This post was originally written on 04, November, 2015. It is a thread of thought that has emerged from my travels to cities like Jodhpur and Udaipur, in Rajasthan.
“The language of most Indian cities has one thing in common – An ignorance of Architectural Quality. Construction of buildings pays no heed to the idea of Architecture and is driven by a multitude of pragmatic factors like cost, time and land disputes, among other reasons.
Now this lack of Architecture seems to lend its own flavour to a city – For Example, the Old city of Udaipur, where the streets have developed along the terrain and around the temples and palaces. Or the old city of Ahmedabad, where the narrow Chowks and large Chajjas characterize the whole street.
On the other hand, there are many stretches in Chennai, where the roads are lined with small tenements and structures. They attribute to the current fabric of the city, but the language or lack thereof is something to think about. Is this the direction of growth we want our buildings to progress towards ? A series of concrete framed structures, whose surfaces are either unfinished or unkempt, lending a banal image to the city.
On a parallel note, when you have planned halves of cities, do they contribute to the architectural identity of a city ? The growth of the new and old halves of cities are parallel, meaning that they will never converge – so what happens to the IDENTITY of the city as a whole ?
Considering a city like Barcelona, where the old meets new – There is a stark contrast in the planning of the two parts, but how do they co-exist to form a single image of Barcelona ?
And when we start building new cities from scratch, how do we create a fabric for the people, beyond the infrastructure and basic amenities that they require ?