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Issues plaguing design industry and possible solutionsBy Jaisim Krishnarao
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I have just been reading a compilation in detail about land and its issues that torment this country. Outdated and incompatible laws and rules and a corrupt system both add up to an impossible situation. Thus it is obvious as to why growth has been stifled.
Similarly the design scenario faces issues beyond debate that have strangled its positive growth.
I shall in these lines only reflect at the scenario of four decades plus in which I have played a role as a professional practicing architect.
In the beginning one only looked for opportunists to obtain a commission of a project and do one's best in the hope it gets recognized and drives to a sustainable future.
But as I reflect back these strains and stresses that ingrained into the architectural practices in India were because of an inherent system, which was formed as a result of practices by a few architects based in the National or state capital . These few but powerfully connected and related firms shut doors on all but their own cartel. They even ensured that these significant landmarks work, which in those early days were mostly public, remained within their frame of influence. They even opposed, with a nose in the air manner, opening of any more new schools of architecture and planning. They were the chosen!
In the late 80s and 90s things opened up. Population grew. Young became the majority. Old schools had to yield. Villages urbanized. Pressures built. Architectural firms that had inherited British practices could no longer hold on to privileged information and knowledge. But a new monster was born- The Builders' lobby. These entrenched with powers that be, became the order of the day and still continue.
Practices that had struggled to take roots were not destroyed but were swept aside and kept away. Only those willing to play the new rules were embraced and taken in. Thus along with the land sharks and the powers that enslaved architects and made them perform as a close held orchestra.
Technology suddenly marched with new styles of performance. And then the MEDIA infused in the BOLLYWOOD market which took new strides. The FILMY world (as it is now in the sports arena) with mega-heroes became the sales icon. Design did not matter. Posters mattered. Mediocrity steeped in and flooded the built environment. A neo-colonial outlook crept in, to add insult to injury.Failed and useless foreign designs were simply cut and pasted with no content or context. There are two styles that have ingrown into the urban scene, the Maharajah and the Imperial Palaces shrunk and morphed to fit pretentious life styles and the pother , the hi-tech stunts of technology imitated the west and by now foreign returned novo rich.
Imagination and Innovation took the technological break. Reason and Ethos lost their race, in all impacts. Dramatic visual engineered structures simply swept all that and implanted a whole new metamorphose. This scenario continues till this day, but has a withering look. Like a blockbuster movie, they have lost their shine.
Today, the emergence of hundreds of schools of architecture may finally be the answer. Yes, initially they will step in to the muck and continue to throw dirt. But eventually the muck will settle and the dirt will be cleared and a sense of sustainable aesthetics will tame engineering to realize there is more to LIFE.
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