While speaking about the human and humane face of architecture, spaces that can create memories, moments, events and structures that are simple, yet timeless, Professor B V Doshi celebrated the “Art of Architecture”, in an absorbing lecture and slideshow organised by the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi Tuesday evening.
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“Very few places affect you so deeply, and today is such an occasion. Sitting in this auditorium at the Government Museum, I have so many recollections, and I am looking at my journey of six decades, my research and the paths I have been trying to find. I wonder if Corbusier would come back came back here now what would he say, may be he would ask us to look afresh at our journey of everyday life,” said Prof Doshi.
The iconic, Indian architect who worked with Le Corbusier at his Paris office, as well as along with him on his Ahmedabad projects for almost six years, as part of the lecture, reflected on the philosophy of his work over the decades, influenced greatly by Le Corbusier. Doshi’s architecture strives to blend the strengths of tradition and principles of modernism, creating bold new forms. From his office space in Ahmedabad, Sangath, to the first low-cost housing project in the city, for which Doshi worked with bricks, sans any steel, giving the one-room spaces a verandah, kitchen, courtyards, the architect was guided by Corbusier’s principle, ‘no matter what, remember the importance of grace, beauty and nature.’ One doesn’t build a room, but a space to live, as buildings are as important as human beings, believes Doshi, talking about a school he designed with open passages, insulation, cross-ventilation, natural light. Guided by the principles of climate control, integrating nature into spaces, effective use of local materials, designs that reduce energy requirements, Doshi said that orientation is important, something that he learnt from Corbusier.
“Architecture is like a food basket, there is so much variety and it is important to look at our old civilisations and evolve organically. Plurality is paramount,” Doshi talked about the Centre for Environment and Planning Technology (CEPT), Ahmedabad, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi. He also encouraged architects and students to use the site and look at the land, nature, sun, trees, climate to get clues and examine the layers. “Discover the lost lanes, take space as an immeasurable place and create drama and mystery, for architecture is not mechanical, but connected to life,” Doshi said while making interesting observations about the Indian way of life, living, clothing, and stressed upon the need for our buildings to complement our roots.
The study of behavioural sciences, anthropology, sociology, old cities and mythology can help create architecture that is multi-layered and one that encourages the community and society to engage. A building, added Doshi, is not a product, but a process, and so young architects through their work need to explore and experiment so that people can be empowered, “we have to integrate people, buildings must become public spaces for interactions, and it must be done with diversity and dynamism, “ summed up Doshi.
On October 26, at the Open Hand, Capitol Complex (5:00-7:30 pm) Prof Doshi will deliver a talk on Le Corbusier’s vision of the Capitol Complex, followed by an interactive session with the citizens of Chandigarh.