Prof. Ar. K Jaisim – Sept 2010
(This article is a composition of thoughts, exploring the author’s journey in the World of Architecture)
1970 AUGUST, Forty years ago (that is history!), with a strange conviction and courage I stepped out into a NEW WORLD of Private Professional Practice, unwilling to work for another and wanting to find one’s own expressions. The path was very difficult at first. But when I cut the thorny bushes and `moved on', rather snail paced, I glimpsed new vistas, where no one had walked before. A world of opportunity opened up-the practice lost all control - it rocketed. The name FOUNTAINHEAD helped to steady the journey, it evaluated every step like a moral judge, and I never compromised. But, I was only an infant, I was innocence personified. I put my all and moved.
NATURE is the source of all activity. And everything is about nature .An adventure with stone starts from the very first glimpse of its existence. Although it is always around us in one form or another, in the most significant form it confronts the Human imagination first by its presence in the form of a hill or a range of Mountains. In the Mountain ranges, Stone’s first immense impression is in the manner of a Cliff. The sheer drop thrills. You step back in awe and fear, respect follows. You then walk the mountain springs, the rivulets, the streams, and the river which then plays tango with the water fall. It may be the sound of water that fascinates at first, but that music is the result of the presence of stone. It is Stone that gives meaning to the flow of water. Oh, what an orchestra! Rustling through the soft pebbles, to the crashing cymbals of the water falls, to the beat of drums as it rushes amidst the canyons.
Next, in our adventures with MUD, the first use of it in a very definitive manner was in ANTHEM. Here I discovered that it was waste to use on the internal walls the burnt brick. While the outer layer bearing the brunt of the weather was of well-burnt bricks, the inner layer consisted of un-burnt bricks, thus saving a lot of energy and cost. A few years later to my surprise when I broke the walls of a 50-year-old building, in which we had our practice, this practice was evident, History smiles knowingly at every modern step. FOUNTAINHEAD inspires to metamorphose MUD into its various Avatars, Bricks, Mud Blocks, Extruded Hourdi tiles and Many other manifestations. The Hourdi is not only lighter but creates from the same volume of Brick NINE or more times the finished volume. This lightens the construction and epitomizes our present philosophy and objective that the future is BETTER- LIGHTER. We have transformed with a little bit of innovation and inspiration the Historic MUD Brick (from time immemorial) into the building material of the FUTURE. The Magic of Houdini happens!
The environment Built and un-built makes architecture come alive. These are the times when time becomes still, beyond measure. Spaces dance, the minds sing, Material and structure have a symbiotic relationship and Nature rejoices. In this complexity is a clarity born with simple truths. An honesty of integration, an expression of the subject, with objective understanding- Life becomes meaningful.
Imagination and Innovation fired by Inspiration is the very basis of a creative approach. To question and seek not mere solutions but definite answers that makes the journey alive and kicking. Emotions do have a sway but Reason strains them before accepting them as part of Leela. To the questions that many a critic asks – To whom are you addressing your works? – My reply is simple – To My self and my Ego- Self Esteem and Self Respect - the rest happens!
Every project is an `only child’ and it is distressing to put them in `boarding'. They need personal care. To the extent it is not tended it is unrealized.
Realising the potential is the Objective. Architectural realisation is subject to influences at every stage. It is a Continuum………
For the early part of Human history the art and science of building was limited to very definitely known methods and practices. Thus was born the trinity. - The Architect the Builder and The Client, The A B C roles very clearly identified and defined. In terms of Law they were the Jury, the Judge and the Judged.
The future of architectural practice goes back a cycle when he was the MASTER BUILDER - once again he just can't sit back, dream, contemplate and conceptualize, for someone else to interpret this into reality. He gets the opportunity to express his innermost dreams but at a price - the price of performance. The Mahabharata unfolds in its myriad expressions.
Remember that I do not mind repeating as I have always said: "The result of architecture is in the Realization of the Design and not just floating ideas in the wilderness of the mind."
ONE MUST ACHIEVE. This is where I strongly advocate this new possibility of training the designer to execute. He shall not only master the many nuances of the profession but also that of TIME and MONEY.
Mies once said GOD lives in the DETAILS. This is true. Value is hidden, it is up to each of us to be able to discern and evaluate every step of design. It is wise to remember that all architecture concerns the Human. It is Man that appreciates, and it is only by appreciation that values make sense.
Today, it is a song; one does because one loves to do. One accepts every client and project as a challenge. Not just the project but also the client. They come with set and preconceived minds and beliefs. They must be heard and in turn made to listen. Listen to reason and to the real emotions.
In this music there suddenly comes a lot of discord. They come in the form of Wrap architecture, Nostalgic and Historic Architecture. These are strange days; one can easily give in and simply become a repetitive draftsman builder. Architecturally there is no role to play. One becomes a tool of convenience.
Popular architecture (if it can be called architecture at all) has pervaded the scene and is chocking the profession. Individuality and a manner of self-expression are almost disappearing. To set a meaningful style takes a lot of one’s self interest and conviction. Imagination the very definition of MAN is GONE
But it is not a lost cause. It is these glimmers that keep alive one’s perception of a whole new brave world of architecture. Aesthetics and great architecture cannot be everywhere and anywhere, they have a place and a space.
We are at a unique age and time of history. The World as we know it no longer exists. Communication has become ONE to ONE. There are no barriers between individuals. The age of Knowledge has influenced every aspect of our lives. It has affected Architecture at its very foundations. WE must wake up to this task. Otherwise the pace of the system will take off without Architecture. It would be disastrous to all Human Kind. We must address these facts with a realistic approach. The above argument is one such. I hope and trust that the great profession of architecture, the second oldest one, will gear up to this task.
The journey began BUT never ended.