What is the story behind Abhikram?
Abhikram (meaning ‘initiation’ in Sanskrit) was established to explore all avenues to pursue design directions and processes that make the built environment functionally, psychologically, environmentally and spiritually more contextual and more comfortable for end-users. It was intended to evolve Indian solutions, from its own resources, for all typologies at all scales.
Which are some of your most impactful projects?
Conservation of Udaipur Palace Complex: In 1988, Shri Arvind Singhji Mewar asked us to participate in the renovation of the palace complex and its adaptive reuse in the contemporary context. The restoration was carried out by traditional craftsmen using technologies which have been handed down through the generations. A Heritage Sensitive Vision Development of Jaipur and Amber: This vision document is an attempt to re-establish the relevance of the rich, varied and wide-ranging cultural heritage of Jaipur in the contemporary lives of the people. It shows an approach, an attitude and a way of looking at the future growth and development of Jaipur and its surroundings.
Where do you see sustainability in architecture headed in India?
A large number of our newly built environments blindly emulate the western models – as a consequence, the emerging architecture in India is non-contextual, energy guzzling and highly unsustainable even if it is rated and marketed as green. We need to introspect in depth our goals, directions, choices and expected outcomes. Unless we change the curriculum to one that keeps sustainability at its center to mitigate climate change, we will not be able to make India truly sustainable. We must analyze design process, selection of materials and execution methods and how their life-cycles affect humans, other life forms, environment and the planet.
This article was originally published in POOL 107.
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