Art and craft are to architecture, what poetry is to literature. They are the finer nuances of the language, appealing to our emotions.We make a conscious effort to integrate these crafts and involve the crafts persons in the design and building process. Many details, specific to the material and craft, are designed and implemented by them. This challenges the craft to engage with contemporary contexts, and lets it evolve.For us, human resource takes a priority over material resource, and care of the labor force is an important element in the building process.The intention has been to work with aesthetics that are honest in their expression of the materials and techniques used. We believe that blending traditional materials and craft, with contemporary industrialized products is the way forward. It is a reflection of our modern culture today, and the two must evolve and innovate together as newer patterns of living emerge and create a new language for aesthetics.
The challenge for traditional materials and skills is to adapt their responses to the contemporary requirements and materials. For industrialized products, it is to be able to innovate how they are used, to be functional and yet appealing. Reinventing aesthetics and working towards this evolving style when one operates in a market driven scenario is sometimes difficult. The tendency is to relate to the “traditional” elements and lose sight of the intention. This has been our biggest challenge. The value of building as a craft and art, has been steadily eroding, as traditional skills are not passed on to the next generation, and also do not adapt to the newer materials and applications. The artisans have stopped valuing their skill and degrade themselves to mere “labor”. They do not aspire to pursue their craft, as there is no value for it, and dream of a different life.
This is visible in most of the constructions, which is an industry, which is promoting “skills” vs. “craft”, not developing the two together. We need to reclaim this pride in the crafts, as apart from architects and engineers, the masons, carpenters, plumbers and electricians, need to collaborate and stand proudly at par with each other. The opposite is also true, of architects and engineers lacking hands on, practical skills and a feel for the material and craft.
“We hope that the future of architecture in India, imbibes and integrates, the rich craft traditions in our country, with newer material and applications.”