Tuesday, May 24, 2016

WHY AVANI 01 MATTERS?

SUJITH.G.S

Avani Institute of Design organized its first Annual exhibition, titled ‘AVANI 01’ from the 13th to the 19th of May at Mandalay Hall in Cochin, showcasing the works done in the first year studio. One of the primary objectives of the exhibition was to open up the activities and vision of the school to the public, thereby attempting to start a conversation on architecture and design. This is in a way necessary, as we, the architects, have managed to insulate ourselves from the general public and in the process, have placed ourselves on an pedestal, removed from the realities of the modern day. This is even more drastic in the scenario of architecture education, as in architectural practice one is forced to engage with the clients, while in architecture schools, this engagement is totally absent. One might argue that projects undertaken in an architecture school has to be hypothetical, pushing the boundaries of reality and imagination. But the drawback of this approach is all too evident in our built environments, with horrendous works which are out of sync with the ground realities.


It is in this context that Avani 01, as an exhibition of student’s works, gains relevance and is a critical step in opening up the domain of education to the public and thereby exposing students to think from a client’s perspective. A true conversation starts when there is an honest give and take between the various stakeholders shaping our built environment, of which the common man is an integral element. By establishing such a culture of interaction, openness and critique, Avani 01 will encourage students to come out of their cocooned academic ambience and think of the larger issues and varying perspectives in the society, helping them develop as sensitive well rounded professionals. This is a critical mandate which has to percolate to all our educational institutions, where even the academic faculties have to start interacting with the practical side of the profession and the realities of our built environment.



The overwhelming positive response received from people from all spectrum is an indication that public at large is curious to engage with our profession, even though they may not truly relate to all the design exercises. The fact that people interacted with the students, trying to understand the concepts behind various installations and exhibits and telling students what they thought of the designs, was a very encouraging response, especially as majority of the visitors were general public, who were not architecturally educated. The critique from the visiting architects too would have given the first year students a lot of inspiration, which would undoubtedly help them in their coming years and help them develop into better designers.























Friday, May 20, 2016

Avanti Annual Exhibition - AVANI 01

SUJITH.G.S

The Avani Institute of Design has organised its first year end exhibition, featuring the works done by the students, in Mandalay Hall, Cochin. There are talks and discussions by eminent architects and artists along with the exhibition, creating a series of events which will encourage conversations to happen and try to break the invisible barrier between the practitioners and the general public. That such conversations have to happen even in our academic institutions is one of the primary objectives of AVANI 01

Monday, May 16, 2016

The craft of writing and its relevance for architects - Sujith.G.S



Architecture is a reflection of the social, cultural and economic fabric of any society, concerning predominantly with the built environment and the allied aspects which influence human progression. From the initial practitioners to the organized profession of architecture, architects have evolved continuously, embracing multiple mediums for communicating their ideas and concepts and ultimately getting these manifested in a tangible reality. Drawings and other means of graphical representation form the core faculty for architects, yet other media are equally significant.

In today’s globalised world, newer technologies, processes and systems are opening up various avenues for exploration, with the architect having to master these varied modes of representation and communication, to stay relevant. In this context, writing forms an integral part of any architect’s skill set, which is unfortunately getting neglected in today’s digital world.

Writing on architecture is relevant to thinking on the state of the practice, to analyze and develop theoretical positions, without which architecture becomes a mere problem solving exercise, failing to elevate and substantiate its larger role in transforming the society. However, there is very little serious writing on architecture in the country, reflecting to a large extent the changing priorities of our globalised world, with its fascination for glitz and glamour. Also, writing is nowadays reduced to mere fanciful descriptions glorifying the aesthetic elements in a project, with the majority of the projects featured being of an opulent nature. These are often deceptively simplistic and are taken by the public as well as the younger generation of architects to be the relevant aspect of any design. This lack of a critical perspective is gradually eroding the qualitative base of the profession, slowly directing the discussions and deliberations away from the core issues and concerns of our built environments.

In such a context, what is the relevance of writing in today’s environment, when there is an overdose of fanciful images? We have all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words and this is especially pertinent for architects who predominantly communicate through drawings and images. However, even for a regular feature on a project, the written word is equally relevant. Images alone will not always communicate the intent behind a design, on how a design has evolved, what the unique constraints and challenges were for the particular site and program. For a deeper understanding of a project, one has to move beyond the seductive imagery and understand the myriad layers that make up a project, right from the regional context in which a project is sited, it's response to that context, or lack of it and how the design has been shaped by the specific features of the site, the role of the client in evolving the building program - all these cannot be fathomed from the beautiful photographs of a project alone. These have to be put down in words in a clear and interesting manner, bringing out the underlying narratives which have shaped the design and which will help one understand the logic behind it, leading to a critical evaluation of the project.

Writing as a craft has the power to elevate a design to a different plane, adding a lot more depth and meaning to it. These need not be through long complex monologues, but can ideally be expressed through a few well crafted sentences. Such a narrative will open up the design to a lot of people who may never get the chance to experience the space in person. The experiential side of the spaces, which is not always understood from images alone, can be brought out – the quality of space, of light and shadows, volumetric compositions and massing, silence, the ambient mood, visual axis and frames, edges, relation to landscape and nature...all these, if elucidated through a few well crafted sentences, can transport one to the actual space and design, even if it is physically not possible to visit the project. This will go a long way, especially for students and architects, apart from the general public, who would want to study and analyze the designs in various international contexts, but are not able to go visit each and every space.

In the study of architectural history also, the written word has an important role to play, bringing out the nuances of the structures which were built at various periods in history, establishing their contextual, social and cultural relevance. They are further relevant in documenting our rich architectural traditions. These studies are an important aspect of design pedagogy and practice, opening up the minds to how our built fabrics have evolved over time and contributed in shaping the respective societies. Such a historical perspective is also essential for one to understand the present state of the architectural discourse around us.

In the practice of architecture, the ability to communicate in a clear, concise manner is one which needs to be rigorously cultivated and developed. In today's technologically advanced world, our haptic faculties are slowly getting eroded. We are over dependent on the ever evolving newer forms of communication like texting, whatsapping etc, which has contributed in a gradual decline of our ability to write in a legible, coherent manner.

Yet, it is important that as architects, we have the basic writing skills to compose and draft decent content. As a professional, writing forms an integral means of communication - you have to write letters and emails to clients, vendors, consultants etc, apart from preparing project reports, presentations and publication materials. One regularly comes across poorly written emails on a daily basis from student architects and young architects, who would be looking for an internship position or for a job opening. Even before you take a look at the attached resume and portfolio, the first impression is subconsciously formed based on the quality of the email and the few lines that has been written. It simply shows that one did not place enough importance to take the help of someone well versed in language and writing, and is an indirect reflection of one's lack of professionalism and attention to detail.

Legibility of communication in today's professional world is of paramount importance. The written word, through emails, letters, reports, specifications etc is very important in clarifying and taking forward a project. Right from the initial communications with a client, to sending across your quotation and terms of engagement, to subsequent stages in the design evolution where you have to communicate the intent and concepts behind the design and convince the clients, to the construction stage of a project when you will be interacting with multiple consultants, vendors and contractors; streams of communication, both oral and written are equally decisive. As an architect, one has to master these various forms of communication, each with their own individual rules of engagement.

Writing is also about thinking – it makes you think about the issue at hand and helps in clarifying the thought process. The what, why, how and when is often made clear in ones own mind by a process of writing. Increasingly, research is becoming an integral part of the architectural discourse and practice. All of the mature practices have a constant interest in research and analysis. It can be purely architectural or can be a lot more interdisciplinary, encompassing the worlds of art, culture, urbanism, sociology etc, all of which have significance in the globalised world we live in. The rapid pace of change in today’s world calls for greater conversations and dialogues to understand the present as well as to postulate the future of the profession. These call for a constant introspection into the state of the architecture practice across various forums and media, which will substantiate and evolve a new direction for the architecture practice in the country.

SUJITH.G.S

This is an article that has appeared in 'Unsettld', the Student publication of Avani Institute of Design, published along with the Avani Annual Exhibition.




Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The architecture of the amazing new International terminal, T2, at Mumbai by SUJITH.G.S

Recently I had the good fortune of travelling to Mumbai for the jury for the IIA National Awards for Excellence in Architecture 2015. I had always wanted to visit the new Internatinal Terminal designed by SOM and this was a lucky opportunity to do just that. 

Airport architecture in India is generally characterised by a pseudo-contemporary approach to design, an attempt to create an international language,one which would supposedly portray the global ambitions of the Indian cities. Though the inherent idea behind this approach is noteworthy, the end results leave much to be desired. An airport, as with any other space should respond to the local context even while espousing a contemporary vocabulary. This however, has not been achieved with most of the new airport designs, including the larger airports in the metros. The designs even though nice, are not something one would classify as jaw-dropping, and the response to the local context is totally missing. It is in this background that the design for the new airport in Mumbai gains significance.

The airport, at first glance is simply amazing. The thing that really stands out is the wonderful fractal inspired columns which seamlessly merge into the ceiling as a pattern of coffer slabs. The wonderful concept is detailed out well to create a unique pattern on the ceiling, which combined with the interesting lighting detail, creates a truly amazing space. Long slender spots radiate out from the column capital, creating a dynamic ceiling design. Thus the columns and ceiling create an enclosure which defines the entire space. There are strong references to the traditional stone work so common in Indian architecture, which provides conceptual framework rooting the design in the larger context.








The interiors are well detailed out, with attention paid to even minute things. This attention to detail creates a sense of exclusivity and luxury. The design is unapolegetically contemporary in essence, yet provides references to our past through patterns, materials and colours.

In spite of such a wonderful design, the main attraction for me was the amazing art collection which was featured on a long linear wall on the way to the boarding gates. There is an extensive display of art from across the country, which was painstakingly curated by Rajeev Sethi, right from traditional woodwork which displays the intricacy and refinement of our crafts to contemporary installations, all referencing the richness of our art and craft traditions. The linear wall rises to a height of over 3 levels, creating a scale for the display of such grandiose art works. The passengers can also have a much intimate experience of the smaller sculptures which dot each level. There is no better way than a well curated display of art, to portray and celebrate the vibrancy and richness of our culture and that too in such a terrific setting. Hats off the the GVK group for having the vision and supporting such a complex, diverse and expensive collection.










Ar.Sujith.G.S at the T2 Terminal in Mumbai, in front of the amazing art collection



Tuesday, March 8, 2016

PROGRESS PROFILES FOR FLOORS, WALLS AND A HOST OF OTHER APPLICATIONS!

PROGRESS PROFILES

Came across these fantastic profiles from Progress Profiles, an Italian company whose products are available in India. Beautiful profiles for a variety of applications, which are elegant and finely crafted. Profiles are available in materials like brushed steel, brass, stainless steel etc, which are classy. Do check out the below details –


PROFILES FOR WALLS

PROJOLLY SQUARE 



POLISHED, SUPER POLISHED and SATINED STAINLESS STEEL AISI 304/1.4301-V2A and POLISHED STAINLESS STEEL AISI 316L/1.4404-V4A 
 
PROJOLLY SQUARE is a square shaped as a right angle that is versatile and suitable for various laying solutions, both for floors and coverings. It is used as a staff angle for external corners of tile coverings. It facilitates laying and eliminates the brittle unpredictability of ceramic tiles. It is also used as a finishing square for finishing wall coverings, raised platforms, steps, and baths, and is used as an edge and a skirting board for parquet, natural stone, moquette and epoxy resin coverings. It guarantees flawless work done with care that is of great aesthetic merit. It strengthens tile edges with a square finish, protecting corners efficiently, avoiding chipping and breakages resulting from knocks. This is required by the new European regulations on safety and accident prevention in public and private places 


PROBORD 





POLISHED and SATINED STAINLESS STEEL AISI 304/1.4301-V2A 
 
PROBORD is a rounded angle corner guard in stainless steel AISI 304-1.4301 used to protect and cover the outside corners and edges of tiled walls. It is applied while laying the tiles, thereby ensuring a precise “flush” finish with the covering. Extremely attractive, it is recommended for premises open to the public, schools, hospitals, kitchens and food industries. It is in conformity with accident prevention and health and hygiene directives. Can be matched with PROLISTEL and PROSHELL AISI 304-1.4301 stainless steel profiles with polished or satin finish


PROTERMINAL INT 



ANODISED AND POLISHED ALUMINIUM 
 
PROTERMINAL INT is a profile cover protection for internal angles also to decorate inside corners of porcelain tiles, could be used to finish tiles connected to doors ,windows ,tables .Available in silver and titanium anodized aluminium, or polished chrome and titanium in different heights H:08-10-12,5mm. Two and three way corners or in development. Available from January 2016 

PROFILES FOR FLOORS

PROLEVIGAL 


NATURAL BRASS 
 
PROLEVIGAL BRASS are separating profiles used to create the technical joint in the special types of pavements such as marble- Venice- palladium ones, that must be smoothed after their laying process. The particular “L” shape with the cut/drilled base and 2,5 mm thick vertical edge consent the perfect smoothing and constant thickness as well. Available in natural aluminium and natural brass, various thickness, as well in outlined/bent PROLEVIGAL CURVES BRASS versions. 


PROSQUARE


NATURAL BRASS 
 
PROSQUARE is a range of profiles in natural solid brass with a square or rectangular section used to create a decorative joint between wood and tile coverings. It allows the wood surface to be sanded without ruining the tile surface. 

PROCANAL 


NATURAL, POLISHED and CHROMED BRASS NATURAL and ANODISED SILVER ALUMINIUM 
 
PROCANAL is a channel for joining floors and also for use as strips in wall coverings. This profile is made in natural, polished and chromed brass as well as natural or anodised silver aluminium. It is also used as a cable channel for the insertion of wires and conduits in all types of floor. 

PROELEGANT 


NATURAL, POLISHED and CHROMED BRASS 
 
PROELEGANT is a refined profile, with 6 mm visible surface, designed to cover the joint between two types of floor covering, tiles - parquet, marble or granite, bestowing a prestige aesthetic effect that is ideal for indoor and outdoor finishes, even when subject to considerable loads. PROELEGANT is available in polished, natural and chromed brass. It is available in various heights in order to satisfy all technical, practical and, in particular, decorative requirements. The chromed version may be used as a decorative strip in the wall covering.

PROFILES FOR LAMINATE, PARQUET AND CARPETED FLOORS

PROSTYLE GRIP ACC


SATINED AISI 304/1.4301 -V2A STAINLESS STEEL 
 
PROSTYLE GRIP ACC is a non-slip profile in AISI 304/1.4301–V2A satined stainless steel, consisting of a 40 or 60 mm horizontal top with a groove for the insertion of a non-slip carborundum stripe and a 20mm vertical flat side. The profile can be fixed with adhesive film or with screws. The particular design of this profile makes it an elegant and appreciated solution also for modern stairs


CURVE AND BENDABLE PROFILES

PROFINAL CURVE 



NATURAL BRASS CURVABLE 

PROFINAL CURVE are a range of edging and joining profiles that may be curved/shaped. They feature a special system of perforations allowing them to be bent easily so that particular geometric shapes may be easily obtained in situ. This allows decorative patterns to be created at will according to technical and aesthetic requirements and with a separation of 8 mm of sandable profile. The product is made in natural brass in 2.7 m bars and heights of 8, 10 and 12.5 mm. 


PROTERMINAL CURVE 


















STAINLESS STEEL AISI 304/1.4301-V2A CURVABLE 
 
PROTERMINAL CURVE are a range of edging and joining profiles that may be curved/shaped, with a special system of perforations allowing them to be bent so that particular geometric shapes may be easily obtained in situ. This allows decorative patterns to be created at will according to technical and aesthetic requirements and with a separation of 3 mm. The product is made in stainless steel AISI 304/1.4301-V2A in various heights (6, 8, 10 and 12,5 mm) in 2.7m bars



SKIRTING BOARDS



POLISHED and SATINED STAINLESS STEEL AISI 304/1.4301-V2A 
 
SKIRTING made in stainless steel AISI 304/1.4301-V2A in height 80 mm. Available with or without adhesive. Superior aesthetic quality, extremely strong and easy to lay, it is ideal for all public and private environments that require high standards of hygiene and image. Used increasingly more often in contrast combinations with wood, carpeted floors, etc. for an unmistakeable hi-tech effect. In order to facilitate and to perfect the laying process, internal and external angles, plugs and junctions are recommended


SKIRTING FOAMED VINYL RESIN



FOAMED VINYL RESIN 30 WOOD FINISHES, AND 3 IN SOLID COLOUR

SKIRTING 7016 is a vinyl resin foam profile with a height of 70 mm, available in 30 different wood - effect finishes and 3 finishes in solid colour that could be matched with the PROINSERT SYSTEM’s profiles. The profile, suitable like skirting for floating and glued wood floor, laminate and LVT, could be laid with suitable adhesive, nails, screws or using the pre-punched support fixed to the wall with screws every 50 cm. Its special section, that allows to cover a 16 mm perimetral joint, and wide range of finishes make it a very requested, elegant and econimic skirting board profile. 

CONTACT –

Jerry Cherian
Quality Architectural Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
Plackattu Colony,
Cochin - 682017
M: +919633422922
M: +919900585588
E:
 jerry@weareqas.com


FOR MORE INFORMATION – http://www.progressprofiles.com/