Diary of Design Thoughts

Design Thoughts

Diary of Design Thoughts

Below are some design thoughts written in my diaries over the years.

December 2012 - Emerging Pattern -The emerging global pattern is towards less material where footprint is less and design is slim. Its not about compartments and big volumes but about integrating parts into compact whole. What results is simplicity of expression.

June 2013 - On design of contemporary products -  ones sees the design of the mouse and feels its sleekness, designed to fit into human hand. The contemporary form is compact, flowing and with dynamic lines. These needs to be interpreted in our architecture to align with the sensibilities of the present time and people.

June 2013 - New Directions -The new directions of architecture needs to align with contemporary time and the products  that the present era makes. Its about the flow, continuity, about a whole and monolithic formation. Its about a light footprint and about space over matter. Its about an architecture where land and habitat becomes one and an organic continuity prevails. The architects needs to understand the language of contemporary products. These designs are smart, organic forms, sleek and dynamic, consuming less matter and adapting to human form.

October 2013 - On perfection in the art of dance - Perfection is not in symmetry or a rigid form or frigid move, which can be anticipated but in informality, looseness, effortless movement. This is something natural, that allows imprecision and this enchants. This is the evolution of art from a rigid formation to a more intuitive one, something which is the essence of nature.How does one as an architect understand and interpret informality, flow and allow nature and let things happen? How does one make an architecture that is more alive?

February 2014 - Information Junk- There is too much junk in the form of information, emails, social media etc. Humans needs to isolate and connect with themselves. The virtual world has taken over. The role of an architect is not to just interpret these characteristics but see the larger concerns. To address and counteract the vices and respond to the positive aspects of our time.

November 2014 - Towards a qualitative design process  - To come to qualitative designs, time needs to given for explorations  and the leader and his team needs to bring enthusiasm. The design process can be in cycles to address layers or different aspects of designs.The different individual involved in the building whether other designers, consultants, construction agencies also need to be selected carefully and kept motivated. Designs of higher standards needs to have rationale, be imaginative, innovative and address issues. Construction precision is also essential in a country like India where an effort has to be made to achieve this. An architect needs to create conducive environment for creativity, encourage ideas, find uninterrupted time for creative process.

January 2016 - Place specific design - This can be at a conceptual level where one understands and interpret the cultural nuances and climate of that place and then it can be a material level where the tectonics of architecture is through use of local materials. The use of natural materials give a timeless quality to architecture but use of natural materials available in that place give a rootedness, relevance and characteristic flavour. 

March 2016 - On step wells of Gujarat - Step wells was a way for the community to use ground water for drinking. The open water bodies around the well collected rain water and recharged ground water. Step wells also were meeting and interaction places for women. This psychological need for people to gather and interact needs to be weaved into urban spaces. The traditional cities had it through step wells, chowks and otlas along the street. Step wells was about water as natural element integrated into architecture. It was a celebration of utilization of a natural element into an expressive architecture.

June 2017 - On Design Process - Explorations needs to be a vital part of a design process, where objectively one explores contextual conditions and find appropriate solutions. Also its about coming to specific unique solutions where each project is unique in terms of spatial experience alongwith practical solutions preferred by the user. In general the aesthetics and the pragmatic needs to be balanced in any design if it is to be good enough.

July 2017- A thought on Beauty - In the natural world, the patterns of creation and survival for existence is beauty itself. Beauty is integral and not a redundant layer.

August 2017 - Architect as a medium - The more an architect can come out his personal preference and flow with specific nuances of place, purpose and people ,the greater is the architect for then he is a true medium, a natural extension of the universal intelligence and his creation is an organic continuation of the natural world.

August 2017 - Indian art and architecture - Indian art and architecture is about symbols,sensory stimulation and is not primarily cerebral. Indian movies is about emotions, and are melodrama and heart oriented. How can architecture reflect this ? Should it value the existing, be inclusive, accepting of the surrounding and natural elements, should it be inclusive of user’s preference. Its the nature of the mind to eliminates but of the heart to accept and include.Its not about making happen but about letting happen. Its not about enforcing but about flowing. 

August 2017 - On Process and Product - The design process is just as vital as the final product. In the process is the honest glimpse of the way towards the product. To enrich the process is to enrich the final outcome. A richer process allows explorations, refinement, sketches, mock ups, reflections, discussions that help evolve the final design. And to document these is to value 'the way'

August 2017 - On Architect's role - An  architect needs to rise, go beyond an individual practice to encompass larger concerns, of nourishing and inspiring the young talent, of sharing observations and thoughts to larger fraternity, of addressing design concerns of global relevance.

August 2017 - Connections - Sitting in the verandah early morning, listening to the chirping birds, feeling the mist in the air, enjoying the glimpse of green foliage is a beautiful experience. Its a taste of biodiversity and one is connected to the richness of nature and feels a part of natural existence. Human needs to make an effort to take time out to reconnect with healing qualities of natural world. As an architect, It is a must be our endeavor to develop such that these experiences become a part of dwelling. It is not withdrawing from the natural elements, it is connecting with these elements. The dwelling then is an organic continuity. 

August 2017 - Give and take - A worth while existence is when an individual intensifies giving and also has abilities to receive.To receive clues, opportunities and be open for the beautiful experiences life has to offer. Giving is more about allowing your skills to be used for mankind, allowing opportunities of growth for others and thereby see a larger cause of one’s existence.

July 2018 - Getting rooted - If one needs to reach higher they must find deeper roots, if one’s design needs to find global relevance then one needs to question the context, the situations, the issues where and for whom is designing.

July 2018 - Architecture - our way - Our architecture needs to be natural and rooted as if form and surrounding space coexist and surrounding weaves its way into the form. The environment would be alive and enriched because the sun comes in, the wind blows through it, earth’s flora blossoms and sways within it, water flows through it. This is the architecture for the senses and the soul. If the western art and architecture is about precision, Indian architecture is about tolerance and individuality. A western symphony is about all individuals strictly adhering to a format, while Indian classical music allows freedom of individual expressions within a larger framework. Indian art is also about craft,  which includes the human touch, individual choices and inaccuracies as well.

August 2018 - What could be the future directions for Architecture? - Is it about less material and more space and utility, like the formations of nature. Is it about buildings as a living breathing entity that weathers and modulates with seasons and time. Is it about utilizing renewable resources and having a lighter footprint, is it about including the five elements and merging with nature, is it about using advanced technology, is it about using local resource and crafts?   

September 2018 -The new era - A 100 years back, it was about industrialization, about mass production, about homogeneous environment emerging as the new order. The 21st century is about customization, about individual preferences and uniqueness, its about realizing our natural qualities to see this as a organic extension of the universe that is so full of individuality.To find an interpretation in architecture is to understand cultural nuances, local places and the individual as well and to find a expression appropriate and relevant as if a natural outcome. Its not about enforcing but rather understanding and flowing.

November 2018 - On regional architecture - It would be about questioning understanding local patterns, living ways, climatic responses in vernacular architecture, it is about finding expression, a pattern to dwell harmoniously , naturally as if dwelling is extension of the land like the local flora. Its important to find typology and that would naturally vary with changing regions whether in cold climate of Kashmir or hot climate of Rajasthan or tropical climate of Kerala. Along with climate, its also the cultural and living patterns and so organically its continuity what is relevant. An Architect needs to see a broader context and not just the immediate context so in a place like Ahmedabad , its about understanding the hot and arid climate and vernacular ways that people have developed in the buildings here. The stark openings and introvert nature of buildings, its about finding      constants in projects that one does here and find variation as per user and immediate context. Vernacular dwellings have a distinct character, and that is what contemporary architecture needs to absorb and find contemporary interpretations, so its not about random composition or individual fantasy but needs to be ‘Sahaj’. When this happens there will be something natural, whereby architect is a versatile medium that flows with the changing region and resulting works will be less uniform and more varied.

December 2019 - Architecture as a sensorial experience - In these times, architecture has become more visual., more one dimensional because of our communication medium, but architecture is sensorial involving all senses, the touch, the smell, the sounds, all form a part of a richer experience of a place. Can we have roughness and contrast of textures that respond to the natural light, that encourage one to touch and feel, can architecture be inclusive of local flora that allows different sounds to be part of a place. This way it is more holistic and engaging.