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New book highlights inherent sustainability in traditional architecture

New Delhi, Sep.23 (ANI): Indian architect Aishwarya Tipnis’ new book, ‘Vernacular Traditions, Contemporary Architecture’ was warmly received by subject experts following its official release in New Delhi today, with many describing the work as a “must-read” for all upcoming designers.

Published by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the book highlights the inherent sustainability in traditional architecture, and explores the relevance of traditional design forms in contemporary times through select case studies, illustrations and research.

The beautifully laid out book sheds light on the dynamic nature of Indian vernacular architecture, its evolution in response to the socio-cultural environment in which it developed and the transformation that has taken place in building traditions, particularly in the recent times.

Reflecting on her work, Ms. Tipnis asserted ‘Vernacular Traditions, Contemporary Architecture’ was an attempt to bridge the gap between the past and the future, the vernacular and the contemporary. “It is an activist’s guide to Indian architecture. Vernacular traditions have stood the test of time. The need of the hour is to align modern technology with our valuable vernacular architecture,” said Ms. Tipnis. She also spoke of the relevance of sustainable architecture in the world today and how ancient vernacular methods could be used to design contemporary buildings.

In a grand ceremony, the book was released by well-known architect, Mr Ashok B. Lall-whose firm, ‘Ashok B Lall Architects’ is renowned for its low-energy sustainable construction designs.

Appreciating the theme of the book, Mr. Lall said, “In the process of industrialisation, a growing gulf has emerged between the makers of a building and cultural imagination. Nowadays, workers at construction sites do not contribute in terms of imagination. There is a need to keep in mind culture and traditional practices and architecture. We have to reestablish continuities from the past.”

A panel discussion titled “Relevance of Vernacular Traditions in Contemporary Architecture” was also held on the central points raised by Ms. Tipnis in her stellar work. The distinguished speakers who participated in the discussion were Principal, SPA Design Private Limited, Mr Stephane Paumier; Co-Founder, Anagram Architects, Mr Vaibhav Dimri; and Director, Sustainable Habitat, TERI, Ms Mili Majumdar, while the session was chaired by Mr. Lall.

Expressing resonance with the message of the book, Mr. Paumier said, “This book comes at the right time. I feel architecture must speak to everyone and be energy efficiency and sustainable at the same time.”

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Dimri, asserted, “We excel in constructing individual and small properties, but our architecture practices are not sustainable or in-sync with traditional practices when it comes to mass housing. These structures are not culturally driven.”

Strongly backing the author’s views on sustainable architecture, Ms. Majumdar emphasised, “Examples of vernacular architecture are very limited in India. We have evolved, but have failed to adopt what was proven to be sustainable and efficient. The problem also lies in the lack of skilled manpower.”

Among the other luminaries who attended the function were Ambassador of France to India, Mr. Francois Richier, Associate Director, Knowledge Management, TERI, Mr. Shahid Hasan.

Aishwarya Tipnis is an architect from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, with a Master’s Degree in European Urban Conservation from the University of Dundee, Scotland. She is the recipient of Commonwealth Professional Fellowship 2011, Bonjour India Travel Fellowship from the Embassy of France 2010, and the Scottish International Scholarship 2006.

As an urban conservation consultant her projects include Redevelopment of Chandni Chowk Delhi, Redevelopment of the Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospital, New Delhi, and the Identification of Shared Cultural Heritage: French Heritage in India. She is currently a visiting faculty at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi.

TERI Press is the Institute’s own publication division publishing books in various areas catering to a wide range of audience such as students, researchers and professionals. It consists of three major verticals developing three different genre of books: the higher education and professional and reference books, children’s books and peer-reviewed journals and popular magazines. (ANI)