Design for Serenity, With Nature in Mind

Vernacular architecture plays a vast role in capitalizing on local knowledge, crafts and traditions, Dr. Ar. Namrita Kalsi, Additional GM (Arch), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (DMRC) in exclusive interaction with AuthIndia talks about the the role of incorporating regional crafts in public space, which can also be a means to increase their visibility by influencing the commuters at wide scale.

What is your take on the significance of vernacular architecture in sustainable designs?

Vernacular architecture also promotes building materials ,local employment and heritage to the next generation. It plays a vast role in capitalising on local knowledge and traditions, taking advantage of local materials and resources, that are relatively energy efficient and sustainable. Providing a vital connection between humans and the environment in which they live and help us design according to the local climatic conditions which often performs well.

But in the meantime, environmental concerns are also explicitly reflected through the use of local natural resources and building technologies and with the growing and changing world materials, cost and our need of accommodating more people within a limited geographical area has increased thus though vernacular materials are sustainable, vernacular designs may need modernisation. 

Hereby Vernacular architecture will significantly be sustainable if we strengthen these designs in  light of our modern scientific knowledge, the true sense of sustainability takes place by adopting the good and discarding the bad from the traditional past while moving forward towards modernization.

What were the guiding principles for any project that you work on?How do you choose the objects?

The primary guiding principle for any project I work on is solving the problem while staying rooted to the boundaries of the principles of architecture, followed by sketching various concepts that cater to my clients needs as well as extend my creativity, knowledge and imagination. Testing the technology while combining the traditional and old ways of designing have always been a challenge which one can only succeed if one understands the redevelopment or energy consumption.

With the growing population we need conservation more than ever so slight changes in living and using the researched components of Green building ratings like GRIHA & IGBC really help the functionality and sustainability of a design.

I choose my objects with the ideology of creating a utility (It should be useful and function well for the people using it) that’s durable (it should stand up robustly and remain in good condition) and visually pleasing (It should delight people and raise their spirits) and timeless.

Let us know about any recent interior project in which you engaged or intended to employ the local artisans/craftsmen of India.

A recent project I engaged in is Dhansa bus stand metro station at the Dwarka-Dhansa grey line metro corridor that has been decorated with artwork and photographs depicting the rich heritage, culture, flora and fauna of the suburban locality in the national capital.

The design concept was based on a jheel (lake) located between Najafgarh and Dhansa that has a rich biodiversity inviting  species such as eagles, ducks, kingfishers and parrots, among others, making it a hub for bird watchers, especially during the winters.

Besides, the colour palette of the station area was kept earthy and bold to show the amalgamation of rural and urban settings and all the artworks are contributed by various budding local artisans, craftsmen and photographers, all that have been curated to promote their ancient folklore and rich cultural heritage.

Describe a typical working day?

A typical day at work has evolved Post- Covid to yield a heady mix of virtual, physical and  ground to site earth. Hard work, knowledge, presence of mind and thoughtfulness is a metamorphic process , turning a barren site land into a beautiful reality , which gives immense happiness and gratitude towards my work and visions. Every day at work we combine form and figures into a functional design that the population uses and appreciates, nothing can be more fulfilling than a selfless gesture of creating a space people use from a land people never looked back at!

Every day is a challenge, an opportunity but most importantly a source of gaining knowledge because learning never ends in a typical day as an architect. Technologically speaking we have kept up with times to work on the BIM platform supported with Naviswork, Autocad, Revit all amalgamating on Cloud for seamless working across space, time and teams.

Let us know the significance of female Architects/Interior Designers in male dominated vacation.

Construction ecosystem might be male dominant because of the gender ratio. Yet women do play the role model as design, detail & master of coordination at work, being perfect at multi- tasking. In urban India comparison is something we must avoid under any circumstances. But, we can’t ignore the fact that the number and ratio of workforce gender wise is skewed and the construction industry is no exception.

If we look at the global statistics, though, the number of women taking admission in architecture school is larger than men, but leading a successful business is a different ball game because many women divert or pace out their careers. 

However, there has been a shift in recent years and a definite move towards developing a better balance between the genders in the profession and house-chores. With the number of young females applying for the course increasing, the architecture industry will surely be a game-changer in the future.

How important is the role of Academicians and Institutes in incorporating regional crafts in innovative design?

Academicians and Institutes are the most influential factors when it comes to young and budding minds. They are a hub of inducing values and learning the new, thus the role of incorporating regional crafts in innovative designs are very essential in these places and overall. It increases the visibility of local craft , culture and promotes the learned over the influential in the society. It helps the new generation learn and value their roots as well as conserves the art of an era. 

Traditional classes derived from the basic principle of form, shape, proportion, and scale are a standout in the practice culture. The present scenario of Architecture is requires sensitisation to the local cultural ethos and heritage and thus its integration must be promoted and appreciated for any and every kind of innovative design.



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