Slum Bombay: Footage from
the 4th Asian Congress of Architects (ACA 4) (hosted by The Indian Institute of Architects) (tape 11)
Director: Ralli Jacob, Rafeeq Ellias, P.K. Das; Cinematographer: Rafeeq Ellias
Duration: 00:20:57; Aspect Ratio: 1.366:1; Hue: 11.909; Saturation: 0.211; Lightness: 0.056; Volume: 0.106; Cuts per Minute: 2.529; Words per Minute: 78.299
S.K. Sharma: ...we are environmentally superior. It would also result it less escalation in land values. At the neighbourhood scale... [[cut]] ... really high densities through cluster planning in ground or 2 storey development for the poor and maximum 3 to 4 storey development for the middle and the upper income groups. These aspects of neighbourhood planning that are generally ignored and on grounds of intensive utilisation of land either multi storey development which alienates the family from the land or congested stereotype layouts are promoted.
The Indian Institute of Architects Hosts
The 4th Asian Congress of Architects
Theme Architecture Development & Environment
27-29th September, 1990 New Delhi India
S.K. Sharma: The architectural profession has a key role to play in the development of human settlements. Combining studies in social science, design and technology provides the link between socio-economic aspirations and technological solutions. Architecture should be coordinating discipline in all organisations dealing with human settlements. However, in many countries adequate attention has not been given to the architectural education and the coordinating role in building organisations has been shifted to the civil engineers. This has led to marginalisation of architectural imports resulting in permanent damage to the built environment. Considering the emerging needs of human settlements, there is not only need for substantially enlarging architectural education but also of giving it right orientation to deal with habitat issues.
S.K. Sharma: Architects in developing countries should be conscious of the social needs and the complex issues of weaker sections of society. Architectural education should therefore be made more social and practical orientated than it is at present. It should have the capabilities to handle the design issues of weaker section settlements and slum upgradation programmes, and also have adequate knowledge in practical experience of various cost effective technologies and building systems. Architectural education needs to be nurtured and developed, and young architects given positions of responsibility in public management. Concurrently habitat engineers with orientation towards social problems need to be trained for field jobs in urban and rural settlements.
S.K. Sharma: In Delhi during the past years HUCDO (The Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited) has also established close links with the profession and has succeeded in involving sensitive professionals in social programmes. This has resulted in the development of some very innovative cluster planning solutions for slum upgradation and weaker section housing programmes. We have also been promoting healthy professional practices by adopting the guidelines of the Council of Architecture. We now expect the profession to respond to our initiatives and cooperate with us in establishing high standards of professional performance.
S.K. Sharma: Another area of vital concern is in regard to building skills. Traditional building skills are fast disappearing and institutional arrangements are generally inadequate for imparting new skills. Unskilled rural migrants pick up work at the site and declare themselves skilled workers. In this environment materials are wasted and quality suffers. Further it becomes extremely difficult to promote traditional as well as contemporary cost effective practices. To overcome this difficulty the government of India and HUCDO have launched a programme or setting up a network of building centres for training artisans and disseminating appropriate cost effective building practices through them.
S.K. Sharma: In these building centres various types of skills including handling simple machines and making building blocks and roofing systems are imparted and the systems are applied in projects. Special attention is given to re-establish mud as a legitimate building material. Through our efforts a large number of houses have been built and are being built in stabilised mud blocks in Bangalore and another cities. The building centre programme has created a major impact in the country though much more needs to be done.
S.K. Sharma: Laurie Baker, an architect who has been working with the artisans of Kerala throughout the country through the Building Centre programme. I am indeed very grateful and feel honoured by the gesture of the Indian institute of architects for having conferred the honorary fellowship of the institute on me. My concern as an administrator has essentially been the type of environment that we are trying to build for future generations and my interest in architects has been primarily in that direction.
S.K. Sharma: I am very grateful that the institute has upgraded me from a bureaucrat to a professional even if it is an honorary one. I can now look forward to be an honorary bureaucrat after some time. In the end I thank the organisers for inviting me to deliver the key note address in this prestigious conference. I have put across some basic issues for deliberation in the conference. I am quite sure the distinguished participants will have many more issues to raise and perspectives to offer. We look forward to recommendations of the conference. Once again I thank you for inviting me for delivering the key note address. Thank you.
Rusi Khambatta: ... concerning architecture and development. Although the Architect Regional Council Asia, ARCASIA for short, comprises of 12 countries; the significant factor is that it has half the world's population. And what's more - it is in this part of the world that faces rapid urbanisation of the worst kind and its limited resources poses a great challenge in providing the housing needs of the multitude. Although all Asians, the countries of ARCASIA vary very widely in their cultural, religious, and political background. In terms of living standards, the per capita GNP ranges from 150 dollars in some countries to 10 times the amount in others.
Rusi Khambatta: This time at the congress we wish to stress particularly the impact of built form on environment. Just half a century back we were hardly aware of the...
Indian culture dance
Q: ...organisation of architects in the country.
Madhav Deobhakta: Thank you.
Q: Probably around 7-600,000 architects in the country are members of this body.
Madhav Deobhakta: Yes.
Q: You as the president and the body of architects - Indian Institute of Architect - do have any programs or plans and what is your opinion or impressions about the housing issues, housing problems in the urban areas of India?
Interview of Madhav Deobhakta
Madhav Deobhakta: Now I will answer your question in two ways one is that as an institute what are we trying to do? - Now there is a tremendous awareness among our professionals, especially the younger generation that we ought to be doing something for the say comparatively less... unfortunate people, or weaker section or what would you call. And this image that we are only working for elitist - that should somehow change. And we find this growing trend among especially young architects who are willing to take up this commitment to housing in a totally different way than what other professions have been doing. And we are in our own way trying to encourage them by calling them and making them speak or talk to the students so the they are inspired to do that kind of thing.
Madhav Deobhakta: Now apart from the institute the other important thing we are trying to do and we had made a small beginning is to create public awareness. And try to tell them through films, through slide lectures, through articles in press - what architects can do, or what they are doing. So that there is a better appreciation of the architects' role in the society.
Madhav Deobhakta: And at individual level as I mentioned there are number of people who have taken it as a sort of a mission, who go to the slums, who go to rural communities - they organise them into cooperatives and try and get the benefits of all the government schemes that are being done in terms of financial help, in terms of technical know how. And that's how they are encouraged through self help - try to solve their own problems with the technical input that we architects can give without any financial remuneration or maybe a small reward which only takes care of your travelling expenses or what have you.
Madhav Deobhakta: And this to my mind is a very encouraging trend and we are trying also to teach our students and we give them live problems so that they are aware of all these things that are happening. But what I personally feel is that so far our concentration has been only been in urban areas or in slums or re-development or whatever. What needs to be done is to take our students to rural communities. And even though of course there are certain experiments done, those are far few and those need to be encouraged because the rural scene is totally different. Not that they can't afford to have their own house but now with the kind of change that we are witnessing in even rural communities because of Green Revolution, Operation Flood and things like that.
Madhav Deobhakta: We need to educate or involve our students in this kind of work in rural settlements. And perhaps we will make a beginning, even though we have this Dharmasar(?) award which the institute gives for work in rural environment that is given to only individual project. But we see a new development taking place. HUDCO has offered to institute two prizes for community architecture. One will be for rural settlements and one for urban settlement. So we will go round the country, identify architects who are doing excellent work in whatever manner that they are doing.
Madhav Deobhakta: And it may not necessarily be good in terms of architectural or aesthetic quality is concerned. But in terms of dedication, in terms of helping people to solve their own problems, I think this is going to help a lot and I think we will be able to do much better than what we have been doing so far.
Q: As a body of architects are you trying in any manner to take the message to the government, the policy makers - are you trying to influence them in terms of your ideas and thoughts for the betterment of the living conditions of the poor areas?
Madhav Devbhakta: Yes, we are doing.