Covid-19 pandemic has challenged everyone and it has changed the behaviour of the people. The new normal is evolving at a rapid pace, bringing changes in attitudes and behaviours. According to Deben Moza, Executive Director- Head of Project Management Services, Kinght Frank India, “We had some great principles of design and architecture in India which somehow we just forgot and started blindly following the West however, western countries are very different from India in climate, lifestyle and topography, In pandemic, the realization came quick and sharp that we need to build in sync with nature. Building smart means building with sustainable eco-friendly practices.”
JP Agrawal, Director, Agrawal and Agrawal Architects said, “We need to collectively rethink on the challenges going forward and the architects must think of novel ways of designing as well as innovative uses of technology to enable smart and sustainable developments for the future.”
Namrata Mehra, Head of Design & Customer Centricity, Vikhroli, Lead- Sustainability, Godrej Properties feels pandemic has been an opportunity for a lot of homebuyers to rethink their priorities. There is now a change in the way people use spaces especially the balcony that used to get covered is now being treated as open space. We are doing integration of built and open space across our project portfolio and all our residential projects are green certified.”
Shakuntala Ghosh, Principal Architect and Partner at Ghosh Bose and Associates & Chairperson, IGBC Kolkata Chapter said, “Post Covid, the aspect that got much attention was the HVAC and natural ventilation. The healthy air circulation in closed space and natural air ventilation have become important. Touch less product and systems in bathrooms, for vertical transportation, entry and exit points have taken prominence in design and development. Covid has given us a new way to look at the way we use our built spaces.”
Dr.Shireesh Pankaj, General Manager- Research & Innovation, Ashirvad said, “Indeed there have been major shifts in consumer mind-sets and even the industry, the recent labour shortage has once again emphasized the need of automation in construction processes and prefab construction.”
Vincent Pinto, Sr.Vice President, Schindler India agreed, “There is a need for advanced systems to be adopted in buildings that can offer convenience, hygiene and safety. As product manufacturers we are constantly keeping in sync with the customer demand and bringing in new technologies to cater to the same.”
THE NEW DIRECTION
The new behaviours and the technologies we adopt today are going to shape the way we design, communicate and build resilient and future proof cities. As Deben Moza puts it, “Design with common sense. We create a problem by building a glass box in a tropical region, then find solutions to problems by bringing in low energy glass, high capacity hvac systems etc. The approach needs to change.”
According to Shakuntala Ghosh, smart and sustainable are part of the same coin. “Intelligent building systems monitor resource usage and adapt building functions accordingly to save electricity water and other materials.”
J P Agrawal was of the view that if it is not sustainable, it is not smart. “Designers need to be honest in the designs and not led by their egos. Follow pragmatic design practice with respect to the nature that is the way it should be.”
Vincent Pinto added, “A smart technology will always be a sustainable technology. If we have to progress towards long term sustainability, technological advancement is the only way to make our buildings resource friendly.
Dr.Shireesh Pankaj concurred, “Smartness and sustainability has to start right from the conceptualization stage of the project or product to its life cycle and most importantly its accessibility to the masses is important.
Namrata Mehra felt that technologies should be quantifiable and scalable. “It is very important to be able to quantify results and measure the impact to determine if this is the right direction. This would also involve a joint contribution from all the stakeholders of the building and construction ecosystem.
INDIA IS A COUNTRY WHERE A LOT OF INFRASTRUCTURE IS YET TO BE BUILT AND URBANIZATION IS ON THE RISE. IF WE DON’T GET OUR ACT TOGETHER ACROSS SECTORS, INDUSTRIES INCLUDING DEVELOPERS, ARCHITECTS SOLUTION PROVIDERS AND SUPPLY CHAIN THEN WE RISK CONTRIBUTING A LOT MORE NEGATIVE EXTERNALITIES THAN ACTUALLY CREATING POSITIVE CITIES AND IT IS UP TO US WHAT SORT OF CITIES WE WANT TO LIVE IN.