“Materials and detailing of the materials needs to be influenced by climatic context. Those copying aesthetic trends without recognizing these differences can start their projects at a disadvantage”. Says Aaron B Schwarz FAIA, Principal and Executive Director, Perkins Eastman
What are the drivers for the Green Movement in India?
India is ahead of other parts of the world in sustainable strategies because they have centuries-old techniques that have been incorporated out of necessity. For example, shading from the sun and the use of natural ventilation have been consistent design fundamentals, not something that has ebbed and flowed in the west. Other issues of interest are water and waste management.
Of the present Indian architecture, which one do you appreciate most?
The works of Balkrishna V Doshi, Charles Correa, Joseph Stein and others are wonderful.
What are the barriers to the success of green buildings?
While the Certification process has been a major catalyst for the green building process, it has also evolved into an expensive process. Many owners are keen to designing green buildings and recognize that the strategies taken cost nothing to implement. However, many are reluctant to or adamantly against formalized certification because of the administrative costs involved. Another issue is the tendency for developer-driven market which simply mimic aesthetic trends because they believe that is what the market demands. Materials and detailing of the materials needs to be influenced by climatic context. Those copying aesthetic trends without recognizing these differences can start their projects at a disadvantage.
Can you suggest three key aspects of India’s architectural situation that could be improved upon?
Green architecture requires a far closer coordination and integration of all systems and disciplines, which is counter to producing drawings faster and cheaper. Much of India still procures design services on a commodity basis. Many of the Indian firms produce work at very low fees. This – commodity basis does not allow firms adequate initiative for thoughtful research and innovation. Co-ordination and integration between various design and engineering disciplines can be improved.
Tell us about any one project of yours in India that is dear to you.
Our design for the Indian School of Business (ISB), Mohali.
ISB has an existing campus in Hyderabad that was designed by Portman and this was be the institution’s second campus. ISB-the 12th best business school in the world and it was our honour and a privilege to work on the 2.M square feet development. It is a project that integrates ideas from western education design and Indian architectural traditions, a modern clean complex of buildings that have been designed to fit well within their context.
What message do you have for Indian architects?
They know that they have produced some of the best existing architecture in the world in India. While every culture has something to learn from another, they should be careful to only import the very best and use it to improve what they already have not to replace it.