Submitted by Rashi Jain

Delve into the Macrocosm of Architecture

India Architecture News - Apr 11, 2020 - 22:26   9180 views

Delve into the Macrocosm of Architecture

A few years back when I was in my last semester of Bachelor’s of Architecture, struggling with my thesis, many thoughts were springing up on what to do after the degree, where to work, will I be able to make an impact with my contribution. How much will I get paid? 

Delve into the Macrocosm of Architecture

Image courtesy of Leewardists

Gathering my thoughts then, focussing on the present, I performed well in the journey of becoming an architect. At that point after five years of dedicated hard work, I decided to take a break and just after a week flew to the USA to spend some time with my brother. On my trip, I got a chance to visit some of the masterpieces including Falling waters, MIT campus, and Harvard University. 

Much influenced by the western thought and idea of design, I came back and tried to experiment with my imagination in some of the projects I got from my known circle. Soon realized that to have an engaging practice and growth I will require a team of the same vigor and energy.

Delve into the Macrocosm of Architecture

Image courtesy of Leewardists

Moving forward, taking a leap I moved to Delhi to gain some experience working in a commercial firm which by my thought will give me a larger perspective of the Business of Architecture. With some months passing by, I kept myself busy with architectural journalism, handling the public relation, and also dealing with small scale projects such as residence and offices. 

Soon I started feeling discontented as my work was not making any difference in the social and economical progression of the country. It was not affecting the masses in any direct way. The work was only benefitting the elite thus overlooking most of the population of the country. Confused and frustrated at times I started looking for the next endeavor. 

Delve into the Macrocosm of Architecture

Image courtesy of Leewardists

With parallel thoughts of studying and working to gain multiple aspects, I filled the application of Anant Fellowship, just by glancing at their website and links. 

It was fascinating and also dubious about how is it possible to do everything mentioned in just a year. Followed by a couple of interviews, I was among the 30 young practitioners, who came from various disciplines and places on earth to get immerse into new ideas, knowledge, skills to question, evaluate, invent, and redefine the Built Environment.

Delve into the Macrocosm of Architecture

Image courtesy of Anant Fellowship 

Enthusiastically, shifting again to the hostel life in the city of Ahmedabad it was a dive into a complete unknown. The orientation began by knowing each other, getting comfortable, and developing empathy as one of the basic principles. 

Presently, in the eighth month of the fellowship, we are all ahead with our Live Action Projects in which we are solving a real-life challenge in close association with local administrative bodies and community stakeholders, guided by mentors propelling the process by research, inquiry, and insights. 

Delve into the Macrocosm of Architecture

Image courtesy of Anant Fellowship

(Above: Basera developed a post-occupancy evaluation toolkit for In- Situ Slum Rehabilitation. Their intent is to use this toolkit to come up with recommendations that would inform the actions of builders, NGO’s and government bodies alike working in this sector. The group won a highly competitive 6-month v startup accelerator award based on the merits of their proposition) 

My group is working on mental health and well being and on how behavioral psychology is linked to the spaces we dwell in. Intervening with art and architecture we are trying to study different groups of people in the distinct built environment and making associations for bringing the invisible to the visible. Even in these difficult situations of the pandemic, when the country is in the entire lockdown we are organizing sessions for the peers, friends, and public on one to one listening hour to give positivity and good vibes to the society. One group whose project is on Animal - Human interaction is taking care of the stray animals in this disorder. 

The fellowship has expanded my vista by making me discern to numerous viewpoints further giving clarity to my purpose,  passion, and commitment to persevere and lead a radical approach to how our buildings, neighborhoods, cities, culture, and environment should be designed and built. 

Delve into the Macrocosm of Architecture  

Image © Abhijoy Banerjee

"Sustainable Development Goals and the Built Environment' by Ms. Zeenat Niazi: The module directed attention on the minute details of the built environment and its relationship with natural resources. By acquiring principles of sustainability in the formulation and management of our habitat, the fellows developed their own narrative for resilient responsive design. It provided some intellectual and practical tools that enabled the design to be dynamic, flexible, technical, institutional, and even financial for future solutions. 

We are in the course of becoming purpose-driven actors who will contribute to the larger context with essential skills of Empathy, Collaboration, Creative Problem - Solving and Leadership. The Academic structure has modules in Domain and Technical, Societal and Cultural, Communications, and Self Growth which is not just limited to one sphere but is influencing, enriching minds to question, unlearn to learn, and redefine our value systems and beliefs.

Delve into the Macrocosm of Architecture

Image © Rohan Shenoy 

Design Thinking by Amit Krishn Gulati: The module gave the Anant Fellows an interactive immersion into Design Thinking principles and methods. 

The core idea was to apply empathy while solving a problem and to enhance the ability to identify and respond to existing and emerging challenges, by applying greater sensitivity when dealing with people-centric businesses or innovating and scaling new services or products (Domain and Technical Module). 

Delve into the Macrocosm of Architecture

Image © Arun Biswanath

Sustainable Heritage Development by Prof. Amreshwar Galla: It was an outstation module where the fellows lived on the campus of the IGRMS National Museum and were introduced to holistic approaches to safeguard heritage in all its manifestations  - tangible and intangible, natural and cultural, movable and immovable. 

Placing culture as the fourth pillar of social, economic, and environmental sustainability, the contextual problem was solved by using different case studies from the world. Bringing life experiences of the fellows to collaborative learning, they used a week's time to design an open-air exhibition for the rock painting shelters (Societal and Cultural Module)

Delve into the Macrocosm of Architecture 

Image © Hamidah Ashrafi Fateha

Visual Communications by Sanjeev Chatterjee: The module geared towards imparting an essential leadership skill of presenting ideas as compelling visual stories that are both accessible and memorable to diverse audiences. 

The fellows realized the importance of storytelling in communicating ideas and information. They became aware of the power of visuals in expressing feelings by making short documentaries on life in Pols of Ahmedabad. Engaged in a small group they managed the team dynamics while working on a time-specific deliverable (Communication Module). 

Delve into the Macrocosm of Architecture

Image © Neeti Patel

Exploring Life, Roles, and Identity by Indira Parikh and Sushanta Banerjee: The module was in desert coursers in Zainabad where all the 30 fellows were introduced to process work, which helped them to gain consciousness of their being, becoming more aware of themselves leaving conflicts, insecurities, and inhibitions that were holding them back to reach their full potency (Self Growth Module).  

It's a rare opportunity for an individual to design innovative Built Environment solutions that are socially, culturally, environmentally, ethically, and economically appropriate along with gaining a deeper understanding of yourself and others. It opens new career opportunities to work with organizations operating at the intersection of research and praxis, policy and advocacy, other new - age establishments. Also, in the booming entrepreneur world, fellowship assists to start our own innovative enterprise by providing seed funding to the best startup ideas.  

Lastly, learning and living with peers, sharing cross-culture ethics, perceiving ideologies by great philosophers has made us more empathetic and responsive human beings. 

Delve into the Macrocosm of Architecture

Image © Rashi Jain

Top image courtesy of Aljanh