Peter Rich is an Australian architect whose sketches blows my mind. His sketches are manifestations of his travels and they are really special.
The link between Architecture and Memory is quite ancient. Numerous accounts have been written on how architecture was used as a memory tool. We learn from stories of the Greek poet Simonides, who identified from his memory every visitor in a banquet associating them with architectural setting. This art of memory often called “memory palace” was transmitted from Greeks to Romans and then into European tradition of storytelling. It was common to rehearse speech associating it with the landscape, the porch, the steps, the bedroom or balcony. Hypneretomachia Poliphili, a fifteenth-century Italian text shows Poliphilo in a dark forest, describing ancient marvels “deserving of a place in the theatre of memory” who encounters ruins of classical buildings in search for his beloved Polia in his dream. After the invention of the printing press, with books readily available, memorization techniques were less in demand. Later, memories were distrusted and frowned upon as an unreliable source. Frances Yates claims in Art of Memory that we, moderns, have no memory at all. Giordano Bruno, a sixteenth-century Italian polymath, espoused architecture, art, and poetry as a very few special disciplines, which require disciplined imagination which sprouts from memory. I argue in our more heuristic architectural discipline, architects must depend upon their memory as a tool to imagine.
I argue in our more heuristic architectural discipline, architects must depend upon their memory as a tool to imagine.
While we tend to associate memory as a complex electrochemical process taking place inside our brain, Juhani Pallasmaa claims that memories are also stored in our skeletons, muscles, and skin. Philosopher Edward Casey argues in a similar vein concluding in his book Remembering: A Phenomenological Study, “there is no memory without body memory.” Marcel Proust’s protagonist in In Search of Lost Time constructs his own identity through this bodily memory.
I would argue that architecture alone cannot produce any emotion unless we associate it with our memory. Our childhood memory is a fertile ground for our imagination. From this seed of memory, the tree of imagination takes shape. Imagination is vital to make architecture that is essential to the lived experience. Neuroscientists have found evidence that our fundamental perceptions don’t generate in the brain alone but is produced from the encounter between the body and the world. Through our interaction with the world, we create bodily memory. Architect Peter Zumthor makes this bodily memory speak through his architecture. He believes places and landscapes act as memory banks and an architect should actively interpret the memory stored in these landscapes to design that would be responsive beyond the spectacular form.
Every landscape and building are condensed memory and with memory we associate our microcosmic experiences with the world. Our existential space is built with multisensorial perceptions. The crucial question is, standing on our time, acknowledging the circumstances of our technological world, how can one imagine a palace to store memories which would safeguard the authenticity of human experience?
The crucial question is, standing on our time, acknowledging the circumstances of our technological world, how can one imagine a palace to store memories which would safeguard the authenticity of human experience?
Bachelard, Gaston, and M. Jolas. 1994. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon Press.
Brodsky, Joseph, and Poets Laureate Collection (Library of Congress). 1995. On Grief and Reason: Essays. 1st ed. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Casey, Edward S. 2000. Remembering: A Phenomenological Study. 2nd ed. Studies in Continental Thought. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Dutton, Denis. 2009. The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, & Human Evolution. 1st U.S. ed. New York: Bloomsbury Press.
Fisher, Thomas. 2004. “What Memory? Whose Memory?” In Memory and Architecture, 11. University of New Mexico Press.
Hurst, Rachel, and Jane Lawrence. n.d. “(Re)Placing, Remembering, Revealing,” 25.
Jackson, John Brinckerhoff. 1994. A Sense of Place, a Sense of Time. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Lyndon, Donlyn., and Charles W. Moore. 1994. Chambers for a Memory Palace. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, and Donald A. Landes. 2012. Phenomenology of Perception. Abingdon, Oxon ; New York: Routledge.
Mertens, Manuel. 2018. Magic and Memory in Giordano Bruno: The Art of a Heroic Spirit. 1 online resource. vols. Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History Ser. Boston: Brill.
Pallasmaa, Juhani. 2000. “Stairways of the Mind.” International Forum of Psychoanalysis 9 (1–2): 7–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/080370600300055814.
———. 2014. “Empathic Imagination: Formal and Experiential Projection: Empathic Imagination: Formal and Experiential Projection.” Architectural Design 84 (5): 80–85. https://doi.org/10.1002/ad.1812.
Pallasmaa, Juhani., and Peter B. MacKeith. 2012. Encounters 2: Architectural Essays. Helsinki: Rakennustieto .
Pérez Gómez, Alberto. 2006. Built upon Love: Architectural Longing after Ethics and Aesthetics. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
Pérez-Gómez, Alberto, and Louise Pelletier. 2000. Architectural Representation and the Perspective Hinge. 1. MIT Press paperback ed. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Proust, Marcel, and Christopher. Prendergast. 2003. In Search of Lost Time. London ; Penguin Books.
Quian Quiroga, Rodrigo, and Juan Pablo Fernández. 2012. Borges and Memory: Encounters with the Human Brain. 1 online resource (ix, 213 pages) : illustrations vols. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=3339513.
Rilke, Rainer Maria, and Mark. Harman. 2011. Letters to a Young Poet. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. http://www.perma-bound.com/ws/image/cover/005215830/m.
Rilke, Rainer Maria, and Robert Vilain. 2016. The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. Oxford World’s Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Yates, Frances A. 1978. The Art of Memory. Peregrine Books. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
Zielinski, Sarah. n.d. “The Secrets of Sherlock’s Mind Palace.” Smithsonian. Accessed January 5, 2019. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/secrets-sherlocks-mind-palace-180949567/.
Zumthor, Peter, Mari Lending, and Hélène Binet. 2018. A Feeling of History. Translated by Esther Kinsky. Zürich: Scheidegger & Spiess.
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The Poem. The Poetic Revelation. Poetry and History.
Why poetry is important in everyday life. Taking a leaf out of Octavio Paz’s book to make a strong case for poetry in our daily life, culture and society.
Octavio Paz, the author of this book was a Mexican poet, writer, and diplomat, recognized as one of the major Latin American writers of the 20th century. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990. This book The Bow and the Lyre contains timeless and profound ideals for our life, society and culture.
Images are product of imagination. We use the word image to invoke several different meanings. Each image or a poem consisting of different images contain many kinds of opposite or disparate meanings. Saint John speaks of Silent Music where two incompatible terms are put together. According to Paz, the image is key to human condition.
A child is surprised to know that a pound of stone and a pound of feather has the same weight. It is the character of the matter that appeals to the child. Paz calls it poetic reality. The poetic reality of the image cannot have its claim to the truth. The poem never says what it is, but what it could be. The realm of poem resides not in the realm of being but in Aristotelian “likely impossible”.
In dialectical process, the image of stone and the feather are completely opposite. Sometimes first term devours the second and vice versa. But some of the best images are where stone and feather continue to be ‘this is this’, ‘that and that’ and ‘this is that’ at the same time. In poetic terms, the stone is stone, the feather is feather as well as the stone is feather. This violates laws of thought and dialectic approach as dialectic proceeds with a string of reasons.
Since pre-Socratic philosopher Parmenides, the uprooting of Being from primordial chaos, constitute the basis of our thinking. “Clear and Distinctive ideas” come from this difference between what is and what is not. The banishment of poetry and mysticism from western history has diminished its value. Western metaphysics ends in solipsism, i.e. the idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist. Hegel’s attempt to go back to Heraclitus was futile.
Despite Husserl’s call to “get back to the facts”, his idealism leads to solipsism.
Heidegger’s effort to go back to Parmenides’ era to find an answer hits the stone wall. Despite Western history going to an astray, Paz is optimistic about finding a way into the world and starting all over again.
On the contrary, Oriental thought has not suffered the same defeat. When Western World conceives ‘this or that’, the Eastern World pitches ‘this and that’ or even ‘this is that’. The fundamental texts of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism reiterates the opposition amid the terms but at the same time mediates the necessary reconciliation between conflicting forces. In the most ancient Upanishad, a fundamental text of the Sanatan Dharma or Eternal Order, it is stated, “Thou art woman. Thou art man. Thou are the youth and the maiden… Thou are the seasons and the seas.” “There is nothing that is not this and there is nothing that is not that” says Chuang -Tzu. He elaborates, “Life is life in relation to death and vice versa. Affirmation is affirmation in relation to negation and vice versa”. It is this very moment when stone and feather fuse together. As per Eastern philosophy,:
Truth is an experience, and everyone must attempt to it on their own.
Learning cannot be just accumulation of knowledge or facts, but it is the attuning of body and spirit. Meditation teach us to let go of things, to unburden ourselves of the knowledge. To think is to breathe as thoughts and life are not separate entities but the same communicating vessel. The ultimate quest for identity remains between man and the world, consciousness and being, being and existence. All our endeavors remain to rediscover the old path between magic and poetry, science and religion; the forgotten way of communication between the two worlds.
In principle, Tantric systems consider body as an image of cosmos. Sense centers are knots of energy. Triple rhythm of sap, blood and light rules each posture of the embracing bodies.
In Eastern thought, truth is a personal experience and cannot be communicated. Who knows does not speak and who speaks does not know. Hence the Sage preaches without words. The condemnation of words come from the inability of language to transcend the world of this and that.
The words point to meanings which in turn shows to objects. Objects are beyond the grasp of language. The wordless preaching the Chinese philosophers refer to a language that is more than a language, a word that expresses the inexpressible.
Image and Language:
Each word has a certain number of meanings. When they are used in a sentence, they make a coherent sense. This time, the other meanings of the word disappears. In the case of Image, the multiple meanings remain present. For a poet, meanings of images dwell on different levels. The first one is the authentic one- the poet has seen or heard them. In second case the images are objective reality- the landscape painting by a painter and the actual landscape are not the same. They are two different parallels of the same order. Poetic images have their own logic.
Finally, the poet’s images tell us something about the world and about ourselves, and this something reveals to us what we are in this world.
All things that we represent through syllogism, descriptions, scientific formulas limit themselves to representing or describing it. They do not re-create what they are trying to express. If we see a chair, we would try to analyse its material, color, texture, shape etc. In poem, the chair is present in its totality. The poet does not describe the chair. He puts it in front of the reader.
“The poem does not represent, it presents” says Machado.
The meaning of the image is image itself. It is self explanatory. It can’t be said with other words. Commentaries, explanations and analysis are superfluous. The poet does not try to say. He just says. Unlike sentences and phrases, images are not means. In a similar vein, the sense of poem is in poem itself. Image causes words to lose their mobility and interchangeability. When Language is touched by poetry, it ceases to be a language. Poem transcends the language. The poetic experience cannot be reduced to words though only word expresses it. Truth of poem relies on the poetic experience. This experience is unutterable. Poetry puts man outside himself as well as makes him return to his original being.
The Poetic Revelation
Poetic experience, like religious experience is a mortal leap. It makes us forget where we are, who we are, only to be rediscovered later. Man reveals to himself though poetry. Religion on the contrary, aims to reveal a mystery alien to us.
According to Rudolf Otto, Sacred is a priori category. But Paz questions, the idea of perfection as a prerequisite of the priori category. The super powerful God must rely on sacrifices of human blood to keep the cosmos in order. God moves the world, but the blood moves the God! Religion is terra incognita for reason.
Paz insists, the experience of sacred does not lie outside to us – but in the opening of heart so that the hidden Other may merge. Religion allures us to an eternal life. It promises to redeem s from death, but it makes the earthly life a punishment.
“In killing death”, Paz says, “religion de-lifes life”.
As life and death is inseparable, death is present in life and we live dying. Each moment that we live, we die. Religion offers death of this life by promising eternal truth. To live is to die. Death is not something that is created in the void of life, but it completes it.
Heidegger pointed out joy in the presence of the beloved is a mean of access to reveal ourselves. He says what is all know with our prior obscure knowledge is love, the joy of love which is a revelation of being.
When man suddenly realizes, there is no meaning other than dying, the fall I the chaos is inexpressible. In the face of the world we are reduced to nothing– but at the same time the nothingness illuminates us to the light of being. “We ourselves annihilate ourselves in creating ourselves”, Paz goes on “we create ourselves in annihilating ourselves”.
Poetic word is a rhythm and being in rhythm is to embrace life and death in a single utterance. Poetry is not a judgment or interpretation of our existence but it is a revelation of our original condition.
Being is born of nothing. The same rhythm moves us, the same silence surrounds us.
Japanese poet Buson puts it:
Before the white chrysanthemums
the scissors hesitate
for an instant.
True poetry recreates man and makes him assume the true condition, that is not being in dilemma, but understanding the totality of life and death at a single instance.
Before the white chrysanthemums
the scissors hesitate
for an instant.
True poetry recreates man and makes him assume the true condition, that is not being in dilemma, but understanding the totality of life and death at a single instance.
Signs in Rotation
What is the place of poetry in Society? There is no poetry without society- poetry simultaneously affirms and denies speech which is very social at its root. Also there is no society without poetry as it will lack a language – where everyone will say the same thing or nobody will understand anyone.
In a universal society as it was envisioned that every human’s radical difference, singularity and freedom of thought will be celebrated, similarly at one time or the other, all the great poets believed that poem would cease to bring the contradiction of the human society that simultaneously affirms and denies history. In the new vision, it was expected that poetry would be at least practical. However, some traits of contemporary society are : degrading standard of life yet improving standard of living , evaporation of sympathy for fellow men, annihilation of personal communication but raising standard of communication system.
Technology is not an image nor a vision of the world. It is not an image because it cannot reproduce the world and it is not vision because it is unable to conceive the world as shape and its occurrence is more or less shaped by human will. Disappearance of the image is making technology possible. A mosque or a roman cathedral are impregnated with so many meanings. They endure not only because of the material property, but the significance of the meanings they produce. On the other hand, technological apparatus ceases to function and loses its significance when a higher efficient system is put in its place. Technology has not given us new world image and instead made it impossible to return to old mythologies. Technology’s philosophical virtue contains in the absence of philosophy itself. In absence of thousands of years of history and philosophy, Paz notes sarcastically that human being can find its own way with technology.
For Heidegger, we were too late for the Gods and too early for the being, whose poem already begun is being. Our historical situation is defined by too late and too early. We are lost in things; our thoughts are circular, and we hardly perceive anything.
Poetry, music and dance were originally perceived as a whole. Poetry reading is now a private activity. We don’t hear poetry but see it. We read poetry for ourselves. The transition of reading poetry from a public act to a private act has made the experience solitary. Now thanks to the technology of making sound from the word, we are hearing the world again.
If man is transcendence, poem is a sign of that transcendence- going beyond himself to discover through the otherness. If Man wants to be himself, without losing a key to this world, to unite with the other, then Poem is the key to it.
Before we get into other details of our Kindle Paperwhite 3G review, let’s quickly see why it continues to be the world’s best-selling e-reader. Kindle had been always very popular. When kindle was first released in the United States on November 19, 2007, the response was overwhelming. The entire production of kindle was sold out in five hours and it remained out of stock for approximately 5 months.
It’s very popular because they streamlined many latest innovations including the famous E Ink Display. This E Ink technology makes the ability to read books from a device like real paper print possible with no eyestrain. Then we witness E-reader race in the following years among reputed brands such as Amazon, Sony, Barnes & Noble and Kobo all using E Ink technology.
However, in the year 2010-11, Tablet became even more popular with the pioneering company like Apple and its iPad making every possible breakthrough for an ultimate portable multitasking device. It is nice to read books or magazines with colorful illustrations which are not so with E Ink E-readers. The chances of E-readers surviving on the market into the 2012 holiday seasons seemed weak. But guess what? They did it again to recreate the same excitement and success story with E Ink ‘Pearl’ display.
E Ink Pearl display was a wonderful thing to happen with better display contrast and resolution. But the problem with any E Ink device is that you can’t read in the dark as it does not illuminate like LCD or LED. You need a reading light to read in the dark which is not always comfortable.
Amazon released Kindle Paperwhite on October 1, 2012 ,making headlines again. This Kindle Paperwhite includes built-in light display that will illuminate the screen evenly and is adjustable. The display comes with a pixel density of 221 ppi (pixel per inch) and a resolution of 758×1024. During the launch event the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, emphasized on the patented built-in light technology as an outcome of four years of research & development. Well, you got to believe him when you compare side by side between Nook Touch with GlowLight and Kindle Paperwhite.
Improved and New Technologies with Kindle PaperWhite 3G
The PaperWhite Patented Built-in Light Technology
You can say that this innovative Patented Built-in light technology is the dealmaker for this e-reader and an edge over its predecessors as well as other dedicated e-readers. Unlike the reading light that usually fails to illuminate evenly on the screen, this PaperWhite illuminates the entire display screen evenly. This is a much-awaited feature by every booklover. Amazon flattens out fiber optic cable into a sheet and incorporates LEDs to entirely and evenly distribute light on the displays
How does PaperWhite Patented built-in light help?
You can read in the dark or in the bed at night without disturbing others, also PaperWhite screen actually enhances your reading experience in a bright lid environment or outdoor. What it does is that when you read in a bright lid environment with the light setting high the display screen matches up the surrounding brightness for better reading experience. On the contrary, you should keep the light setting low while reading in a dark room to match the surrounding which comforts your eyes and enhance the reading experience. Confusing? Yeah, it is confusing but it works!
The PaperWhite LEDs are always on to enhance reading experience as explained by Amazon, but it won’t diminish the battery lifespan if you keep the light setting at 10 or less. The brightness of the screen can be adjusted from a scale of 0-24.
Improved Display Screen
E Ink has gotten much better over the years which become even more evident when you do side-by-side comparison between (basic) Kindle and Kindle PaperWhite. According to Amazon the PaperWhite is 25% higher contrast than its predecessor with higher pixel density. Kindle and Kindle Keyboard 3G offers only 167 pixels per inch as compared to 212 pixels per inch of Kindle PaperWhite. The result is crisp and sharp text even for the smallest font.
If you own Kindle or Kindle Keyboard don’t expect a major improvement. You might not even notice it unless you use the smallest font while comparing.
To incorporate built-in light Amazon uses three layers for the PaperWhite screen display – light guide, touch screen and the E Ink display. There’s the chance of getting not so responsive touch interface. Yet, the touch interface is very responsive and even better than Kindle Touch, the previous generation. It is now faster and more responsive.
Actually, there is no room for complaint in regards to battery life with any E Ink readers. But with the inclusion of built-in light there were speculations of possible poor battery life. Amazingly, based on 30 minutes of daily reading you can still get up to 8 weeks of battery life with the wireless off and brightness set to 10 or less. This is the same battery life as Kindle Keyboard which comes without the built-in light.
Time to Read
This is a new feature for PapaerWhite that study and predict how long you’ll take to finish reading a chapter or the book based on your reading speed which is constantly updated as per your reading speed and habits. This is an ingenious idea and very useful in assessing the approximate time to finish a book.
Old Good Features That Were Retained
When you purchase a Kindle e-book, Amazon includes some pre-installed details about specific person, locations, fictional characters, subjects or concepts. Needless to say the details will differ by book.
This preloaded information is accessible using Kindle Touch X-ray function by going to the menu from any page. It will help you to view all of the passages throughout a book or a novel that mention fictional characters, places, historical figures or ideas. This is an exclusive feature of kindle e-reader and as Amazon puts it – X-ray lets you explore the ‘bones of the book’.
The Whispersync feature equipped the device with the ability to jump on any device and pick up from wherever you left off reading the last time. It will synchronize your bookmarks and annotations across your devices which is very nice. Synchronization works easier and faster with 3G connectivity. With the Wi-Fi, you may need to sign in and search for a network before you can sync.
Webkit for Basic Browsing
Unlike most of the other dedicated e-reader, you can do basic browsing with Webkit via Wi-Fi connectivity. Though this is an experimental feature it is nice that you can quickly check your mail or the web without switching device. However, you can’t access Webkit over 3G. The only two places you can access over 3G is Kindle Store and Wikipedia. This is why Amazon can safely say 3G is free.
Kindle Paperwhite WI-Fi
CLICK HERE TO BUY – Rs. 10,999/-
Kindle Paperwhite WI-Fi + 3G
CLICK HERE TO BUY – Rs. 13,999/-
Other features that influence your reading experience
Apart from the main features that makes Kindle PaperWhite truly a path-breaking E-reader there are other features worth mentioning. The ergonomic design of Kindle PaperWhite makes it easy to hold the device in one hand for long-form reading and it’s lighter than a paperback.
You got 6 hand-tuned fonts and 8 adjustable font sizes to suit your needs. It can hold up to 1,000 books with its internal memory which is like carrying your personal library wherever you go. In fact if you need more space you can simply archived your books on Amazon Cloud and re-download anytime you need for free. You get unlimited Cloud access for books you purchased on Kindle Store.
When you are not sure of the book you want to buy, simply read the first chapter for free and see if it meets your expectations. Amazon Prime members can borrow one book in a month for free with no due dates and select from over 180,000 titles. Kindle customers can also borrow books from over 10,000 public libraries in the States. This feature will work not just for your kindle device but any supported devices with kindle App.
If you like you may also lend your books to friends and families who owns Kindle or Kindle app devices for a period of 14 days. Reading Kindle books is not just limited to the Kindle device you may sync and read from your iPad, iPhone, Android devices, Blackberry, laptop, Mac or Pc using the free Kindle App.
To download a book on your Kindle is very easy and it takes less than a minute to download straight from the Kindle. There is no waiting which is great.
To turn pages you don’t need to swipe but just a light tap is all it need. Looking up for definition is easy with Kindle built-in dictionary. You may even enjoy instant dictionary lookups in supporting languages such as Spanish, French, German, Italian, Simplified Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese.
I like the Kindle ability to show ‘Real Page Numbers’ matching to the real page numbers in a print book. This feature will be particularly helpful for any citations and references.
Difference Between Kindle PaperWhite free 3G + Wi-Fi and Kindle PaperWhite Wi-Fi only
The primary difference is their connectivity. Kindle PaperWhite Wi-Fi model can connect to the internet only through Wi-Fi connection whereas Kindle paperWhite Wi-Fi + 3G model can connect to the internet via free 3G as well as Wi-Fi connection. The 3G model has a global wireless coverage of more than 100 countries and territories.
The other difference is their weight. Kindle PaperWhite Wi-Fi only weigh 206 gram and Kindle Wi-Fi + 3G weigh 217 gram. There is hardly any difference to make you feel lighter. Finally, there is a price difference of Rs. 3000/- between the two versions.
Is Kindle PaperWhite a Good Choice For Your Children?
If you want your kids to read just books with no web surfing ability like the tablet, you bet this is a good choice. Web surfing with Kindle PaperWhite is very slow and very much an experimental feature. No one will want this as their primary device to surf websites. Moreover, you can even restrict access to Kindle Store, Amazon Cloud and web browsing with Parental Controls, taking full controls of what your kids can do with their Kindle.
As mentioned earlier, there is no audio support with Kindle PaperWhite and if your kids like audio books or need text-to-speech feature the option is Kindle Keyboard.
On the eve of final review: The followig article was written exactly two years back before the third year studio design. Even now I would change very few points
When I decided to write a piece on my understanding about design I have almost 24 hours for final review. Designing a craft centre may not be the end of understanding but may be just the beginning of our learning of cultural forces. What is demanded by the requirements is often met by gross sized boxes and we don’t know how to make space fulfill. The top-down approach of making a block and designing the interior just to fulfill the space requirements often hurts me.
The search for perfect design does not just make sense. As often stated by one of our professors no design is bad or good. Everything has its own motives. The idea is to analyse about weakness and strength of each design solution. Probably the greatest gift of architecture is that we don’t have a single solution like mathematicians. We delve into the plurality and search for answers. It is like the search for the weave which binds all the strands of the cloth. We are always in search of the soul of the site, the surroundings. I wonder how many of my fellow mates has talked to a craftsman about what they need or what they would like.
The problem is that people have forgotten to talk to strangers. The society forbids now to make interactions. You have the internet in front of you and it answers all kinds of possible questions. But sadder still is that people even don’t use the internet for their improvement. Instead, we are more hooked on the photos shared, where the latest gizmos are displayed, what is the price of newest galaxy phone etc. Pleasure is consumed in seconds in front of a digital screen and young has forgotten to be happy. If you would like to find where is Pago island you would just type in Google and find instantly that it is in the east of Australia and Papua New guinea. But if you try to find it in old Atlas then you would spend a good 20 minutes or so to locate it & in the meanwhile, you would know about so many other places that you did not think they exist. The Internet has become the go-getter of copy-paste culture, even not acknowledging the original authors. It is ending up doing more harm to more people than doing more goods to few people.
Nowadays architecture students are obsessed with latest soft wares, plugins and other possible ways to glitter up their presentations. Unfortunately, a fraction of this time is spent on the design idea, the concept, and understanding. People are going gaga over the latest development that enables one to create parametric design solutions. But one has to understand what is parametric is. In easiest terms it is the best possible use of available resources. Doesn’t traditional design uses the best possible angle of solar orientation and ventilation? Computer literate architects disobey the traditionally knows concepts and instead devote their time to rediscover the same old principle that lived centuries. They instead develop some curves inspired by some western architects and term it Green in the name of LEED. They control their space by mechanically conditioned air and yet term it green by placing more saplings of the tree that would take years to mature.
Places of the world have now become some amusement parks thrown by some litters of some so-called star architects. They develop structure on their own and call that ‘fantabulous’. They know it won’t be possible anywhere else. An analogy of this is like Shah Jahan who ordered to take the hands off the master craftsman in order not to make anything even close to Taj.
Architecture is a curious craft. I love it because it offers to study me the history, culture, craft, society and multifaceted aspects of it. It is not only an architect’s responsibility to save the society from ugly structures called postmodern but to show the much-treaded path already left behind by our ancestors. The chaos, dynamic synergy that exists in culture is too strong to ignore. The essence of soil tells you to soak into it and not to indulge in the uber ugly towering structures. The tallest structures have been the ghoulish expression of animals within us, not the peaceful one. It underestimates the values, culture and an even undercurrent of passions. It seeks to touch the new height. The height of ugliness. They speak out to each other see how many people I can accommodate, see how many luxury I can provide. It is a never-ending competition between the monsters. A hotel in Ahmedabad seeks to touch new height by its curves. The hype around it is so tremendous that one forgets to tell that it is a shoe. It is like the child who questions the naked king where your clothes are? We need child like those. Fearless questions, which can tear apart the vague theories. The theories put together by Derrida are beyond the understanding of a common man. It seeks to create an intellectual raj where you cannot question an erudite for the fear that erudite might not able to explain it.
Another thing that haunts me is the expression. Students are told to explain graphically. What is the intention of the teachers? To devote less and less time to understand a potential problem to society? To give less than 2 minutes in a sheet made in 10 hours. It undermines the thought, the intellectual capacity to think. Just some colours and graphics are sometimes too little for the story. Students are not encouraged to write papers anymore. They are taught how to apply interesting graphics instead. Students are encouraged sometimes to make 3 dimensional renderings which are like real life. They end up making a dream image which might not be possible in real life. The concept cries foul. For the sake of beauty treatment, the concept takes backstage. Computer-generated views take centre stage. In present scenario if one say I can only do AutoCAD he or she is stared at or becomes the next topic to discuss. On the flip side of it, someone is too interested in applying Luna colours to whatever design is produced. A well-coloured drawing can never be bad design is the opinion in the mind.
One thing that lies beyond the understanding of mine is why everything has to be designed? Cannot something grow on its own? What happens to the much talked about marketplaces that have grown on its own? No architects have designed it. Urban designers heaped their praise around it and showcase it to compare the failure of Starbucks and big macs.
One has to learn to be travellers, not tourists. A true traveller does not any plans, foreground information about the things to be visited. He or she just travels and learns from the people, culture, and nature. Designing a craft centre which is not a museum is living piece of history itself. It is being created then and there. Before your eyes.
All we have is measurable materials. That is to create immeasurable truth, beauty and strength. No one is going to tell the architect about the secret attributes of it. It is his curiosity that will generate the immense sense of place, of understanding, of interaction and sense of accomplishment.
Curiosity is the eye of an architect.
Chandigarh was a long time ago, but arguably, no development of a new state capital has generated as much excitement and hype as Andhra Pradesh’ Amaravati city. While India is looking up to Amaravati as a modern day, even ‘futuristic’ capital that may well become a template for India’s 100 smart cities project, the city itself has a rich and glorious past.
Three international firms were shortlisted in the final stage competition including Richard Rogers of Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners from London, UK, BV Doshi of Vastu Shilpa Foundation from Ahmedabad,India and Fumihiko Maki of Maki and associates from Tokyo, Japan.
The brief for the competition was to design spaces that are eco-friendly, assimilates green and blue concept and most of all, act as vital geographic and economic gateways to their respective markets
Jury members comprising Erwin Viray (Professor of Architecture and Design at the Kyoto Institute of Technology,Japan), Suha Ozkan (Founder president of World Architecture community , Turkey), Rajeev Sethi (Designer and Art curator, India) , KT Ravindran (noted urban designer and educationist, India ), Keshav Varma (Ex- Municipal commissioner of Ahmedabad, India) led by chairman Professor Christopher Charles Benninger of India selected the design submitted by Maki Associates of Japan.
The top level technical panel headed by Professor Benninger had held several rounds of discussions with the three shortlisted competitors for three days and went through micro-level information provided by the planners. The jury spent nearly 40 hours in examining the plans and proposals of three top firms abefore reaching their decision.
ROGERS STIRK HARBOUR + PARTNERS LED BY LORD RICHARD ROGERS
MAKI ASSOCIATES LED BY FUMIHIKO MAKI
VASTU SHILPA FOUNDATION LED BY BALKRISHNA DOSHI
According to the hon’ble chief minister two iconic buildings including High Court and Secretariat would be developed in Amaravati. He said that it is people’s capital and the design would be placed in public domain for debate and suggestions from people. He also told that the best designs from two other architects (Vastu Shilpa and RSH+P) also would be taken into consideration to develop Amaravati as world class capital.
Inspirations for the designs:
It is symboliFumihiko Maki and BV Doshi both were friends from over five decades who were shortlisted for the competition entry and the chairman of the jury panel Christopher Benninger regards both of them as his ‘mentor’.
It was also to be noted that inspiration behind the projects submitted by these two architects were visibly inspired by their ‘Guru’ Le Corbusier. It is Le Corbusier alone whose body of work inspired young Maki to visit Chandigarh in the 1950s and there he be-friended Doshi who was overlooking Corbusier’s projects in India.
While it remains clear that Corbusier was the guiding force behind Maki’s design, it is evident that Louis Kahn played a definitive role in Doshi’s plan of the capitol complex.