A vast majority of the educated population in India is unaware of the roles and importance of architects in the society, let alone the necessity of a well-designed space. If a person at random is questioned about the same, a majority will be unable to give a defined reply, will confuse architects with engineers (oh that happens, always!), or will be shut in the search for an answer.
Architects? Last I heard, they build buildings! Ahh! Must be engineers… Facepalm!
To the common Indian populace, the limit of architectural understanding spans up to the home decor or the dreamy interior features in the popular run-of-the-mill lifestyle magazines; some glowing colourful images of beautifully decorated home interiors (which by the way are shot under ideal situations and for the retail market). And for a segment, architecture translates into Vaastu, Feng-Sui and ancient historical monuments and artefacts. That’s about it.
But that’s not all. Architects are dreamers. From the philosophical standpoint, ‘Architects are the designer of spaces’. An architect’s work span is much bigger than drawing a picture or a plan.
But the hundred and fifty million people in this country understand the importance of the doctor, the necessity of a lawyer in case of a legal fiasco; and the market value of engineers is up since time immemorial. They only fail to realise the significance of an architect. According to an Economic Times report, in developing countries like India, at least 4 lakh architects is needed by 2020; The current figures lie somewhere around seventy thousand. This gap needs to be fulfilled at the earliest.
The depth and aggressiveness with which mainstream media of this country covers the areas of politics, cinemas, art and other TRP increasing topics, is astounding when compared to the coverage of architecture, history and the necessity of a good design. The market is full of magazines covering food, art, literature, lifestyle and science but there is none when it comes to architecture and design. The few that are, caters to the exclusive readership of the design fraternity; they will not be an attractive fit for the common people owing to the complex language and ideas presented in them; nobody would read something that they will fail to understand and fully comprehend. There is no attempt to highlight the architectural issues in a lucrative language that is easy for the general public to read, think and concern themselves about.
As of the present day, it is of utter importance for the architects to write. Apart from being a relevant necessity, it is an important social duty. And while doing this work, we have chosen English as well as the regional language of Bengali to start with. We strongly believe in the power of a local language and colloquial dialect in reaching out to the masses and achieving maximum penetration amongst common public. Having started with just English and Bengali, we will in the near future definitely try to bring stories and content for you in more regional languages like Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and so on.
So let’s start our discussions – from Khajuraho to Lotus Temple, mandirs to mihrabs, from Terracottas to Pendentives, Laurie Baker to B.V. Doshi, from Chandigarh to the amusing city planning of Varanasi. In this, we have one single motive:
To generate love and conscious awareness amongst the common public about the necessity of architects and designers, and in the long run produce a population who actively concerns themselves with the spaces they live in and work at.