How often do we come across the word ‘Architecture’ in our everyday lives? Probably not much, but architecture is an entity which plays a significant role in all of our lives. Imagine standing in an open ground. Little do we realize that this space could potentially be transformed into a breath taking and calm resort where you could enjoy yourself by surrendering to the tranquillity of the beautiful environment. That same place could even be morphed into a dreaded prison where absolutely no one, not even in their wildest dreams would wanna go. The immense power of architecture, lies in it’s capabilities of transforming any space into heaven or hell hence influnence it’s resident’s well-being.
Architecture is a field that has the power to reshape the entire profile of the world. It is a stream that sets its goals towards efficient functional space planning and better-quality environment provision which are essential in today’s world. But sadly, in a country like India, not much awareness has been created among the public for the indispensable need of architecture. Most of the time civil engineers take up the role of architect only to cut down cost and end up executing a project without proper space planning. Due to this exact factor the general public are pinned to having the mindset that “architecture is a luxury to afford”.
It is not fair to only blame people for their ignorance. The community of architects also have their equal responsibility for such a mindset. Most of the architectural firms put down certain conditions and requirements to be met before they accept any project. For instance, many of these firms set a minimum area requirement and do not accept projects with area below this threshold. The surprising fact is that these minimum area requirements lie in a region that is simply not affordable for middle-class people. Huge consultation fee and as well as construction costs are responsible for the notion that “Architecture is a luxury that is simply not affordable”.
But looking onto the practical side of the story, the absence of architecture right from the planning of megacities to the construction of a cottage, has had a major impact especially in a developing country like India. For example, due to the poor city planning ,Chennai, has fallen victim to floods and droughts from time to time. These disasters have created a major loss in the livelihood of the people and caused financial losses for the government. This again leads to disagreements between the government and general public and causes dismay in the hearts of the people. Until proper architecutral plan is executed for the city, it will always be on the brink of destruction from these natual calamities.
Therefore it is high time the concept of “Architecture for Everyone” to be introduced. Charles Correa , a prominent architect, has taken up this concept and has executed his marvellous works for the betterment of the society. His works for the Belapur incremental housing is significant and has been appreciated for its innovative demonstration of how high densities could be achieved with low rise courtyard homes built with simple materials. This has been considered as a model housing and as a solution for places like Dharavi. A functional, innovative yet simple design was been considered for the execution of this project. 550 families were accommodated in a meagre area of just 6 acres. Each of these families was given an individual house which could be expanded according to their needs, a private community courtyard and a very well maintained electrical and water supply. The design as a whole was very flexible and met the requirements of the people.
Taking this as an ideal example, more and more architects should come forward and take up projects irrespective of the area, the income group or the locality. The importance of architecture for each and every space in a environment has to echo in the minds of every architect and he/she should make sure to adhere to the same. As a budding architect, I would like to encourage all my peers who would be the future pillars of tomorrow to understand the true meaning of architecture and realise it’s crucial need for the present world. The general public on the other hand must not rule out architecture as a luxury and an aesthetic addition but should try viewing it as an integral factor in the creation of spaces.