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Urbanization has been gradually increasing around the globe as people migrate from rural areas to urban areas for economic advancement creating urban development that sprawls into the countryside. Though urbanization has its benefits, it has oriented architecture to a kind of development that blurs the scenic picture of traditional systems. In light of this, we must ensure that urban architecture, like qualities that of rural, provides us with spaces for innovation, culture, and well-being.

With such intent, IES College of Architecture organized an international conference of architectural practitioners, educationists, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders to discuss the architecture of rural India and the potential influence it can have on the future of architecture. ‘Engaging Architecture in India – Transitional Rurality: Lessons from Hinterland’ was second of the many international conferences organized by IES COA in 2015. The conference covered several topics like the benefits of rural architecture, an association of rural architecture to urban development, need for a better future and many more. The aim was also to build a relationship between architectural education and the industry.

The need for an international conference was felt due to the growing demand for architecture in India without an assessment for adaptation to specific Indian realities.Besides a vast market, India also provides a unique platform in which international and local practices and realities need to engage with one another to create successful models of operation and study. Given the geography of India, every region has its own unique approach to architecture with respect to climate, materials, culture, etc. International architects, in particular, are challenged by situations specific to the Indian context that compel them to realign their approaches to succeed in the Indian market while retaining the essence of their strength.

It attempted to analyze the traditional systems of architecture prevalent in rural India, its adaptability to the urban architecture today and the benefits that come along with it in terms of sustainability. The analysis made was to understand how these systems have coped up with the urban architecture of today in terms of ecological, economic and socio-cultural sustainability.

The discussion was based on projects in the rural context that used local techniques, skills, and materials to harness the centuries-old indigenous architectural language of the respective regions while also keeping them rooted in contemporary culture. The speakers focused upon using locally available material in an innovative way such that the designs turn out to be more responsible towards the socio-cultural factors of the region.
Vernacular Architecture in India is based on traditional wisdom and climate-centric practices which have evolved over time. Projects discussed showed that rural buildings adapt efficiently to today’s world, given that natural elements were incorporated in the design to reduce dependence on electricity for light and ventilation, particularly for cooling.

On the whole, the conference ended on a high note inferring that urban architecture can be reconstructed from the perceived typology of buildings from the past. This perception shall reflect itself in the architectural vocabulary of the future urban context. Our approach to architecture in India today can enable the creation of buildings with the potential to transform the future.


Article by :

Mruga Padhye

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