage content that is cited to formula approach or project approach. Presentations are sleeker but superficial. Lot of technology is available but unfortunately human learning contribution is not growing at the same rapid pace. For effective and sustainable survival of India’s heritage resources in all its facets, it requires a paradigm shift. On one hand more people have been brought into a better awareness of India’s heritage but the reality shows solution which compromises; commercially interesting standards have been developed regarding techniques, procedures and quality. Almost all work is project based. The field is revolutionized when quality knowledge is readily available, and systems in place. This will enable all (role players and public) to take part in the heritage movement. That will require responsible approach at many levels. Do you see this happening today? 4. What do you feel is the future of Conservation Architecture in India? There is a big gap that requires to be addressed for a good future for heritage conservation. I think at one point, there are more projects coming, than there were before, because the states are also enthusiastic. But, at the present moment, conservation of historical architecture is not born out of an NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 91
intellectual thinking - about its knowledge systems and its critical need for the future generations. Understanding this as an architect, and how it can benefit our mind and human development needs is must. The active persons and agencies, like P.W.D have many missions of the Government where some focus is given to heritage, but where is the responsible part that will develop the systems and standards and what is the form of this that will make heritage conservation effective and set up a continuing process? If the gap will be addressed, the balance achieved will make the projects sustainable within a guiding system. I think to generate knowledge, there is a need for much more research, a lot more enquiry and sharing, and organizing for a bright future, otherwise we shall lose our heritage. Time will tell that. 5. How well does India deal with Conservation? In recent times we have got more sites into the world heritage. If you go by that, we are doing well. Of course there are more deserving sites too that are out of the list. Also since 1980’s, conservation architects have emerged as a new professional in the country. There has been more recognition of heritage in recent times with large government programs. One appreciates these efforts but as heritage is an irreplaceable resource therefore more responsible activities are required from critical institutions. But, what does it do? Is there a long term program? Is there a long term commitment? That is where I think it doesn’t fit well. Is it all for getting a site into the world heritage? Looking beyond the World Heritage nomination and monument centered approach, our real job is to look at what is the long term framework which we can put in place that can take care of all the heritage categories in an effective manner. So, there is a problem of protection for many heritage categories. Living architecture, Varanasi and other historic cities, regions, cultural regions like “Vraja bhoomi” are living heritage resources in difference sizes shapes and contents. They all face the challenge of protection. Now, without being protected, how can you manage them in a way effectively so that they can be conserved? They constitute about 90% of our heritage on ground. 6. What is the role of the Government in conserving the heritage structures in India? Do they co-ordinate the whole project or do they act as initiators and fund providers? The role of the government is very critical in our country. The Constitutional directives make the Government very important because the heritage conservation system is upheld at that level. This also means both the state and the local governance have very important roles to play. So we can say a shared role is played among the different levels. Centre, state and local. It is critical because heritage, be it living heritage, monuments, historic structures constitute an irreplaceable resource, and a collective legacy we have inherited. As per our constitution, we are all equal. So, I assume you should 92 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
treat everyone’s legacy as also equal. If this is recognized by the Indian government as an irreplaceable resource, going by the constitutional directions, the government has to take responsibility for this. And this will be done starting with a legal instrument that is relevant, that covers the entire range and scope of heritage resources and also gives good allocation of money for responsible tasks associated with this effort. Then, it requires quite a complex organizational system to monitor the standards and the overall framework required for this activity of heritage conservation to happen in all the states and cities of India. It has to reach out to the panchayats, nagar panchayats, villages, municipalities, districts, and states. Here, we are talking about a new organization, new law, and not extending any colonial law. The new organization will be decentralized, the Gandhian way. Then, the role of the government will be the overall supervision, ensuring that standards are kept, and the organizations they will form within that framework will do the co-ordination. And, there will be very good quality professionals to work in all the projects within the overall framework. But the government and the core systems will also frame the various processes that are required for these heritage buildings - the way it should be done, the techniques to be used, methods to be followed which will yield good results. 7. In all these years of practice, what threats to the heritage monuments have you felt? I don’t think I have really practiced. It is not possible to practice as a professional when there is no enabling system in place which ensures quality with guidelines, rules or principles. The clarity that is required is not there. My work is based on long term on many specific sites – decades and this is the way I learnt and developed a vision. I play many roles – as activist as professional and educator. So I do not understand this word, practice, because today PWD and non-professionals have the power to decide, and the money. However I professed, I have worked, with my belief and took on whatever came in my way. Fortunately, due to India’s wonderful heritage I got plenty of opportunities to work on sites that had so much learning and knowledge to give. The outputs of my professional work are varied - with studies, reports and active engagement with community and agencies to push forward the case of conservation. Over time I have also developed a whole approach to conservation theory to practice, that can be applied to our country. But when it comes to projects, how a professional can function in an environment of no given standards and processes to guide, certainly I have faced poor professionalism. May be you can say my practice is not the conservative one. The threat is the lack of legal protection, and framework. There is also a lack of knowledge, all projects starting without this knowledge that a heritage, monument, or living heritage is a very complex subject which needs many people to be
involved, and many tasks in different institutions. 8. Careless tourists and irresponsible tourism is a big risk in the conservation procedure. Your views on this. Firstly, tourism is a different activity than conservation. Conservation is a responsibility happening through legal and organizational framework to cover it comprehensively. Tourism is just one of the sectors which actually piggy backs on heritage. It is very important to understand that these two should not be mixed up. Tourism must be a part of local development based on local skills and knowledge. The scale of tourism is based on the local standards of education, economy development and quality of life. Tourism has a very close relation to the mainstream development of the place, and if tourism is looked upon and treated like that, it will not t be irresponsible. 9. “Conservation is more of a resistive effort than a preventive one. You can resist the building from falling down for a few years, but you can never prevent its eventual decay.” What do you feel about this statement? I think conservation is about achieving sustainable development and change in all places and levels across the country, except for a few buildings which are of very high significance, which we have to freeze. The approach of conservation for the rest of the buildings is to extend the life of the building as much as possible and give it the type of treatment in which you can read the original architecture. That’s all we are doing. And the achievement through this is a better continuity, such that the future generations understand what their own inheritance is. But it doesn’t say something should be there forever, because that is not possible. You have to look for ways to extend it, and to work on it, and that’s where the challenge comes for the professionals; the ways you intervene with it, the kind of materials you find to handle its decay, how well you understand what it was, and how it came up, and also the knowledge it can give to you are all the benefits you include into it. So, that is how you should look at it and not think of it as something very rigid and frozen. You have to understand it in that dynamic, pragmatic way. 10. How well aware do you feel is the general public of India regarding safeguarding, and conserving structures having national and regional heritage value? Compared to 30 years ago, there is much better awareness among the general public about safeguarding of heritage structures. But when it comes to national and regional values, somehow, local heritage values have been forgotten. For the village, it is local. So I think you have to include the local values as well. For the village person, the village heritage is important, for the town person, the town heritage is important, and for the city, the city heritage is important. Generally, the people who are very well educated will
understand what is national, and regional heritage value. But it has to go beyond. I think the implementation should be more proactive; further, only information is not enough for it is knowledge that empowers. Being informed makes you a good citizen but awareness without knowledge will help only to exploit the heritage structure. The moment you have well informed citizens in your place, they will know how to take responsibility actively in the conservation of that place. If we give them more information, they will know how to handle it themselves. 11. How different is conservation architecture from normal architectural practice? What sets it apart? Normal architectural practice is about designing and creating a new design - the architect makes the design statement. If you do a bad job, well, it can always be done again. Say it survives 50 years, and then becomes obsolete and so the land is ready for a new one. That is where, it is much simpler, safer, and it’s a creative area. But in conservation, you are talking about the building you have inherited and is irreplaceable, hence a responsible area. So, you have to work with responsibility, and knowledge. That is the difference. You cannot do anything you fancy as in interior and exterior decoration. You have to be disciplined, and follow the process of understanding, and working to enable you to take the right decisions for that building so that you change it or intervene it in a way that it doesn’t lose its values, and it can be taken to the future, and the future generation can also understand it. You conserve the original design statement. 12. What does it take to be a conservation architect in India? I think to be a conservation architect, in India, today, you can do a post graduate degree in Architectural Conservation. It gives you a base in the various facets of the subject and a Master’s degree in Architectural Conservation. Then it is a lifelong learning process. However you must have a passion and interest in historical architecture, the history, the cities, from the beginning. More than all these palaces and temples, you should look at the water structures, how the engineering has been done in the past; you should develop that kind of interest which you can do by looking at your own city in a thorough way. It will help to take up these studies formally. In your undergraduate studies, if you can do any project that can help you to further explore, I think that will help and later on you may formally pursue the course. And do it as soon as possible. Don’t wait too long. 13. Why do you feel should an architect step into this world of conservation? Conservation is a specialization that covers the historical architecture which I feel is a part of the subject called architecture. So, the answer is a little complicated. It is like saying a person who is interested in music will be interested NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 93
in all forms of music. I think the people with a broader vision and mindset will be interested in all kinds of music. The further they go into that, the better the understanding comes from a broader practice and exploration. Similarly, if you are an architect, and you are dealing in contemporary architecture, I cannot see why we cannot step into this world of historical architecture. Doing conservation is one kind of action and practice that they can get trained in. That is the kind of expertise you gain within architecture itself. Being a conservation architect, to take it further, you just don’t work with historical architecture, but also work in in-fills with modern design, modify old designs to make new designs. So, I think it will give you a broader understanding of what an architect is, and that they can step into this world of old and new, but in terms of expertise, conservation architect has the expertise to deal with old buildings, which a contemporary architect will not have. 14. Is there any kind of professional and/or political hazards to this job? There are a lot of hazards. There are not many conservation architects. Because this profession is not recognized by the Government (there is no clear mandate for use of this title Conservation Architect) hence there is no value in the market, the general community, and the population who maybe living in old areas and buildings do not know the worth of this kind of professional people, because no formal encouragement has been given. The general understanding is that you get your fees from client based on his knowledge of your worth and use. With no clear understanding you will be underpaid; and also because of the fact that there is no framework for this activity in the country, or protection by the law, or society of the country. The little money that comes for historical buildings get consumed by other nonprofessional agencies and the jobs may be given to people with no expertise in this field, and their conclusions, solutions and decisions create problems for the conservation architects. Conservation architects have to be entrepreneurs, have their own firms and find direct clients, negotiate and work for them. As long as India has heritage they have a critical role. And fight for what you love. 15. What is your experience in all these years of your service to the nation? Because I’m one of the pioneers in this field, I realized that there is no profession as conservation, there is no job in that. I was a teacher in the architecture department in SPA Delhi. It was a long time till I got recognition. So, I took some decisions. At undergraduate level, I taught History of Architecture in a different way and also started contextual design studio in a professional way. So, we designed projects like Hampi Research Centre, Interpretation Centre at Machi plateau at Champaner and Delhi City Museum opposite National Archives- they were all the sites for my 94 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
3rd year classes in the 80’s. When it came to postgraduate students, I concentrated on education because I felt that conservation education is very important, as there is no understanding of the subject of the history of architecture of India because of our post-colonial situation. I concentrated on ways to understand the Indian historical cities, and finding out methods, patterns and models. What should be the whole protection and management system for India was another point I looked into, because again I found it to be something useful for my imparting of education in the class, so that I can train the students for the country. Through this, I actually learnt and was benefited a lot. It also gave me a different approach to this subject. First I worked for INTACH, hoping for the best, but then I realized there was no point working with an NGO, which instead of supporting is actually competing with you. So, it’s not good. Then I realized and decided I will only work for mandated agencies in the government, or educational institutions, so that I am comfortable, because I am in a subject that is not in the market, and I being a qualified person, can give my service to these people, and whatever I do will be good for the country. That’s what I think, and still do that, and that is my policy of life. 16. A few words of advice and suggestions for our reader’s. You should be very determined to achieve, and must have passion to keep yourself going on. As long as there is a heritage structure in a country, there is a role for the conservation architect. Be an Entrepreneur. Through that, you will actually help it to bring the profession into the market. And once you bring it to the market, a lot of these current abnormal power lobbies cannot function, because the functions become clear, between the clients and the professionals with institutions. Please learn to be leaders, not assistants in offices.
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Our built environment shapes our day to day lives. The buildings where we work or where we live have a direct impact on the quality of our lives, our experiences and our aspirations. Buildings are the epoch of a generation. Buildings can symbolize the freedom, the tyranny, and the hopes of a people. The desecration of the Reichstag in Germany was pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany. The same building faced desecration again at the end of the war because it had come to represent something entirely different. The Reichstag today represents the ambitions of modern Germany and serves as a reminder of the past for the policy makers of today. If built right, buildings will stand the test of time and will come to be associated with either ‘just’ or ‘unjust’ ideas. Ergo, a building can also embody or propagate injustice.
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Venezuela has a dynamic and mostly stable democracy. As one of the world’s most oil rich nations, it has a growing middle class. Caracas is situated in a valley around a ring of slum covered slopes which are home to more than 3 million people. At the centre of the city’s business district is a skeleton of a building thrusting into the skyline. This is the Centro Financiero Confinazas designed by the firm of Enrique Gomez and commissioned by banker J. David Brillembourg, the investor whose name the tower now bears - Torre David (Tower of David). It was envisioned as a competition to Wall Street where the financial class of Venezuela would land on the helipad on their flying limos avoiding the misery of the streets below. In 1993 Brillembourg died and in 1994 the nation’s bank collapsed. The construction was halted at 60%.
By 2000 led by Alexander Daza alias ‘the kid’, a man who found religion in prison, squatters start moving into the tower. When they moved into the 45 storey tower, the 8th tallest building in Latin America, it was a construction site with no elevators, electricity, water supply and sanitation. The lower levels were allotted to the disabled and elderly. Car Parking was arranged in an adjacent building. Gradually people began to inhabit the floors, up to the 28th floor. Now it is home to over 700 families, comprising around 2500 people. Motorcycle Taxis ferry people up to the 10th floor. Grocery Shops have opened up on each floor, an unlicensed dentist’s clinic even. Legal connection to electricity, basic sanitation facilities and a water channel system have been arranged by the residents for themselves. The rent for living in the Torre David covers only these basic services. Cases of children falling to deaths while playing have forced the residents to build parapet walls on most floors. The world’s tallest slum is a hotbed for Crime and Drugs. An active crime ring is operated within in the tower. Sentries carrying concealed weapons are posted at the gates. For many Caraquenos, the tower stands for everything that is wrong with their society - a community of invaders living in their midst, controlled by armed gangsters with the tacit acquiescence of the Chavez government. The refugees are from an undeveloped state who are living in
a structure which belongs to the first world. It is a symbol of contemporary Venezuela’s broken dreams and more pointedly, the failure of the late Hugo Chavez’s experiments in socialism. The government is not getting any revenue from the tower, only crime statistics. This, to many local planners and architects, outweighs the fact that the tower has provided a roof over the heads of 2500 people. The government’s apathy and indifference to the situation is appalling. If the government wanted, it could work on either of the two solutions: reclaim the tower and provide appropriate shelter for the squatters inhabiting the tower or intervene and provide a better living environment elsewhere to those inhabiting the tower. Torre David now stands as a monument to the failed banking system and the tanked Venezuelan economy which makes its sheer presence questionable. Note: As this article is being written, families continue to be relocated under the government’s “Operation Zamora 2014”. Arighna Mitra | P.M.C.A., A.B.I.T., Cuttack
Letter from Heaven To my dearest family, some things I’d like to say But first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay. I’m writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with God above. Here, there’s not more tears of sadness; Here is just eternal love.
Please do not be unhappy just because I’m out of sight. Remember that I am with you every morning, noon, and night. That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through. God picked me up and hugged me and He said, “I welcome you. It’s good to have you back again; you were missed while you were gone. As for your dearest family, they’ll be here later on. I need you here badly, you’re part of my plan. There’s so much that I have to do, to help our mortal man” God gave me a list of things that he wished for me to do. And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you. And when you lie in bed at night the day’s chores put to flight. God and I are closest to you . . . in the middle of the night. When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years. Because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears. But do not be afraid to cry: it does relieve the pain. Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain. I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned. If I were to tell you, you wouldn’t understand. But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is over, I’m closer to you now, than I ever was before. There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb; But together we can do it by taking one day at a time. It was always my philosophy and I’d like it for you too; That as you give unto the world, the world will give to you. If you can help somebody who’s in sorrow and pain; Then you can say to God at night . . . “My day was not in vain.” And now I am contented . . . that my life was worthwhile. Knowing as I passed along the way I made somebody smile. So, if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low; Just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go. When you’re walking down the street and you’ve got me on your mind; I’m walking in your footsteps only half a step behind. And when it’s time for you to go . . . from that body to be free. Remember you’re not going . . . you’re coming here to me. Anonymous
NASA, India pays its homage, and tribute to these legends who have contributed much to architecture, through their unmatched skills, and expertise in designing spaces. You will always be living in our hearts. Rest in peace. 98 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
Funeral of an Architect
You want the master builder to speak to your family at your funeral. You want him to speak to your grieving family that your instinct to design the world still can be seen in your designed buildings. You want him to tell them that your energy has not died. It resides in those crumbled pieces of paper which soaked all the ideas from your mind. So that they can understand it’s not always the law of thermodynamics which explains the “never destroyed energy” but sometimes the law of nature which explains the immortality of late architects whose buildings give a new way to live in the world. You want him to speak to your parents so that what gestalts in your mind creating forms of your designs, can also create your form in their mind by arranging some good memories of you. As your lover blames the god for the painful separation, you want your master builder to tell her that your love still can be seen in the castles of dreams you designed for her. As your master builder will remind the congregation about how much all of your energy is saved by the designs your mind gave to a paper, they will be comforted to know that your energy is still around. According to architecture, not even a bit of you is gone because your designed skyscrapers have a different atmosphere where your soul breathes in. Anmol Arora | Gateway College of Architecture, Sonepat
Nafraton ka asar dekho, Janwaron ka batwara ho gaya, Gai Hindu ho gayee aur bakra Musalman ho gaya. Ye ped ye patte ye shakhein bhi pareshan ho jayein, Agar parinde bhi Hindu aur Musalman ho jayein. Sukhe mewe bhi ye dekh kar pareshan ho gaye, Na jaane kab nariyal Hindu aur khajoor Musalman ho gaye. Jis tarah se dharm rangon ko bhi baant-te ja rahein hain, ki hara musalman ka hai aur laal Hinduon ka rang hai, Toh woh din bhi door nahin, jab saari-ki-saari hari sabziyan Musalmanon ki ho jayengi Aur Hinduon ke hisse bas gajar aur tamatar hi aayenge Ab samajh nahin aa raha is tarbooz kiske hisse jayega, Yeh toh bechara upar se Musalman aur andar se Hindu reh jayega. Javed Jaffrey (This poem excerpt from Javed Jaffreyâ€™s speech is from the annual convention organised by Janab Aga Sultan Sahab to recognize the sacrifice of Imam Hussain. Javed Jaffrey in his own satirical tone has taken on religious differences, and the unrest arising owing to the same through this poem. The original video was uploaded on Youtube and other social platforms.)
Hiran Biswas | IIEST, Shibpur
NASA, India | Indian Arch â€˜16 | 101
IA Hierarchy Talks with
Ar. Madhav Raman Madhav Raman is an architect and urbanist. He founded Anagram Architects in 2001, an architectural practice in partnership with Vaibhav Dimri, that offers expertise in urban design, architecture, sustainability and research. Anagram Architects is internationally recognised as amongst the top emerging practices in the world with a commitment towards delivering deeply contextual designs that encourage sustainable lifestyles. Madhav has presented talks at many prestigious forums including the Spring Lecture Series at RIBA, London, the Planning Commission’s mid-term appraisal of the 11th Five Year Plan and the Urban Mobility India 2010. Keenly involved in academia, Madhav conducts a design studio at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi where he also guides dissertations, seminars and research papers. He moderates the annual Design X Design roundtable in Delhi which aims at building discourse around Indian design across disciplines. IA ‘16 representative, Shubhayan Modak in a skype interaction with Ar. Madhav Raman unravels the common mysteries of architecture, and the challenges faced by the common Indian Architecture Student. 102 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
SH: The first question for you, in the debate between form follows function & function follows form, what stance would you like to take? MR: Between form follows function and function follows form that is very old way of looking at architecture or space, we live in much more complicated time and the idea that one should follow the other or the other should follow one is actually a pallid point. It is more important for us to kind of consider what the impact of creating space is. I think that is the most critical question for our time that what we do as an architect build and we are creating space and through space, we are creating experiences. I think the impacts on people’s lives of that has far more deeper significance than just whether it should be form based or function based. My point is why can’t it be both, it should be both and you can’t put one before another. We have done too much of damage as a dualism doing one end of the other; that’s something that architects have done for themselves trying to make sense of more than for society, so I think I’m not a big fan of that argument either way. I feel both of them are equally silly. So all I was saying was the argument over form follows function or function follows forms is something been going on for I don’t like almost 80 years… And in today‘s time and day it’s not a critical question that should trouble architect so much, we shouldn’t let ourselves think like this. We should just basically understand that there is certain responsibility we have towards society because we create space and because of that responsibility we have spent lot more time thinking what impact that space will have on people. Those are more self-congratulatory, I mean that’s more for ourselves amongst where no one is benefiting from that’s sort of debate. That’s my personal opinion. SH: Moving to the next question in this era of computer aided design, what significances do you feel remains of the butter paper, of hand drafting & scribbling with the pencil? MR: I would have been probably in the last batch where I did my entire architecture by my hand, I didn’t use any computers. Towards the end of my college there used to be lot of friction between the faculty and students about whether computer should be allowed. At that point of time perhaps our faculty felt that computer was bit of a fad and people had not understood them and their potential; that might have been true to some extent, it was exciting to see how computer was
doing thing for architecture. I think it’s very important way, it’s not to say computer should not happen or one should not use them or one should not think creatively with them. Again it’s like debate, form follows function or function follows form. Now computers are great at mimicking abstraction, but they are not capable of looking at abstract as a thinking process, as a way of looking back into, so you can create algorithm that can mimic an abstract situation or as in parametric design. At end of that day what computer will do take is that algorithm and give you multiple options. Now fundamentally that is not different from what you do by your hand, but the real importance of hand is that if you work by hand, either by making a model or by sketching, it will be a different and natural skillset. So you know that’s sounds really strange, but if you talk to a carpenter or a mechanic or someone who works by hand, it’s not that their brain says, okay cut this one inch thick and stop. And then their hand moves and stops. It doesn’t work like that, it’s the hand that already have a sense of the material, they know how deep, how hard. You know, you talk to a carpenter or a mason you can feel the wood and know what length and distances the spans can be use in wood with that section, he has a sense of how wet it is, how dry it is. I think that’s a critical difference. So again I don’t think there’s a debate, I think that some people find it more comfortable to work by hand and to think with something while they working with hands. Some people like the virtual space and the possibilities that the computer offers. The important thing is that how closely knit is your mind to the process of forming an idea. That’s the critical thing for me and in that sense I guess I prefer thinking things through hands first, and I see a lot of value in that because it helps. I don’t have a very large brain so it helps me to free up some mind space to think about other things. SH: It’s actually very common for the students also, when we do assignments in class we always take the pencil and first we think it on a butter paper and then the basic zoning and design too. After having done something we put it in the computer for the technical use. MR: See, I don’t think, like again “form follows function”, it’s not so important what the process is, there is no protocol, it’s not like you do these first and then you do these second and then third. It’s something that you need to figure out for yourselves, just consider what happened in last five years, I mean computers are being more tactile and advanced. You know there’s a hepatic feedback, there are screens where you can sketch on and the screen feels, so when you push harder on the pencil it has, the interface that understand that. May be tomorrow in the world of 3D computing we would be actually able to sculpt drawings in three dimensions, rather than trying to first make it in two dimensions and get it on the screen and then imagine the 3rd dimension virtually in the depth of the screen. May be
we will have that. But, now the reality is that a computer now open up a window into the universe of the internet, to knowledge, to information, to social network, to all sorts of things. We would again be doing a huge disservice if we restrict our thinking. As of now, I have not found an alternative of sketching by hand. I feel that the way things are moving it might be reality in another 5 years, I might completely change my opinion and say it is much better to think, to sculpt something virtually and get something like a hologram. I don’t know what will happen in the next five years. Don’t make a protocol of it. It’s just a simple thing, it’s just toy and understand how you think or as human being and as a designer. That’s all. SH: What do you fell about the present architectural education scenario in the country? MR: I think there are two or three things that have both good and bad in it. The numbers of colleges offering architecture are increasing and the number of students who are considering architecture very seriously is also increasing. The third thing that increased is that students are no longer restricting themselves to look at architecture as something that’s good only if you want to start your own practice; students are realizing that there are multiple roles, multiple jobs that they can do after doing architecture. I think these are all fundamentally good things because, until about again 5 or 6 years back there was a big difference between general public and architects. The general public never talked about architecture. So, I think in a sense it is good thing because it’s opening up architecture into being as important an architectural practice as say music, as say food. People beginning to wanting to get improved. I’m seeing more and more conversion in public dispose about architecture which was not the case. Earlier we used to treat ourselves as a secret club. Only architects talk to architects about the architecture, no one else talks about architecture which resulted in a lot of problem with architecture. So it’s changing. Now what are the bad things? The bad things with expansions, one which is obviously worth worrying about, is the quality of education. I have a personal & fundamental problem about the architecture curriculum in the country. I think we have not seriously revised or restructured the way we’re teaching architecture. I would imagine that we are about twenty five years late. But we are not doing anything to change that either. They are teaching things to the kids in an old way and the kind of things we’re talking about in the college should have died a natural death about a quarter of a century ago. But like everything else in India, things change too late. So it is not like that we’re in a very deep hole. In the education system, there are good and bad things. So hopefully there is enough good to change things. Let’s say from an organization like NASA, if you guys get students to give feedback on the way they’ve thought about this, it will be worthwhile. I think that’s an important thing because for NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 103
me architecture is always a debate. The teaching of it and practice of architecture is a debate. People take possessions and they argue against each other, which is a natural healthy state of producing culture which is what architecture is. Architecture is a form of production of culture, built culture you can call it. If there are debates, if there are conversions of it, then there is a good thing. So more people, more colleges all those are good things. Problem is quality; quality of debate, quality of education and quality of curriculum are things that you need to change quickly. If you’re considering the rapidly increasing number of architects, number of architecture schools and the number of students, we have to take very quick steps to change curriculum accordingly, which I don’t think we’re done with. That’s a crisis in my mind, if it does not happen over the next five years, then that will be definitely a problem, because we are already 25 years late. Architecture, earlier was elitist. Only elite people joined architectural schools. So you’ll find a handful of school in Delhi, Bombay & Madras because earlier people thought that architecture is not very paying. So I can tell you quite clearly, those college that are in the big cities effectively restricted architects to come in only from certain kind of backgrounds (economic background) and I feel that impacted architecture. Architecture that was produced 10 or 15 years back in the ‘90s was something that had big disconnection with people. It talked about architecture only to 1-5% of society. People keep saying that architects only build 5% of the architecture produce in this country. The fact that more people from very different backgrounds, small towns & villages sometimes are able to study architecture is very enriching to the debate of architecture, & what architecture should be in this country. So, I think that when you look at other people and say this guys are so much advanced than us, they’re also practicing, especially when they’ve come from outside of India, you have to realize that their context is very different to ours. We are a society with so many different types of people, I think we need not map or model ourselves on western architectural pedagogy so much. There’s a lot to learn about discipline of architecture. But I think one doesn’t need to kind of feel bad. Our way have to be different. It can’t be the same journey. It’s important for students of architecture to understand the way in which architecture is produced in India. If we try to model our education on something which is not from India, then we won’t be able to do our jobs properly. So, we need to evolve our own understanding of how architecture should be taught over here. SH: How do you feel about the present students not getting sufficient onsite exposure and also on hand practices but spending too much time drafting and designing inside the studio. MR: I think that’s a fair point. I would not say on site experience, I feel again it’s got to do with the hand. In our 104 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
education, the correct term would be that architects are becoming Brahminical, they’re becoming like Pundits. They say we speak a separate language which only we’ll understand, we need to sit inside a studio and draw, only to completely lose connection with the process of building. So, all colleges should have workshops, design studios and even building construction studio should be held inside a workshop. But we’ve created this culture that designing is an intellectual activity and producing architecture is a labor. Somehow the production of architecture (because it’s wrongly considered as labour) is inferior to the idea of thinking about architecture and designing it. It’s a terribly fatal mentality to work with, considering how important the construction industry is to us or a society. We’ve completely disconnected this and we’ve done it actively. It’s almost criminal that we’ve done this; we’ve taken the education of an architect and pulled out any form of work magnet and crumpled it to the dust bin. And we have told our students that you need air condition room. Maybe when you’re in college, your faculty might take you a site, show you something. But that still is a visit, you can’t learn on site. If you have to learn onsite the only way is you apprentice with a carpenter or a mason, & spend 5 years with them. Then you will have expertise in only one way of producing architecture. So, the important thing for students is that in their colleges, design & building construction studios should not happen in a studio, it should be inside a workshop. This can only answer to the architects; no one else has to-do anything. Only architects reconnect with the physical people. I think there’s hope until then, next, it’s a crisis. That’s a very important point you raised. SH: Thank you, now moving onto the next, given the handful number of architects in the country as huge as India, how do you feel we can really make a difference? MR: We’re growing very rapidly. So I don’t think there’ll be a problem there. There’s so many architecture schools & there’s so many students becoming architects. I think our impact is huge because basically people end up having to suffer what we design and we create people’s lifestyles. So that’s a huge power to have. We are not a political movement so we don’t really need a collective democratic sense. Because, we all at the end of a day are individually practicing architecture, doing it as a job, as a profession. So the problem of number is changing to begin with, I think that every year there is a whole new bunch of architecture schools and colleges being opened. And you in NASA, you will know it, your membership is growing. Aren’t you are like the largest student body in the world? SH: Yeah, one of the largest and India has a total of 417 architecture colleges at present. MR: So I think that it will keep growing, they are not few in number. They are plenty. Now are we doing anything to help? That’s an important question. I don’t think we
have explored the potential of such a huge pool of human resource, how many members do you have in NASA? SH: Well, it will very easily cross fifty thousand. MR: Fifty thousand? I would imagine it to be substantially more. The way to look at our potential is to imagine that is fifty thousand plus, let us give it a round shape by imagining one lakh. Now think, one lakh minds, we are not an army, or a political party or movement. So it’s not like one person is one body, a pair of hand. Every person is one mind. If we say that incredible ideas are one in a million and if we have a million people, we can have incredible ideas constantly, we can have incredible design. Potential is present, but we as a students of architecture are not giving enough force. When we are doing something, we are impacting society or changing society. We have allowed us for the past forty years to become much more specific. We have talked to the architects who were prime in the 60s, and they had a lot more hope from architecture. I think past 30-40 years has unfortunately made architecture very cynical. But I also think that being younger than many other practitioners, who got some kind of understanding of what’s happening, I feel that our generation and the generation after us will look at architecture very differently. So that’s a hope. I don’t think the numbers will be problem. SH: Thank you for giving that assurance. Moving on, how do you feel has the architectural practice in India revolutionized overtime? What it is now, what it was before and what it can be in future? MR: The big thing about architecture practices is how they have changed over 15 years. It has become more collaborative. Earlier architects were positioning themselves at a place where they were at the pinnacle of decision making in any construction project, right?. Now that has adjusted, sometimes it’s the developers, sometimes it’s the project managers. There are lots of people who control the production of architecture. So, obviously we’ve had to adjust our egos to that reality. It’s a good thing because now we start looking at people who work with us as our peers, as people with whom we can collaborate and I’m seeing more and more architects willing to collaborate with other people. So that’s one big change. With the internet, with computers and all these things the ability to work with other people, the tools to work with other people is also increasing. So that’s one big step. So what else has changed, of late… In the practice of architecture, perhaps this might be a little premature but maybe will happen in the future, architects have tried to be non-political. We have tried to say that we will not express or explicitly talk about how we think society should be through our work. Whatever our political positions might be, we’ve constantly told ourselves earlier that politics is not our space, that politics and stuff like that is too dirty, too nasty. I think now we realize that politics is also like economics. After
liberalization we realized that economics plays a huge role in architecture. It’s not just the construction of buildings, it’s the speculative value of real estate. We’ve realized this in the mid-90s. Before that, economics was also not something that architects took very seriously. Maybe in the next five or ten years we will start being more political. So again, that’s an evolution that perhaps I foresee will happen. SH: Of course we all love to travel but how do you feel or how essential is it for an architect to travel? MR: I think its super, it’s incredibly important… Vaibhav (Ar. Vaibhav Dimri, Partner, Anagram Architects) and I didn’t travel until we graduated and since we didn’t do a post graduate degree, we didn’t see the world. The first time we travelled abroad was 2007. That was six years into our practice. We’ve never seen anything outside India before that. Now we hunt for ways and means in which we can travel abroad because that’s literally how we can mature now. We can understand what is happening to us only when we see what is happening. It’s like being a frog inside a well as compared to being a frog in an ocean. So I think its super critical. If I would, I will advise students to travel widely, whether they are going out to study abroad, or are taking advantage of the fact that their parents are rich and can afford to send them on holidays, whether they get sponsorship, or they convince institutions that they deserve scholarships. I think you should definitely try and travel around the world as much and as far as possible and until the resources come, you should definitely try and travel through this country, around this country itself as far and as much as possible, into the deepest, darkest hearts. Like the forests of Chhattisgarh. I mean go to those villages that take three days to get to. Go trekking, go up the mountains. At least for us, nothing has been more powerful than the ability to travel. There is nothing more powerful at that age, the impact it has on your mind and your way of thinking is no parallel; no five year degree, no PHD can compare to that. SH: Journalism, for the love of travel is becoming popular among the present generation. So what are your views on the same? MR: Architectural journalism is a very important part of the practice of this culture of architecture that I’m talking about. If you consider architecture being a cultural practice, then many countries who have the development of a long, continuous cultural stream have much more mature approach towards architectural journalism. If you want to know one thing that’s worse in architectural education, it is the quality of our architectural journalism. We don’t have critical journalism. Most magazines that publish our work expect us to write about our own work. So suddenly you look at Indian magazine and you think- Oh there is only a good work being introduced...? There will be so much good work if architects just talk about themselves. So I think criticality is NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 105
clearly missing and I would say mostly, 95% of journalism is not critical. So I think that’s important. It’s like when you say democracy stands on four legs, the Executive, Legislature, Judiciary and then Media- the fourth leg! In architecture that fourth leg is missing… We don’t have it in this country. So it’s a huge contribution and therefore because it’s missing, I think it’s a huge opportunity.
SH: Your inspiration to take up architecture? MR: My inspiration to take up an architecture, I didn’t have any one. I was actually interested in two thing quite clearly. I was interested in economics and I was interested in design, I would have been equally happy to join graphic design course had I not gone for architecture. I don’t have inspiration as such.
SM: So what do you feel, people should take up architectural journalism? MR: Yeah definitely, I feel very strongly about it because as practicing architects we need people to criticize us. Whether what we are saying and what we are doing are in touch with reality, has touch with the sentiment of the society or whether our architecture has prospered its aesthetic impact, cultural, sociological and economic impact should be dealt upon critically. We are talking about architecture but there are not enough critical thought. The discourse has now only become public disperse. It can’t move forward in public disperse until architects themselves produce critics.
SH: What is design to you? MR: I think design is awareness to me. As a designer, practicing design increases the awareness around you, you know more. Your designs can increase the awareness of the user, which I take as a personal goal. Through our design if we somehow can change the way people perceive what’s happening around them, it’s a major achievement. So for me design is all about awareness, about being able to open horizon up, both for yourselves and for the user.
SM: What is the most definable relationship between art and architecture? MR: Definable relationship… I think architecture like art has the power to seduce or to convince. You see an artist plays a very important role in the society because an artist can make the society look at themselves, make people believe in themselves and their condition in a way no other can, not a writer, or a sociologist. I think that’s parallel, architecture has that potential to reform you by just making you experience a space. Just an experience of architecture can uplift you soul, it can make you feel very bad, it can make you feel very happy, it can make you want to be a better person, a better being. It has this impact, it can convince people to do things, which can ultimately manipulate people’s ways of thinking about themselves. I think that’s the parallel between art and architecture. SH: Architecture & Entrepreneurship – how well do them fit? Are architects good entrepreneurs? MR: Well we are not taught to be that. But I think at basic level if your trying to start your own practice, in effect you are an entrepreneur. So you gamble on opportunity and try to reach for the thing which is just beyond your reach. This can make you can move forward so it’s a big thing. Yeah I mean it is very accurate to consider a starting architect as an entrepreneur. I think normal market forces force an architect to think entrepreneur all of the time, we admit it or not. But there lies a thought provoking case with every entrepreneur; whether you an ethical entrepreneur is a critical question, till what extent you are willing to compromise your ethics towards entrepreneurial opportunity, is something that people need to sketch for themselves if there are no rules on this. 106 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
SH: Not being able to sketch – is it a drawback for an architect? MR: You should ask Dimri, he can’t sketch. No I think you have to have some kind of connection to your hand. Your eye and hands have to become your friends, not your slaves. Whether you make a model or you make a sketch or whatever. Whether you are a good sketcher or accurate sketcher, I don’t think it’s so much important but like I said it’s important for your hands to become your best friends rather than your slaves. SH: On the observation power of an architect? MR: We have the ability to look at the world in a very different eye, apart from other people, because I say we are lateral thinkers. So we can detect things which other people are not able to detect about the life around us. We tend to locate ourselves on top of very remote mountains from where we would like to see the world around us. Maybe we should stop looking at things in plan and starting looking at perspectives. SH: On the ability to appreciate a wide genre of art form, whatever be it? MR: I think it’s a good thing that architects are opinionated. Trying to form an opinion about everything is very important. To try to look at a thing around us which may not relate to construction or building or whatever could it be art, music, literature, economics, law, medicine it very important for us. To try and understand what going on behind these different things and to start forming opinion about them is equally necessary. But it’s also important for architects to retain the ability to change their opinion, most architects find it very difficult to change once they have decided. I think it’s important to be opinionated but it’s important to also be open to suggestions and open to being able to debate and revise your opinion. Like I said, for me
architecture is a debate so you constantly you have to do. SH: Moving on to the next one, this is bit odd, the strange happiness we get when we are standing inside a good space, what do you feel about it? MR: You know, my sister used to make fun of me when I was in college. She used to say that one day you will fall in an open manhole because when you walk around you’re looking at the buildings. She used to say that you will end up breaking your legs because of this. See I think this is one of those little joys. It’s like you look at a musician who sings right and you deeply observe them when they are singing and the kind of mental zone they are in. It’s a parallel reality; at that moment they are deeply connected to their world and also far removed. I can share in the joy; I would imagine when you say it is a good space, it possibly will give the designer a sense of joy. As an architect or as a designer or even as a lame person when I enter that space, I can connect to that man’s joy while creating it. That’s like the purest form of sharing love. There is nothing purer than that. It’s a very special thing, and it’s one of the perks of being an architect or a designer. SH: And something which we all can understand as we all feel all the same…. MR: That’s why I’m saying, imagine how someone has done something with love and joy in their heart and century later just by entering that object or space, you suddenly get connected with that same stream of thought or that same emotion. It just puts a different turn, suddenly you become that person for that instant and that’s like a high. SH: The different mindset or thought process that architecture has given us. MR: Like I said it give us the ability to think laterally, so can go under layers, go over obstacles. We can try and imagine things that don’t exist, so we can live in a future, and we can live in a past. I think that’s a huge powerful ability we all have access to. We can if we choose to and imagine any other object or idea, which may be some other form design also, and do it as powerfully as architect can do. SH: What do you feel about the following common incidences of an architecture student? Frustration of an architecture student. How to get past that? MR: Wow, how would you get over with? I’m probably not going to make too many friends amongst the faculty. I keep telling my students that if you are passing, then beyond that, you should not worry. I think that’s very sound advice. What you should try and do is to discover where your heart is. That’s the biggest quest for me in studying architecture. The biggest thing I had at the end was not the skill, neither being able to draw, the biggest gift architectural education gave me is the ability to explore myself. If you focus on that,
there is no frustration. If you feel that kind of frustration, I will advise you to look at it as a personal journey rather than as something where you need someone else’s approval. Then you will not feel frustrated. Plus, a little bit frustration is good because if you are very satisfied then after sometime you will feel like ‘kya hai…. koi point nai hai toh’. So don’t get frustrated and stop doing your work. But a little bit frustration is good, if you are little bit unhappy with the way model is looking even though you come first in class or if you feel that ‘yeh kuch reh gaya’ or whatever, take a note of it and try to give a solid punch next time you have the opportunity. Then, you will get over the frustration. But I think beyond that don’t look at marks; just pass. Man that’s good enough. I just passed and that was ok for me. SH: Getting roasted at design viva, a biggest de motivator. MR: Is it? Yes it is. I got roasted in my thesis jury. In a design jury if someone is roasting you purely because they are more senior, because they are member of jury than that’s not roasting in a productive way, that’s bullying. It depends on whether you’ll call it roasting or a critical evaluation when you will be at the receiving end of it. When someone is being brutally honest to you, it’s an opportunity that doesn’t come very often, so you should grab that. But you should not consider that they are infallible, that they can’t possibly be wrong; argue as you would with a peer because in that moment and time a jury member has more power. That is that because they decide whether you pass or fail. They use that power to kind of basically win the debate and that is like ragging or bullying. But as a student you also need not treat this as a personal attack. Because yes the design is yours, you work very hard at it and thus lack of appreciation totally bums you out; in a sense it is good to feel like your design is your child and you jealously protect it, but it’s quite possible your child is spoiled brat and if your teacher is trying to discipline that child, a good parent will realize the value in it. But of course, if a teacher start taking stick to the child and starts weeping that kid, no parent would consider that a good thing. Just keep your chin up and get past that. SH: Inglorious deadlines. What do you feel about deadline? MR: I think deadlines are very important, deadlines are like the brief without which you cannot do architecture... It’s a simple thing. I think the idea of setting the target by which you will arrive at a conclusion to your thinking, is an important parameter for your mind to start functioning by. So deadlines vary from point to point, and I personally think it is a good thing. You will be able to produce more work with bit more time but it will not help you think of a better idea. You can conceptually think of powerful ideas and even design and resolve them very quickly. You know you don’t need time for that, you just need your mind to focus NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 107
in a kind of stream of thought. Yeah, you might not able to produce all the sections, the elevations and the models might not be complete but then that’s why sometimes you have juries where people top with the incomplete model and concept sketches. Having a deadline means you can say I’m going to pick this line of thinking and I’m going to extract as much juice out of it in this much time. I think the production of architectural drawing should not define the submission, submission is completed when the idea behind the submission is formed and this drawing and all are communicated. Time is like what you have in your hand. SH: About unplanned college trip. MR: Awesome man go, go as far, as many times as your attendance will allow. I’m telling you for me the value that travelling has given me is not really comparable to much else. SH: The diminishing hour of sleep. Is this a student’s problem only? Do you get enough sleep at night? MR: Sleep? No I don’t think I do. See when you’re young you can push your body for the benefit of your mind, so it’s okay. When you start coming close to age of a 40 like I am your body start basically saying ‘what the hell’. So your body starts protesting in ways that your mind first has to listen. I think it’s important to sleep deeply rather than sleeping long. You will sleep deeply if you’re at peace with yourself, so number of hours is not as important as how deeply you sleep. SH: The 10 minutes Chai-Sutta refreshment break, the day before submission. What are you memories associated to the same? MR: Wow, I don’t know man. It’s a representation of how over confident or guts you have, I guess. I don’t have an opinion. I have done it but like I said I have never eased my college. I don’t know whether it is of benefit or not. SH : Your favorite color? MR: Green I guess. SH: Your favorite Indian city? MR: Delhi. I don’t feel very comfortable spending 15-20 days outside of Delhi. SH: Your favorite country? MR: My favorite country? I guess India. SH: Your favorite form of cuisine? MR: AHH!! My favorite form of cuisine is actually, I like Punjabi food, you know like stuff from the village. Solid Punjabi stuff. SH: Your favorite travel destination? MR: My home town I guess, Kodaikanal. 108 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
SH: The city you last visited? MR: Chandigarh SH: Okay, your favorite architect? MR: My favorite architect? I don’t know man, I can’t say favorite but I find Shou Fuji Moto very cool. SH: Your favorite building or buildings? I know there won’t be one… MR: Favorite? I don’t have any. I can’t. There are too many and too few at the same time. Because if I start thinking it could be so many from different ways. So I can’t be specific. And you will just have to wait. I don’t have mental capacity to think. SH: What is your favorite genre of music? MR: Blues SH: And your favorite travel companion? MR: My favorite travel companion? I guess it’s a good pair of shoes. SH: Your priced possession, anything you have which you value very much. MR: My friendship with Dimri. SH: You are in love with? MR: I should say my wife. SH: Your favorite piece of sculpture or art work that you possess? MR: Me, and my wife, we just recently discovered the joys of Pichai style of painting. It from Udaipur area, I think it has a certain type of beauty in it. That would probably be my favorite artistic possession right now. SH: Your camera, what you are using at present? MR: I don’t photograph, I never did. I never got that talent or that skill in college which I wish I could have. But I always used to sketch, so for me, a camera never actually happened. I have camera on my phone and that’s my only camera, if I need to take a photo I take it in my phone. SH: What do you hate about architecture? MR: Hero worship. Seriously, I do. I think that’s a very big drawback, you know we don’t question. Even with us, when you say people look up to us, I will feel happy about the fact you look up to me only if that gives you the confidence to ask me the questions about myself, if that gives you the confidence to walk up to me and say that the building you made is messed up. I think it’s important to have a role model and it’s important to have inspirational figures or whatever. You have to fight to keep the ability to question people, it’s a fight you have to continue consciously.
SH: A happy architect is a myth. Is it? MR: No. Not at all. Architects should be happy, because if you are not happy then you cannot be the best you can be. So you have to hunt for something that makes you happy, perhaps if you are unhappy than may be you should be doing something else. But there is a lot of a joy. It’s fundamentally a very happy profession. A happy kind of thing. I think a happy architect is only the architect to be. SH: What has been your experiences in all this year of architecture. What has this society given to you? MR: It’s not being very long, it only being 15 years. I still think it’s only the beginning. I have been very happy. I’ve absolutely no complaints, nothing. I wouldn’t have changed a single thing. SH: And our very last thing... Some word of advice for our readers, Sir. MR: See I think the biggest thing is to be, there has to be a certain part of your efforts that go into trying to be honest with yourself... It doesn’t depend on who teaches you or what they teach you, whether you go to a ‘good’ college or a ‘bad’ one. There has to be a certain ability to be honest with yourself whether as a student what you’re doing, and what you’re learning, what you’re putting out at the same time. Whether you sit or you stand next to that all honestly or do you feel that you’ve done something that you could’ve done better or that you feel that you’ve done something where you perhaps fudged it a little bit or lied. So, I think the more important question before you can say whether you are being honest to someone else or whether you being dishonest to yourself. I can’t even advice you on architecture because I know that lot of times, the 5 years that you do an architecture course, you can come out at the other end and realize that you don’t want to be an architect. Even that’s something which will only appear if you’re honest to yourself. It’s about being honest as a person to yourself. So, it’s got nothing to do with architecture. It’s about being honest as a person to yourself. You spend a maximum amount of with yourself. NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 109
No, we’re not architects yet. We’re young and wild and getting the hang of things. Some of us are singers, some dance their pains away and some are beautiful souls wound up in the human body just waiting to set themselves free. As we finally sit in that same room with the same amount of distracting elements, light sufi music skimming our ears and eyes glued to our laptop screens, we wonder what got us here. Surprisingly enough, none of us have a concrete answer to that! As ‘plans,’ ‘elevations’ and ‘sections’ become words of frequent use in our conversations and work takes over us, we still find the time to be more than just budding architects. Our seniors often wonder how we made it this far without fighting, our juniors looked up to us and our batchmates are perpetually green with envy. For them, we were just a bunch of 12 brats whose heads were too big to wrap anything around. But honestly, we just came across as strong and fierce. We weren’t really those conquerers. ‘Galt’- that’s what we were called, totally out of a mere co-incidence. You know how Punjabis tend to twist things to suit their own needs? Hence, ‘galat’ became ‘galt’ and we became a family.
(a) T G A L They Did No Wrong
We sit down, a bunch of 12 lively twenty year olds, thinking we own the world. In a small room with clutter of sheets, stationary and all possible forms of trash- we work through the nights and sleep through the days. People say that architecture gets the better of you but we feel that we got the better of architecture. The bug has bitten us, it runs in our veins and we treasure every passing year with glory! Amidst all the drama regarding submissions and the constant pressure of outdoing everyone, I found a fully dysfunctional family in my mates. One gets trash talked for being fat and the other for being too petite, there are two who wouldn’t be able to cross doors without their heads lightly kissing the lintel and then there are some who’re just downright crazy. Striding into the college gates like an army and getting out with a tinge of the same pride, we stuck together, worked together and created memories together.
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“I really don’t feel like attending college anymore. I’m emotionally so drained with all the drama that my boyfriend is painting my life with that I just want to get away,” I said. “Pack your bags. We’re leaving for Agra tomorrow,” said an overly enthusiastic voice that constantly looked out for me. And since I was going to be the only girl in our gang getting to witness these ‘perks of having a break-up,’ my boys made sure that I was in for a time of my life. No, we weren’t going to Agra to fulfil any kind of architectural fetishes. We were going there to ‘chill,’ drive around town, enjoy the ‘not-sopicturesque’ view from the pool side and not visit the Taj Mahal. We were all sitting by the pool trying to create a life that we didn’t need to run away from. We’d all come a long way and we have an even longer road to take but in that moment, we’d lost sense of time and space. Such spontaneity gave me a sense of being more than just skin and bones and maybe for those few hours, I found the sense of being me. There is so much out there waiting for each and every one of us that opportunities become endless. I chose these people in that one fleeting opportunity that flashed across me at the speed of light. For all those endless sessions of jaw hurting laughter and brainstorming work scenes, we all found ourselves a little in each other. Dhwani Bhardwaj | M.B.S. School of Planning & Architecture, Delhi Illustration: Parikshit Singh
Caption: Meetali Gupta
In the urban lies something majestic, mesmerising the past in present. it seems all mystic. Shrey Garg | U.S.A.P., G.G.S.I.P.U., Delhi
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Theseusâ€™ Ship needed repairing. Its planks had to be replaced, part by part. A point came when all the old planks were replaced by new ones. And, another ship was built with the old planks. The question at hand is: Which is the original ship? Privatization provides structure. The stakeholder in the urban context is categorized based on two parameters: Ownership and Occupancy. From the perspective of the Owners, processes are objective oriented, one-track and compartmentalized. Bureaucracy, on the other hand, can provide capital to these privatized initiatives. From the Occupantsâ€™ perspective, the end user is the Urban Public. Keeping the aforementioned in mind, we have taken the instance of the open area within the J.D. High-street Mallâ€™s enclosure in Ranchi and elaborated upon the same through detailed research and analysis. Earlier an apartment stood in its place, tucked away from the main road, in between trees. The wall around was removed and the open area made open to the public after two and a half years of construction. At the time of its inception, Anurag Sarawagi, the mall proprietor was quoted as saying that it would be a one-of-its-kind experience for shoppers. There are two primary entrances to the enclosure, one to the extreme left, meant for vehicles- that directly leads to the basement parking via a ramp, and a pedestrian entry that is wider, giving the sense of fresh openness, with cool air constantly blowing naturally in the precincts. The pedestrian finds himself strategically positioned at the periphery of a stimulating, circular green patch, and geometrically placed between a pair of cubes, serving as a booth and parlour, respectively. The booth to the right is the Ticket Counter, and the parlour to the left is a multinational ice cream outlet, cheerfully enticing in cyan and baby pink. Both these cubes have designated public sitting spaces right in front of them. These white U-shaped benches are highly inviting and aesthetically minimal.
One notices almost instantly that the bench adjoining the ticket booth is crowded while the one in front of the parlour is scarcely populated, if occupied at all. The former is nearer to a cluster of trees to the south-west of and outside the enclosure, and a hoarding that displays the blockbuster ruling the box office on that weekend. These together provide shade to that bench, while the ice-cream parlour bench remains unshaded throughout most of a sunny day. This makes it unbearable to sit in the afternoons, directly under the fully might of the hot, overhead sun. The vehicular entry is closer to the parlour than it is to the booth. Cars usually move from this entrance, zipping pass the trio of the ice-cream parlour, the bench associated with it and another MNC eatery before making their way into the mouth of the parking lot. The green patch, which is directly visible from
the abutting main road, is a space used for fulfilling crafty marketing strategy; that which tries to balance the see-saw at just the right spot between philanthropic activities and pure, cold propaganda for the multitude of amazing wares to be seen, to be bought; if only you just step inside. To that effect, this green patch is occasionally used for charity work, blood donation camps and launching new cars, with makeshift stalls installed around the place. On the other side of the road is the conglomeration of shops called Church Complex - its structure in almost absolute contrast with JD Highstreet Mall. It is spread out and constitutes a plethora of locally owned eateries and cloth outlets. The main road, sandwiched between the Mall and Complex, is a pair of bidirectional lanes; its axis enclosed within a concrete divider running along for another half a kilometre and culminating in what would enable drivers to take a U-turn to switch lanes. However, just parallel to the vehicular entry point into the JD Highstreet Mall enclosure, the divider bifurcating the road has been broken to provide a more urgent, immediate access to the mall for cars and bikes on the lane farther away. Church Complex is the Ranchi that remains of what was - organic, natural and chaotic. JD Highstreet Mall is the ideal that Ranchi is striving to be - modernised, systematic, structured. So engrained is this mall into the public’s social life that it is affectionately referred to as JD; as if it were a living, breathing entity. From the questionnaires presented to various end-users, we inferred that JD’s open area has been designed keeping the Youth of Ranchi as its widest customer base. At any time of any given day, the bench opposite the ticket booth is occupied. People who come to the mall proceed to occupy this bench or directly enter the mall. Outside, there is the promise of relaxing, of taking a break from constant movement and simply sitting on those benches. Inside, there is always a rush of human traffic, snaking their way through the spaces, never stopping to relax. There is so much to see, so much to buy, trudging on by their nagging thoughts of missing out on something good. Besides, even if they wanted to pause their materialistic madness, how could they? There are no seating areas in the retail spaces of the mall. How convenient! The difference that has developed in the urban context, over the years since JD’s construction, is the assignment of purpose to leisure. Before the mall sprung up, in this area, leisure was for leisure’s sake. JD offers three primary business models to quantify leisure- cinema, clothing, and food and beverages. The last category has, however, proved to be a failure, based on individual observations and general public opinion of the users there. Nobody really buys ice-creams there. They say it is overpriced. The MNC eatery remains barely occupied. The reason for this is that the building’s tall 114 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
profile which allows natural cool air to come gushing down to the open space, due to the Stack Effect. Subjectively, it feels so pleasant there that users prefer staying outside than enjoy conditioned air indoors. The only problem the site is faced with is overcrowding, especially during the hours of the evening cinematic show, when children drag their mothers into the mall to play video and arcade games on the floor between the Cinema Halls and the Clothing Retail Outlets. The old are barely spotted around the mall. Condensed data from surveys tell us that the open area around the mall has been able to create jobs, although the business of food outlets there is not flourishing. The Church Complex having a greater variety of the same, is able to market itself by word of mouth, as against the bright, visual marketing notions of the MNCs. Also, the point of breakage in the divider between these two buildings makes it easy to cross the road for greater freedom of choice. Besides, the JD complex does not have any ATM counters whereas the Church Complex has one. Nevertheless, the apparel outlets here have a booming business because they offer highly subsidised varieties under a single roof, comparable with the apparel outlet scenario of Church Complex. One major implication which is commonly observed by all users, occupiers and the working class people there - the point of breakage in the divider is an accident prone zone. Countless vehicular accidents occur there every day. It is like a fracture that has never been repaired properly and completely. Before the fracture had been made, the crowd was completely centred at Church Complex. Post fracture, crowds are divided approximately in a 60-40 ratio between JD and Church Complex. Even though successful privatization has distributed the crowds more evenly than it used to be, a paradox manifests itself within the JD enclosure. Since JD is much smaller in area, the density there is far more dense, thus destroying the sense of privatised ‘individually’ occupied space, one of the prime prerequisites to leisure, whether purpose driven or not. Since it is far taller, it dominates the city’s skyline far more menacingly than the erstwhile buildings of Ranchi do by squatting short on a pair of floors, their wings spread out. One of the strangest aspects of the open area around the mall is as follows: The entry has no collapsible barricade and is as welcoming as a business man can be to a customer. However, pedestrians are usually restricted from entering through that gate. They have their exclusive entrance as mentioned above. On the other hand, the vehicular exit has a collapsible barricade so that the security can collect the parking ticket and fee as the vehicle leaves the building premises. The strangest thing is that this is the default exit used by pedestrians to leave the premises rather than the
apparently designated singular point of pedestrian entry. The only organic chink in the armour of planned modernity. We questioned people about the strange pattern of circulation there. A boy answered saying that the central pedestrian entry area was already too crowded. Someone else said it was always like that. The Guard at the security booth answered that the vendors and shops of cold drinks, samosas, paan and chanachur were what most people would like to indulge themselves in after a movie. These were found right outside the exit of the mall’s enclosure, between those clusters of trees. Do you see the repercussions of rampant modernisation of an otherwise organically developed city? Mutation. Natural evolution allows for modification of traits of entities, part by part. Any acceleration of this process has a singular outcome: Mutation. What happens when parts of the city are replaced, at a rate faster than needful? A fracture remains after the overhaul. The fracture finds itself sitting pretty at the spot where metal collides into metal, tar and concrete, chipping off paint and bones, maybe even whole lives. This mutation from organic to systematic has pushed us into an oscillating state of Limbo. There is a theory in Kinesics which states that our sense of personal space is defended as long as we have something inanimate to touch. It is the reason why investigation rooms in police stations are provided with desks, between the interrogator and the person being investigated. Even in the most crowded of places, if we have any one small inanimate thing, our sense of privacy is not invaded. Idleness is manifested during the period of wait – the excruciatingly boring process of waiting for someone. In a privately-owned public space, placed amidst a bunch of strangers, body language analysis has led to idleness being measured in the twiddling of thumbs – thereby leading to the popular phrase ‘twiddling your thumbs’ implying that nothing of purpose is being done. In a purpose driven society, idleness cannot be afforded. Even leisure has to be purpose driven. One of the most amusing, if not disturbing aspects of the whole scenario is that we have our sense of privacy guarded by cell-phones, while waiting for someone, at the bench opposite the Ticket Counter. There are two effects of emergence of the privatised space of sociability. One is the Limbo of Ranchi’s urban context, frozen between organic growth (manifested in public spaces) and planned growth (manifested in privatized public spaces). The other is us, twiddling of thumbs at our phones, texting away in a perpetual state of Limbo, our privacy guarded only virtually. Ironically, only the Guard at his sentry watches both sides of this Urban Ship. Only he knows. Sarvesh Singh, Tanya Sreedhar, Dhriti Nadir B.I.T. Mesra
It is a paradox that every individual architect or student of architecture, has some or the other day, been in the theoretical explanatory classes on adopting concepts in the design projects proposed. Few of the concepts usually preferred are form based while few are function based. It could also be adopted right from the roots of architectural science, be it scales, geometry, anthropometry, symmetry, interlock, repetition, void, contrast, etc. Concepts were and still are taken with reference to the shape or functional properties of elements like leaves, Rubik’s cube, profiles of various objects, etc. To be precise, any materialistic or nonmaterialistic subject is and was being taken as the concept. Keeping apart all the theoretical data inferred on using concepts in design, it has been high time to think critically if a design fails without the existence of a concept. In a design, may it be the smallest possible shack; it still demands the basic elementary considerations in terms of circulation, ventilation, lighting and the level of comfort. For a design to be effective and functional, it for sure requires all the above mentioned and unmentioned concepts to have a vital role. Hence it could be understood that the selection of a random concept and a rapid development of design attains less efficiency when compared to that of the one which has been through various levels of thought processes and subsequently substantiated parametric analysis. Hence in a design process, adopting a concept drastically narrows down, not only the creativity, but also does it limit the quantum of imagination which could be exerted in, by foreshortening to stick to the arena of the adopted concept. In practicality, it could be observed that a project gets bottle-necked and limited by many factors in and around the site; in which case, no real concept would be in need rather than logical reasoning to the basic requirements.
Are Concepts in Architecture a R e q u i s i t e ?
“Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skilfully conceptualizing, applying, analysing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.” Having said this, let us now enact the act of “critical thinking” on one of the most fascinating and arguable contexts of architecture. 116 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
Now I intend to contradict my previous views, taking the stance of a devil’s advocate. The marvel and glory of Lotus Temple could never ever be neglected, for it is a conceptualized piece of revolutionary glory in the books of architecture. No assertion could be denied when it is referred as an example for the process of adoption of concept in the field of architecture. Irrespective of its construction cost and the quantum of workmanship it absorbed, it continues to be one of the notable and remarkable architectural fame of the nation. Hence, concepts do play a vital role in the field of architecture when observed from this particular perspective of view. At this gesture, I would like to open it up to the readers, in a diplomatic fashion, in judging the selfcontradicting argument. Stepping back to square one, ARE CONCEPTS IN ARCHITECTURE A REQUISITE? (Note: This article may be understood subjective and hence I request all the readers to understand it so in good spirits.) Arun Shankar M. | K.S.A. Coimbatore
The timelessness of which is there to be, this element of architecture, like a face to you & me. Shrey Garg | U.S.A.P., G.G.S.I.P.U., Delhi Caption: Meetali Gupta
The night that changed the course of
Modern Architecture in India Amidst the busy and mundane daily life that we live today, ever taken some time away and reflected at the past? Ever tried to turn back the clock? Google Earth provides us with an important tool, the Time Slider, it allows one to literally turn back the clock and revisit any place anytime in the history and experience the change that place has got under. In other words, it is called retrospect. Sometimes we feel something should not have happened, maybe it was an accident where we lost our dear ones or we missed a train or a plane by a few seconds and hence lament on our losses, have we ever wondered what happened after that? How that event changed the course of our lives? Maybe it was the â€˜divineâ€™ plan which brought us at the right place at the right time and hence we are here the way we are today. If we turn the clock back to the 1940s, amidst the
bloodshed and the revolution, the cry of ‘Vande Mataram’ echoing through every alley, a new country is emerging, a young country with a rich history but with a burning desire to create something new, India, Modern India. PostIndependent India went through a lot of turmoil, it was like the day after an Indian Wedding, the guests are gone but the ‘memories’ of their stay remains along with the mess, you don’t know which stuff is yours and what to throw out, every corner of the house throwing up a treasure chest. India needed to be rebuilt; it needed to make a mark of its own and Architecture played an important role during this modernization of the society. The Western Exports At the stroke of midnight, 15th August 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru took on the reigns to administer a newly born nation, India and immediately after, India was graced by the presence of two of the most influential architects of the modern era, Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. Both of them visited India within a gap of a decade and interestingly, both occurred as coincidences, and the rest, as they say, is history. After the partition of India, the former British province of Punjab was divided into East Punjab and West Punjab, the latter comprising of the Muslim population while the other, the Hindus. The Indian portion or the East Punjab required a new Capital to replace Lahore (now in Pakistan) and thus Chandigarh was carved out of Punjab to serve the purpose. Now, Modern India needed a newly planned modern capital. In came Albert Mayer, an American based planner and Matthew Nowicki, his architect partner and together they developed the master plan for the city. But on the fateful night of 31st August 1950, the Trans World Airlines Flight 903 plunged to its death in the Libyan Desert and with it died Matthew Nowicki, he was returning from his visit to Chandigarh. Mayer, clearly in mourning, discontinued the project of Chandigarh soon after, though he continued his stay in India and occupied himself with developmental projects in Rural India. The mantle of designing the city of Chandigarh now went on to the celebrated architect, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier. Imagine if that plane had not crashed or Nowicki decided against getting on that plane, there would have been no Corbusier in India, take a deep breath and read the last line again. No Corbusier in India! A little too tough to imagine right now but that’s exactly what would have happened. The Chandigarh what we see today would not be the rectangular city with a grid-iron pattern for the fast traffic road, instead it would have followed the fan-shaped master plan which spread gently to fill the site between the two river-beds; a curvilinear network of roads surrounding 120 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
the residential blocks, the 2 axial routes bordered by linear parks which would connect the zones, namely: Apartment Housing, Low-Cost Housing, Schools, Temples, Outdoor Theatres and Bazaar. The super block would have been a selfsufficient neighborhood units placed along the curvilinear roads and comprised of cluster type housing, markets and centrally located open spaces. We would never witness the Assembly building with the paraleloide hyperbolic roof and the domino style would have taken couple of decades to enter India. We might be studying Albert Mayer’s works as examples of Modern Architecture in India. Chandigarh might have turned out to be the ‘Chicago’ of India and we would be studying his works on post-colonial Delhi rather than ‘Piloti Architecture’ and its influence in Mass Housing today. We don’t know what would happen in place of Sanskar Kendra Museum, Mill Owners Association (ATMA), Sarabhai house or Shodhan House in Ahmedabad. Certainly Ahmedabad’s modernist design legacy would not have been discussed like what we do today. The Carpenters Centre at Harvard University which was also Corbusier’s only building in the States would not have the same design if Shodhan house was not made in its place. Talk about butterfly effect? Instead, probably we would have spent time discussing more about Walter Gropius’ influence on Achyut P. Kanvinde’s built works and how it faced resistance from Claude Batley (who established the Department of Architecture at the J. J. School of Art) as one of its leading protagonists. Batley held the opinion that traditional Indian character and motifs in building had to be expressed in contemporary work which was un-gropiusian definitely. More debates would follow on line of how we are adapting Indian motifs in practical dimension. Without the thumping presence of Corbusier in Indian context, we don’t know what would have happened to modern masters like B.V. Doshi who was doing apprenticeship in Corbusier’s Paris Studio. Maybe the whole IIM Ahmedabad and Bangalore’s design fate would have changed its course. The Other One Let us shift our focus to the post-Independence education of India. Calcutta and Bombay had already established themselves as pioneers in Indian Education with top-ranked Universities and Colleges flanking its sides and raising its neck out in the competition. The first Indian Institute of Management, initiated by Nehru, was already established in Calcutta in 1961 and a new one was commissioned soon after in 1962 at Ahmedabad. Eminent Physicist Vikram Sarabhai and businessman Kasturbhai Lalbhai played a pivotal role in setting up the institute. Indian Architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi was initially commissioned with the job of designing the Institutional Building but having worked for
and under a certain Louis Isadore Kahn back in America, he was aware of his importance and the impact it would have on both Kahn and Indian architecture, he recommended the job to Kahn. More importantly, if Corbusier did not come to India and would not have the rapport with Vikram Sarabhai then probably Mr. Sarabhai would have never considered Doshi for the prestigious project. It was Sarabhai’s blind faith with Corbusier that he entrusted young Doshi with such prestigious project who in turn brought in Kahn to take over the project and we would have missed out on one of the brightest architectural mind working amongst us. Kahn’s absence would have made way for the young architects of India, IIM-A or IIM-Ahmedabad would have been designed by B. V. Doshi and Anant Raje, and would most probably lack the monumental character that is trademark of a Kahn building it has today. A building by Doshi would certainly be a stroke of genius without any doubt, but there is still doubt whether it would have the same effect Kahn’s design has, the gigantic opening to the plaza, the majestic appearance of brick walls. We often see the Brutalism and heavy use of geometry in Doshi’s work especially in Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology University, Ahmedabad but that was after he was influenced by Kahn’s work but with no Kahn, modern architecture would still be following dome and vault structures, something which was broken by Kahn after he visited Asia. Louis Kahn did not limit himself to only India; he also took on projects in Pakistan (East and West both). He designed the National Assembly building in Dhaka in 1962, when he was at the pinnacle of his career. The use of reinforced concrete at the then present context was a bold move and again, the sheer monumentality of the building gained by the huge monolithic walls made it one of the icons of Modern Architecture and showcased how different was Kahn’s approach in using concrete from that of his contemporaries. But with no Kahn visiting Asia, doors would have opened up for the Bangladeshi brigade of architects. Who would have built it then? Maybe Fazlur Rahman Khan would have built it, being one of the top engineers to be born in Bangladesh, or it could have been Muzharul Islam, the one who was actually commissioned to design the building. If Muzharul Islam designed the Sangshad Bhavan, it would have followed his usual exposed brick structure, eminent from its use in the College Arts and Crafts (195354), a style which we see being followed in Institutional buildings here like the CEPT by Doshi or NID (National Institute of Design) by Gautam and Gira Sarabhai (both
in the 60s and 70s). The building would have reflected the architectural style that dominated the sub-continent during that period, use of reinforced concrete to build the frame and fill in with masonry walls, the distinction between the two surfaces would then be obscured with stucco, often containing decorative detail. This method of construction gained popularity hugely in India and its sub-continent due to its easy manufacture and cheap availability of labour; Bangladesh was no exception, the works of Islam was a living example. Thus, if we envisage a Bangladesh without the influence of Kahn, an insipid society with identical houses with no flare for creativity and boldness comes up. The Assembly Building would be a grand building without a doubt, but it would definitely lack the austerity that Louis Kahn’s design brought.The whole gamut of architecture profession in Bangladesh would have been class apart without Kahn’s definite direction. The modern architecture of Bangladesh would lack the tooth for sure. Another famous architect who would have been a strong candidate for designing the National assembly was Fazlur Rahman Khan. Now that would have been an interesting turn of events, Fazlur was one architect who was ahead of his time; he was considered “the father of tubular designs for high-rises” by the American Society of Civil Engineers. He was famous for devising innovative construction methods which influenced sky-scraper designing throughout the world, especially in USA where he designed the Willis Tower (second tallest building in USA) among other buildings. He would have influenced Bangladesh’ architecture a long way if he had designed an iconic building for his motherland. His framed tube structure or trussed tube structure if used extensively would have created a new language for Modern Architecture in Bangladesh. He had the potential to bring up Bangladesh into the international map architecturally and even bring it at par with international cities like New York or Chicago (famous for their sky-scrapers). Not a debauched outcome sans the influence of Louis Kahn, a very different outcome but a positive one none-the-less. And it goes on The history of architecture since time immemorial never had had such an influence on a single incident and that too being an airplane crash. It was that fateful night of 31 August 1950 that changed drastically the course of architecture in the Indian Subcontinent for years to come which would eventually touch the lives of billions of people. The divine plan. Was it for good or bad? Time is not ripe yet. Kunal Rakshit, Ayan Chowdhury | Jadavpur University, Kolkata Illustration: Parshati Dutta NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 121
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Malta - The Southernmost and the hottest country in Europe, the first thing that struck me upon landing is, how am I going to survive in this scorching island for the next two weeks. But soon realized that my years of living in Kochi was more than the experience I needed to get by in Malta. Keeping aside the climate, this country is rich in history and culture, and is home to a few UNESCO World Heritage sites, amongst which Valleta (capital city) is one. Valleta is a fortified city in Baroque character built in the 16th century, with elements of Neo-classical and modern architecture added to it recently. It has been designated the ‘European Capital of Culture’ and it was not hard for me to see why as it had so many visual treats & unique experiences to offer. The city has gone through a few affiliations & stages of transformation - originally built during the rule of the ‘Order of St. John of Jerusalem’, one among the most famous Roman Catholic Military Orders during the middle ages. Exploring Valleta through E.A.S.A
The ‘European Architecture Students Assembly’ is an annual architectural event started by students and tutors of Liverpool University in 1981 as a platform for bringing together students across Europe and address issues facing the profession and environment. Each year one participating country hosts the event & Malta was this year’s host which was the 35th assembly of EASA. Yes, it is a student’s body with similar motive like our very own N.A.S.A in India. But it differed greatly in terms of functioning, organizing the content and output of the event. The main scope of the assembly are workshops, a lot of workshops, over 30 different kinds, ranging from construction, design, photography, documentation, jewelry making, tattoo art & so on. Yes you read it right, designing tattoos inspired from the city, its context and its culture. How cool is that? The theme this year was ‘EASA Links’ referencing the different aspects of EASA and Malta, the country’s cultural, historical and physical identity, forged out of its linking qualities. The participants are given presentations by the tutors about the different sorts of workshops, and participants get to choose. One workshop particularly interested me - ‘paradocs- Valleta’s New Monument’- a workshop oriented towards documentation, mapping atmospheres of spaces and finding relevance of monuments in an age of ‘anti-monuments’. Through the workshop, we were in search of the spatial and cultural implications of the landmark of today. Valletta is a cultural heritage site in its entirety. How would the city grow? What would be its new point of reference? The Site, Shelter and Workshops To most of the participants, E.A.S.A is not just an
Scaffolded Accomodation event. It is a feeling, a spirit that is carried on year after year, important for the success of any event. passed on from one set of students to the other. I will tell E.A.S.A also has a dedicated F.M. and T.V. which you why. Starting with the shelter provided to us, merely a 3 storied scaffolding, with spaces within divided using tape on document all the activities, workshops, night events, the the wooden floor, and allotted to different countries that had fun, most of all, the spirit of E.A.S.A. The F.M. functions come there. Our’s was no different, barely a 7m by 3m space the entire day and keeps participants updated, motivated and was given to the four of us from India. I saw that our country eager for more action. Although there is a lot of fun involved, was sharing boundaries with Greece, Hungary, France and the focus lies in making the workshops as resourceful and more. In the sense, the participants of all these nations and contently as possible, spending all the funds for acquiring us, we were all neighbors in this airy and open shelter. It materials, tools and anything necessary as required by the came as quite a surprise, as we were expecting something tutors or participants for their workshops, and not spending much different. Being used to getting and giving standard too much on accommodation or food. This is a brilliant way accommodations for events in our country, this was a very of managing and utilizing resources with minimal wastage. humble ‘abode’ indeed. There were just over ten showers Il-Bocha, organic relaxation space & few commodes for all the 500 or so participants. Every country would have a duty through these 15 days of the event, from cleaning, taking out trash, serving food, sitting at the information point, and all possible duties/functions imaginable, that were necessary to run the event. What this basically meant was that each single participant, irrespective of which country, had responsibilities, resulting in them developing an ownership towards the event, something very Knit Wit suspended exhibit
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This whole experience teaches the participants the real spirit of sharing both space and resources. Astoundingly, in E.A.S.A the end-products of the various workshops are also shared with the community, rather, they are given back to the community or the place where the whole event was hosted. Most of the workshops do not keep the end product, they donate it to the local community, for the people to use. ‘IL-Bocca’ is a workshop where the participants along with tutors ‘create an organic-shaped relaxation space that provides visual connections within Valletta’s urban landscape by framing certain views and blocking others, small luminous spheres are used to provide visual aid in leading people towards the main space through a specific path. Lighting will compensate for the loss of view during the day by creating an interesting atmosphere along the site.’ Upon completion, it was donated to the city. It is truly remarkable when the community and people benefit from the event as well. This factor elevates the significance and value of the whole event to an exponential level. When a community understands the essence and potential of such programs and actually benefits from it that is when we know we have succeeded, that is when we know how beautifully Architecture can touch lives of people and their environment. Citta’ Umilissima ‘Citta’ Umilissima’, another name given to Valletta, meaning “a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen”. Although it is next to impossible to putdown and describe Valletta in just few pages, as it wouldn’t be justice to the magnificent place that it is, I will still try to explain about the city and its glory to the best I can. Rectangular planned grid layout, undulating topography, beautiful ornamented sandstone buildings, long narrow streets shaded by the structures on either sides with rows of balconies peeking from above, over 320 monuments, all within an area of 55 ha, this fortress city owes to the inextricable link with its history of military and charitable order of St. John of Jerusalem. Oh my! It is
truly magnificent. Another unique visual experience that only Valletta can offer is the sense of vertical horizon - the streets seem to lead into the Mediterranean Sea. One can always see a portion of the horizon from any street, framed vertically by the buildings on the sides. Malta and especially the city of Valletta served to protect the upper northern half of Europe from attacks of other potentially dangerous forces that could come through the Mediterranean waters, during the warring periods in the world. This gave Malta an important place in the history of Europe and to an extent, of the world. Mapping the atmospheres of Valletta, meeting new people, learning about their history & culture, discovering new landscapes, was undoubtedly a remarkable experience. Given the liberty to explore the city as and how I wished, I traversed through the city streets and mapped atmospheres, captured frames that particularly interested me. As said by Marcel Proust “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”, truly how beautiful words. And indeed Valletta was a place not just to be perceived with new eyes, but also, to be heard with new ears, to be understood in new a language, experienced with all senses, above all, felt with all hearts. Every day we feasted on the European dinner by watching the beautiful sun setting peacefully over the Mediterranean Sea. Sitting on the sidewalks adjacent to the ditch of Valletta, you can see two beautiful sights - the Baroque sandstone structures shining above in golden shades, and across in the distance, other smaller towns of Malta, both proudly basking in the rays of the setting sun, as late as 8:30 pm, a mesmerizing sight only the Maltese islands can offer. One has to personally experience to completely understand what I’ve tried to explain through just words, as I believe there is much beyond what words can express and pictures can depict in this world. Ankith Narayanan | Zonal President 6 National Association of Students of Architecture, India Visuals by the author.
Architecture, in its most basic form, owes its advent to one of the three fundamental needs of mankind – shelter. But as man surpassed his meagre needs and strove towards a better quality of life, with the industrial revolution further paving the way, architecture, from being local and sometimes even individual, became a vehicle of imperial expression. However, in the current scenario, it becomes an imperial expression when it is commissioned by vested interests or otherwise by individual efforts, be it large scale or small by billionaire entrepreneurs or mere shopkeepers. On the other hand, architects may stamp their idiosyncrasies on their creations which give these structures an imperialist nature without commissioned vested interests, individual or otherwise. Thus we find, that architecture serves as an extremely useful vessel, to express one’s authority, stature and power, where the context maybe political, cultural, religious, commercial or anything else. The sole intention of such buildings is to inspire awe and invoke a sense of humility within the “commoners”. We can find numerous examples under each category – The Ambani residence, Antilia, stands out like a beacon in the heart of Mumbai and comes second to only the Buckingham Palace with respect to estimated value. The sheer opulence of the residence makes a statement for the power and authority of the Ambanis. The Facebook HQ , iterates and consolidates its position as the world’s largest web based company through its brilliant form. The world is strewn with numerous such specimens… the names and contexts are endless, and thus the views, portrayals and impressions left by these various structures on people are also infinite, based on the demographics, sociopolitical and cultural backdrops of these people. Amidst the unhindered diversity, there is however one large scale unifying factor – that of religious beliefs.
CHANDRODAYA Building Faith in D o m i n a t i o n
Humankind is considered the smartest species to walk the earth. However, at every instance that man has failed to explain a phenomenon, almost cent percent has attributed the phenomenon as a deed by a greater power, unmatched and indomitable. While concrete evidence of religious structures is missing in the pre-historic era, yet there is considerable data to substantiate the existence of religions, cults and God. And as man gradually left behind the nomadic way of life and became farmers, their belief in god was greatly strengthened. With the dependence on God, and religion on the rise, man began to build shrines and sanctuaries for gods. Slowly these places of worship began to be regarded as the major structures in the settlement; focal points to the developing landscape. Ziggurats, placed high and NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 127
centrally, became points of growth, focus and belief in the Mesopotamia. Thus enters the imposing nature of religious architecture on human mind. Eventually, a section of the masses realized how much could be gained by milking this blind faith. Worshipping ‘God’ was not enough. Prayers from one’s home, though heartfelt, was apparently falling on deaf ears. Pilgrimages, offerings, sacrifices and the likes came into existence. Religion, vested by common interests, was and is still being commercialized, feeding on the people’s apprehension of the unknown, growing by the second.
having such enormous proportions, close to the existing temple? Seemingly just the one - to intimidate the people visiting it, to invoke awe by its sheer size.
One such example from contemporary India, is a temple that is currently being constructed in Mayapur, its scale and grandeur far surpassing that of its existing sister shrine. On completion, it will be recognized as the largest temple of Asia. This is the Chandrodaya temple, under the religious sect of ISKCON.
In the Romanesque period the churches were architecturally less grand, and only the functional aspects were given importance. However, when we analyze the churches built during the gothic age, we realize that as the church grew in its influence, so did the size and height of the vaults. Extensive flying buttresses, high ribbed vaults and turrets did nothing except create a sense of awe in the minds of the people, inducing respect for the church. The intricate details on the walls of the church, the rose windows and plate tracery were used to emphasize the importance of the church. The church structure was used as a tool to express what the clergy preached-respect for the Pope and ultimate importance to the religion.
There already exists a temple at Mayapur, under ISKCON. The temple, at present, is a moderately large temple, having prayer halls, kitchens, an ayurveda medical centre and even cowsheds. The present temple holds three main festivalsJhulan, Rakhi and Janmastami every year. Daily prayers, food offerings, and other holy chores are performed; this temple attracts thousands of devotees every year from all over the world to offer their prayers to Lord Krishna.
Reverting focus to the temple in question, we can easily interpret the reason behind the opulence of the temple. The temple demands respect and awe beyond question from the devotees of Lord Krishna. ISKCON is a worldwide confederation with more than 550 centers preaching the ideals of Bhakti and Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. Indeed, what better way to express its global influence than by building the second largest religious structure in the world?
Structurally the building under construction surpasses What, therefore, is the purpose of creating a temple The T.O.V.P. Mayapur dome under construction
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The T.O.V.P. Mayapur will be the second highest religious structure in the world after completion some of the most famed architectural wonders of the world. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam and Angkor Its height is greater than the Hagia Sophia (Istanbul), our Vat, Cambodia, in its glory. Thus the structure itself could very own Taj Mahal, and St Paul’s Cathedral in London. strategically influence people to join the Bhakti movement. The only structure larger than it remains the St Peter’s Just like the Vatican is to the Christians, and Mecca is to Basilica in Rome, the residence of the Pope himself, and the the Muslims, ISKON, Mayapur endeavours to become the epitome of Christian religion. It remains the only structure hub of the Bhakti faith in the world after the completion of catering to the Bhakti movement to achieve such gargantuan Chandrodaya. proportions. If we view the techno economic part, we will realize Let us now compare the temple to similar such existing that the size and structure of the temple would greatly structures. influence it as well. In a country like India, there exists an interesting relationship between religious cultures and The Jagannath temple at Puri, Orissa is one of the most economic behaviour. Building a mammoth sized temple prominent functional temples of today, which attracts would influence the God loving (or fearing?) Indian people millions of devotees during the festival of Rath Yatra. to come in hordes and bow down in “sajda” in front of the Undoubtedly, its fame is global. This temple can be aptly sheer size of it. Religious dominance is extremely important compared to the Chandrodaya temple as it also employs the to the economy in India, as people here do whatever they concept of huge structures to project a sense of its power and can to attain salvation. Religious rites, donations, penances induce humility in the hearts of the devotees. Devotees are are common here. ISKCON is involved in a large number overcome with wonder once they enter the main prayer hall. of welfare activities and the money required largely comes However the hall is simple, and focuses the three idols of the from the devotees. So it is extremely important to ensure gods. In the Chandrodaya temple, however, the prayer halls that religion continues its dominance. are to be made ornate with intricate detailing inside. While it may not directly influence politics in India, What is the influence of the Chandrodaya temple on the it certainly brings out a different aspect of the country’s minds of its devotees? democracy. A structure this enormous, requiring international funding to be erected in a country like India It cannot be determined what its authority over the suffering from long drawn political rivalry and clash of people will be, because the temple is still under construction. interest, cannot be completed if not backed up by a single or However keeping in mind the sway of similar structures, we a conglomeration of political parties. And, when a religious can certainly draw a number of hypotheses, with a marginal group, or a secular political party backs up such a sect, it goes chance for error. without words, the influence on vote banks. When we build a huge structure which is a representation of the religious The Chandrodaya temple may turn out to be so colossal influence on the people, it paints an entirely different picture in its proportions that it overawes its followers. This would altogether. It goes on to show that religion still has the upper be in theory, erosive, as the purpose is to bring the human hand in India. existence to the submission of the Supreme. Something humble, which draws the people to itself, would have In the end, what we have to consider is why this massive served better. Considering the international levels, the temple is being built at all. It can be viewed as religious Chandrodaya will receive millions of visits, in spite of the arrogance, but one must delve deeper into the philosophy psychological dysfunctionality being a probable hindrance. of the masses before any such hurried conclusion. What Being the largest functional Hindu temple in existence, happens, really, when we come face to face with a massive the foot count will be presumably gigantic, surpassing the structure? We are daunted by it, we bow down to the NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 129
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monstrosity that makes us seem so insignificant. Further thought leads us to wonder whether the building is a measure of the influence propagated by the religion, or whether the building is built so as to exercise a greater control on the minds of the followers. While it could be either of the two, it is more likely that the building is used to illustrate how much an effect the Bhakti cult preached by ISKCON, has on the ideals and beliefs of its followers. It attempts to use the building as a platform to prove its might and power over the common mass. The essence of a typical temple in the ancient Vedic era was to create a one to one relationship between man and god. This temple, while based on Vedic principles, hardly considers the singular relationship between man and God. Large prayer halls and lavish interiors may well defeat the purpose of building a temple. Generally a shrine is considered to be a place where the common people go to achieve peace of mind. When the prayer hall itself is so ornate and huge that one cannot help admiring its size and intricacy of detailing, it defeats the purpose of prayer itself. The Bhakti movement taught its followers to lead a simple and more natural way of life. But if the halls for preaching this are themselves contradiction to this very rule, it does not do justice to the thought or the concept of Bhakti. A devotee chanting â€œHare Krishnaâ€? is supposed to concentrate on this mantra only. Instead he is so overcome by the temple that his thoughts go astray. One might argue that it is a test that the devotees must face, but such an argument seems a little too farfetched. The Chandrodaya temple is a perfect epitome of the imperialistic behavior of architecture on human minds. It portrays very clearly how human nature can be manipulated, subjugated through the construction of colossal and flamboyant structures. Ancient philosophies enumerates deep relations between God, and his human child, achieved in peace, and seclusion. However, an economically controlled country, aiming towards building a politically willed supremacy through such an unnecessary large structure will be missing its point of creating the sense of tranquility. It will create a sense of domination successfully, it will make the human awestruck. But the parallel existence of the creator with his creation misses its mark. God would probably never want us to be so overwhelmed by him, that we are diverted from our prayers or are coerced us into submission by tales of the self-proclaimed religious preachers. He would want to coexist through us. And that fine thread somehow stays absent here, unintentionally or otherwise. Shayantani Mukherjee, Sourav Ganguli, Srinjoy Hazra, Shubhayan Modak | I.I.E.S.T. Shibpur
Re-evolution & Relearning Introducing
Confined Masonry Construction for
Earthquake Hazard Prone Regions
Introduction Re-evolution is the theme of The Indian Arch 2016 for which the author was invited to contribute an article. Having witnessed the devastating effects of natural disasters such as earthquakes that have impacted communities worldwide, especially in the past decade, this will be an attempt to showcase at least one construction methodology that has fared well in earthquakes worldwide, and one that is neither technology nor resource intensive in the way modern buildings are. As a strategy for keeping pace with many other countries exposed to the earthquake hazard, this paper will introduce Confined Masonry and make the case for its widespread dissemination through the readers of The Indian Arch 2016 students, practicing architects and academics—as a robust and seismically safe methodology that can be adopted aggressively for low rise constructions in earthquake prone areas. The Building Stock in India
Prof. Keya Mitra
Keya Mitra is serving as Professor in the Department of Architecture at Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur India. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from erstwhile B.E. College Shibpur under the University of Calcutta and a Master’s from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA. She obtained her PhD from Bengal Engineering and Science University Shibpur, and did her post doctoral research at the Sapienza University in Rome. Prof. Mitra has actively furthered the seismic safety agenda in India through the activities of the National Information Centre of Earthquake Engineering (NICEE) where she is currently serving as a Member of the National Advisory Committee of NICEE. Prof. Mitra has presented her research to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), as well as at several national and international conferences. Prof. Mitra has a number of national and international publications. She has been honoured by the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder with the Mary Fran Myers Scholarship. 132 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
The Indian population with 1.21 billion people occupies 330 million census houses (Census 2011). A Census House has been defined as “a building or part of a building used or recognized as a separate unit because of having a separate main entrance from the road or common courtyard or staircase etc. It may be occupied or vacant. It may be used for a residential or non-residential purpose or both” (Census, 2011).One of the ways of ascertaining the quality of housing stock is by reviewing the materials used for roof and wall, the two main components of any house. In India, only about 29% of the Census houses have concrete as a roof material. With regard to material of wall, burnt brick and concrete walls are found in 71.23% of Census houses in India. It can be conclusively concluded that burnt brick and reinforced cement concrete (RCC) are the two most popular building materials in India. The building stock in vast tracts of the country is comprised of unreinforced masonry buildings, RC moment resisting frame buildings and hybrid systems that combine both. Confined Masonry: A Viable Alternative Confined masonry construction offers a viable alternative to RC frames or masonry with RC slabs for low to mid-rise construction, and has evolved over the last 100 years through an informal process based on its satisfactory performance in earthquakes. Confined masonry uses commonly used and accepted building materials such as reinforced cement concrete and masonry units, thus it is, in a sense not a completely new technology that might not be readily acceptable to players in the construction industry. Poor earthquake performance of improperly designed or
detailed RC buildings and unreinforced masonry buildings worldwide has resulted in economic losses and fatalities that are both well-known and documented. This has prompted a need for developing and promoting alternative building technologies. Confined masonry is a system that has performed extremely well in past earthquakes and is an alternative both for un-reinforced masonry and RC frame construction in low- and medium-rise buildings. It is important therefore that a concerted effort be made, to showcase the advantages of confined masonry as a viable alternative in the building industry. Confined masonry construction evolved though an informal process based on its satisfactory performance in past earthquakes. Its first reported contemporary use was in the reconstruction after the 1908 Messina, Italy earthquake (M 7.2). Confined masonry has been practiced in Chile and Columbia since the 1930s and in Mexico since the 1940s. It is currently practiced in several countries/regions with high seismic risk, including Latin America, Mediterranean Europe, Middle East (Iran), South Asia (Indonesia), and the Far East (China). Confined masonry as a construction typology has existed for centuries in the vernacular systems practiced in several earthquake prone regions of the world. Some traditional confined masonry methodologies describing different types of half timbered, collage, patchwork, wood cage and timber reinforced systems using dressed/undressed stone masonry and brick masonry are (1) Dhajji-dewari system of timber laced masonry for confining masonry in small panels in top floors practiced in and around Srinagar in the Kashmir Valley, (2) Taq system of embedding timber logs in thick walls, prevalent in parts of Pakistan, (3) Colombage in France, (3) Himis in Turkey, (4) Gaiola in Portugal, and (5) Fatchwerk in Germany. Excellent connections, flexibility and ductility, stability, strength, and integrity are the attributes of these systems wherein earthquake resistance is achieved through damping and shock absorption, slip plane mechanisms, horizontal tying actions, and reduction of the span between supports enhancing out of plane stability and consequent containment of masonry. Elements of Confined Masonry Construction Confined masonry construction consists of masonry walls and horizontal and vertical reinforced concrete (RC) confining elements built on all four sides of a masonry wall panel, as shown in Figure 1. Vertical elements, called tiecolumns, resemble columns in RC frame construction except that they tend to be of far smaller cross-sectional dimensions. Most importantly, these RC members are built after the masonry wall has been completed. Horizontal elements, called tie-beams, resemble beams in RC frame construction
but they are not intended to function as normal beams since confined masonry walls are load-bearing. These tie-beams and tie columns are sometimes referred to as horizontal ties and vertical ties.
Figure 1: Key elements of a Confined masonry buildingSource: Brzev, 2008 Construction Sequence RC frame and confined masonry construction both use the same construction materials—concrete and masonry, as a result, a confined masonry building looks similar to reinforced masonry and to RC frame construction. The differences between these building technologies are significant in terms of construction sequence, complexity, and seismic performance. In confined masonry construction the walls are constructed first, and the confining elements are poured around the walls (Figure 2). In confined masonry construction, confining elements are not designed to act as a moment-resisting frame; as a result, detailing of the reinforcement is simple. In general, confining elements have smaller cross sectional dimensions than the corresponding beams and columns in a RC frame building. It should be noted that the most important difference between the confined masonry walls and infill walls is that infill walls are not load-bearing walls, while the walls in a confined masonry building are (Table 1). Seismic Behaviour of Confined Masonry When a confined masonry building is subjected to earthquake ground shaking, the masonry walls act as diagonal struts resisting compression, while RC confining elements act in tension and/or compression, depending on the direction of lateral earthquake forces. This is known as a “strut and tie” model and it can be used to design engineered NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 133
The frames are built first, the masonry walls are NOT load- With confined masonry, the walls are built first and the bearing masonry walls ARE load-bearing Figure 2:Confined masonry-sequence of construction ource: Schacher, 2009.
Gravity and lateral loadresisting system
Foundation construction Superstructure construction sequence
Confined masonry construction
RC frame construction
Masonry walls are the main load bearing elements and are expected to resist both gravity and lateral loads. Confining elements (tie-beams and tie-columns) are significantly smaller in size than RC beams and columns.
RC frames resist both gravity and lateral loads through their relatively large beams, columns, and their connections. Masonry infills are not load-btearing walls.
1. Masonry walls are constructed first. 2. Subsequently, tie-columns are cast in place. 3. Finally, tie-beams are constructed on top of the walls, simultaneously with the floor/roof slab construction.
1. The frame is constructed first. 2. Masonry walls are constructed at a late stage and are not bonded to the frame members; these are nonstructural, that is, non-load bearing walls.
Strip footing beneath the wall and the Isolated footing beneath each column RC plinth band
Table 1: Comparing confined masonry and RC frame construction confined masonry buildings. RC frame construction are much larger in size, and they It is important to explain why the seismic response of have significantly larger stiffness relative to the infill. confined masonry buildings is different from RC frames with 2. Tie-columns are cast against a rough (toothed and/ infills, making for superior performance in earthquakes. The or doweled) surface, and thus are integrated into the wall, main reasons are summarized below: while the infill walls are usually not integrated into a RC 1. Due to smaller cross-sectional dimensions, tie- frame - there is no toothing and there are rarely any dowels. columns in confined masonry construction are slender 3. Gravity loads in confined masonry construction are and are not meant to provide an effective frame action. mostly supported by the masonry walls, while infills in RC Tie-beam-to-tie-column connections are pinned (similar frames bear mostly self-weight. Due to the significant frame to post-and-beam timber construction), as opposed to the stiffness, only a small portion of the floor load is transferred moment connections in RC frames. Beams and columns in to the infills. 134 | Indian Arch â€˜16 | NASA, India
4. When subjected to lateral seismic loads, walls in confined masonry construction act as shear walls, just like walls in load bearing masonry construction or RC shear wall construction, whereas infill walls in RC frames act as diagonal struts. The Way Forward A transition from RC frames to confined masonry construction in most cases leads to savings related to concrete cost, since confining elements are smaller in size than the corresponding RC frame members. Also, less reinforcement and less intricate detailing is required for confined masonry construction than for RC frame construction. Therefore, in this case â€œless means moreâ€?. Improved seismic performance is achieved by reducing the amount of materials and labour typically associated with the RC frame construction practice. Confined masonry construction has a great potential for saving lives and property in areas of high seismic risk, in particular when combined with the use of good quality materials, good quality concrete and masonry construction, and simple architectural design. Engineers, architects, owners, contractors and masons are all encouraged to learn more about this technology and its appropriateness in regions of high seismic risk. Confined masonry is being actively researched and propagated through the Confined Masonry Network. This network is a small and growing group of experts worldwide who are committed to improving the design and construction quality of confined masonry where it is currently in use and to introduce confined masonry in areas where it can reduce seismic risk (www.confinedmasonry.org). The Confined Masonry Network grew out of an International Strategy Workshop on Promotion of Confined Masonry that was organized in Kanpur, India, in January 2008, by the National Information Centre of Earthquake Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, the World Housing Encyclopedia project of EERI (Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Oakland California) and IAEE (International Association of Earthquake Engineering), and the World Seismic Safety Initiative. Acknowledgement The author is indebted to Svetlana Brzev, PhD, PE, British Columbia Institute of Technology, Canada for allowing the use of the figures and contents from her book titled Earthquake-Resistant Confined Masonry Construction, referenced below. The author also thanks Marjorie Greene, of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute California for sharing the Confined Masonry Brochure prepared by EERI, some of the contents of which have been used in the above article. The author acknowledges the
National Information Centre of Earthquake Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, for ongoing support and for permission to use the Proceedings of the Global Strategic Meeting for Promoting the Use of Confined Masonry Technology, held in IIT Kanpur during January 2008. References Brzev, S. (2008). Earthquake-Resistant Confined Masonry Construction, National Information Center for Earthquake Engineering, Kanpur, India. Schacher, T. (2009). Confined Masonry - A guidebook for technicians and artisans, National Information Center for Earthquake Engineering, Kanpur, India. Chandramouli, C., & Registrar General, Census of India, 2011.
The million lies beneath my eyes! Ayan Choudhury | Jadavpur University, Kolkata
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From sketching to painting, From speaking to listening, From writing to dancing, From the hope lost, To the confidence gained. From the excitement, To energy drained. Mistaken for destination, Is a journey though Life it is The architecture, I know. From those love doses, To the frequent breaks. From the tussle within, To decisions that donâ€™t shake. From the endings, To the attitude that grew. From the beginnings, To time that flew. Mistaken for destination, Is a journey though Life it is The architecture, I know. From the differences, To the similarities. From the dead ends, To the possibilities. From giving a chance, To taking a few. From the ignorant minds, T o the eyes that knew. Mistaken for destination, Is a journey though Life it is The architecture, I know.
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From the haunted nights, To the victorious days. From the seriousness , To the dramatic plays. From non-stop work , To thet idleness. From that energy, To the laziness. Mistaken for destination, Is a journey though Life it is The architecture, I know. From the heavy thoughts, To that freedom. From new deadlines, To work not done. From falling apart, To standing united. From endless discussions, To silences, less cited. Mistaken for destination, Is a journey though Life it is The architecture, I know. Less is more, God is in details, New stories, new philosophies prevail. Amongst the confusion, mystery and curiosity, In this world of extremes. I am a traveller, forever it seems. Being my teacher, Giving myself wings, Growing from seed to sapling. Donâ€™t mistake me to be perfect, For perfection is an illusion. Though not an architect, Looking for solutions. Mistaken for destination , My journey though, Life it is, The architecture I know. The very architecture, I know....
The Architecture I Know
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Gunjan Dogra Ansh Kumar Simar Kindra Vidit Taneja Sadhya Bhatnagar Meetali Gupta Mukul Gupta Shivani Gupta U.S.A.P., G.G.S.I.P.U., Delhi
Frames on street- Nondescriptive to placemaking Anmol Ahuja | U.S.A.P., G.G.S.I.P.U., Delhi
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Centuries have gone by and the Hooghly River can boast of settlements along its stretch by multitudes of major European traders. While the Portuguese patronized Bandel, the Dutch dominated in Chinsurah. Soon the French fortified Chandernagore and the Danish dwelled in Serampore. And it was not long before the British, who had established a trading base in what is today’s Kolkata, took over the whole of Bengal and then the country at large. Along with a legacy of established dominance and supremacy over the Indians, the two and a half centuries of the British presence in India did leave behind its own golden contributions, of which universal education deserves a foremost mention. In the early 19th century, the British in India felt the need for technical education, even though for their own vested interests. On 24th November, 1856, Calcutta Civil Engineering College was established, which held its classes at the Writer’s Building. It was affiliated under the Calcutta University when it was established in 1857. In 1865 it shifted base to Presidency College, Calcutta, as Department of Civil Engineering. Finally, in 1880, the college headed for its present compound, in the land of the then Bishop’s College, as Government College, Howrah and thus came into existence the campus of India’s second oldest engineering institute. The institute has thence undergone myriad transformations over ages. It was christened Bengal Engineering College (BEC) in 1921 and elevated to the status of a Deemed University in 1992 while its recognition as Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur (BESUS) had come into effect on 1st October, 2004. It now stands upgraded to the status of Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur, the country’s first IIEST, an Institute of National Importance (INI) under the MHRD, under official mandate in 2014. This pioneer of technical education in the country is on the threshold of celebrating 160 years of history, heritage and glorious existence!
1856-2016... glorious 160 years
indian institute of engineering science and technology, shibpur
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Located just five kilometres away from Howrah Railway Station, the institute boasts of a picturesque green campus covering an area of about one hundred and twenty one hectares. Situated on the northern bank of the river Hooghly, next to the AJC Bose Indian Botanical Garden and opposite to the Kolkata Port, IIEST Shibpur is fifteen minutes’ drive away from the City of Joy, Kolkata. Howrah, has long established itself as an important industrial belt with major scrap iron trading, ship-building industries and jute mills among others, lining the river-front. Over the years, it has transformed into the twin city of Kolkata with major residential, commercial, industrial and administrative establishments. While the colonial structures that once dotted the city of Howrah is being indiscriminately demolished to serve the ever-hungry real estate barons, IIEST Shibpur is a sanctuary of a genre of Gothic architectural style practiced in the bygone eras. Preserved are the original buildings that housed the Bishop’s College that was established on 15th December 1820 to act as an Arts College as well as for the training of the Indian Christians for priesthood and as catechists and teachers in Christian Colleges and Schools. Most of those buildings still stand and are put to good use. They bear with them tenets of collegiate gothic style with rows of dentils as ornamentation, high pointed arches, corner turrets and hefty buttresses among others. Originally all academic activities took place there but with advancement in time and need new buildings had to be constructed for the purpose. Today, the heritage buildings of the campus house the institute’s workshop complex, some educational establishments, faculty quarters, the Director’s Residence and so on. The library building of the Bishop’s College with humongous North facing windows has been intelligently converted as the gymnasium and houses the sports’ board. The Gothic church in the campus is an architectural marvel, with rows of wooden pews, east facing tinted glazing with biblical references. Sadly, this structure is on the verge of being ruined for want of money in order to conserve it. The monastery of this chapel had sheltered the famous Bengali poet Michael Madhusudan Dutta who is said to have written his most famous works while in this chapel, overlooking the gently flowing Hooghly River and hence the dilapidated chapel is presently dedicated to him. Mimicking the gothic ambience in the campus, the turret Clock Tower was installed in the year 1921. This iconic structure has always found its place in the logo of the institute. It used to functionally serve as a water pump for the campus. The clock was donated by Sir Rajendranath Mukherjee, a distinguished alumnus of 1883, and famously the chief engineer of two of the major attractions of Kolkata, the Howrah Bridge and the Victoria Memorial.
Eerie as it may sound, the campus happens to host at its centre a colonial cemetery with tombs of persons from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries. Persons associated with this institute over the ages have reported paranormal sensations and activities at varied locations in the institute, be it the locally called graveyard, the old buildings (namely, the Downing Hall), the hostels or atop the numerous trees. The legendary sighting of the old lady in white across the cemetery, the mystic calls out of thin air beckoning the resident students of certain select hostel rooms and the sound of the gong when the hands of the clock tower strikes one on a foggy winter night are thrills that BEings (the name that the students of this institute call themselves by) could die for, literally! This feeling is accentuated by the presence of three large water bodies at strategic locations in the campus, connected to the tidal flow of the Hooghly what a beauty of a sight at any time! Incidentally, the main ladies’ hostel shares its front boundary with the graveyard! Though not many young lovers in the campus would complain for it has given them memories to cherish, with the long walks along L-square (lovers’ lane) and the mellow musings at the boxing ring (what a way to re-invent an use for this inoperative facility)! Nevertheless, the presence of the transcendental beings have always been good omen, for the institute has advanced from strength to strength. In 1906 Mining Engineering as a discipline was first started in India in this college to meet the requirements of statutory provision in Indian mines. And then there was no looking back with new departments of engineering coming into existence every few years with a presence of more than twenty-four departments and schools at present. When the draft of establishing India’s first IIT was underway, it was this institute, the then Bengal Engineering College that was selected for conversion. However for reasons of manifold nature, it was decided that a new institute shall be set up for the purpose and thus IIT Kharagpur came into existence. Dr. S.R. Senguptaa, who was the then principal of the college, left for IIT Kharagpur as its first director. Interestingly, India’s first lady engineer, Illa Mazumdar, is a graduate from this very institute, in 1951, from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
The picture in the backdrop shows the derelict Gothic Chapel in the institute (Madhusudan Bhawan).
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department of architecture, town & regional planning indian institute of engineering science & technology, shibpur
After the independence of India in 1947, the Department of Architecture, Town and Regional Planning was started on the recommendation of a committee appointed by Government of West Bengal. Two new courses were started â€“ a five-year degree programme in Architecture and a two-year part-time diploma in Town & Regional Planning. The Department of Architecture, Town and Regional Planning (established in 1949) offered the First Degree in Architecture and the First Diploma in Town Planning in India. This department has produced more than 1000 graduates in Architecture and more than 300 postgraduates in Town Planning in the last sixty years and celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of the conferring of first degree in Architecture in India in 2014-15. Jayanti, a publication commemorating the occasion was also released. Its students also founded the National Association of Students of Architecture, briefly designated as NASA India, a non-political, non-profit Student Body Association for the Undergraduate Students of Architecture in India in 1957, along with six other colleges. The college has been the proud host for the 4th Annual NASA Convention in 1961 as well as a number of Zonal Conventions, the latest one being in the year 2012. IIEST Shibpur is the proud podium holder of the overall first runners-up position in Archismat ZoNASA 2015 hosted by NIT Rourkella. The students present and past have won laurels in the zonal and national level competitions hosted by NASA or otherwise. Some of the recent highlights being IGBC Green Design competition 2012, Birla-White Yuva Ratna 2012, Birla-White Yuva Ratna 2014, ISOLA Landscape Trophy in 2014, Municipalika-Urban Innovation Challenge 2014, Transparence 2014 and two prizes in Transparence 2015. Going back in time, the Department has had its own share of experiences. Fortunate enough to have been headed by the famous American Architect Joseph Allen Stein, the Department made rapid progress in the field of architectural innovation in the country. Another highlight would be the visit of Dr. Buckminster Fuller, the famous scientist, architect and inventor to the Department. He had conducted a workshop with the students in 1952 and shared his knowledge and expertise. Soham Karmakar | I.I.E.S.T. Shibpur NASA, India | Indian Arch â€˜16 | 149
prof. ar. joseph allen stein 150 | Indian Arch â€˜16 | NASA, India
The third Head of the Department
message from v.p. of India on the centenary of =t the college
workshop with sapienza university, rome
Deba Prasad Maitra is an alumnus of our institute who belonged to the first batch of graduate architecture students from India. Here is an account of his college life back in 1949 when the journey began in his own words. In 1949, Bengal Engineering College was the only institution of its kind in the entire eastern India, and when I applied for a seat in an engineering discipline, there was no mention of Architecture in the information brochure. After some days I received a letter from the College asking me whether I would like to join a new course which was being introduced that year, a diploma course in architecture. I was elated. As long as I could enter the portals of Bengal Engineering College Shibpur, it mattered little whether I would earn a degree or a diploma at the end. I decided to take up the offer and one fine morning I started from my Dover Lane residence in South Kolkata armed with a canister and a bed roll. I crossed the six year old bright and new Howrah Bridge, and took my first trip in Bus Number 55, the first of many such journeys in the coming years. I embarked on this fascinating journey more than six decades ago, and I still cherish the memory of the fascinating journey in a number 55 bus, fond memories of which I cherish to this day. It was a very different atmosphere back then with classes being held at the Main Building from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and again from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m while the compulsory residential hostels were actually a few barracks built during the time of World War. The first and second years stayed in those barracks which had beds located on either side. There were two bathrooms in the barracks but the toilets were located far away. We were a group of 20 boys. I was allotted a dormitory housed in one of the twenty two barracks having eight beds each, along with other students of engineering degree courses, and we all started attending common lectures on engineering subjects. Classes were held in a Gothic styled building, which is now used as a workshop. In those days, there were no departmental demarcations and academics was totally focused on providing a holistic engineering education to all the entry level students.
VINTAGE TIMELESS MEMOIRS
The drawing boards, set squares, T squares were not manufactured in India. They all came from abroad. There were 20 students in the first batch, and of them only 6 could graduate at the first try. I am the only person alive from the first batch of degree holding architects in India. Despite such a strong programme, and the presence of a formidable set of teachers, we continued to feel a bit out of place and awkward since we were pursuing a diploma course in a degree awarding institution. The feeling was like being a second class citizen. Our awkwardness did not last for long. Good news came as the State Government led by Dr. B C Roy, the Chief Minister gave approval for our course to be converted to a five year Degree course, the first of its kind in the entire nation. All our feelings of inferiority were washed away by a surge of immense pride at this momentous moment in our fledgling careers. More good news followed as we heard that a new building would soon be constructed and our Department would have a dedicated space in the second floor. More interestingly, the architect of this new proposed college building, Mr. Habibur Rahman started visiting our studios. We were delighted to have regular interactions with this soft spoken gentleman. On his return voyage from England, our Principal, Prof. Sengupta met
a young American professional architect who was on a world tour and insisted that he should take charge of this newly founded department which was then housed in the third floor of the brand new steel structured college building. Thus in the year 1952, Ar. Joseph Allen Stein joined as a Professor and Head of the Department with a highest possible salary of Rs. 1600 per month that could be offered by the government, changing the entire future course of the department and all our lives permanently. He changed the face of the department forever. We started feeling that “Yes, this is design!” His works were published in journals, and they were real buildings! It was a heady feeling to know that an international architect was now leading our department, and he was there in our classes and studios! Prof. Stein brought the international design concepts into our studios and made it vibrant with new zeal, almost feverish, and unbound joy. He taught us about aesthetics and proportions, about Modulor, and exposed us to the ideas of Corbusier, Mies, Wright, Gropius, and so many other masters! And sometimes he engaged some of us to develop some of his design ideas. In 1953 I was given to do one such design, a school that I still remember, and I drew some plans, and elevations for it. Drawing was laborious in those days. There was no Rotring pen, not even the Crow-quill. It was the era of ‘lining pen’ fed with black Chinese ink. The drawing paper was opaque, fibrous and quite unforgiving. There was no scope for corrections, blading or erasing. A single mistake meant that the sheet had to be discarded. Those were tough times indeed! By 1954, our strength had dwindled down to only seven students All the thesis topics were allocated by Pt of Stein himself. In the final year we had to take various theoretical courses, such as Structures, etc. along with thesis, and we had to attend classes all day. Prof Stein not only gave us the keys to the Department so we could work through the night, but actually stayed with us till 4 o’clock in the morning. It happened many a time that at 7.30 in the morning he again came to the department and seeing us missing sent someone to fetch us from the hostels. During our thesis period, he brought Richard Neutra to review our works. Neutra was rather old and infirm at that time and lifts were not installed then. He declared that he couldn’t possibly climb so many flights of stairs. The solution was simple. We had him sit on a chair and carried him to the third floor with great enthusiasm. The photograph of Richard Neutra with Prof. Stein as published in the Centenary Journal of 1956 was taken at that time, in front of the model of Howrah Bridge approach. Around this time, Hans Glas, a Jewish architect also came to India, and went on to design the Chittaranjan Cancer Research Centre and Hindustan Building. He was followed by one Mr. Hansen, an American architect with a nasal voice, who drew for us the working drawings of his own timber house in the USA, right there, sitting in our studio! The examiners of the first ever Thesis Viva Voce examination for the five year degree
course in Architecture in India were Mr. Achyut Kanvinde and Mr. Jugal Kishore Choudhury. Appearing before them remains one of the greatest moments of my life. One of the first changes that came after independence of India was the arrival of proper workshops. The first was the Carpentry Workshop. The teacher-in-charge said that a student would not be permitted to work if we came wearing dhotis. The Botanical Garden was a place of many memories. Ships would pass by on the Ganges, and there would be competitions on who could be the first to read the name of the ship from a distance! The peon of the Department would help book tickets of movies and one hardly had time to be selective about them as there was a lot of pressure of college work in those days. It was very tough work. In those days there was no AutoCAD or other softwares as one has now. Even Rotrings were not available and one used to render by hand only. It took a lot of time and was very hard work. When one of the students went abroad, he showed pictures of renders in the USA. They used to have modular renders for everything, which you could stick on to get the desired effect. Back then NASA was a formative body. It became more popular after the first batch of students had passed out. I worked at many a places, and with many a organisations. At some point of time, I went to Nigeria, & USA, and then came back to Mumbai, before starting my own firm in Delhi. Life went on, and with it, came the usual milestones, rites of passage. One day, as I was driving through the busy Delhi road, a building caught my attention. Yes, the elevation! How could I forget it? Back in 1953, it consumed my entire being, and now, it stood there in reality, washed by the broad daylight. It was the International School of American Embassy by Ar. Stein, constructed in 1966. I was elated. Even after so many years, memories make me shiver. And I still ask myself, do I know anything about architecture? Originally published in Jayanti, a souvenir magazine commemorating 50 years of completion of the first batch of graduate architects from India, and our annual departmental journal. Ar. Deba Prasad Maitra has been in the practice since the 1950s, and has seen the evolution of Indian architecture in his own eyes. He takes pride in his alma mater, and always attends functions and meets arranged by the students of the department.
NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 153
the master poet & philosopher
A socializing square in the campus dedicated to Kaviguru Rabindranath Tagore.
directorâ€™s residence, gothic architecture in bengal.
Overlooking the Bidisha Lake in front, this landmark has stood for almost a century, and reflects the legacy.
His visit to the department is one very memorable incident we cherish. A picture of a 1970â€™s Lining pen that is preserved in our department; these were the tools of drafting before the age of micron, and rotring.
Ar. Stein & Ar. Neutra standing in front of the Howrah Bridge model, the first batch of thesis in the country
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tour, 2k14 gujarat-rajasthan
studios at night in the 1970s
Excerpt from a commemorative publication of the then B.E. College, Shibpur
richardson hall of residence
Where college life redefines itself; where we are home away from home, where friendships turn to something called family!
4 th annual convention @ the then b.e. college, shibpur IIEST Shibpur (Erstwhile B.E. College) was the proud host of the 4th Annual NASA Convention.
indian arch â€˜87 cover illustration
The cover illustration of the first edition of this magazine which was published after lots of toil & trouble!
indian arch â€˜87 map
The whole India framed by the architecture schools back then!
Acknowledgements: Dr. Ajoy Kumar Ray
Director, IIEST, Shibpur
Dr. Santanu Kumar Karmakar
Dean of Alumni Affairs & External Relations Ex-H.O.D., Dept. of Mechanical Engineering IIEST, Shibpur
Dr. Aditya Bandopadhyay
Dean of Infrastructure & Planning Ex-H.O.D., Dept. of Arch. T. & R.P., IIEST, Shibpur
Dr. Swati Saha
Professor & H.O.D., Dept. of Arch. T. & R.P., IIEST, Shibpur
Dr. Keya Mitra
Professor & Faculty Coordinator of Indian Arch ‘16 Dept. of Arch. T. & R.P., IIEST, Shibpur
Ar. Malay Ghosh
Founding partner & Principal architect E-Space, Kolkata
Magazine Strategist, Design Detail
Sincere thanks to all Alumni, Professors, Students, staffs and all other well-wishers who have helped us at various points of time to successfully bring out the publication Indian Arch ‘16
Host article: Soham Karmakar Visual Content Courtesy(IA Organise): Hiran Biswas Visual Content Courtesy(IA Organise):Bibaswan Das (NBD Creative Arts & Media) Cover illustration: Puja Biswas Charles Correa Memorial Poster: Saisha Mattoo Interview questions: Shubhayan Modak Interview (Ar. Rahul Mehrotra): Self Interview (Ar. Nalini Thakur): Somi Chatterjee Interview (Ar. Madhav Raman): Shubhayan Modak Interview (Ar. Abin Chowdhury): Shubhayan Modak Interview Transcripts: Srinjoy Hazra, Soumyodeep Das, Sarthak Chakravarty, Saurav Suman Crossword formation & concept: Beauty Raj Fare the well message: Srinjoy Hazra
Thanks to all of you.
NASA, India | Indian Arch ‘16 | 161
fare thee well...? The Indian Arch has been the journey of a lifetime. What started as a hopeful bid with dreams bigger than reality, has been realized eventually, with short painstaking steps… and all of us can vouch for the fact that it has been an uphill task, throughout. The first thing to be noted is, there is a learning curve to the making of Indian Arch ‘16. We, all of us, have been through the highs and lows of small successes and not as small disappointments throughout the journey, and adventurous as it has been, we daresay, we have emerged victorious on the other end. We have savoured the efforts that each of us has put in, encouraged each other, challenged the flaws and in totality learnt a lot… about team work, about architecture, about architects, about overcoming unexpected hurdles and also a surprising lot about each other. We thank our readers, and our contributors, for aiding us and bearing with us during our numerous interruptions, announced and otherwise. We sincerely apologise for any faults or discrepancies that have managed to avert our attention and also for any inconvenience caused. We, the entire team of Indian Arch ‘16 have chipped in and made the venture what it is today… Whether successful or not, remains to be decided. So, this is us, fingers crossed, and bidding adieu. Happy reading, everyone! Cheers!
162 | Indian Arch ‘16 | NASA, India
Team Indian Arch ‘16 vive valeque...
Ayan Roy, Graphics The over-enthusiastic! Soham Karmakar, Editor The optimist!
Srinjoy Hazra, Editor The Grammar Nazi!
Beauty Raj, Graphics Madamji!
Hiran Biswas, Graphics The colourful photographer! Saisha Mattoo, Graphics The topper fantastic!
T H E
T E A M Soumyodeep Sarkar, Transcript
Mr. Faizal Khan!
Puja Biswas, Posters
Sulagna Mukherjee, Graphics The artist!
Prof. Keya Mitra Faculty CoOrdinator Our guidance, and energy
Soumyodeep Das, Finance
Shubhayan Modak Convenor & E.I.C.; Magazine Layout The Jack of All!
Annual students' journal of National Association of Students of Architecture, India.