R ecently, the international weblog ArchDaily had shortlisted 14 projects executed by 9 leading architects from Bengaluru for its Building of the Year Award 2020. ASSOCHAM GEM Karnataka Chapter decided to host a platform for the architects to present these projects to the architect fraternity.
The event had renowned architect Edgar Demello, of Edgar Demello Architects, delivering the keynote address while an exhibition curated by Swapnil Valvatkar of Collage Architecture Studio had on display projects by ‘young architectural practices’ from Karnataka.
The evening began with Demello dwelling on the language of cities and their urban spaces, the sustainability quotient, where the design goes beyond the built spaces to encompass the unbuilt and its ecology, with the user coming into focus. His spellbinding address was followed by the presentations of the shortlisted projects by the respective architects.
Arun Balan of Balan & Nambisan Architects showcased his unconventional office space structured out of discarded shipping containers. The brightly painted structure with its sculptural cantilevered metal staircase sits amidst an industrial landscape, the edifice serving as an arresting element in its environs. Balan walked the audience through its equally captivating interiors that were strategically opened up to let in natural light and ventilation.
Dimensions are no constraint
Smaran Mallesh of Cadence Architects had three projects to present, of which one is a residence built on a sharp triangular site situated in a busy urban junction. Faced with the challenging dimensions of the site and the busy roads flanking its two sides, Mallesh and his team came up with an interesting, workable solution: cladding the façade with large corten steel sheeting that conceals all activities within while permitting natural light to filter in.
The structure, built over a stilt parking at ground level, lifts off the street, where the flame red accent of the rusty perforated corten steel sheeting combines with the unfinished neutral concrete bands and structural elements to form an imposing, yet charming composition.
Akshay Heranjal of Purple Ink Studio presented his project, Shunyo, a studio apartment. The multi-storeyed building, with the individual units sporting balconies ensconced in green, reveal a design where greens can be incorporated at any level, however small the interior spaces may be.
The studio apartment, displaying stark dark grey interiors, accommodates a multi-functional space that can be effortlessly altered to suit any need. The uncluttered minimalist interiors bring forth rustic charm and a tranquil ambience, while being abundantly functional.
Fusing in the unbuilt
A building goes beyond its structural dimensions, reaching out to encompass the unbuilt environs and its ecology. This is certainly evident in every design of Sharukh Mistry of Mistry Architects. His designs bring in the elements integral to the site where the structure evolves. His short-listed project, Art & Innovation Hub at Agastya International Foundation, displays this sentiment amply, with the rock lizard, commonly found in rocky terrain, brought on to the structure, bringing into focus the living elements that existed in the space where the structure prevails.
The art and science learning centre built for children in the remote village deftly fuses in the needs and expectations of the students,the semi-open spaces blending in seamlessly the unbuilt into the built environs. The design effectively incorporates the hands-on learning tools for the students, the interactive spaces serving as a joyful learning centre.
When a building in a small town comes up for refurbishment to be converted into a revenue earning structure, the design concept expected tends to be far from aesthetic. The focus is on the revenue model, the design sentiments conforming to what conventionally prevails in the neighbourhood. When Vinay Mavinakere of Sudaiva Studio was approached for such a restructuring, the design requests were no different. Faced with the need to create a revenue model as well as offer a living space that is aesthetic, Mavinakere came up with a fine hybrid featuring both.
The existing structure was redesigned, adding two more levels to the building, the top level featuring a small yet extremely cheerful functional space with two bedrooms, where small town residents, an attractive clay jaali was superimposed on the façade, adding a warm artistic component to the edifice.
The event also had Bijoy Ramachandran of Hundredhands presenting the design of Bangalore International Centre, running the audience through the initial dramatic design that was toyed with, but later metamorphosed to the warm rustic spaces that now form the building.
The other presenters of the evening included Pramod Jaiswal of BetweenSpaces, Rajesh Shivaram of Techno Architecture, and Vishwas Venkat of Crest Architects.
The evening concluded with Vijay Narnapatti of Maya Praxis engaging the young architects who had participated in the exhibition in an engrossing panel discussion.