Saturday, October 5, 2019

REFLECTIVE TEXT & ARCHITECTURAL PARADIGM


The history of built architecture has produced tremendous amount of knowledge, validating and criticizing their existence, however the need to push such knowledge within the multi-discipline terrain for understanding and locating inter-relationship is equally important and valid one. Architectural theory has representational and didactic responsibility especially when the contemporary architecture is being subjected to cultural discourses and urban discourses for its validation. Such subject of inquiry leads to the argument of need of new agendas, newer theoretical paradigms, multi-layered mode of critical analysis and plural discourses. The trends of architectural discourses are changing in global conversation and such discourses are often gets re-invented with new trajectories with radical tendencies. 

The “Reflective Text and Architectural Paradigm” intends to examine architectural paradigms through reflective text that has been operative metaphors of time, along with the philosophies that existed somewhere in the history. How such metaphors evolved, what shaped them, what is the nature of historicity and historic-ism that prevailed to have such metaphors as a reflection of time. 

The elective course at Krvia explores the idea reflective text of dominant school of thought subjecting to comparative understanding with philosophical domain. The critical agenda expands into the understanding of reflexivity. How an individual/ institutional high or low reflexivity towards specific aspects of architecture is negotiated with context and what probable outcome that were necessitated as an imperative. 

  • Disobedient architectural form and Hegel text on thesis and anti-thesis
  • Functionalism and Situationist Paradigm of emotional relationship between humans and objects, design and behavior & platonic truth
  • Rationalism and Anarchic expressionist agenda (impulses) and Heidegger’s question on ontology.
  • Imaginist : Mass production and aesthetic cleansing  and Manfredo Tafuri “Architecture and Utopia
  • Expressionist: Brick wants to be an arch and Saussure Semantics
  • Impressionist: Modern architecture is not a style, it's an attitude and Massimo Cacciari, Architecture and Nihilism
  • Form must have content, and that content must be linked with nature and reading of Jean- Paul Satre on existentialism Function influence but does not dictate form & reading of David Hume Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals
  • Less is Bore: Post-Modernist and the fun iconography and anti-design eclecticism, casual culture and intellectual fatigue, consumerism and reading on Postmodern Semiotics: Material Culture and the Forms of Postmodern Life by Mark Gottdiener
The each module is responded with larger architectural question. At the end of the module each individual develops six architectural questions and brings about the inter-relationships or influential dependencies, so as to formulate larger architectural concern, question and discourse. The resultant architectural question is represented with representational graphics.


















Sunday, September 15, 2019

METAPHORS AND MODERNITY: HOUSES






Houses have always remained as theoretical excursions medium to set new cannons for contemporary Architecture. The house has been re-invented number of times as one scan through the history of architecture. The act of re-invention of the house is perhaps a method of deactivating the dogmatic conditions with fresher metaphor towards contemporary life. The imagination of house oscillates between most material conditions to object of metaphor while contemporary life is an intellectual dialectic between imagination and reason or the material negotiation between two extremes conditions. 

The amount of architectural knowledge that has been built around, along with the broad theoretical speculation and metaphors within the history of houses cannot be summarized within a volume but can perhaps be illustrated with important and influential idiosyncratic philosophies, constantly operative like Ferris wheel, with changing trajectories and re-inventing itself. The broad three philosophies of design take its own trajectories  and get re-invented in various forms



The architecture of houses always dealt with the duality of transfer of form Vs. concern for the program. The harder the contrast the more it sets the challenge to contemporary living. The rationality & vitality of the program remained constant victims for seeking new language in Architecture.



Adolf Loos's work set away from formalist tendencies of form to plan in space. The sequencing of spaces was the determinant factor of organizing house programs. The ornamentation and crime is a re-invention of de-adornment of form through raum plan (the plan of volumes). The raum plan sets the new norms of conceptualization of modern life and modern means of adornment and engagement of space. 

   

House as a simple appliance was an operative metaphor, Bauhaus sets new experiment with houses as a medium for systematic rational research into the formal, technical and economic field. It was felt that the derivation of form is an act of understanding its natural functions and limitations. Such research into the nature of material and objects led to an understanding that architectural forms can emerge from a determined consideration of all the modern methods of production and construction. The formal handling of volumes nevertheless convincingly demonstrates the aesthetic presence in the reduction of a cube



Nature was too material, too individual, universal art allowed only for abstract composition, as an equilibrium of position and weight of colour. The rigorous rejection of all representational references, including the cubist and purist, led to collate the art and architecture in newer terrain. The De Stijl was concerned with the calculated of unequal masses in an anti-cubist system which exploded the closed contours of the volumetric body. The de-composition of cube led to the de-composition of program as universal & flexible, anti-dogmatic manifestation.



The re-invention of house “Machine for Living” became metaphor of modern life. The minimum form and maximum function sets new alignment to the aesthetic of house form. The modern life, the world of activity has created own functional objects, where relationships are temporary but position of objects became central to everyday living. A house is a machine for living in, it acquires clean air, full sunlight, and beauty in harmonious proportions and exaggerated sequencing of program.























The de-composition of cube also became central to tectonic operation for the quest of space itself as metaphor. The space that is de-aligned from anthropocentric or representational concerns and results in a syntactic model of interrelation without external reference. It has dialectic relation between writing

(transformation ) and reading (implicit and explicit relation. It also represents a radical confession of faith in an autonomous architecture, which entirely frees itself from criteria of habitability, strangely congenial with the emerging time of our living pattern in contemporary cities.


Photo Credit: Manoj Parmar Architects









Friday, August 9, 2019

COMPOSITION OF URBAN THEORY


The blog attempts to delineate the main ideas and methods of urban theories, that have influenced urban academics and practice. It helps to familiarize with the influential classical urban theories and contemporary urban paradigms, its principles, conceptual and physical models, analytical methods. In turn, it shall enable the research with critical review and interpretation of key urban texts, construct and present urban debate, familiarize with related key literature and other sources of knowledge; and use basic conceptual frameworks for Urban arguments. It is critically imperative to be informed with the theoretical position and time that has caused the situation, their interrelationships, spheres of influence.











Wednesday, July 31, 2019

REPRESENTING MEASURE DRAWINGS



The act of making drawings is central to architectural thinking. If one looks back into the renaissance history, the invention of perspective has a tremendous impact on the conceptualization of anthropocentric architecture. The renaissance painter also produced the art form that resonated with the spirit of the time. The drawings are an interface between imagined worlds departing from the existing one. The act of representation conceptualizes the projected reality, armed with interpretative capabilities. The history of architecture exemplifies the act of representation as a bold departure from the existing plethora of objectification. The development of successive domes to cover large space has systematically evolved in representing the ideas from history and not simply by making measured drawings. The dome constructed with packed tufa stone in the pantheon on a circular plan has been successively represented to produce dome with pendentives and orthogonal geometry.

The central argument here is questioning the need for measured drawings as a medium enough for the prime acquisition of fundamental knowledge on architecture & the culture and values system of the past?. Even the answer is yes then the question of such knowledge for architectural thinking/ architectural context learning as a projected reality is highly questionable on the ground that architecture can’t be reduced to the sum of fetishized parts put to gather. The argument gets even sharper when one brings the discourse of representation in the making of measure drawings.  It seems so natural, so inherently necessary to raise the questions as the nature of measure drawings are so obvious, so predictive because it has a role in the making of architecture.

The current medium of measure drawings is holding the making of measure drawings in a particular way, which is so intimate and becomes passive recipients of imagination in its production, especially it lacks syntactical argument. The act that enables the understanding of tactile and tectonic argument as an imagined and constructed past for contemplation is brutally obscured in the act of fetishizing measure drawing. In addition to that, the measure drawings are often fascinated by fetishism which in turn manages its enigmatic distance between reality and its projection. The technique of drawings also has a life span, it has an ability of projection. The work of Bernini, Bramante or Andrea Palladio in the classical era or  Le Corbusier,  James Sterling, Peter Eisenman of our time, are few who have projected a reality with the act of representing past with peculiarities and manage to evolved with architecture that projects, speculates and does not restrain.

The measure drawings are done so frequently by almost all the institutions and almost in the similar template that it obliterates the process of getting a distant view or conscious awareness about the broader context of possibilities of representation and historical narratives. As a result it flattens the tactile or the syntactical argument and it remains either in the domain of routine technology (flat skills with no speculative ideation) or object fetishism.

The measured drawings are conventionalized over a period of time with a parochial and narrow agenda. It needs to engage the agenda of revelation and discovery of newer possibilities and it can happen only through a grasp of dialectics between historicity and its contemplation towards contemporary architectural paradigm. The current measure drawings are based on descriptive geometry and must take steps towards representative paradigmatic tools.

Drawing Credit: KRVIA | Study Tour |Braj | 2018
The Braj documentation attempted to represent the sacred and ritual narratives through study process at KRVIA

Monday, July 22, 2019

KRVIA Masters + BreUCom (Erasmus+ program) | Urban Resilience


Quality of life is an idea that is often being discussed in various studies as a response to many issues and complexities that have recently emerged within our cities in the process of transformation. Along with that, the quality of life is also connected with the question of vulnerability and resilience. The city of Mumbai, as region at large, is vulnerable to projected climate change related disaster within given social, economic and environmental stressed conditions coupled with population growth, informal housing, and unfair land distribution & planning mechanism. In particular, the environmental issues and quality of urban living are the most recent debate that engages the planning and philosophical dimensions as methodological questions within academia. Therefore, the academic interest, directed within the urban realm are often tending towards urban development as an imagination, method as a toolkit that it employs while system as an urban component that get affected in the process. 


The question of resilience and sustainability is about addressing the urban system (the question of sustainability at building level is climatology) where KRVIA Masters Studio can begin to develop the framework as a vision for comprehensive understanding of environmental / social / economic equities with help of following areas of case studies & reseach: 

Assess the development plan to identify the key challenges -  Planning & Urban Resilience ·         

Identify the various urban systems (environment & ecology, community & livelihood, network & mobility) that are affected by key challenges -  Urban Systems & Urban Resilience

Stimulate the communities and stake holders - Participatory Planning & Urban Resilience

·       Theoretical and contextual framework for urban resilience -  Urban Theory & Urban Resilience

·   Institutional and administrative structure for urban resilience management - Policy & Urban Resilience

Each of the sub-set can be formulated as an electives & module based studio at the level of Semester III, within the tenure of BreuCom. The case studies could be supported by studio sites and findings (with due credit to KRVIA Masters) with help of extensive use GIS mapping method.

As a part of case study, it is necessary to define the nature of urban system that shall be researched upon, with methodological position, which in turn shall able to direct the studio methods and toolkit that are necessary to work around with.  With BreuCom approach to master’s studio and electives, it is expected to study and unfold the relationships among various influencing factors that articulate the urban resilience. It is also expected that BreuCom shall enable the students to carry out the thesis research work with improved and articulated areas of urban resilience, incorporating the economic development plans, public policies, improvement and guidelines for environmental protection, development of social and economic program with fresh approach to participatory planning and objective guidelines for sustainability.


PERI-URBAN OF MUMBAI CITY



HISTORIC CORE OF MUMBAI CITY


HISTORIC CORE OF JODHPUR CITY


GAZDHAR BANDH (SLUM) OF MUMBAI CITY


Monday, June 17, 2019

KRVIA MASTERS THESIS 2019 - PEDAGOGIC TRAJECTORIES

The masters thesis is about examination of either coordinated or unexplored coordinates of relation among various processes and spatial forms that are reproduced but not coherently articulated in urbanity at large. The political mobilization, economic transformation, ecological vulnerabilities, historic core and socio-cultural formation are some of the area of investigation as they are central to the making and shaping of cities. It it true that no single discipline can lay a claim on understanding of cities hence it requires wider perspective or trans-disciplinary methods for analysis and synthesis. 

In the era of increasing complexities of global networking in various realms, the exchange of knowledge and among diverse cultures has resulted into denser network of forces within our cities and also transforming our cities in an unprecedented pattern and pace. Under such circumstances the role of urban design and urban conservation is also becoming complex disciplines. Both the discipline are facing issues of historicity, socio-economic sustenance, culture of cities, environment and ecological threats, social equity, all at the same time. 

The KRVIA masters thesis's of 2019 has strove to articulate  urban transformation through some of the issues that are contemporary in nature yet embedded within the peculiarities of Indian cities. The SIX theses  are representative of large concern (History | Ecology | Public Realm | Collective) that has emerged over a period of ten years of masters program.

CASE I: LIVING HERITAGE AND CULTURAL LANDSCAPE

Most of the Built Heritage that surrounds us, provides the backdrop for our daily lives and indicates the vast exchange of knowledge, culture, traditions being practiced and experimented over a time. The Built Heritage are just the physical aspect, but what makes it important are the activities that adds a dimension of a life to it making it as ‘Living Heritage’. Due to loss in activity for which building is meant for, the building certainly losses its essence. Wai is a historical town dotted with numerous Temples, Wadas, Bajarpeth within its fabric, accompanied with the seven ghats along Sacred river Krishna which makes Wai, a Cultural Landscape. But what assigns a distinct character to the town are the activities that prevail within these components making this town as a Living Heritage. 

The thesis looks into identification of heritage components where the activities themselves make the setting as Living Heritage. And integrating them through framework of Historic Urban Landscape to establish the link between the components.



CASE II:  DECIPHERING PLURALITY AND PUBLIC REALM

This thesis intents to explore this phenomenon of plurality through an interpretivist approach. It deciphers the phenomenon through an analytical framework. This framework was a derivative of personal experiences and literature reviews which was then tested in two cases to derive the plurality configuration index. The inferences from the comparative analysis were demonstrated on site to exhibit the settings necessary for encouraging plurality – a different and unbiased way to befit the contemporary urban paradigms of development and modernity. By formulating guidelines and policies to support, instigate and encourage plurality, the thesis aims to allow other ways of being urban and making new kinds of urban futures which are diverse and a product of the dynamic way of life of people. The plurality theory thus draws inspiration from the complexity and diversity of city life and urban experiences; without a Western bias and focus on contextual landscapes of the South.



CASE III ROLE OF HERITAGE FABRIC IN CONTEMPORARY TIME: SURAT

This thesis will focus on preserving the built heritage of the city, it will encourage cultural practices as the structures will be restored and will in turn preserve the identity of the city. The heritage structures of a city are the evidence of the way a city have evolved and they play a significant role in the cultural significant of the city. They are also result of different ethnic groups that move in the city and the culture they bring with them. But as city evolves these structures are usually brought down to make new modern structures. Thus the city is destroying the sole identity which played important role in forming the city in the first place. So the thesis will be based on how these structures located in different settings can be used for compatible new use with some minor modifications. 



CASE IV INTEGRATION OF HISTORIC NAHAR SYSTEM & PUBLIC REALM: AURANGABAD

In Indian context, people have always had a relationship with waterfront, water systems and public spaces due to our cultural and social connections with these places. To study this relationship of water and public realm the city of Aurangabad has been taken as a case. The thesis research has focused on the study of the historic water system and the public realm created by it. The city has always had a unique relationship with water as there was no major source for water supply, a network of underground aqueduct was created. These generated certain public realm in the city where water was an active part whereas now it had become a passive part. With the urbanization process these connections are changing,
By studying the historic development of the city with the help of its water system certain public realm have been identified and their current condition have been studied. Based on these strategies have been derived to revive, rejuvenate and recreate connections between water, public realm and built form.




CASE V ECOLOGICALLY INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT : NAINA CITY.

The Indian cities are urbanizing at a rapid pace and the number of Greenfield development and urban sprawl have caused massive pressure on our environment. Such developments need to become more environmentally sensitive and responsible to avoid the loss of the values; also have an inclusionary planning process through which the ecological damage could be at its minimal. As new developments give us an opportunity to avoid the mistakes we have already committed in our old cities and build a city that is more sustainable and also cater for the needs of the future generations. This approach could form as one of the model for the future development of cities in an inclusionary way. The site selected for the research work is NAINA (Navi Mumbai airport influenced notified area) city, which constitutes of large areas of ecologically sensitive zones within its boundary and falls along the path of the Western Ghats and majorly with the kind of insensitive development being undergone for the NMIA site needs immediate attention. This study would help in demarcating sensitive zones that need to be conserved, zones that can be used for recreational activities and the ones that can be urbanized. And also by creating an interconnected systems of greens and blues to enrich the overall ecology of the region by providing appropriate urban design strategies and interventions that are inclusive and sustainable enough for the future of the city.

CASE VI: SPLINTERING URBANISM: PALLAVA CITY

Urban splintering is a phenomenon which is defined in two ways: 1) as a process; the action of breaking or separating into fragments and 2) the separation into parts which form new urban structures. The city becomes a network of connected places. Intensive insertion of infrastructure devices into the city fabric result in the separation of places and people. The thesis is based on the concept that clearly states the separation of places and people that creates a new urban form (gated communities). It reveals how new technologies and privatized systems of infrastructure provision like telecommunication, highways, urban streets are supporting the splintering of cities and how urban form changes within the cities. The Concept of NETWORK- PEOPLE- URBAN FORM forms splinters. The development of gated societies creates problems for adjacent neighbourhoods which results in spatial inequalities.







Friday, June 7, 2019

FORM BASED CODES: HOUSING THESIS 2019

As Amos Rappoport (1969) suggested, " if provision of shelter is the passive function of the house, then its positive purpose is the creation of an environment best suited to the way of life of people as social unit of space"

It brings about the fundamental questions on what finally decides the form of dwelling unit, their relationships, and quality of urban housing life. In recent architectural research and exploration it is very obvious that there has been attempt to explore attitude towards housing either in terms of high density and low rise as a research objects to recreate nostalgic past while some are market driven utopian in the imagination, attempting to project ideality. The result of such diverse but unchecked concerns brings about two kind of manifestation, one that is subservience to market needs in narcissistic manner and one that brings about evasive & dissident landscape to our the city.

The neighborhoods are important crucible for collective societal priorities and formation of social and cultural territories. These aspects are reflected in some of the earlier planned neighborhood across the cities, namely Parsi Colony, Hindu Colony, Shivaji Park, LIC colony etc. These examples have brings about the firm quality of urban livability (functional, social, cultural etc). The thesis attempted to articulate such quality or attributes from case studies and bring about spatial quality through relationship between building to building, building to people, building to landscape, landscape to context. These criteria are systematical analyzed and represented diagrammatically as an important form based codes for future development (redevelopment). The form based codes can be practiced either at individual building level or at cluster of several buildings or at urban scale, which eventually form a soft urban design statement, results into diverse yet unified manifestation addressing the urban livability codes.

AUTHORS STATEMENT: (KRVIA - VYOMA POPAT B.Arch Thesis)
1) Urban Scale :
Within the original precinct, many clusters have already changed to that limit that we cant get back the character, however there is a zone right at the center, that has been identified which more or less retains the original character of the precinct. So, for the design stage I would be explore in  to this zone for the urban level study, where the design approach shall be demonstrated ( in the form of codes & regulations). For the same, it would be dealing with FSI, the built density/person , the amount of open spaces / person.  

The form based codes are ground cover, setbacks, heights, sections, form of the building, amalgamation, building use, building context (edge, center, side, front etc), activities

2) Macro Scale : 
The design demonstration shall be carried out at three scales.

- At area level where certain codes are practiced based on the situation of the existing building, its context and size of plots.
- At the street level where codes are determined by nature of social  and economic activities are identified from existing typologies
- At cluster level where codes are demonstrated through ground cover, heights, sections and form.

It is expected that all three conditions are explored at various phases and situations so that the question of urban form is in evolution and able to adjust and change as required.









IMAGE CREDIT: VYOMA POPAT

Saturday, May 18, 2019

PURIST TECHNOCRAT: I.M PEI


Kenneth Framton, in his book on "A Critical History, Modern Architecture", in chapter 4 (Place, Production & Scenography, International Theory and Practice since 1962) ,he discussed the imaginative interpretation of Fuller's  project on geodesic domes, Kikutake Marine City, Isozaki Gunma Perfectual Meuseum, Rogers & Pianos Pompidu Center & Fosters Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank. Within the chapter there is no mention of I.M.Pei's work though. However its very apparent from the chapter content that he has argued the advent of technocratic utopia as late modernist avant garde. It is this fundamental obsession led many architects producing shimmering high aesthetic, high tech architecture.The architecture of I.M. Pei resonates the similar traits in architecture, but reducing codes and quotations to scintillating forms in populist sense. It was his idiosyncratic obsessions, partly due to his training and partly due to the late modernist ideological emptiness, seeking variations in terms of modern or no modern (post modern). He remained subservient to modernist ideology (modern forms of production). His building managed to establish the fresh dialogue with what is popular yet moderately critical. During his practice he saw various shades of architectural production yet continued to remain saviour of modernism.  

His work, especially "The East Building of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC"  showed modernist manifesto with rather soft brutal sense. The architecture of the building is like giant sculpture, boldly scooped out of monolith. The building echos the spirit of purist modern architecture of the west. The Bank of China tower is an another example of purist attempting to depict the consumerist skin through dynamic structural system and architectural system. The Luce memorial Chapel in Taichung, Taiwan, boldly explores the structure and metaphors of praying hand. The architecture is a classic example of high tech and low key in manifestation (often desirable). This projects are in sharp contrast to his contemporaries (global practice) especially Richard Rogers and Norman Foster, who continued to absorb into high technology and high key manifestation.

It wouldn't be slightly exaggeration to state that the architecture has lost its last surviving modernist. Especially in the era of architecture struggling for its position, from metabolism, productivism to post modernism, he could validate his architecture through restrained sense (un-realizable Utopian projections, validation through formal exorcism or cultural rhetorism).




Photo Source: www.theguardian.com






















Photo Credit: Manoj Parmar Architects

REFLECTIVE TEXT & ARCHITECTURAL PARADIGM

The history of built architecture has produced tremendous amount of knowledge, validating and criticizing their existence, howeve...