Can we do more with less?

A Case for Looking Inwards…

Development today has become synonymous with increased consumption. But as the world attempts to grapple with the ongoing climate crisis, factors like sustainability and resource efficiency seem to be increasingly staking a claim at the decision-making table across sectors. So how do we, as architects and designers in contemporary India, devise solutions that fit into this need for resource efficiency while allowing for experimentation and innovation?

For centuries, local architecture has been effectively responding to its bio-climatic conditions, organically developing solutions to the same problems we are facing today—the creation of spaces that shelter us from the climate and the optimal use of resources in construction. Solutions derived from centuries-old wisdom illustrate that simple solutions are often the most effective. Limited building footprints, orientation based on sun path, and optimised shading and window-to-wall ratios are age-old techniques that are low on investment and high on returns. These methods are as relevant today as they were in the past and chart out on a starting point for innovation in the current context.

For example, at the Integrated Production Facility for Organic India in Lucknow, the use of a simple brick outer shell, employed due to the abundance of brick kilns in the area, has contributed to the low carbon footprint of the campus. The interstitial open spaces on campus further aid in tempering the heat by enabling passive cooling through the stack effect. The use of these <rt-red> low-tech but effective solutions based on context has led to the building receiving a LEED Platinum rating. <rt-red>

At House with a Brick Veil in New Delhi, an intriguing facade is created using a 345mm brick screen that wraps around the building. The screen shelters the home from the din of the city, while multiple openings integrated within it let in air and light. <rt-red> The use of this ubiquitous material in an unconventional manner lends both a distinct external character as well as a pleasant interior environment to the home. <rt-red>

At the Rajesh Pratap Singh Flagship Store, New Delhi, the need to create a strong visual identity led us to the most unassuming tool used in tailoring -- the humble pair of scissors. <rt-red> The scissors, laid into motifs and patterns, create a lace-like surface that wraps on the walls and ceiling to form an enclosure. <rt-red> The store highlights the use of industrial craft and the localisation of skills and materials to create striking contemporary spaces.

Through these experiments, we understand that unique and effective architectural expressions can be derived even from the most commonplace materials and techniques. Subverting prevalent patterns of reckless, resource-intensive consumption, <rt-red> thoughtful design can champion the cause of frugal innovation, making the most of what is available and easing the load on our planet. <rt-red>

Attached Projects