The End of Innocence

Architecture Dated:  March 4, 2015
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Source: thehindu.com

The Crows are coming.  Early  morning  one used to hear the birds sing and suddenly this visit we hear the cawing of crows. A clear evidence of the beginning of urbanization. The end of nature as it slowly had evolved. A few semblances here and there with one or two mocking birds  continuing to mock at us.

But this is not a lonely evidence. I stretched my mind to the early years of my practice. On the empty sand dunes of the coastal city I proudly designed and built EGO in tribute to the settings. Enjoying the Morning sunrise and the loneliness. Later I moved to Bangalore and found an abandoned neighborhood and built ANTHEM. It snuggled with the hills and dales as part of nature. All my walks were lonely and serene with none besides us. Again moving to the city and seeking its embrace created FOUNTAINHEAD on a site no one knew what to do. It looked across the large Maidan and the setting Sun clothed it. And few crossed its vision. And recently as part of my later years and seeking solitude with enlightened comfort took refuge and designed and got built 126 SUVIDHA. It sat amongst the contours of nature both physical and ecological.

Every one of the above was a search and interpretation of the environment that beholds my architectural thirst. The thirst got quenched. I laid back. Soon others wandered and wondering at this unique stature built and built with abandon. EGO, ANTHEM, FOUNTAINHEAD, and now 126, all of them shriveled to urbanity. The last to the insanity of urban landscape. Nature abandoned and screamed away. The lawn movers with their sprinklers, the vehicles with their concrete and tar, the buses with their lots of children and commuters and Realtors making merry. Hell wore its true colors.  And yet these survived the onslaught. Their environment continues to evoke a smile on any sensitive soul that treads these spaces.

BUT realtors strike with a heavy sword. Land prices shoot. Demand for roofs out shoots the sense of comfort. These edifices are razed to the ground. Where once stood a beautiful sensitive angel, now hovers a built mortar cluster of cubby holes rising uncomfortably high. Life is no longer a premium. Premium is the floor area. Even here a touch of sense can bring in smiles. But the greed enforces meaningless floor spaces that are named houses. Homes they can never be. The occupants who have scratched their daily bread to buy these abodes somehow make a life. They all work shift to shift, the children are hurried away to schools. The goal being spend as little a time within these walls, rest of the time anywhere but within.

Guilt of all dimensions reign. Rage is part of entertainment. TVs blare, neighbors screech and somehow make a bargain. The carpetbagger has triumphed. The realtor rolls his rugs and moves on to the next victim.

Here, I must pause. In this scenario where does one practice an architecture of aesthetics and joy that plays with space and dances with time. It is a difficult world. Here FOUNTAINHEAD takes challenges.

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