Monday, December 31, 2018

THINKING ABOUT TECHNOLOGY



























The recent annual lecture series at KRVIA titled as “Discourse on Technology” concluded with the talk by keynote speaker Prof. Dhruv Raina. The keynote address was able to dissect through various pre-assumed concepts and framework on technology that most of the architectural institutes conveniently have been working around with. The technology needed much required impetus in terms of its embedded conditions, which in turn would blur the regimented boundaries. The keynote address not only able to meet the expectation of the theme but also allowed newer means of conceptualization.


The Keynote brings about some of the fundamental issues related to self and constructed understanding of technology. He began with idea of narrative that is being re-constructed through intellectual scaffolding, about science and technology, and they require analyzing, or needs re-examining the  philosophical pre-supposition in theories. The distinction between philosophy of science and philosophy of technology were articulated and described as follows:

philosophy of science is Meta theory that dissects or examines the nature of theory (realm and not domain) while philosophy of technology is complex as it has certain embedded condition of social life and requires further investigation.

The similar preoccupation with intellectual scaffolding that we have constructed about  the notion of high science, high technology and low technology. The fact that technical skills required for routine problems in rural setting would mean sociological domain of technology which cannot be categorized simply be a low tech. The Science has produces certain understanding of human activities with technology, similar to farmer would have knowledge about nature of soil is also an expert knowledge.

In early 1970 there has been debate about conceptual and interdisciplinary tools for new questions about nature of technology, and science that would allow revisit the older question. The questions were to think about problematic issues within intellectual scaffolding of myth. He argued further that thinking about technology is thinking about self. It starts with concrete problems; it’s about self and society. Concept of societies is different in various contexts. The solution in terms of technological responses is conception of self and society.

Relationship in narrative of technology and its philosophical premises that we construct has embedded the condition of life of technology. He enumerated the four narratives that have been created sets of opposite myths about technology which were un-critical myths and are polarized in nature.

i)                    Two myths about technology that is myth of autonomy “logic of technology is within technology” and other is myth of neutrality “technology is neutral and value free”. Within which he explains the Social determinist where the technology embodies social interest and values. (Marxism). We need to engage with limited nature of social conditions to evolve with appropriate technology. While technological determinism brings the realm of autonomy and creates value free adaptation.
ii)                   Divide between traditional techniques and modern technology. The traditional techniques is pre-modern and modern technology came about with industrial revolution with idea of new regime of production (techniques plus production plus social organization) technology travels many temporalities, betrays many culture and creates its own appropriateness.
iii)                 The discussion of Anti - Technologist and Pro-Technologist is within the domain of political thinking of society construct and Cultural appropriation of technology, how it has reshaped the society and naturalized itself. Technology of evolution is realigned with cultural trajectories. Technology is naturalized in some case (domesticated or cultural appropriation of technology) or in some case brings about social discontent of technology.
iv)                 Technology of obsolescence vs technology of novelty. Obsolesce is about theory of modernization and not technology per se. Technology is outdated and novelty is necessity is clearly the mythical distinction of tradition and modernity. The word obsolescence is embedded within modernity. The older technology contains means and ideas and they don’t die at any point, some idea can be re-drawn for new imagination. They are re-born in new form.

All the narrative needs interrogation, each narrative evokes particular relation of technology and society. We interrogate each of such relations so that it possibly opens up new window of trajectories and technological innovation.









Monday, October 22, 2018

KRVIA MASTERS: LOCAL AREA PLAN: 2018

SEMESTER III STUDIO 
(URBAN DESIGN + URBAN CONSERVATION)

The new paradigm called for planning practice to be “bottom up” and “people centred”, and not relies on economists, engineers and statisticians alone. The significance of anthropologists, sociologists, scholars of cultural studies and grassroots activists who were closer to people were brought within the folds of this new planning discourse. Institutionally, it called for a shift from state to non - state actors like community based organizations (CBOs) private voluntary organizations that were efficient, equitable, flexible and accountable.

The semester III studio organizes around the background knowledge and expertise gained through the previous studio works on mapping, representing, urban history, urban housing, urban landscaping and urban transportation

The studio intends to explore the concept of Communicative Action and what it would mean in the context of creating local area plans within local governments in consultation with local agencies. The idea of Communicative Action, as Jurgen Habermas describes it, is an important type of social action, in which the actors in society seek to reach common understanding and take coordinated actions by reasoned argument, consensus and cooperation rather than strategic action, strictly in pursuit of their own goals (Habermas, 1984, p.86).

The studio sites for the LAP studio were Mumbai GAOTHANS (Indigenous Urban Villages) within Municipal Corporations located within the city. The context of the city opens up the possibility of engaging with a different set of community groups who have unique set of relationship with the history of the city, its evolution and transformation. 

The studio working has been extremely challenging due to the diverse stake holders and aging focused group coupled with real estate pressure. The studio worked on the different scenarios and strategies to revive, restore and rejuvenate the majority of Gaothans within the flexible parameter of augmentation of infrastructure and amenities, heritage guidelines, re-adaptive framework. The policy guidelines and TDR structure makes the studio project in the most complex decision structure. The operative intervention models are limited but the studio enabled the learning process of such complex dynamics of heritage and real estate.









Tuesday, October 2, 2018

KRVIA BRIDGE STUDIO IX: HALL OF NATION | NEW DELHI


QUESTION OF BRIDGE STUDIO

The bridge studio is a space where the intellectual formalisation of practice begins to configure with the academic space or academic space begins to interact with practice domain. The practice domain is generally perceived as other side of academics with handful information of practical imperatives & awareness towards making of architecture that resonates its purpose & market that sterilises academics.  However practice in the context of bridge studio is imagine to be an act of design & construction of building that is deemed to be an academic exercise. 

If one looks other way around, only if, practice that reaches out to academics to experiment with the particular aspects of architecture that resonates the act of conflict, deemed unresolved. It is that precise conflict and unresolved condition finds academic space as laboratory for experimentation, where unresolved conflict can emerge in all tones of fresh imaginations, complex reality engages with comprehensible manifestation, architecture that traverse beyond time and tragic views.

QUESTION OF MODERN

The modern word is often limited in its definition when we talk within academics or general conversation as being departure from or repudiation of accepted norms. However the modern also brings about the question on philosophy on which shatters the boundary of orthodoxy and making the modern phenomena more transient and fleeting (continuously & simultaneously emerging). Even though the word modern & heritage are contradictory in terms, it brings about values that shaped thought and philosophy. Architecture of any given time is a product of thought to context. The knowledge reacting to the situation within which the encapsulated boundary of modern transverses and becomes history of ideas. It is this precise conflict that studio attempted to address, to deconstruct the implicit meaning of word modern and seek various possible reaction and manifestation.



































Wednesday, September 26, 2018

POSITIONING ARCHITECTURAL THEORY



The Architectural program is often bases its grounding on three prong approach to formulate comprehensive understanding on architecture discipline: namely, History & Theory | Technology | design. The discourse of architectural theory is generally clubbed with history & theory, with assumption that inquiry system of history or theory of history has same fundamental principles as architectural theory. The intent is to build the argument that theoretically architectural theory is a separate discipline. The history often needs navigation its discourses through linear/comparative timeline, causes, imperatives and historic-ism/ historiography or through social and cultural imperatives,  while architectural theory is a discussion, debate and writing on architectural trends, pattern or history of ideas including theory of history.  Architectural theory is an intellectual discipline locating self and society while history obscures the cult of individualism, bridging the discourses on knowledge and virtues within moral embankment. Architectural theory investigates the methods of critical, creative, interdisciplinary, and outward-facing research while history is inward journey of locating historic-ism logic.  If history brings critical objectivity of past or philosophy to study of fact for contemporary learning, the Architectural theory speculates on past and present simultaneously and influences the process of making of architectural pedagogy.  It’s an epistemological position as a necessary conditions that shapes the architectural theory.














Architectural theory reinforces the individual predilection regarding architectural thinking trajectories and allows re-conceptualization. It initiates and debate on various architectural text not only in linear timeline but also parallel or simultaneous time frame, develops position and critical thinking on the position. Architectural theory is a reading & translation of ideas. It brings about normative foundation (information on form and ideas) along with dialectical (ex. binary of thesis and anti-thesis) understanding.

If one addresses the architectural theory in the context of architectural issues, architectural history and architectural writing by architects, perhaps there would be greater possibility of re-imagining or re-locating paradigmatic shift in the architectural education. It is often seen that architectural theory borrows too much from across discipline for its debate and discussion; in the process it dilutes the architectural discourse as debating discipline as a learning medium.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

NON STRAIGHT FORWARD ARCHITECTURE: ROBERT VENTURI

CARTESIAN RIGOR VS COMPROMISED FRAGMENTATION


" This is no an easy book. It requires professional commitment and close visual attention, and is not for those architects who, lest they offend them, pluck out their eyes"

Vincent Scully
Professor Emiretus, Historian
Yale University

The architectural & theoretical work of Robert Venturi in American context can only be compared with the work Aldo Rossi's work in Europe. This is perhaps the time frame that various theoretician across the western globe began to raise the question on modern manifesto and controlled order of Cartesian system. If one looks at the time frame carefully, its the time of early sixties till late seventies where the architecture suffered from heavy handed of high modern & no-where manifestation in practice domain. In the same time the large pause and vaccum in academic domain filled with complex theoretical discourse on architecture and context. The "Imagebiliy" by Kevin Lynch along with Robert Venturi's treatise "Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture in 1960, while Aldo Rossi's work on "Architecture of the City" and Leon Krier's "Rational Architecture"in early seventies meant a lot to ponder about architecture and modernity. 

The Complexity and Contradiction brings about the cultural discourse as main theoretical ideals as compared to Architecture of the City, which brings about the question on Historic-ism.  Both the ideals raises not only the theoretical question within academic space but had far reaching consequences in practice domain as well. The word "Post Modernism" began to propel and re-interpreted in architecture across the globe, as some would define it as cultural logic of late capitalism while others would define in terms of culturally and historically relative construction of truth. 

The contribution of Robert Venturi's work (Theoretical and Buildings) is an important lesson when one begin to construct the architectural discourse in post-war era. It brings about rigorous pluralistic, thought provoking, experiential  and refreshing thought during the phase on intellectual fatigue after overdose modern representation of our everyday reality.

Robert Venturi brings about the chapter on contradiction juxtaposed, highlight the vivid ideas of tensions and scaling as an tectonic device in populist sense & as an contradiction adaptation process. The Lieb House is a classic example of scaling and popular image, bringing about parody to the mass consumption (Radio)

Image result for radio house by venturi

Credit: elseplace for all architecture, January 29, 2009

While the idea of memory, appropriation of parody and nostalgia is critically associated with the project " Ghost House", Franklin Benjamin square. The archaeological palimpsest of left over, formation of public plaza as neighborhood space are important manifestation while perceptual engagement in seeking clarity in the assemblage of  historical event with new functions makes the work far more critical than many of his contemporaries. 

Related image

Credit: Blog: Futility Closet


Much of Venturi's work remained in postmodern rethinking on function of art and architecture on one side while the role of an institutions in producing or reshaping the meaning (absolute to relative) on other side. The profession of architecture shall always remain in-debt to Robert Venturi's work and concerns.
Credit: Manoj Parmar | Faculty - Krvia










Wednesday, August 22, 2018

FALSE CREEK HOUSING: VANCOUVER

The history of False creek is slightly deceptive, as Britisher arrived with assumption that its going up to south via creek but ended in a delta. However the False creek divides the city from downtown to rest of the Vancouver. It has four interesting sides from the urban form point of view. The housing development along the creek has also taken diverse form due to its diverse DNA. The high rise dotting up the north side of the creek is an extension of downtown. The high rise apartment treats the water edge as an end of plot and begin of public space while one movers across the creek, the presence of low rise and high density housing is visible.

This low rise housing are strikingly exploratory in nature as each of group of housing cluster is shaped by its location and various aspects of micro pattern that emanates from simple human traits, almost out of Christopher Alexander's "Pattern Language" book. Each element of the housing, may it be entry, portico, kitchen garden, small bedroom opening, variety, roof light, access to water, activity node, degree of publicness, cluster size etc are clearly articulated in each scheme. The low rise treats the water edge as if its an extension of order from private to semi-public. Each housing within each cluster is topologically classifiable.

While the south east edge of the creek has Olympic village housing, bustling with commercial and retail activity in a large common plaza as an entry point from creek. The each block of mid rise housing has substantial density of units however the presence of regulated green spaces dilutes visual chaos.  The east and north edge brings the leisure and sports activity with high end housing almost merging with downtown. The west side is flanked by Granville island edge with mixed use development.

Due to the diverse housing form across the edge, the creek offers variety of pauses and energised situation and makes it the most popular urban place.





























LUCKNOW: CULTURE, PLACE, BRANDING & ACTIVITISM

The recently published book titled “Lucknow: Culture, Place, Branding & Activitism” is a scholastic urban research work on contem...