There were two interesting presentations, among others, at the 7th edition of the Green Buildings Congress that commenced in Hyderabad on Thursday. Both were by iconic architects. Vadodara-based Karan Grover and Hong Kong based ‘cybertect’ James Law presented their visions of design at the same venue within a space of a few hours.
The Indian architect is known for his green philosophy and is synonymous with the world heritage site at Champaner while the Chinese cybertect uses imagination and belief to chart out workable design solutions for the future. Their visions dovetail with each other and are yet dissimilar in crucial respects.
Karan Grover’s central philosophy is the ‘harmony of the whole’. The rest of his being, including his architecture, flows from this. The whole refers to the ecosystem that spans the earth, including plants, animals and human beings. “You are not smarter or bigger than nature,” he addressed the audience during his presentation.
Karan’s work strongly references India’s architectural heritage, or ‘2000 glorious years of indigenous building systems’ a he says. The Museum of Mankind in Mumbai, a contemporary arts museum in Baroda, BJP House in Ahmedabad (“I don’t know if there will be any BJP” he said in jest) and the Gujarat State Petroleum Building are some of his creations.
Karan Grover’s presentation carried ample proof of his strong desire for rootedness and pride in India’s history. “This century will be India’s, I believe, not China’s,” he declared.
At the opposite end of the spectrum was James Law. The Chairman and Chief Cybertect of James Law Cybertecture has a strong point of reference: Mother earth as seen from space. “Lucky is the astronaut who sees the organic whole from space,” he said. “Earth’s systems are in symbiosis with each other,” was the corollary.
His designs flow from this vision of an organic whole in symmetry with itself.
What is Cybertecture? ‘A vision of the world in which the now and future are designed in a symbiotic balance between space and technology’ states one definition.
James Law showcased two of his futuristic projects: the Cybertecture office building in Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai and the Technosphere in Dubai.
The concept behind the Cybertecture office is of a planet being an ecosystem that allows life to evolve. The building itself is egg shaped and uses 10-20 per cent less surface area than a conventional building. “the organic form of the building creates efficiency and fluidity that reduces material,” he said.
The technosphere is an even more ambitious project: an office, shopping mall and apartments rolled into one planet shaped building. A 100-metre atrium regulates the temperature inside while the ‘cave’ helps people stay cool in the desert atmosphere of Dubai. The water used inside would be recycled to water the plants while the tropical rainforest shields the building from the desert heat. In other words, ‘a building that synthesises planet earth’.
James said that futuristic buildings that were not possible even 10 years ago could be executed today because of technological advancement. “We now use aerospace technology to provide building solutions, for instance glass panels,” he said.
“I have a passion for a future which can be created out of our beliefs and imagination and the way to do it is through new technology,” says James. I don’t disagree with Karan about the importance of heritage, after all being in tune with heritage tells us where we come from, but I would like to deviate from Karan that we need to reference our past. I believe in looking into the future,” said James.
Original article here.