An architect has to be everything. Has to know everything.
Know how to think, draw, build, demolish, rebuild in part and whole, not build at all, restore, repurpose.
Know the by-law, know how to break it.
Design a table, a temple, a tomb, even a town. Smallest to biggest, simplest to most complex. Concepts 5000 years old to newest materials in the market.
Build sustainable, cost effective, expensive looking, durable, opulent, not opulent, climate responsive or fully controlling the environment, for pedestrians and for cars. Beautiful, yet maximising the FSI.
Keep away the destructive, criminal or just those keen on graffiti but involve the community. Don’t allow disturbing noise but make a lively place – easy to clean, safe, secure.
Cater to children, aged, challenged and challenging, men, women, others.
Often in the same design.
A new library will be good to have. Not something that was made to fit into a dark space, accessible only by a see through stair right onto the entrance to the office and professors’ cabins. And better than one we have now, overflowing with books and reverberating noise, where it is not easy to concentrate.
About time they thought of a library building.
Very well if designed by a good designer. Even better if it’s by a past student.
The latest Idea (telecom) TVC is a perfect example of how to ruin an excellent brand building attempt that was well received over time.
I mean, who’d think of killing such great brand recall; or of replacing all the good values so far achieved, with a single cringing audience reaction of ‘why’?
‘What an Idea, Sirji’ brand thought
With their Abhishek Bachchan TVCs, they had a good thing going. Every time someone saw them, they smiled and felt good about having spent a few seconds watching a thing well thought of and well made. They have continued to touch upon contemporary issues. (Even if using simplistic concepts sometimes, like http://youtu.be/STZAcD2R6YI but you can’t not love their language barrier one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElxERkFfAwU) As happens with the best of companies, there were some damp ones, but on the whole, people were happy to think of Idea as an innovative company, at least in their adverts.
These ads sort of tapered down to ‘No Ullu Banaoing’ (Loosely translating as: No Fooling Around) advertisements that intensified around election time this year. A campaign not exactly at the same level of excellence, but still with some spark. The campaign targeted the flavour of the time, and connected with youth frustrated with the ageing polity, perceived to be fooling the masses.
Then someone thought of continuing that in an anthem, which, as an idea, must have sounded great to everyone. It had a mix of continuity, nostalgia (of chorus songs during Independence Day in the times past), and timeliness (being released around India’s 68th Independence Day).
Where the buck falls in the ditch
However, in the latest chorus piece singing Ullu nahi banenge hum, Idea’s advertising has taken a nose dive. From start to end, through the never ending 30 seconds, the ‘Ullu nahi banenge’ song drags on. The action is so slow it reminds one of the 1960s. The choir group looks shabby and not vintage. So determined not to be fooled is the group, that while they are passing along the light of knowledge (actually, a smartphone) to others, they don’t seem to notice their viewers gone numb. Not speechless – mimed. And there is not one face that stands out in the bunch of the otherwise good looking group. Surprisingly, with this advertisement, Idea has chosen to destroy all that we loved about their campaigns – and they are so attached to it, that they are not even taking it down.
Bad idea, really.
Advertisements, specially starring the likes of Shahrukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan and Ranbir Kapoor, come with limited contracts, so it is not be possible to revert to the old ads. But please, at least stop running this one?
+ Here’s one more think-alike article about creativity of Idea ads @ http://trak.in/tags/business/2011/05/12/creativity-indian-advertisement-idea-zoozoos-dairy-milk-havells/
+ To see the path Idea has taken, check out Idea TV Commercials at their media centre @ http://www.ideacellular.com/media-centre/tv-commercials
Alumnus of School of Architecture, CEPT; Loving father and pioneer, with Neeru, of a design-build practice uncommon in your time…
Rest in peace.
“Children and animals – it’s my life. I’m a mom with two sons and we spend a lot of time on the farm”
Elena says in her interview with Bored Panda @ http://www.boredpanda.com/animal-children-photography-elena-shumilova/
If the photos and subjects were not stunning, and so, memorable enough, I noticed she said:
“When I graduated from school I entered Moscow Institute of Architecture where I practiced with sketching and painting a lot. I suppose it is sketching and painting that defined my feeling of photography and composition.”
Now that’s one more reason to think of you Elena. All the best with the photos, you get two thumbs up for your work!
Update on August 12, 2014:
In your loving memory, strength to your family. And make some robos, wherever you are.
This came through fb, and brought back thoughts of two loving and brave parents. And of all the brave parents who have an abyss to cross everyday, yet they carry on with the small stuff like all others…
It was sometime in March 2013, when I received a call from Loki… Loki? Yes Loki Balasaria my friend from CEPT days. Loki and wife Rini were visiting Goa with their two sons Rishi and Tanay and wanted to meet me and Raj. Of course I was more than willing to meet them after almost twenty years. Rini was doing her masters in planning while I was studying Urban Design at CEPT. We were this bunch of girls who hung out together, went for movies and generally chilled together. Loki at that time had finished Architecture and was faculty at CEPT. I opted for photography and therefore became Lokis student and I owe my foray into photography and black n white printing techniques to him.
Well, I went with my 16 year old daughter to meet this wonderful family at Taj Vivanta. Rini in her usual chirpy way introduced me to her 17 year old 12th grader son Rishi and a much younger naughty Tanay. We spent the entire afternoon chatting in her room over coffee and that’s when I got to know Rishi….. Rishi floored me with his sense of perception, observation and analytical acumen. For a while it was difficult to imagine that I was speaking to just a 17 year old. And the beauty is that to him the topic did not matter. It was as if he was an encyclopaedia. I could see the look of pride and joy in the eyes of both his parents as they recounted some of the recent proud moments. What also struck me was the connect between the two brothers despite the age gap, that lil protective big brother look. Later Raj my husband joined us and we visited our architect friend and sat through a presentation wherein Rishi again impressed me by the way he handled his lil brothers impatience to sit through. In fact I can describe Rishi in one word … And that is… Perfect…
16 June 2014…. While going the usual FB posts, I came across one by Loki mentioning about Rishis school having dedicated some event to him…. Dedicated… What the hell does that mean… It was almost as if I was doubting my senses and chiding myself for thinking negatively… My heart missed a beat and I kept saying, this can’t be true, no no it’s not true. After about an hour I got the courage to call our friend Amit and my worst fears were confirmed. Yes indeed Rishi was no more…. But how why…
Apparently it was in 2013 just after joining college at Manipal that Rishi had mild fall while playing basketball and we’ll that was it…. What??? Just a fall and the bright life gone…
To say I was stunned would be an understatement… By now my legs had weakened and I was going through the worst fears any parent has. OMG how are Rini and Loki. A silent prayer went out for them. Rishi was gone almost 9 months back and I did not know. I did connect with Rini a lil on FB but that was it… And that was before Rishi went. It never struck me that why wasn’t I seeing any fresh posts by Loki….
Losing a child is the worst nightmare for any parent and losing Rishi must have been worst than that. I met him for just that one afternoon and evening and he impacted my life in way that his loss became unbearable for me….
And to think that it was just a fall…. How many of us fall everyday…. How many of us tell our kids, it’s ok if U have had a fall, you are growing up. Our lives are indeed fragile.
Rishi has taught me something that I am going to remember for the rest of my life….
When it rains heavily and my arty sun roof leaks, I hate the puddles and fret till it is repaired….. From now on, those puddles won’t bother me…..
When I enter home after a long day at office and see the family room messed up… From now on that mess won’t bother me.
When I need to send that really important mail, and the net slows down, …from now on this will not frustrate me.
When I am trying to call someone and calls constantly drop…from now on this will not irritate me
When I have work goals and for some reason they get delayed,… From now on this will not despair me….
You know why ?
Coz losing Rishi was far far greater than any small problems….
From now on whenever I’m facing a situation of frustration, anger, …. I think of this angel Rishi and think ‘ losing you was a far greater loss…. And this problem at hand can be sorted but getting you back, I can’t.’…
Rishi you did your parents proud….. No doubt you are gone in physical form, you continue to live through us coz you impacted the lives of whoever you met….you brought sunshine wherever you went…. Maybe the God in heaven above wanted some more brightness and so he called you much before your time…. Will miss you son……
Sneha (Rano Aunty )
Are CEPT students smart? Well, yes and no.
1. They all think, at least by the end of their term, that they are smart
2. They have had access to some good thinking – Others’, if not their own – and that is valuable
3. There is more stress on fundamentals and they have had a chance to learn strong concepts
4. It is a free environment, so people who have individual ideas have been allowed to explore them
5. Many who didn’t know they could explore, were probed or encouraged to do so
6. There is no spoon feeding or roto learning, and hence people ought to start using their brains
7. Students come through an entrance exam, and prefer CEPT over a bunch of other schools, so CEPT still gets the cream
8. Be aware that there are many other great places of learning in the world, but not as low cost, easy to get in and stay in
9. For most of it’s life (shorter compared to JJ, MSU, even SPA), students from CEPT’s flagship school have had a slightly better starting pay
A. CEPT is not one class, it is a bunch of schools, run by different deans, even as a lot of integration is taking place at the moment
B. Not all students can take the pressure, so some break
C. Not all who come are responsible, and that’s a problem when the place is not strict
D. Not all faculty has the same calibre, even though there have been some remarkable minds around
E. There is more stress on basics and thinking through, and less on skills. So there’s that initial gap when they start working
F. Struggle is considered a virtue, not a sign of one’s lack of smartness. So many of them are late achievers
G. Infrastructure has been meager, so CEPT does not appear on lists that consider acres and A/Cs
Of course, students are smart everywhere
Now I can’t think of a Pritzker winner without thinking of your analysis Conrad!
The link below is a latest post on the Pritzker win by the (already) famous and also Japanese architect, and is really a jab at Zaha Hadid @
Not fair Conrad. What would the world be if all the architects worked for only politically correct clients? How would you get the pyramids? Or the Louvre? Or the most beautiful of all, the White House?
Dirt on WAPCOS
After hearing a few officers complain about the quality of work turned out by WAPCOS, in fields as diverse as bridges and roads to dams and STPs; and since private consultants are anyway mentioning the chaos created by them, I set out to look at the bigger picture, trying my best to keep my views aside.
Water and Power Consultancy Services, with the mission ‘ To be a Premier Consultancy Organisation recognised as a Brand in Water, Power and Infrastructure Development for Total Project Solutions in India’ by their own claim, and a “MINI RATNA”.
On Emerging Markets Information Service (EMIS) website, WAPCOS Lts. is described as providing ‘Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services’, a Non-Listed LLP (Limited Liability Company). They further elaborate: WAPCOS Limited an ISO 9001:2000 Certified Company is a “MINI RATNA” Public Sector Enterprise under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Water Resources. Incorporated on June 26th, 1969 under the Companies Act. 1956, WAPCOS has been providing consultancy services in all facets of Water Resources, Power and Infrastructure Sectors in India and Abroad.
Wiki has more @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_and_Power_Consultancy_Services (retrieved today, 07.03.2014) and from the links one knows they have projects in Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Bhutan and Ethiopia. WAPCOS is everywhere. Studies of river basins, catchments, large Hydro projects, master plans, regional plans. And also we figure out that the word DPR figures prominently in their deliverables. Studies, reports, assessments on which to get clearances of various kinds. 550 crore turnover: not easy for smaller companies to beat them, and not difficult for them to enter any budding field and ruin it.
Like any big organisation, it has some very driven and competent people. They are also responsible for giving a few small organisations a chance to work on a scale they would not otherwise imagine. For profit, of course. All big consultancies have the structures of extraction worked out very well, they make sure they take all the profit, if there’s any to be made.
What about the quality of their work? Shoddy, shoddy, shoddy. This is the word I hear from all sides. From those who are sitting on the client side; and have to get work from them, those who have to implement projects devised by them, and those who have a modicum of sense in them…
Who can be the judge?
Mostly people who are ‘working’.
Here’s someone with a real issue with WAPCOS… Repeatedly they mention that WAPCOS is unreliable in their quality and conclusions:
Shoddy EIA by WAPCOS Tries to Push Unjustifiable Bansujara Irrigation Project in Madhya Pradesh
Many writers here have taken to tearing apart the work in question. With sometimes apt and at other times juvenile observations on the copy and paste job that the report is @ http://sandrp.in/Bansujara_Multipurpose_Nov_2013.pdf
A new one on the same blog, by another author:
Critique of Kalai II HEP’s Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Study and Environment Management Plan
Who is complicit?
So that is someone concerned about ‘How governments collude to violate laws’. And we know the state of mess out governance is. Water and Power are also some of the trickiest sectors, specially in developing economies with rich and endangered natural resources. Dams, development and shared resources pose some of the longest standing and most tenacious battles for our culture and politics. Hard choices have to be made, all the time. And justification for the same have to be given, even if it’s a scam. Technical matters, long range solutions are ever pitted against political urgency and the simplicity with which a non-technical decision maker would approach the issue. Citizens, who are capable of hugging trees, but not fixing their leaky tap, or pouring chemicals through the drain in an eco resort. Or plain contractors who need construction labour, often for corporates who need their industries to run. It’s a cycle, you see?
There are noises of Dam and Power Plant projects being approved without examining even basic data. This is not new, it has been going on and even for the project as big as Narmada Dam, with opposition from big people, and the battle being dragged to Supreme Court. Within the context of water crisis of five urban regions. The studies commissioned belatedly, with the threat on a consultancy that it will be blacklisted if they gave an unfavourable assessment. Its that elephant in the room. All consultants know how their work is created and sustained.
Everyone knows the people at Ministry (of Environment and Forests, MoEF) are no angels, and a developer is not interested in an impact assessment but rather in the result it produces – for a person who’s made up his/ her mind to execute an idea, this usually spells ‘clearance’. Dam(n) the environment. Build the apartment. (This is for future, on how environment clearances really work)
What is their context? It is primarily an Engineering Consultancy Organisation and they work with governments, at all levels, as well as with other semi government agencies, public as well as private companies and sometimes with groups of citizens. They are pitching for every kind of work that’ll come to them. And they are getting work through tenders and open bidding in most of the cases. That brings us to this question: should a company that does EIA Reports be more invested in the environment or in the report? Which one should you choose?
Now the Code of Conduct
The code of conduct is enforced since 10.30 this morning. A lot of work is going to slow down – in fact, much of government decision making is going to come to a standstill – everything postponed till the new government comes in… Who knows whom they will appoint, and what that will change.
Quite a change from all the hectic activity of past couple of weeks, the crazy turning of the sometime sluggish, mammoth wheels of government machinery. Those in the service of government, even when not directly, are tired and worn out. Everyone was working round the clock to the same end: To close as many books as possible; Complete or start decisively as many works as possible. The number of tenders put out in last month is equal to all put out in may be 6 preceding months. The smaller the government entity controlling it, the more the lack in organisation.
No more foundation stone ceremonies from government, no more dedication of public projects – from over-bridges to crematoriums. No more lotteries promising people poor and rich a house, or free education. Behind the curtain, no running barefoot for permissions scribbled hastily over files, inked on dates actual or past (back-dated is the word commonly used), no seniors working late, no frantic calls, no juniors burning midnight oil preparing notices or uploading tenders. And certainly no more consultants/ contractors/ vendors going bonkers collecting documents, putting together bids and having nightmares over who will win the contract.
Now the calm after the storm. Sort of a hush in offices government and private – at least some. Time to catch a breath and gear up for what happens after the new government is sworn in, takes hold, and is geared to continue or convinced not to continue a project, idea, culture.
Difference is obvious, from the haphazard shooting, to complete silence. The badgering, ‘setting’, aligning on small scale, to make tiny (ok, sometimes not so tiny as well) profits is over. So is the interface of citizens and government at minor scale. Now while the aachar samhita tells us the code of conduct it is time for big things. Big alliances, bid deals – living in hope, teeter totter. And from accomplishments, the focus will now turn to promises. Of better things, a corruption free nation, a just nation, a safe place, a place with a future.
Mr. Doshi is ever a delight to hear. And the family has come a long way from fighting for territories. They now stand united, and the sons in law now have clearer roles. They have made significant contributions to built environment, and to the world of education.
Come if you want to know the renowned family.
Design education at IITs, a step towards a better future
The following came from a senior design faculty at a premier institute, as all are fond of calling it…
“I read through fully the draft of the Design Manifesto prepared by the MHRD for the introduction of design education in institutes of higher learning in India. I wish we had access to such a paper from the DIPP which has already put four stones in the ground without sharing any plans or vision document so far. I wonder when these administrators will learn that India is changing and that inclusive planning can indeed make a better offering in the age of the internet and social media. …the MHRD note was stimulating and very encouraging indeed for all in the design community. Hope to see the draft in an final approved for in the near future. …I was immersed in the very exciting MHRD Design Manifesto, full credits to the leadership at the helm of the MHRD who have moved design to centre stage at the IITs and NITs across India.”
The ministry’s page itself, @ http://mhrd.gov.in/, is a sight to see. Design, in it’s broadest sense, is getting it’s due from the decision makers it seems. But even as you will find a better focus on design in general in MHRD’s outlook, CoA page is a stub. Neither any real vision, nor any attempt to pare architecture colleges with institutes like IITs and NITs is visible. I wonder with opening up of norms and lowering of criteria (To get more students, rather than through some enlightened perception of the Arts and Commerce students being worthy, in my guess), it will even be called technical education anymore.
And I wonder when the design related institutions will learn to put forth such vision. Some are new, bubbling with enthusiasm. Yet others are lost without a hope.
However, I will give it to these guys at Durgapur. If engineering institutes try to embrace design, why shouldn’t it happen the other way round? Most of the Architecture schools were strapped to engineering institutions anyway…
“Architecture engineering offer various career possibilities for qualified individuals. They can either practice from home or be actively involved in the following activities and/or industries:
The supply and distribution of electricity i.e. hydro-electric, coal-fired and nuclear schemes; basic industries like steel, mining, chemical and petrochemical; manufacturing and related industries like anti-pollution equipment, automatic control systems, medical equipment manufacture and mass production; measurement process engineering control; medical x-rays, ultrasonic scanners, electrocardiograph equipment and magnetic resonance imaging; microprocessors, personal and main-frame computers; aviation electronics; specification development/technical administration and management; technical training and education; computer industry i.e. fabrication, design and modification; microprocessor control of industrial systems; electronic systems used in steel works, refineries and large chemical plants; manufacturing or electronic components and equipment; air, sea and rail transport systems where electronic control or monitoring is involved; transmission and receiving of electronic signals; television and radio; communication via satellite, microwaves, closed circuit television and fiber optic links; military radar, communications and related operations.”
That came from Rani Rashmoni School of Architecture, of SET Group @ http://setgoi.com/college/rrsa/arch.do
MHRD, please pay some attention to ‘Design’ in the narrower sense of the term too?