The evolution that these interactions have bought to our social, cultural and economical lives, have certainly extended to the architectural fabric of our cities as well. Various influences of digitization, globalization and changing development regulations have created a revolution in the way urban design, city planning and architecture is perceived today.
Numerous aspects such as government authorities, building codes, effects of the real estate industry, economic and social scenarios impact the skyline and architectural scenario of a city. While cities like Singapore and Hong Kong are densely populated and have given rise to many high-rise structures based on its topographical and geographical placement, cities like Dubai were developed with a different intention of creating an international center in the middle of a dessert. The book “Learning from Las Vegas” by Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour, explains the development of the famous tourist hub in Western America and how the city came about to be an outgrowth of a strip and plays a huge emphasis on signs and symbolism.
As against the world, cities in India have evolved over decades based on countless factors concerning cultures, traditions, climatic and socio-political impacts. For example, Delhi developed as the political center expressing the ‘power’ of the country with buildings of institutional galore segregated in one part of the city and residences spread out over acres of land with bungalow schemes and low-profile houses in the other parts. Mumbai, on the contrary, advanced as the financial capital of the country and experienced an outset of multi-storied buildings and high rises of commercial and residential nature, all prevailing together as intricate pieces of a puzzle.
Chandigarh, was meant to set an example for development in modern India, however it has now been left to merely stand as an exquisite example of the works of Le Corbusier. Today we see plans created for cities like Amravati and Chattisgarh trying to follow a new set of norms, to qualify to be a smart future city.
Mumbai has developed in an organic nature through its conception and this unplanned expansion has challenged the city in many ways. The city’s built fabric has balanced the burden of its souring real estate market, demand for commercial occupancy and high population density. Apart from these encounters, the city’s planning has been posed with issues of high rainfall, a constant existence of an informal sector and 70% of its inhabitants residing in slums. Refuting the negatives, we see many interesting macro level projects realized in the city such as the Bandra Kurla Complex, which evolved out of the shear need to create an international quality hub for its commercial demand. It has been built on standards of global excellence and today thrives as the commercial center of the city. On a micro level, the cities suburban scenario encounters many re-development projects of old buildings, converted into new through a process of rehousing taken up by private developers and agencies. The model of this process is a rather tedious one, which amalgamates the government policies through the local Municipal Authorities collaborating with the private authority. Changes in the development rules of the corporation’s rulebook, has bought much chaos to the construction and architectural industry contemplating the role of the architect. While a collaborative process between the government, the architect and the developer designed with a strategic methodology would rather lead to systematic development of the city. The question remains, Will the architecture of our cities ever be cohesive?
This collaborative process is what we, at Team One Architects, constantly attempt to bring about through all our works. The strength of an architectural firm lies in the convergence of innovation, eco-friendly design and strategic methodologies. This is precisely what we try to implement into all our commercial, urban planning as well as institutional projects. We have advanced through the years, keeping this unique approach as the core premise, constantly innovating, for our practice and continue to do so for contributing our bit to the changing trends in architecture.
Bharat S. Yamsanwar
Author is Founder & Principal Architect, Team One Architects.