There is need for architects to work on enhancing the durability of buildings by incorporating the features of ancient buildings, especially the temple architecture and dams which have withstood the test of time even after 1000 years, Dr. G. Viswanathan, Chancellor of VIT University, Vellore said on Wednesday.
He was inaugurating a 9-day Vertical Studio and Architectural Design Workshop on `Spatial Exploration of Experiential and Generative Geometries as Follies in the Urban Context' organised by the V-SPARC School of Architecture, VIT University in collaboration with Vellore Lab- Auckland at the VIT campus here.
The Chancellor said that buildings including houses constructed in India did not last beyond 50 years. The 2000-year-old Grand Anaicut in Tiruchi and the 1000-year-old Big Temple in Thanjavur are excellent examples of durable structures built by the Cholas and bear testimony to the practice of excellent architecture--with the accent on durability--during the ancient times. Pointing out that the demand for architects is going up every day in India, he said that the need is for bridging the gap between ancient and modern architecture and constructing long-lasting structures.
Dr. Viswanathan said that there is a great need for housing, but at the same time, there was shortage of land. "It is worrying that agricultural land is shrinking every year, but we have done nothing to solve the problem. We need houses as well as food. China which is the most populated country in the world has addressed the issue by asking the architects to go in for vertical buildings or skyscrapers. Given the fact that India will become the most populated country in 10 to 15 years, architects have to come up with a solution to the problem of providing houses to the entire population", he said.
Mr. Jaffer AA Khan, leading India-born architect presently running an independent studio at Spatial Design, School of Art and Design, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand said that architects have a great responsibility. "Architecture is not just about buildings. We have to look beyond the structures that we design and cater to the society outside".
Mr. Khan said that the workshop will focus on sustainability of buildings without encroaching into Nature.
Ms. Fleur Palmer, Architect and Senior Lecturer in Spatial, Auckland University of Technology said that the workshop will dwell on the construction of buildings using bamboo which is a sustainable material having tensile strength. Later talking to newspersons, she said that bamboo structures are commonly found in Assam (India) and Bali (Indonesia). The workshop will also look at the social, cultural and ecological aspects of the Vellore area, she said.
Ar. N. Devi Prasad, Director, V-SPARC said that 100 students and 20 experts from India and abroad will be participating in the workshop. Large prototypes of bamboo structures will be designed during the workshop, and these would be subjected to critical review by experts during the last three days of the workshop. The students are from V-SPARC, RV College of Architecture, Bengaluru, and Midas School of Architecture, Chennai.
The programme involves understanding urban intervention in a heritage scenario with appreciation of indigenous crafts and technologies while embedding them into modern exercises in spatial investigative and applied geometries. "In this workshop, the environs of Vellore are seen as a backdrop to exploring alternative intervention methodologies in the creation of a built space to meet public needs", he said.
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