Striking looks, at no extra cost
Using a modern approach to traditional ideas, we can build green buildings which are attractive and require minimal maintenance.
Possibly, the next response would be to discard them, saying “who wants to build them today.” This notion of the local ecological architecture being worthy of being dispensed with, is a product of ignorance about the worthiness of ecological ideas and equally well, a misgiving that they are not attractive.
The buildings named could be appearing ordinary, but the conceptual themes embedded in them could be so fundamental that we may be able to create iconic structures by learning from them. Institutions for dance like Nrityagram in Bengaluru designed by architect Gerard da Cunha explored this hidden potential of the local ecological approach to create buildings of lasting impact. Resorts, art galleries, centres for craft and such others also have been among the attractions for students and scholars alike to study the modern approach to traditional ideas.
Usually an architect may not classify his design under the ecological type; however, if it has specific elements related to energy efficiency and climatic conformity, there are all chances of it standing out among the crowd. Though the majority of us may not believe in making a building for the sake of elevation and outside attraction, everyone takes pride in a building that does appeal to people.
Majority of buildings designed with ecology in mind and natural materials in construction tend to be different from the routine normal structures, hence become an instantaneous hit.
They virtually stand out in the streetscape. While conventional buildings demand additional design inputs and monetary expenses to provide them with a good elevation, alternative architecture with ecological ideas need very little of them. Hence, such buildings save money on the one hand, and appear exotic as well.
The best source book towards an exotic yet local elevation is the region around the project site. Villages least influenced by the urban culture provide maximum ideas, they all being an innocent, un-pretentious society. Getting the right kind of skilled people to work on such ideas, especially in urban areas, is a challenge, but without the required experience and expertise, no good project gets built. It is hence important to give credits to the skilled team, to encourage them towards better workmanship.
The kind of local materials available, if used sensitively, do create an evocative elevation without much effort and also, cost. However, the inherent quality of such buildings appearing exotic should not be exploited only for the sake of getting exotic looks. Green buildings are not the ones that only look pretty – they should also have cultural roots, be cost effective, have lower life cycle costs and be manageable with minimal maintenance. The success of green buildings lies in achieving such an integrated whole.