Undoubtedly, the health crisis brought economic hardships for the design professionals, but it also had a positive impact of jolting everyone – the designers and the users of built spaces, to rethink the role of design. The traditional ways of operations are now being replaced with new ways of working. For the tech-shy design community, technology has become an ally and enabler. The design strategies are now focused on new social interaction ground rules.
Quoting Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Ayog, “It is not just important to enhance the number of urban planners in India but to also ensure a simultaneous improvement in the quality of planning.” Indeed, in the present pandemic scenario, the architecture & planning practices have come under scrutiny to figure out a consistent approach concentrating on public health, economic and technological developments.
DESIGNING FOR THE FUTURE
Living with the pandemic, the architecture now needs to be Covid –compliant catering to a heightened demand for green buildings wavering on the threshold between private and public space, indoors and outdoors.
Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairperson, National Institution for Transforming India had mentioned “The state of human settlements could become a silent crisis in motion. We need to urgently and significantly ramp up the present cumulative capacity of urban planning in the country to avoid the creeping and silent crisis that is overtaking human settlements.”
Taking a cue from the diminishing boundaries of interiors and the exteriors, swift urbanization is the first frontier to be crossed to provide a holistic development model for car-centric city planning followed by intelligent buildings and human-centric spaces. Veteran architect Krishna Rao Jaisim in an interview had called the profession of architecture an abstraction. “Architecture is the only profession that is not yours. It’s an abstraction with tremendous detail which defines the world of human
beings and the life they live, how they live and how they can express that life. We need to express the present in the future, and the future in the present by understanding the history, the culture and all the ethos that make the person, and what he wants to express.”
- Year 2021 saw our interactions with our homes evolving and increasing. Striking the balance between customized and multifunctional, private and family space became a tightrope for the designers. Physical barriers changed, touch less operations and personalized controls are becoming norm.
- Sustainability is now a default setting for all buildings. Material palette to technology, innovation and “new normal’ thinking is becoming a de rigueur in the world of design and architecture.
- Minimalistic architecture and locally available materials are finding favour with the clients as well as the designers.
- Redevelopment and retrofitting of projects is forming the bulk of architect’s portfolio this year. From housing and commercial spaces, pragmatic responses to a built environment and the prevalent health protocols are forming the crux of all matters of design and construct.
PROFESSION AT CROSSROADS
Covid-19 has impacted all industries and professions economically and design sector is no exception. Frequent lockdowns have stalled the on-going projects, new projects are far and few in-between and financial constraints call for entire reworking of projects from the architects.
This time has also taught architecture and allied industry the importance of smart working. From virtual meets, to Google earth site visits and use of advanced networked technology tools in design, the firms are optimizing resources and slashing overheads. This has also proved to be a good time for the design fraternity to update themselves with new skills and enhance their knowledge and develop new design vocabulary for the future.
IT WAS HIGH TIME THAT INDIAN DESIGN INDUSTRY MOVED AWAY FROM THE CONVENTIONAL METHODS TO NEWER WAYS OF OFFICE WORKING STYLES. YEAR 2021 PRESENTED THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A CHANGEOVER
As per research conducted by Assistant Professors, Faculty of Architecture & Ekistics, Jamia Millia Islamia Ar. Mohd Zaheer Abid and Dr Qamar Irshad, “The architects will now have different perspective for design, projects
and execution. Entrepreneurship will gain momentum as architecture firms/offices will prefer to outsource work. New business ventures associated with architecture practice may come up and from the voids which are created because of Covid-19 scenario, new type of jobs may come in future which didn’t existed earlier. The Covid-19 impact and minimum physical interaction is testing the flexibility of working of firms/companies and how they are adapting to new working style. Its impact can only be told by future.”
The direction of architectural profession will depend on whether this pandemic will be eradicated in near future or do we have to live with it. The current mixed method of physical and virtual working providing resource efficiency without hampering communication of quality of work will continue. New skills and techniques, technology knowhow and an IoT connected eco-system seems to be the future working.
THE NEW MINDSET
It is just a matter of perspective. Do you see a problem or an opportunity? While the future remains unforeseen, the architects have begun creating logical analogies based on the current situation. Putting their knowledge to use in the fight against the coronavirus, they are creating innovative solutions across the globe. They have showed ingenuity in the time of crisis and turned tables on the covid-struck world of design. And these are just some of the examples out of many around us.
Architect Akshat Bhatt, Principal, Architecture Discipline in Delhi, up cycled shipping containers and repurposed them as compact and portable mobile clinics for routine care, testing, and delivering access to medications.
A similar concept was implemented in Los Angeles, by architecture firm Gensler that reimagined space as large as the Staples Center and turned it into an overflow healthcare facility. In Boston, architecture, planning, and design firm Sasaki created pop-up COVID-safe, outdoor Wi-Fi-enabled “cool spots” for city residents. In Mumbai, to find long-term solutions for safety, designer Ashiesh Shah of Ashiesh Shah Architecture + Design created restaurant 108 Bungalow with five outdoor spaces that are open to the sky addressing the fresh ventilation need that has become so important.
CHANGE HAS BEEN POSITIVE
The collaborative approach for world-wide challenges will integrate all disciplines to provide a safer world for all.
Emergency architecture and Adaptive reuse of space to address immediate crisis will start taking center stage.
Rethinking the concept of home will bring in new configurations and new plans.
New design and material parameters and health-oriented building standards will find rigorous application.
Cities, the epicenter of transmission of diseases is being requisitioned to adapt to new realities of social distancing and mitigation of natural disaster risks.
With economy recovering and design firms getting back to work they are embracing new ways of working from technology to management, to create value.
TATA PIPES INNOVATION FOR PLUMBING APPLICATION
Due to the cementitious material present in the walls, the outer surface of Galvanized pipes tend to corrode over the years. Also, during the transportation and storage of pipes, there is chance of white rust formation due to humidity or moisture.
The conventional and cost-effective solution is application of chromate passivation on outer surface of galvanized pipes which is carcinogenic, but many companies do so. The other remedies are - Storage in dry controlled atmosphere after wrapping in Volatile Corrosion Inhibitor film which needs controlled atmosphere storage throughout the distribution value chain and could be very expensive. Second is painting of GI pipes which is partly in practice by end user as a post operation activity.
At TATA Pipes, we developed pre-painted galvanized pipes that can eliminate the basic dullness problem, eliminate post painting and also provide long durability in concealed environment and enhanced aesthetics. We developed a high corrosion-resistant organic coating formulation and an organic coating application technology. It includes applying a colour coating layer over the galvanized pipes consisting of two layers - Base layer with UV resistance properties and top layer for aesthetic and uniform colour.