Nov 15, 2011

Contemporary Architecture of India in flux


An observation on architectural character, practice, reason of flux, and control instruments     

There used to be a defined boundary of what is called “Contemporary Architecture” in every era since past few centuries, but the boundary of contemporary architecture at present, in the middle of first quarter of 21st century, has become a multi-domain experience with organic boundaries of different school of thoughts melting into each other. Earlier there used to be some set of rules and inspiration, material and climatic constraint, to govern and guide the aesthetic elements of localised architecture which in turn used to give defined architectural and urban design character to neighborhoods and city, but apparently we are losing that cohesiveness in contemporary urban fabric because there is no virtual or enforced control over the aesthetics of architecture at present In the developing countries like India, which is tissue of urban fabric. That does not imply that we want another Chandigarh, its for sure, we don’t want another Chandigarh by Le Cob., that is an old story, needs and lifestyle of people have changed, so the architecture and planning.

There are guidelines for the construction and execution but no rules or guidelines for architectural aesthetics, and its solely on the mercy and idiosyncrasy of either Clients who have their own idea of what contemporary architecture should be (i.e. they want their house to be either like the house of “Mr. X”, or more lavish and grand than “Mr. Y”, or exactly like the house featured in that architectural magazine “Z”) or it depends on majority of young architects for which its more about pressed necessity of earning bread & butter rather than using and  implementing the hard earned architectural knowledge , most of which are either victim of commercialization, crippled and forced to follow the market trends (which in fact doesn’t have any architectural  trend except copying from other contemporary developments or from history or from google image search results).  

If you inspect deeply you will realize that this apparent chaos of architectural design and aesthetics is actually nobody’s fault , at least not of any individual  because it was bound to happen and its all because of  technological advancement, which makes information and tools abundant. Architects as well as clients are immensely exposed to influences from all across the world due to free and unlimited information, architects  were never so free to  experiment with design and form of buildings due to computer modeling and simulation as well as unlimited possibility that structural design provides at present due to advance technology, equipments, material etc. There is no constraint of material, you have all the construction material at your disposal in any  part of the country, there is no architectural constraint of climate, because architecture has increasingly become active rather than passive,  you have all the equipments to control and maintain the indoor climate. But amidst all this, if the architecture and city planning need design guidelines, development control regulation, urban design guidelines or a separate nodal governing authority to maintain the aesthetic and cohesiveness of city, so be it.

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