Infrastructure Real Estate Technology

Estate Manager Software to monitor Real Estate Projects

In order to monitor ongoing construction activities and ensuring real estate projects are not delayed, builders, architects and international property consultants are launching new innovative software and design tools.

Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj (JLLM) has recently launched a software, Estate Master. Anuj Puri, country head and chairman, JLLM told FE, “We have tied-up with Estates Master—an Australian company and launched the software tool in India.

Real estate developers can keep a tab on construction activities and also avoid delayed deadlines with the help of this software. Besides, JLLM is also planning to foray into master planning and design consultancy for townships and clusters of other real estate projects.

Architecture Cities

The Architecture of Delhi Today

I just came across an interesting article dissecting the architecture of Delhi over the decades.

But some architects question whether stark, strong-lined Modernism was right for young India’s capital. “We have this complex of not being modern enough,” says Aman Nath, who with Frenchman Francis Wacziarg melded historical restoration and tourism in their Neemrana Hotels, housed in forts and palaces. “So you copy what already happened somewhere else, but it already happened, so it can’t be modern. It’s always passé. Straightlined, geometric Modernism didn’t work here.”

Still, many architects say India’s early Modernists, through a dialogue with forms being developed abroad and vernacular architecture, successfully expressed an Indian interpretation of a particular style. But after the first two decades after Independence, it becomes harder to find architectural works that accomplish that.

Continue reading here.

Cities Infrastructure

Rethinking India’s Urbanization

India’s urbanization over the last two decades has been unprecedented in history. At no time have cities grown at such alarming rates. And the lack of initiative and policy early on is now catching up with alarming results.

Even after adding two additional lines (increasing capacity by 50%)on the suburban network, there is no difference. Trains are still jampacked with people and the metro wont be available for a few years. The solutions are many but they are stop gap, ill conceived, short sighted and half baked.

All the good that India Shining brings will be undone if infrastructure does not play catch up. And infrastructure is only one element of the entire urbanization phenomenon.

At a recent conference on Urban habitats…

Philipp Rode, Executive Director, Urban Age; Associate, Cities Programme, London School of Economics & Political Science spoke on “Shaping Cities of Our Future”. He revealed the findings of the Urban Age India Conference held in Mumbai last year and released the Urban Age India Report. “India’s urban agenda is clearly a global issue given that India is the second most populous country in the world. Indian cities are faced with issues of social equity, of overloaded infrastructure and environmental sustainability. The way these cities will deal with these problems and how the upcoming cities will be planned can have a decisive impact on the world at large.” said Mr.Rode

Anupam Yog Founder & Managing Director of Mirabilis Advisory who anchored the discussion concluded that building successful cities which drive economic growth while reducing poverty will be critical to the future of India.

Historically India has been averse to the phenomenon of urbanization. The current response towards urbanization is also marked by short-term and quick-fix solutions. But, there is a critical need to develop innovative ideas for future cities with a long term view. The symposium attempted to better understand the opportunities and challenges that existed in shaping that vision and implementing it.

Continue reading further.

Cities Infrastructure

India and Japan discuss urban development

India and Japan are embarking on sharing expertise in urban development.

The working group held wide discussions on re-use of recycled water for non-potable uses, water training institute, earthquake disaster prevention and urban governance and urban planning in India and JNNURM.

Issues like sustainable urban transport in metropolitan area, Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) policy in urban areas, model city bus services and capacity building in public transport sector were also discussed.

Several areas were identified by the working groups for exploring further cooperation. They are clean development mechanism projects in the areas of sewage treatment/other urban sector projects; energy recovery; best practices and emerging technologies in water and sanitation sector; metropolitan planning urban renewal.


Cities Environment and Climate Infrastructure Social Responsibility Urban Transportation

Mumbai Metro rail project to earn carbon credits

The Mumbai Metro Rail project has been in the news for decades. However it is only very recently that it became a real project and is being executed. When completed it will alleviate a lot of the pressure on the local train systems.

Interestingly it will also earn carbon credits.

BL reported that, after Delhi metro rail, it’s the turn of the Mumbai Metro rail project to earn carbon credits. The project will generate 651,938 carbon credits between 2011 and 2020. At the current market price of about INR 1,320, the credits will generate revenue of INR 86.05 crore.

Mumbai Metro One Private Limited, the special purpose vehicle for the project, has submitted a detailed methodology report to the executive board of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change seeking clean development mechanism registration for the project. [link]

Carbon credits are a key component of national and international emissions trading schemes that have been implemented to mitigate global warming. More about that on wikipedia.

Architecture Cities News Profession

Foreign Architects Rush into India

The profession and practise of architecture in India has undergone a complete transformation in this decade. The last eight years have been a boom time, not seen since the heady days of Post Indipendance India.

The booming economy and the burgeoning middle class has prompted developers to bring in foreign architects with foreign fees to design everything from airports to residential and office towers and bungalows and resorts.

Foreign architects bring in the tried and tested processes and function precision to bring about a complete turnaround in the way projects are designed and built. They pair up with Indian firms who have the expertise on the ground to get things done and built.

Foreign architects for the most part are bringing in foreign solutions and design principles which may not all work in India, but the public does not think a second before lapping it all up. We are literally bringing New York, Chicago, Tokyo or Shanghai to Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Madras and countless other towns and cities.

Only time will tell if this is successful in the long term. India is not the only place in the world where this is happening. China is way ahead of us in transplanting urban fabric from the West into their cities.

Social Responsibility

How to build a green building without really trying

In a hard hitting and valid arguement Daniel Brook talks about Mukesh Ambani’s Antilla being billed as a Green Building by its American architects Perkins+Will.

The LEED rating system at best is a guideline and at worst is riddled with loopholes. This allows for architects like Perkins+Will to claim to design green buildings while in reality it is all a hogwash.

The rating system is designed for US standards and when implemented on Indian conditions and buildings, every project could bag the “green” tag.

Perkins+Will is not the only ones who ride the hype-mobile. Even reputed Indian architects like Karan Grover do the same. By understanding the system and finding the loopholes; Grover has the “distinction” of being the first architect with both a LEED Platinum Building and a LEED Platinum Commercial Interior project.

Even FXFowle who is designing the India towers at Charni Road in Mumbai are billing their project to be

within a sustainable network of green roofs and hanging gardens; creating a singular, extraordinary building that, when completed, will be the tallest and greenest – building in India. [link]

Green has become the buzzword of the latter half of this decade. And it helps to sell everything from food to apartments costing millions (in whatever currency).

And from what I read and see, India seems to be picking up the hype which has somehow started clearing out in the US, as the article below points out .

In a high-end Mumbai neighborhood, Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s personal high-rise, named Antilia, is under construction. When completed, the 24-story Ambani family home will include its own health club, terraced sky-gardens, and 50-seat screening room (the reclusive Ambani is reputed to be a huge Bollywood fan). Antilia also boasts three helipads and a 168-car garage. This may sound like transportation overkill, if not outright eco-terrorism, for a family of six. But despite its 38-to-1 car-to-person ratio, Antilia has been billed by its American architects as a “green building.” And under the leading standards for green architecture, the building will likely qualify.


Architecturally Lagging: India

A little while ago, I had posted a series of images of some of the latest architecture in China. Beijing and Shanghai have seen a sort of architectural renaissance, only seen once in a century. Every world class architect is present in China and producing great work. Of course this does not mean that the average level of Chinese architecture and urban scape heads for the better.

However, comparing India’s so called building activity on par with China, is by far a long shot. Business Week does exactly that in this article. Reena Jana, the author of the article is based in New York and remote-writing is very evident in the article.

I also don’t understand why Business Week would not get an architectural critic to write an article on architecture. I don’t think Reena Jana is an architect, and if she is, it does not show in her writing.

She says

While its glassy, futuristic design might evoke corporate buildings in Silicon Valley, the campus also features an Indian touch: a cricket pitch.

Architects Profession

Lack Of Professional Architects Causes Dismay And Concern

The article below speaks about the state of the profession of architecture in India. Some of the statistics are very startling and portray a very sad state of the profession. However a glimmer of hope for me personally is the mention of my alma mater Rizvi College of Architecture.

RCA has been mentioned as one of the three institutions in the country that are imparting a quality of education that is way higher that the generally dropping conditions nationwide.

Architecture Heritage

Corbusier’s Legacy Stolen From Chandigarh

To an architect, this is really sad news. Chandigarh has been Independant India’s first and largest planned city. Planned and designed by arguably the greatest architect of the last century, Le Corbusier; it carries Corb’s signature in more ways than one can imagine.

From the massive Secretariat to the Law Buildings and Courthouses, Le Corbusier’s vision for India took a long time to build, but today is a thriving metropolis. In many ways, Corbusier’s principles did not work, but for the most part the synergy they created has been sustained today. It is now also a mini architectural mecca for students and architects alike.

Therefore its with great sadness that I came across this article in The Outlook

Buying heavily at routine government auctions of “junk” furniture, stalking old employees of Corbusier and his cousin and collaborator on the Chandigarh project, Pierre Jeanneret, and acquiring neglected artefacts lying with them, these collectors have bought symbols of Corbusier’s heritage—from manhole covers to wood-and-cane chairs—for as little as Rs 100, restored it to pristine perfection at a workshop in Delhi and shipped it to exhibitions and sales at Paris and New York galleries.

I hope that the government, the local architects body and concerned citizens worldwide will take notice, create publicity and somehow stem the tide of artifacts landing up in private collectors houses forever.

Continue reading the entire article after the fold.