Architects who have made creativity a building block

Architects who have made creativity a building block

By ANIRUDH VOHRA | | 16 January, 2016

The earliest surviving written work on the subject of architecture is De architectura, by the Roman architect Vitruvius in the early 1st century AD. According to Vitruvius, a good building should satisfy the three principles of firmitas, utilitas, venustas, commonly known by the original translation – firmness, commodity and delight. An equivalent in modern English would be durability — a building should stand up robustly and remain in good condition, utility – it should be suitable for the purposes for which it is used and beauty — it should be aesthetically pleasing.
But over the years architecture has evolved with leaps and bounds with architects experimenting with several materials both natural and manmade. In an architectural meet held in Singapore in late 2015 several architects spoke of their design and the materials that went into them. “The three day event had several architects showcasing several futuristic designs from home pod i.e a tiny capsule of 55 square meters that’s hold everything you need in a house,” said Shaivanti Gupta an architect working with Larsen and Turbo.
Over the years not just the architecture has evolved but also the way the buildings are constructed. One of these new ways is the way of pre fabrication. In pre fabrication blocks or parts of the building are constructed else where and later shipped to the site and installed. “This process of pre fabrication was first introduced and used in Japan when the Japanese government had to construct several houses for the employees in limited time.” Said Shaivanti Gupta of Land T.
“We are using the same process in India to construct our metro projects. You must have seen trucks carrying these huge concrete slabs to several metro sites. It is the same principal the slabs are made someplace else then shipped to the place where they need to be installed,” explained Deepak Jaju a Jaipur based builder.
Not only is the prefabrication route faster it also proves to be a tad bit cheaper as an assembly line method is used to create the structures. “The only problem with form of construction is that all the houses built by this method are exactly the same,” added Deepak Jaju.

“I very recently designed a house in which the owner wanted to use these old concrete blocks that were discarded by the Canadian government when they were working on their trans-Canadian highway.”

Another new thing in the world of construction is the concrete block brick which has several names the world over. “These bricks are made of a thin layer of concrete but have air space in between which makes them lighter then the regular bricks but equally strong. These bricks also help bring down you air conditioning bills as the hollow space keeps an air flow within the walls helping them stay cool in summers and warm in the winters,” said Ian Brako a Canadian architect.
“I very recently designed a house in which the owner wanted to use these old concrete blocks that were discarded by the Canadian government when they were working on their trans-Canadian highway.” Added Ian highlighting the fact that several people want to recycle old thing when it comes to constructions as well.
Hitesh Mehta a Jaipur based tiles manufacturer says recycling can also be done in the world of construction. “Malba that is the old waste from demolition can be used as filling instead of fresh sand while old glass bottles are shatterd and compressed with white and black and grey cement to make the beautiful tiles that reflect light.” Said Hitesh Mehta.
But there is a big problem when you talk about new form or types of construction in India as people are not very open. “For in every 100 only 10 people will be willing to experiment with either new methods or materials for their houses or offices,” says Nikita Mehta a Mumbai based architecture.
“Only peple like club owners or restaurant owners or someone who is doing something based on a theme will be open to the idea of mixing materials but the general public is still very reluctant unlike in the west,” Nikita added.
“I came up with this new type of design where iron filings are compressed with cement to make a rough anti skid tile that can really escalate the garage or porch or varanda or terrace or any other place that is open air but till date have only had three orders for it,” said Hitesh Mehta. “So you can understand how much we are willing to experiment in India.”
So, if we Indians do open our minds in India how environment friendly will our houses be. “A simple hollow brick can reduce your air conditioning bill by 20% add to that a living wall which is basically a wall that houses small blocks of sand and fertilizers that is used to grow plants which further reduce the energy consumption.” Said Ian Brako from Canada.
Several hotels and houses in India already play host to these living walls for the transpiration by plants helps cool down the building, its almost the same as a terrace garden but instead of being a garnden you can walk on it becomes a garden you can lean against.   

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