First site visit within 15 days of
joining new office.
You haven’t met the client.
You don’t know your colleagues very
You are told that you have to help
shortlist sanitary-ware items and tiles for 13 bathrooms!!! [Uh- oh]
You are taken to the site – and find
it completely empty!!! [this is bizarre, since construction sites are generally teeming with people] – Then someone
informs that its ‘vishwakarma’ and reason dawns upon you.
From there, you are taken to the area
which has ample shops to browse. [Ok girl, pep up! Gear yourself up mentally
for a long day ahead]
Shop 1, shop 2, shop 3 – this is good –
the client is very clear minded. Knows what he wants and really appreciates our
inputs – so far so good!
Then it happens! – Your shoe sole has
suddenly and completely gravitated to the concrete road underneath! And you passionately
wish that your body has some gravitational force which would urge the sole to pull
up and stop at the rim of the shoe! Of course this doesn't happen!! [you understand this is simply a part of your over-active
You try to walk normal – as normal as
you can with your sole doing a flip-flop on its own – and pray hard that you
But your Director notices your ‘normal’
walk and you try to tell him with your eyes –“please ignore it”. Since he is not
looking in your eyes, he bursts out laughing then after looking at your face, tries
to control his amusement.
Meanwhile you are wondering why you
are still visible to these mere mortals?!!?! Then the next thought that crosses
your mind – Will He forgive me, if I punch my director’s nose just this once?!
Then your director comments to your
client how normal it is for all architects to have their boots busted every now
and then due to extremely rough usage. And they fall into a discussion of
seeing busted boots and makes, etc.
And you privately thank the good God
that you didn't punch your director! [Com’on
you haven’t even finished a month in this new office!]
You start hoping for the sun to set so
you can return home and to normalcy. But sweetie, that is not to happen until
you visit a few more shops and thankfully stop at one cobbler.
By 3pm you reach the barren site again to do a
site chakkar. [let me point out, whatever the reason, the
construction site looks sad and dreadful when you don’t find labourers to give
life to them – figuratively and factually]
You feel human again with sand, aggregate and
re-bars under your foot. [I am sure you
are praying that the newly stitched sole holds up the stress] .
Thankfully, you head towards the
airport and obviously feel the day won’t have any more surprises.
But it is not so – you are tired with
all the happenings of the day and are fast asleep. The air-hostess wakes you up
for food and you stupidly fumble with the tray. You have messed up so much during
the length of the day that you don’t care what she and the person sitting in
the adjoining seat thinks! Blast them!
Finally you reach your home and confident
that you will never have a similar day again – because even if you goof up, it will
not be the first time! ;)
Points to be noted:
Check your shoes before every site
Think before act.
Keep an open mind.
Make sure you don’t wear
And lastly, don't let the goof-ups deter you - enjoy them as you always do.
When most people see a plan of a house or
apartment, there is a tendency to term all space which is not functionally utilized (invariably meaning "not occupied by a piece of furniture") as wasted space. Likewise, architectural elements like foyers, ante rooms,
passageways and verandahs; in short, spaces that lead to another, providing
buffers or gradations in spatial sequences are considered questionable. These
are in fact the essence of your plan, allowing it to breathe and communicate
Consider an aircraft toilet. It is perfectly
functional. All you need to add is a shower cubicle. But we do not build
similar toilets in our houses. This is because each human activity goes beyond
the obvious function. Bedrooms are not just for sleeping, dining rooms are not
just for eating. Kitchens are not just for cooking. Each of these activities
form part of 'living' or 'dwelling', which goes beyond mere functionalism.
Reducing the art of dwelling to the sum of these activities results in a
mechanical house, perfectly functional in that it has a compartment for each of
these activities, but no ‘life’.
So you have a plan with all these
compartments. What next ? Hunt for further wasted space within these
compartments and convert them into "storage". As a nation we seem to
be obsessed with storage space. Any vacant space is used to store stuff.
Builders build Lofts in apartment bedrooms
so that storage space is gained, but at what cost ? Your bedroom is ruined. As
you lie in your bed you can sense its looming presence overhead, stuffed with
bulging old suitcases and old cartons and what not . Can you not plan a small
room, say 1.5 mt by 2.5 mt to keep all the stuff that goes into your loft ?
Suppose you are paying a 1000 rupees per square foot for your flat, is forty
thousand rupees too much to spend to get an uncluttered, clean house ? Besides
you won't need to finish this room that well. Even a concrete floor will do.
You will probably spend close to that much on covering up your lofts with
hideous shutters anyway !
The space which flows under the bathroom
washbasin counter, which keeps the room from feeling cramped. Lets cover it up
with shutters ! All six feet of it ? What are you going to store
there anyway ? A hundred bottles of Harpic ? Or perhaps piles of that
stuff that makes the water in the potty blue.
And look ! that bed is floating so
elegantly in the bedroom over some 'wasted space'. Lets build some storage
there so that we can bang our heels against it first thing each morning.
Ultimately, such houses, far from being
living, vibrant dwelling spaces become 'storage spaces' to store you and your
Passing thought: Morning rooms in old
bungalows. A space to enjoy the rising sun. To celebrate the dawning of each
day ! What could be more essential in a home ?
dear all, XXX won't be coming to office today. (surprise)
dear all, what would you like to order for lunch (surprise, surprise)
our office area must be maximum 600 sqft that makes us all within 10 ft of each other but the space (or lack of it) doesn't stop us from writing mails to each other in the office. (i am trying to get used to it ...) why can't i just walk over and let P what i would like to order for lunch ...
i think its the fact that our other office is in boston (which makes us international firm - along with some international projects) and the fact that my boss isn't here all the time so for him to understand the pulse of all projects, we write mails!!!!
you could safely say that 'writing & receiving mails' is the oxygen of our firm
dear friends, please don't be surprised if you find me online for more number of hours everyday ;)
“Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy
Neanderthal man walked, someone designed the wheel, the wheels of time turned and the world became a smaller place.
Prehistoric man walked from Asia Minor to South East Asia (good thing he didn’t have a cell phone), thankfully, we have the wheel and horsepower does not depend on how much you feed the horse. Today’s world facilitates travel under all circumstances, schools go for picnics, colleges for study tours and excursions, others for pleasure trips and retiree vacations.
What is the need for travel? Is it an exercise? Interlude? Or a design cue? It is a power lunch of all. It is your window to the world and the world’s window to you – it makes you wiser, it’s a source of inspiration. To begin with, Travel and understand your own country, its people and psyche. Realise its Colours, food, customs language, script, and art forms. Travel opens new horizons and creates new perspectives in design. Keeping an open mind helps, it allows you to see the “why?” and “how?” rather than the “what for?”
Recording what you see in the form of sketches, photographs, souvenirs, or brain bytes, will create a bank of ready-to -use visuals for the designer. Learning to observe in this way makes the brain more responsive and puts you in a unique place for perception, interpretation and Ideation.
Ah! well - the travel and travelogue continues ......