Monthly Archives: September 2008

Mumbai leads the way in Green projects

Where builders regularly flout environment rules for profit, it’s hard to believe that Mumbai is becoming an eco-friendly city. But it is true. Of the 259 buildings in the country that are waiting to get accredited as green buildings, more than 70 are from Mumbai. Five of them have already received accreditation.

A green building is one that’s made of eco-friendly construction material. It makes use of natural light and air, and has provisions for recycling of wastewater and harvesting of rainwater. Such buildings are constructed with fly-ash cement, which is strong and more eco-friendly than regular cement.

According to the Indian Council for Green Building, Chennai follows Mumbai in the list of cities waiting for accreditation of green buildings. “Green buildings are the need of the hour. We must take a note of these buildings before it’s too late,” said a spokesperson.
Two international real-estate seminars meant for green buildings are scheduled this week.

Abhinandan Lodha of the Lodha Group, which is currently constructing a commercial green building at Kanjurmarg, also believes that green buildings are necessary. “Green building will save the city and conserve energy. Most commercial projects that are coming up in the city are being built on green building concepts,” said Lodha.
Experts from the real estate industry too agree with Lodha. “Every construction should be based on green building concepts. Builders can contribute something to the city that has given them everything,” said Ajay Chaturvedi, a real estate expert.

Original article here

Urban Design Research Institute Fellowship Program

The Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), announces a new Research Fellowship Programme to provide young scholars, researchers and independent practitioners the opportunity to do research on contemporary urban issues and concerns of Mumbai. This programme is supported by the Sir Ratan Tata Trust (SRTT) grant.

Research Fellows shall be given a monthly stipend and professional allowance of Rs. 20000. They shall also be provided with working space and requisite infrastructure at the UDRI studio. In addition UDRI will facilitate discussions with relevant resource persons in the field and assist in the publication of research findings. Support will also be available to the fellows for post-research advocacy.

The research period can vary between 6 to18 months depending on the project scope and deliverables. Applicants shall demonstrate the relevance of the proposed research to the city of Mumbai/Mumbai Metropolitan Region and the feasibility of accompanying the research goal within the stipulated period.

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Charles Correa: Cities as agents of change

Charles Correa is arguably India’s most renowned architect and urban planner. From the Mahatma Gandhi Museum in Ahmedabad to the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Centre in Boston, his buildings have covered a wide spectrum. On the 50th anniversary of setting up his office in Mumbai, Rahul Singh spoke to Correa about his career and concerns:

Everybody who watched the Beijing Olympics was enthralled by the Bird’s Nest stadium. Why doesn’t India have such iconic buildings?

Chinese artist was the inspiration. Then, a Danish structural engineer, Ove Arup, who lives in England, did the actual interweaving structure (he also did the Sydney Opera House). For great buildings, you need a client with imagination, whose objective is excellence. In the 1960s and 1970s we had a lot of good buildings through government patronage of architects like Le Corbussier, Raj Rewal and Balkrishna Doshi. We need to find a way for public agencies to involve more private architects.

Tell us something about your career and your success.

I returned from the US when I was 25, became a partner in a firm. Then, at 28, I started on my own. I did not imagine I would last so long! I believe that if you enjoy what you do, you will do it well. After the Gandhi museum, I won a competition for low-cost housing. I was also invited to teach at MIT and the president of Peru, who was an architect, asked me to design some housing for them.

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Mumbai: Affordable Housing 100 km. Away

In a recent article the Mid-Day talks about how affordable housing is now at least 100 km away from the city center. According to developers, these are the places where one can find affordable housing which is in the 1500-3000 Rs per sq.ft. bracket. From reading the article below, I wonder if this is another ploy by the developers to push their products now that they have bought the land and are ready to exploit it in these far flung suburbs.

 

There’s more bad news if you plan to buy that dream house in the city. Prominent builders in the city, who attended the FICCI real estate summit on Thursday, said the common man can now afford a house only more
than 100 km outside the city.

 
Most of the builders stressed that one has to consider options as far as Karjat and Kasara to buy a flat within one’s means. Mohan Deshmukh, former president of the Maharashtra Chambers of Housing Industry, said, “In the current scenario, if one has to find an affordable house, he has to go at least 100 km away from the city. There aren’t many affordable houses in the city.” The builders defined affordable housing as anything between Rs 1,500 per sq ft and Rs 3,000 per sq ft.

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As India’s southern centres choke, IT goes north

TWO Indian cities are emerging to challenge the traditional centres of Bangalore and Hyderabad as the country’s information technology services grow at 20 per cent annually.

Chandigarh – home of India’s first Olympics gold medal winner, Abhinav Bindram – and Coimbatore are fast attracting technology companies and workers as inadequate infrastructure cripples the southern centres of Bangalore and Hyderabad and India’s financial hub, Mumbai.

Chandigarh, in India’s north, was a planned city experiment started by India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and is now attracting major IT groups, including Infosys.

It was known as one of the best experiments in urban planning and modern architecture in 20th century India.

Coimatore is at the other end of the country, south of the main southern city of Chennai, and is a traditional textile centre in the state of Tamil Nadu.

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Monuments need patronage: Bangalore

By Bijoy Ramachandran in the Bangalore Mirror.

Hassan Fathy, the celebrated Egyptian architect once said, “Every masterpiece requires a patron”. On seeing the large city-scale commissions coming up in Bangalore, I often wonder why our ambitions are so small both as architects and clients, and how the mere replication of facade elements and features serve as valid architectural manoeuvres.

In 1945, John Entenza, the editor of Arts & Architecture magazine in the US proposed the construction of eight houses in California as case studies to address the housing boom post World War II. Nationally recognised architects were chosen, sites were bought and earmarked and these houses were meant to demonstrate the use of new technologies and materials, accommodate a contemporary lifestyle, and be easy to duplicate and construct.

Continue reading here.

Mumbai: Aesthetics Citywide

NDTV writes

The Maharashtra government is taking its plans to transform Mumbai into a Shanghai to another level. So if you are in Mumbai, and you hang your clothes out of your balcony, or have not painted your building in years, you could now be asked to pay a fine.

In a move to make Mumbai into a world-class city, the Maharashtra cabinet passed a controversial proposal, pushed by the municipal corporation, that would give Mumbai a less shabby and a more aesthetic look.

“Mumbai’s skyline should look presentable. If someone doesn’t keep their building clean, the civic body will take appropriate action,” said Jairaj Pathak, commissioner, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

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Mumbai Urban Overhaul: Sky’s The Limit

The TOI reports

In a ruling that could change the face of Mumbai, the Supreme Court has cleared the way for pulling down more than 16,000 pre-1940 buildings — including chawls — that have become dilapidated, and constructing modern high-rises in their places. The ruling has devised a win-win formula according to which people who occupied the old tenements will be given, free of cost, flats of the same size in brand new buildings. Other flats in the building can be sold by the builder, who has been allowed to make his money by relaxing the floor space index (FSI) to permit the construction of high-rises.

 

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Volume Zero: The Work of Charles Correa

September 04: If only Charles Correa were Mumbai’s chief architect. The city might have scored higher on aesthetics and urban planning . Even though the architect works out of Mumbai, the city has little of his work. To see what we’re missing, head to the NCPA today to watch Arun Khopkar’s Volume Zero: The Work of Charles Correa, an hour-long film on Correa’s architecture.

Khopkar’s documentary is a cinematic tour of some of Correa’s best work. “I’m interested in the relationship between architecture and cinema,” says the film-maker who has previously documented Jehangir Sabavala’s art and Alarmel Valli’s Bharatanatyam. “With each location there is a specific problem with how to make the location come alive.” The first Correa building he came across was the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya in Ahmedabad 20 years ago. It’s a large airy structure built around a courtyard, a feature that Correa repeats in many of his later buildings. In the film, Khopkar recalls feeling “the rhythms of its spaces’ ‘ and noting how “it responded to changing lights” .

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Indian Green Building Congress 2008

The Indian Green Building Council of Cll – Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre announces its flagship event "Green Building Congress 2008", International Conference & Exhibition on Green Building Technologies between 24 & 27 September 2008 at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai

The main congress consists of a series of parallel events.

International Conference on Green Buildings: 24 – 25 September 2008

Seminar on Green Homes: 26 September 2008

Exhibition on Green Building Products: 24 – 26 September 2008

Training Program on Green Building Rating Systems 23 & 27 September 2008

Green Building Tours: 23 & 27 September 2008

Some of the key speakers at the Green Homes conference are

  • Mr Kevin Hydes, Chair, WGBC & Immediate Past Chair. U.S. Green Building Council
  • Mr Rick Fedrizzl, President. CEO & Founding Chairman. US Green Building Council
  • Mr Tom Hicks. Vice President, US Green Building Council
  • Mr Harvey M Bernstein, Vice President-Industry Analytics Alliances & Strategic Initiatives. McGraw Hill Construction
  • Dr Kath Williams, Past President. World Green Building Council & Principal. Kath Williams + Associates
  • Mr Robert Watson, Chairman. Amencan Indotech, USA
  • Mr Karan Grover, Architect. Karan Grover & Associates
  • Ar Sharukh Mistry, Partner, Mistry Architects
  • Mr Bill Gregory, Director, Sustainable Initiatives, Milllken Design Center

More information on their website.