– by Rajesh Kumar Das
Human kind is known for creating problems just to solve them later. The ‘later’ is today and the world is already in a ‘solution-finding’ phase. Progress towards commerce and development has transpired at the cost of massive environmental damage. Practices adopted for such developments have havocked human health in the form of pollution, calamities, stress-induced ailments and so on. Water bodies have started shrinking of its original sizes, owing to urbanization and are heading towards deterioration with their water catching fire and swathing in foam. The way forward entails not monetary progress but health, happiness, and knowledge for all. Disrupting existing systems and everyday lives, demolishing buildings, replanting forests, abandoning cars or giving up the comforts of urban living are practices too difficult to attain. The solution can only be innovations that intervene and not interrupt – a design approach where construction generates green cover, enhancing lives, productivity, and mental wellness.
Buildings have been meant to fulfill only the single purpose of providing shelter. Land as a non-renewable resource is focused to accommodate the maximization of the potential of the built mass. But, there is further responsibility associated with the land-building relationship. The approach of LVL AWSM is to reclaim the unused real-estate terrace spaces to return to nature for the already-occupied building footprints. The idea is to enrich the impact on buildings and cities by optimizing the space above the four walls and to accommodate utilitarian, recreational activities, etc. The proposal spatially enables terraced cafes, play-areas, recreational zones, playschools, and even healthcare facilities, all by refurbishing the terrace spaces as commercial and recreational undertakings. Such spaces enhance the aesthetic and functional quality of the under-used areas and also work upon the larger intent, to reimburse earth for the space that humanity and civilization occupies. Buildings that are structurally unequipped to handle the human load on their terraces can also join the bandwagon through solar panel and wind turbine technologies. These innovative interventions generate social impact, style impact and service impact for better spaces and healthy minds.
Social impact pertains to using the terrace space for micro-farming and plantation for produce. Even if not substantial, smart-farming can pave the way towards citizens adopting holistic practices. The farming may not be done for substantial produce but can be positioned as a stress-relieving, rejuvenating exercise after work. The stylistic impact is the generation of interactive, communal and gathering spaces. The service impact is rendered, when space is used as a work zone or for any commercial undertaking. The attributes and services create this three-fold impact within the built environment, optimizing terraces by adopting the same and bringing out the best for buildings and its inhabitants. Progressing beyond ornamental landscaping and green vistas- fitness, wellness, and entertainment are adopted simultaneously.
Office buildings can use their terraces to create a meeting and collaborative areas alongside an element of recreation and smart-farming. Cafes, restaurant establishments or malls can implement the idea over their rooftops.
Ideation of this practice not only benefits the individual but works at a larger scale for impacting townships and cities. Taking up on this opportunity to make more conscious decisions for the society and not turning a blind eye to the issues, a one-time investment sets off a chain reaction that can gradually reverse and reclaim ecology. Now couldn’t be a better time to enjoy the perks of urbanity alongside the bounty of nature.
*The author is Founder and Director of 10by10 Studio. Views are personal.