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Conscious design: The cities of future


Mitu Mathur – Director, Gian P. Mathur – Architects & Planners

by Mitu Mathur

One of the biggest questions raised in the architecture industry is how rapid Urbanization is shaping the face of urban thinkscapes in the country. In order for us to not lose out on an opportunity to create a better future for the coming generations, the issue is of prime concern today. It is crucial that architects, as well as developers, carefully address – Going ‘High-Rise’, integrated with Good Construction practices that govern the upcoming development, a cognitive understanding of users’ stimulus to the built environment and the technology at hand.

Outlining a design approach that recognizes both design and awareness for a long term use to create something that re-enables, re-empower and reimagines sustainable living is the need of the hour. Land being a nonrenewable resource makes vertical living synonymous with successful living. These new high rise structures should maximize daylight intake and minimize energy consumption. Though one might argue that high rise structures consume more energy, due to elevators, water pumping, etc; but on the contrary, if looked at a larger perspective it has the power to promote a much compact lifestyle, enabling more space available for green areas, critical for a healthy lifestyle. Studies from around the world show that denser cities produce a lower demand for energy, indicating that India’s urbanization has the potential to help, rather than hinder the efforts to cut carbon emissions.

‘Architecture defines the social fabric of a place’; the same applies in the case of high-rise structures, where spaces for social interaction and recreation will form the mainstay of the inhabitants. These can be achieved by accessorizing and highlighting refugee floors as green spaces, by utilizing terrace spaces, carving niche spaces in the structures for recreational purposes only for the inhabitants of the tower. Vertical Gardens are also a great way to enhance the visual appeal and control the micro-climate of the build-form.

Provided there is a balance of Key Elements of Green development with adequate infrastructure and resources to cater to the populace, the vertical growth model will be able to reduce the per-capita carbon footprint and bring about a revolution in the Indian building industry.

As designers, we must take complete responsibility for our decisions and take up this opportunity to make more conscious decisions and their possible effects on the consumers. In a trend to create a more human-centered design with elaborate consumer experiences, we unwillingly turn a blind eye to the invisible, the one that does not surface. We must find ways to look beyond the usual to maintain the equilibrium and avoid the imbalance in nature.

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