Fatehpuri Sikri is known for its transitory spaces, pavilions, porches and verandahs, and Varanasi cannot be divorced from its ghats, nor Old Delhi from its streets. Architect Vidur Bharadwaj capitalises on these ancient elements of social interactions in his canvases. In his first-ever exhibition titled “Soul in Structure” at Delhi’s Visual Arts Gallery, he attempts to show how design elements of heritage monuments can meld into modern buildings.
The exhibition has nearly 15 canvases that showcase ideas in commercial and residential spaces. Bharadwaj, who is the Director of The 3C Company, wears his ratings of gold and platinum awards from LEED as medals in this show, telling visitors how inspired his buildings such as the Wipro Technologies, Gurgaon; Patni Knowledge Centre, Noida; and Knowledge Boulevard, Noida, have been.
“I’ve been working on sustainable architecture for over 15 years. I wondered how to take the idea of sustainable design to the people. If you just put up a building and show, people don’t get it. So I opted for a populist way, and through my paintings show how the past, the present and the future came together,” says Bharadwaj, 50.
Courtyards and water bodies are ubiquitous in every painting, with the imagery of the sun and a child visible in every work. “The sun is the source of all energy, and the child represents the future,” says the Delhi-based architect, adding, “I have combined photographs of my projects with elements that inspire me as an architect, be it in nature or monuments.”
While his paintings are given the names of his award-winning buildings, the disconnect is evident between concept and reality. If International Home Deco Park (IHDP) takes inspiration from the ghats of Varanasi, one wonders how a water body with stepped landscaping in a glass-covered commercial complex qualifies as a sustainable idea.
Between evoking the ghosts of Fatehpur Sikri, Mohenjo Daro and Udaipur, the architect seems to be telling too many stories in one frame — how classic architectural elements honoured climatic conditions, and awarded its users fresh air, shade, light and wind, and on the other hand, how glass-clad, green-rated buildings are energy-efficient for present-day clients.
The exhibition is on till September 22