Sunday, 25 December 2016

_ Math and Architecture _

Perhaps it is best to think about what we are trying to do with architecture. What should it be ideally? Math is of course needed as a practical tool for engineering and measurement, but when we talk of aesthetics we are of course talking about a different use of math.

There are actually many other uses for math and the readers will probably respond according to their goals. Those obsessed with the "sacred," and the romance of the past will perhaps answer that math is needed and used to achieve sacred principles and relationships: the importance of 3, the fact that 8 stands for the resurrection, 12 as a divine number, etc, golden mean, etc, etc.

Those who approach things from a more intellectual or mathematical point of view may focus on the order of composition and rationality that mathematics brings. These minds probably favor the rational Renaissance as the highest point possible.

Probably each viewpoint or approach has its own truth. For me I ask myself the question again, what should architecture be? And, I answer this with a single word: beautiful. Then I ask myself, what is beautiful - what is beauty? And, beauty is hard to define; so, I search for examples...I think of music and the way that it reaches to my core; I think of sunsets; I think of walking through a forest and the peace I sense; I think of flowers and the way that each petal fits together; I think of vibrant paintings; I think of all these things and many other things, and then I ask myself, what makes them so beautiful?

All of these things have in common elements of composition, and these elements combine to create the sensation of beauty. There is unity, proportion, rhythm, harmony, nuances, etc. It is not so easy to break apart the composition, because when something is truly beautiful each part is less itself and more of the whole. But, if you did, you would find that one part is proportion, and proportion is of course related to math.

The notes of the musical scale, the leaves of a tree, the division of a face and body, the field of colors in a painting, all of these things have a structure and proportion - they have much more also, but proportion is one necessity.

So why is math important for architecture? Or better yet, why is it important for beautiful architecture? Because, beauty is composed, a part of composition is proportion, and proportion relates to mathematics. It doesn't have to be about symbolism, theory, or philosophy. It can simply be about creating beauty in and of itself. Mathematics and proportion do not create beauty by themselves, but they are a necessary part of the compositional whole.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

__ Experiencing a city__ 

Recently I was talking with a curator who spent her childhood and study years in different parts of India. She has now embraced Mumbai as her home and been staying here for more than five years. Her experience in city has been like everyone who has not been raised in this beautiful yet messy city. She was shocked by the speed, thrilled by the variety and confused by the people. She was disappointed by the fact that the city has very few open spaces to offer and that available public spaces are 'tiny' as compared with Delhi or Kolkatta. When I tried to argue that it does have beautiful streets to explore - she thought I am pulling her leg. 

This conversation reinforced my belief that architects and planners experience the city very differently from others. For us, architecture and built environment provides us moments of clarity in terms of general properties of space that cannot be conveyed otherwise. Streets and roads become interesting warps and wefts which help in creating the fabric of the city. And we love to study it, analyse it and implement it. How people are meeting at junctions, how the shop fronts add texture, how street furniture is missing ( or vandalized), how the facade is inviting, etc etc But this something which a non-architect/ planner could never learn to like - maybe bits and pieces and from time to time but not always. I do not think he or she would ever have a list to visit x, y and z streets in their spare time. That's how fundamentally we experience the city contrarily - by exploring and absorbing their streets and roads.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

__Arulmigu Patteeswarar Swamy Temple__

@ Coimbatore 2015 by payal patel

Sunday, 30 October 2016

__Afghan Church__

Afghan Church located in Navy Nagar of Mumbai was built by the British to commemorate the dead of the First Afghan War and the disastrous 1842 retreat from Kabul. 

The imposing edifice was constructed using locally available buff- coloured basalt and limestone. Inside it is known for its wide gothic arches and beautiful stained glass windows. The chapel has a nave and aisle with a chancel 50 ft (15 m) in length and 27 ft (7 m) in width. Butterfield's tiles used for the geometric floor pattern were imported from England.The tower and spire are 198 ft (60 m) high. 

Got a chance to revisit this church again with a Professor on a rainy day.

@Mumbai 2016 by payal patel

Saturday, 8 October 2016

__visit to village__

Chance visit to Kadus near Pune was a true delight . This village has a rich detailing of buildings along with beautiful lush fields. 

@ kadus 2014 by payal patel


Sunday, 25 September 2016

__SIN beams__

Very dear friends Rucita Zagzap and Kush Patel (of Raagin Karman) designed a beautiful factory using Sin beams - it was a visual treat and as always had a truckload of information exchange when I visited them with my other close friends Priya Kanchan and Yashashree Nighot. 

Many thanks for allowing me to take and share some pictures 

@ Gandhinagar 2015 by payal patel 

Saturday, 27 August 2016

__Souls of site__

photo essay 4
the workers on a construction site in Raipur, Ahmedabad and Bhosari 2012- 2016
photos by payal patel

Saturday, 13 August 2016

__Souls of site__

photo essay 3
the workers on a construction site in Goa and Chennai 2011- 2015
photos by payal patel

Thursday, 4 August 2016

__ arteries and veins__

Arteries and veins in a human body carry the blood to and from heart. Bones form the skeleton and skin covers it up all. The organs could be used as analogies for a building under use. Any building has all these components - services ( arteries and veins), structural system (skeleton) and facade (skin).

Its is amazing to watch the services being laid in place - the digging, chasing, tacking. So aptly and surreptitiously that one doesn't notice it until something goes amiss. Here are some images of such work in progress

@raipur 2015 by payal patel

@raipur 2015 by payal patel

@delhi 2012 by payal patel

@ Chennai 2012 by payal patel

@ bhosari 2015 by payal patel
@ raipur 2015 by payal patel

_ mind the gap_  There's a gap between where we are and where we want to be. Many gaps, in fact, but imagine just one of them. ...