Wednesday, August 31, 2011

VERITE, AUROVILLE


There is a sense of extreme calm as one step in through the exposed concrete frame and door of Verite. It is as if the already quiet environs of Auroville get another meaning inside the building space. It is a language of straight lines and planes in white and black, with the occasional red exposed earth wall breaking the monotony. There are 2 linear pools in the centre, acting as 2 main axes – one a pebble pool while the other is a water body. There are plenty of fish here, right from the guppies to carps and one can get a free foot massage. All one has to do is sit on the edge of the pool and lower ones legs into the water. Within a few minutes of sitting still, the fishes surround your leg and start pecking away at your skin. It is slightly tingly, but great for removing all the dead skin from ones legs.


The space is defined with the minimum of walls, creating a very open feel. The roof slab is slightly raised up from the walls, allowing light and ventilation inside. Also, both the pools are open to sky, creating a modern interpretation of the courtyard, letting in diffused light inside the space. The flooring is of rough black stone, which gives off a very cool feeling. Some of the walls are plastered and finished with white paint, while there are walls made of rammed earth, imparting a very earthy texture to the space. The slender circular columns impart a sense of scale and definition to the space. There is a huge wind chime in front of a full height window, creating a soft soothing background melody in the wind which is always moving through the interiors. The sense of scale and proportions are articulated so very well that one feels utmost calmness in the space, you just feel like sitting there forever.



Verite is one of the communities inside Auroville, which has been conceived as a spiritual and learning centre. The architecture of the whole community tries to be as ecologically sensitive as possible, leaving a very small footprint. Electricity is generated through solar panels, there is a windmill which draws up the water and buildings are designed to be ecologically integral, while at the same time functional and beautiful.






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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

MARIO BOTTA'S TCS OFFICE IN HYDERABAD

'The underlying intention of the design for the TCS offices is to present a monolithic element hollowed out on the inside and open towards the city. As a single volume, the construction enhances the features of the site, accentuating the existing landform and making it an integral part of the construction, both formally and materially.'

As one approaches from the cyber towers, passing the mounds of natural rock, the first major building one notices, along with the cyber gateway is the TCS building.
As the road twists and turns, the viewpoint keeps shifting, thereby revealing the building gradually.As soon as it is visible, it arouses one's curiosity as it resembles a large monolithic rocky chunk standing out from the rocky landscape.
View from the entrance


 
 
Glazing allows light into the interiors

Balconies

The entrance through the guard room

Design tries to have as little impact as possible on the site. Thus the level differences and slope of the site were taken into consideration to keep the leveling and excavation to a minimum. New landscaping and planting try to create a tree cover and lawns on the previously rocky and barren site.

The vertical fins act as architectural elements, giving scale and textural contrasts to the building. Rhythmic repetition creates an interesting pattern on the building facade. The depth of the vertical fins shades the full length glazing in between, thereby heavily reducing the heat gain through the glazing.
Massing has been done to maximize the mutual shading. Each wedge acts as a sun barrier for the other. Thus through mutual shading, the heat intake of the building is reduced significantly, leading to savings in air-conditioning and electricity costs. The massing also allows maximum natural light into the interiors. Thus, the unique form of the building allows plenty of light to stream in. There is high demand for seats next to the windows due to the advantages of the natural light and also due to the beautiful views offered. Also, there is considerable savings in  electricity charges for lighting
 


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I have been receiving a lot of requests from students for details on HOW TO PREPARE A GOOD ARCHITECTURE PORTFOLIO. 

Taking this into consideration, I have compiled a detailed booklet on how to create a great portfolio, which will guide you through the detailed process, including identification of materials, ideal layouts, graphics and rendering styles, text placements, photographing your models....an exhaustive list which will guide you step by step.

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B.V.DOSHI'S MUSINGS

1947 - 2007
All these years have been a long and rather unusual journey. The drops which coalesced at the source gradually became a spring, then a river and now a part of many rivers. In the process of this journey, many lands were traversed, some open and some controlled. There were moments when the floe ebbed, even stopped, but the stagnation gave rise to a lake. Then the floods overpowered the embankments and pulled me out of the slumber.
The journey saw many lands, forests and gardens over many a seasons. In the process, the river drank the water sanctified by great visionaries and the water began to raise questions. The muddy waters began to clear and the journey finally found its path.
Though still not clear, there is a path and pulling strong because deep within, the silent waves of the ocean are heard. It appears that the vast ocean has much to say to the river and the drops which have come a long way. Everything is interrelated. From the design of a pin to a design of a metropolis. All that one needs to understand is the differences in the scales and their sphere of impacts.
I also realize that even though each object, issue and design should have its own identity, it cannot be conceived in isolation since identity is a mere comparison with what is immediately around and very often this perception is short sighted. All choices of technologies or materials or functions should be born out of their own nature & needs. Their own evolutions gives it a character and demonstrates to us its purpose or use. Hence what we need to do is to allow the purpose of existence to find its relatedness or application.
Time or style likewise is a limited notion. It can easily be set aside if we realize that all that we are presently perceiving is through our memories of the past and present and that there are layers which must be seen together and not as a fragmented issues be they of art, architecture or life. It is therefore essential that we look from a distance with eternity or timelessness as the basis so that our solutions are wholistic and enduring.
                                                                                                                                   DOSHI


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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ar.GERRARD DA CUNHA'S OFFICE IN GOA














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Friday, August 5, 2011

FIBER CEMENT BOARDS FOR WALL CLADDING

Fibre cement is a composite material made up of sand, cement and cellulose fibres. It is a Green product – non-toxic, non-asbestos, use recycled fibres as raw materials, has low embodied energy and is a substitute for wood.

They normally come either as panels of 8' x 4' or else they come as sidings of 200mm width. The thickness varies from 6mm to 20mm. They are normally fixed over a GI stud framework which is anchored to the wall or structure which is to be clad. The cost of the Fiber cement board is reasonable, however, the GI stud framework is expensive, which increases the overall cost.

Applications:  Wall cladding, false ceilings, Flooring, eave boards etc.


ADVANTAGES –

v Good resistance to moisture and is durable.
v Easy to handle and install
vCompetitive prices and good range of products
vCan be painted over & finished neatly.
vIt is non-combustible.

External Wall cladding



As interior partition



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I have been receiving a lot of requests from students for details on HOW TO PREPARE A GOOD ARCHITECTURE PORTFOLIO. 

Taking this into consideration, I have compiled a detailed booklet on how to create a great portfolio, which will guide you through the detailed process, including identification of materials, ideal layouts, graphics and rendering styles, text placements, photographing your models....an exhaustive list which will guide you step by step.

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BUBBLEDECK - INTERESTING CONCEPT FOR SLABS

BubbleDeck is a revolutionary method of virtually eliminating concrete from the middle of a floor slab not performing any structural function, thereby dramatically reducing structural dead weight. BubbleDeck is based on a new patented technique - the direct way of linking air and steel. Void formers in the middle of a flat slab eliminates 35% of a slabs self-weight removing constraints of high dead loads and short spans.

Incorporation of recycled plastic bubbles as void formers permits 50% longer spans between columns. Combination of this with a flat slab construction approach spanning in two directions – the slab is connected directly to insitu concrete columns without any beams - produces a wide range of cost and construction benefits.

ADVANTAGES -

v   Design Freedom – flexible layout easily adapts to irregular & curved plan layouts.
v   Reduced Dead Weight – 35% removed allowing smaller foundation sizes.
v   Longer spans between columns – up to 50% further than traditional structures.
v   Downstand Beams eliminated – quicker & cheaper erection of walls and services.
v   Load bearing walls eliminated – facilitating MMC with lightweight building envelopes.
v   Reduced concrete usage – 1 kg recycled plastic replaces 100 kg of concrete.
v   Environmentally Green and Sustainable – reduced energy & carbon emissions.




GREEN CREDENTIALS –

By virtually eliminating concrete in the middle of a slab BubbleDeck makes a significant contribution to reducing environmental impact. Guidance from the ODPM requires the direct environmental effects of buildings
to be considered, including usage of natural resources and emissions resulting from construction. Not only is concrete usage reduced by up to 50% within a buildings structure but knock-on benefits can be realized through reduced foundation sizes.




Every 5,000 m2 of BubbleDeck floor slab can save:-
v 1,000 m3 site concrete.
v 166 ready mix lorry trips.
v 1,798 Tonnes of foundation loads – or 19 less piles.
v 1,745 GJ energy used in concrete production & haulage.
278 Tonnes of CO2 – green house gases – emissions

Atleast that is what the theoretical part is. We now need to see how this concept works when implemented.

Source - All data & images courtesy - Bubbledeck - http://www.bubbledeck.com/


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I have been receiving a lot of requests from students for details on HOW TO PREPARE A GOOD ARCHITECTURE PORTFOLIO. 

Taking this into consideration, I have compiled a detailed booklet on how to create a great portfolio, which will guide you through the detailed process, including identification of materials, ideal layouts, graphics and rendering styles, text placements, photographing your models....an exhaustive list which will guide you step by step.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

SUBHA'S HOUSE, AUROVILLE

Domes and exposed brick create a beautiful ambience and space, a very comfortable residential space for habitation in Subha’s house, designed by architect Mona Pingel, located in Yantra community in Auroville. The entrance is through a small curved path, leading one to the small niche space with the main door. One enters the house through the kitchen, a small but cosy space which is just optimum for a small house. A small curved platform in the semicircular wall with a circular window defines the main activity area. To the side, next to the entrance door is a small foldable cantilevered table, which doubles as a dining table for two.

View from the entrance

The external area behind


From this area, one enters the main living area of the house – a double volume space with a domed ceiling in exposed brick. The floor is paved with rough stone flooring giving a smooth rustic feeling. There is even a rock protruding from the ground, which has been retained as such and acts as a seating and a sculpture at the same time. There is a curved cantilevered step which winds up to the first floor. The space is framed with a floor to ceiling sliding window giving beautiful views to the small water body outside and further to the trees behind. A small door recessed inside a wall provides the access to this space. The wall on the right has a large sliding glass door, giving access to the common space with the adjacent house.
The main interior space with the large window

View of the dome

The Kitchen
One feels totally secluded and private in the space, totally cut off from the rest of the world, just to curl up with a book on the cushion on the floor and spend the entire day in this space. The exposed brick, the stone flooring, rough granite ledges, wood frames, all add an earthy character to this space. There is diffused light coming in from the large window on one side, lighting up the entire interiors with good natural light.

The first floor comprises of a single space, which acts as a bedroom with one side of the domed space comprised of glass window giving views out to the landscape.  There is a small bookshelf which separates the edge of the slab from the double height volume. A door leads one to a small terrace finished in china mosaic which acts as an external open space.
Cantilevered steps to the first floor

Bedroom in the 1st floor


Circular window in the kitchen
.

Sustainability Scrutinized: Criticism Arises in Academic and Professional Discourses | Commentary | Architectural Record

Sustainability Scrutinized: Criticism Arises in Academic and Professional Discourses Commentary Architectural Record

Monday, August 1, 2011

THE WRONG KIND OF 'GREEN'

Today, 'Green' has become a fashion statement of sorts. People talk about green buildings without having any real idea what true sustainability is. To a large extent, the LEED green rating system for buildings is very misleading. True it has got its benefits, but the loopholes are many. What is the point of a system where almost all conventional building materials are eligible for green points, thereby ending up as a fancy tag instead of acheiving real change?
The word 'Green' is being routinely abused to such an extent that it is almost a justification. If we are to let this Green movement carry on like this, the issues related to true sustainability will be lost behind all the din.
‘Green is a fashion trend that has been carefully created – a brand image that is deliberately created to exploit & make profits. It is an eyewash – a screen which has been packaged in such a way as to deceive. Products & materials created by large MNCs & corporations have been repackaged & dressed as green, even though their net effect on the environment is negative. It is a kind of soul-balm to deceive our consciousness that what we are doing, though harmful to nature, is being professed as less harmful, which is even certified by organisations & governments.
‘You can use a heat reflective glass with a high ‘U’ value, which will earn you more points’ – we are totally missing the point that the glass will necessitate the usage of air-conditioners, leading to increase in consumption of electricity. Also, we conveniently forget about the amount of energy required to manufacture & transport these so called energy-efficient glasses.
Thus, ‘Green’ has become a marketing gimmick, with the sole aim of increasing the profits of vested interests. Every year Green Building conferences are held in 5star hotels & international convention centres, inviting participants & experts who jet down from different cities to give their ‘expert’ views. They fly, travel in air-conditioned cars, stay in 5 star hotels, drink distilled water and then profess how the environment needs saving. Yet, nobody seems to mind this hypocritical state of affairs. Everyone is happy because money is flowing into their pockets.
‘Green’ has been raped so much that almost all products, irrespective of their energy efficiency and impact on environment, are all labelled ‘Green’. What is more, ignorant clients and people are buying into this madness, trying to justify their guilt consciousness with a ‘Green’ label.
All the while, the market lobbies controlling these products are getting richer and richer, without giving scant regard to the impact of their actions.
The MNCs, due to their aggressive marketing campaigns have created a smoke screen – one which misleads the non-technical people. There are people who due to their lack of technical knowledge, believe that they are investing money so as to be really sustainable, while in effect, they are merely taken for a ride and made to spend more for technologies which are non-sustainable and those which do not contribute in a positive manner to the planet, environment, cultures or people.
Buildings are given the ‘Green’ label, even when they use enormous amounts of reinforcement to structurally hold up the fancy forms and designs, even when during the construction cycle, there is unimaginable wastage of reinforcement, even upto 30%, leading to an enormous impact on the sustainability of the project.
It is high time that we focus back from Green and realign ourselves to real sustainability. Or else, in the greed of the present, we will leave behind a heavy legacy on our future generations.