REFLECTIONS OF TECHNOLOGY IN DESIGN
Architect Manit Rastogi, Founding Partner, Morphogenesis defines technology as application of scientific knowledge for betterment of humanity. He also goes on to explain through his own projects, the architect and client relationship.
Havells Insignia presents ADEX series organised by Realty+ Masterclass in its recent episode featured internationally acclaimed architect Manit Rastogi, whose design solutions are rooted in sustainability and liveability. Rastogi explained, “Our belief in sustainability shapes all our projects. It is not treated as a layer of applied technology on building systems but forms the very basis of our design.”
Sharing his projects briefs in his presentation, architect Rastogi gave examples of combining architecture and technology to arrive at the best resource efficiencies in the buildings. “India is extremely diverse in its climate and topography. Urban India especially is facing a lot of challenges like water scarcity, air quality, pollution etc. We as designers should to build structures that consume less water and energy and can recycle waste.”
My aim is to push projects towards being net zero buildings and creating more with less. We take learnings from our past experiences and remodel them for application in various geographies to come up with best solutions – for client, occupants and the environment.
THE CLIENT AND THE PROJECTS
The British School, New Delhi was commissioned to be a fully air-conditioned school. However, we spoke with the client, the British High Commissioner and were able to convince him to go for a net zero building design. The diverse student population with over 55 nationalities led us to create an environment that would foster social cohesion. The school is planned as a system of courtyards and semi-enclosed breakout spaces that are are constantly being transformed in the way they are occupied. Internal courtyards, chajjas (deep overhangs) and verandas provide opportunities for students to engage with the environment and nature. Inspired from traditional chaupals, congregation spaces are designed to always be in the shade of mature trees. Rain gardens and a highly efficient rainwater harvesting system makes the campus self-water sufficient.
Pearl Academy in Jaipur was a project executed on a very tight budget. We reduced air-conditioning usage by taking inspiration from Step-wells of Rajasthan. We created natural cooling environment in building premises by sinking it down three meters and recycling the rainwater to create a step well which provides cooling to building internally. The building exterior is made by local communities who created cement and concrete ‘jallis’, for roof insulation traditional system of inverted clay pots was used. All the construction materials used was taken from the local vendors and communities.”
Wipro Ltd corporate office campus in Hyderabad, spread across a 101 acres of land, embodies the historical and cultural references of the region. The morphology adopted was of ‘disintegrated courtyards’. Rectangular volumes are stacked and rotated to create secondary courts whilst being planned around a central courtyard. All buildings are North-South orientated, and the East-West edges are kept open to enhance prevailing wind movements and natural ventilation. Low wall-to-window ratios and narrow floor plates ensure optimum daylight and low thermal absorption. The project is executed with low U-values thus making the façade energy efficient. Taking inspiration from the traditional waterfront structures such as ‘baolis’ and ‘ghats’, water is introduced as an experimental layer throughout the stepped landscape to bring down temperatures using evaporative cooling.”
ITC Infotech mixed use development in Kolkata with IT and corporate offices, hotel, convention center and residential towers represents the region’s identity where buildings become the physical manifestation of the rich artisanal culture. A large artist’s community, sourced from all across Bengal are giving final shape to this creative conception. Traditional sculptures of Kolkata are abstracted into graphic artwork on walls by local craftsman.”
STAKEHOLDERS ENGAGEMENT FOR HOLISTIC RESULTS
Vivek Yadav, Senior Vice President, Havells India Ltd commenting on the profile of work featured shared, “The combination of passive design, technology, vernacular architecture and local craftsmanship, not only make the projects sustainable and technically advanced but also unique in their own way. As solution providers, we can bring the best products to the industry, but the onus of its rightful and efficient application is on the designers as beautifully demonstrated by Ar Rastogi.”
Remal Behl, Head for Enterprise Business, Havells India Ltd concurred, “The brilliant combination of culture and technology are the true reflections of technology in architecture. Working in tandem with smart systems providers and local artisans, the architects can bring in best of both the worlds in their buildings.”
Manit Rastogi concluding the session stated, “The objective of technology is to make the building simple. Also, it is an architect’s prerogative to explain to the client of all the options and the results to help him/her make an informed decision in the best interest of the occupants and the environment. Moreover, nowadays a project involves many stakeholders from architects to project managers, specialized consultants etc. Creating an eco-system of cooperation rather than competition brings the best results for the project.”
Technology is a most misunderstood word, generally associated with digital and engineering. However it’s all about application of science in sync with design, to create all-inclusive built spaces to benefit humans and ecology.