Promoting the common good through innovation
Technological progress and increasing innovation are currently at the center of all spheres of human activity, including architecture and building design. Many urban and suburban cities are emerging with bold architectural designs and fascinating outlooks. The newly developed building materials, methods and construction designs have also become popular in many parts of the world including India. However, the call has been made for architects and building technologists to invest in research with the aim of generating building designs for the public good.
The world is gradually moving towards resource conservation and management as the drive to save the planet takes center stage in global conversations. It is also an imperative in the built environment, even as players jostle for technical genius, innovation and progress in building new urban cities. This movement for people-centered practices in the field of architectural and urban design is not a critical subject only in India, but also in many other countries across the world – developed and developing countries.
A 2011 Guide to Public Interest Practices in Architecture published by Design Corps, Latrobe Award winner and trusted voice in design and architecture, showed that public-specific design practices do not just meet the needs of a community, but also help build the assets and capacities of such a community. The main conclusion is that spatial design should encourage social benefits and progressive outcomes for society. This can be manifested in the optimization of space, the adoption of sustainable building techniques and collaborative design practices.
Research in design and the architectural trajectory of India
The global building construction market is undergoing dizzying transformations. With over 1.3 billion people and around 20% of the world’s population, India is expected to be a major consumer of housing and infrastructure. The increase in population presents a challenge for the country, but also creates new opportunities and avenues for architectural design practices and construction companies to transform into a more sustainable industry. The Indian architectural design ecosystem is on the verge of a revolution and some players are at the forefront of this movement.
In their 2018 journal article “Architectural Identity and Indian Cities: History and Transformation”, Dr. Navneet Kumar and Ahmad Niazi explained that every Indian city has its own remarkable and important identity, which is often manifested in its physical structure and visual. However, underline the authors, the recent transformations seek to modify this identity by setting up structures that are more helpful and of general interest. The question of what public interest means and how to define the public is often laid bare.
Experts like Sunand Prasad – in his critique of Tom Spector’s “Architecture and the Public Good” – argue that such architecture is one that serves the public purpose and serves the public good. At the heart of research and innovation in architectural design is the appropriate use of unused public spaces for the public good. This involves constructing buildings and structures that maximize spaces and create the best possible benefits for members of the public.
Towards a more sustainable model
According to the World Bank, India’s population is currently growing at an annual rate of 1%. This means that there are more than 13 million more people in India every year. This not only puts a strain on the already high numbers of rural-urban migration, but also worsens the housing deficit in the country. Consequently, this growing urban population and increasingly scarce land demand only a more effective and efficient use of available space. It is the solution to move away from the current norm that sees design as an afterthought cosmetic treatment of allocated spaces initially ill-planned for public use.
The responsibility rests with architects and planners who must work to reintegrate lost and unused spaces into the primary framework of residual public use and benefit, as well as identify holistic ways to dedicate these spaces to temporary or alternative uses. . Urban spaces are naturally versatile and this can contribute to efforts to shape urban growth and create a variety of places for communities. With the right approach and implementation strategy, these spaces can attract diverse communities, including entrepreneurs, activists, artists, and more.
Using smart designs can help in the efficient use of these residual spaces. Specifically, the redesign of metro overpasses can serve as a multifunctional solution to improve the well-being of many communities through simple and repeatable designs. At the heart of modern architectural design are science and technology. Designs must be based on this technology and must be compatible with other features of the environment, including plazas, parks, malls, and bridges, among other spaces.
The Augmented Metro Research Project is an approach by ENIA Architects that aims to explore integrated infrastructure projects such as elevated metros in urban landscapes as well as the possibility of improving metro viaducts in India through their better integration into local communities. ENIA Architects launched the Augmented Metro Research initiative in 2020. As a patron of the Palladio Foundation, a Parisian think tank working on the future of cities, ENIAlab works to improve cities through improved infrastructure.
Earlier this year, the company achieved a groundbreaking feat by helping transform a waste dump into a depot that is now an integral part of the Pune Metro. The land served as a dumping ground for the past 30 years before being handed over to the Maharashtra Metro for development. Old waste was processed to recover 60% of the soil after segregation, which was used as backfill material for various works on the metro project. The mega project, constructed at a total cost of over Rs 11,400 crore, was designed as an elevated depot for the parking and maintenance of metro trains.
For the ENIA group, architectural research must cover a wide range of scales, from office furniture to territorial geography, and be oriented towards energy optimization, user comfort, uses and the fight against obsolescence. program of the living environment. Above all, architecture must comply with laws and regulations, regarding issues such as personal safety, security and the environment, and important conversations around renewable energy and conservation.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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