At the three-day architect conference ‘Buildings as Ideas’ held in memory of Charles Correa, keynote addresses were delivered by various resource persons including professor of architecture at MIT, Yung Ho Chang and Delhi-based architect Ashok Lall.
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Chang in his address briefed the gathering about the developments brought about in China and the influence Charles Correa had in his life. Explaining what culture meant to him he said: “Culture could be simply defined as what we eat, and dress and moreover the way we live.” His project Xishu Bookstore project in Beijing (1996) gave a new outlook to the uses of a bicycle. The project incorporated the use of bicycles which led to the innovation of bookshelf on bikes so that they can be rotated and can be moved easily, thus, the few aspects of a regular Beijing life that included books and bicycle were brought together. “It’s about how we live today and not how we used to live,” said Chang.
Sharing what it meant to be an architect he said: “It is not just drawing a construction process but is also about the feeling once it is completed”, which he termed as the most interesting aspect.
“We as architects are interested in culture, traditions, history but moreover how we live. The old type of living is getting modernised day by day. Culture is necessarily the way we live and as architects we do not respond to big cultural changes instead we must cater to day to day needs,” said Chang.
Delhi based architect, Ashok Lall focused on ways of sustainable development. Lall said: “Architecture is a cultural artefact and the architect is the creator of cultural artefacts similarly architecture is a development practice and an architect is a development practitioner.”
According to Lall, architecture is similar to pottery as both are forms of art. He spoke about several developments brought about in and around a place. Lall said: “As architects water supply cleanliness and hygiene cannot becompromised at any cost.”