Why are contemporary public buildings bereft of creative design?

C.R. Raju  

It is a pity. So much construction is happening now, and every such building could have been created as a landmark, but they end up as sorry sights. The major reason for this is that in most of these projects, architects are not entrusted with the entire project - from concept to construction. To cut costs, just the basic design plans are taken from the architect. Engineers take over after that overlaying the plan with a cheap computer-aided elevation design and the building’s design, façade and construction drifts.

Before independence, when projects were commissioned by the British queen, the architect was given a brief, but he was in control of the entire project. He had the freedom to execute and great architecture ensued. That is why structures like the Central Station survive in working condition even 100 years after they were built.

Why is there no cohesive direction to architectural policies and practices?

After independence while engineering departments were formed by the government, architecture came to be overseen by the Public Works Department that handles irrigation among other aspects. We need a separate department for architecture.

Is it economically feasible to employ architects for all buildings?

Not only is it economically advantageous, not hiring an architect often ends up being costly because of flawed design, wastage and under utility of space, inferior construction strength, and shorter life span for the building. Architects have to be given full control of the project, to get the full value of the money you spend on the building.

Is there a standard framework of reference regarding the fees payable to architects?

As per the Architects Act (1972), the Council of Architecture specifies clear fee structures for architects, based on the area of construction, its utility, etc.

Is it time for the state to set up an exclusive university for architecture?

Now Tamil Nadu has over 60 architecture colleges, from the single one (School of Architecture and Planning) that we had 40 years back. As with law, dentistry and other disciplines, it is high time we had a university dedicated and giving directions to architecture.

Do you foresee a return to the scenario of building public-use buildings of aesthetic integrity and character?

When people see a few more buildings of integrated design and aesthetics, they will demand good architecture from developers, and this will become the norm, rather than the exception.

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Printable version | Jan 10, 2021 1:11:17 PM |

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