IIA concluded its first virtual NATCON successfully
This year, the sessions surpassed expectations and discussed social inequality and inadequate habitat for the needy
The Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) successfully concluded its first virtual National Convention of the Indian Institute of Architects event. IIA NATCON 2020 - TRANSCEND was held from July 11-12. All the master speakers, panellists and delegates from across India and other countries participated with IIA in its endeavour to think beyond the normal way of doing things and discuss topics such as transcending design, resilience, innovation, inclusiveness and self-reliance.
The two-day event started with the virtual inaugural ceremony addressed by the Honourable Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu. He called upon the architects of the country to adopt and promote Green architecture and use renewable energy sources such as solar energy in upcoming projects. Lastly, he urged the community to develop smart cities and realise PM Narendra Modi’s dream of housing for all, while preserving the heritage and local sensibilities of each area, and engaging immensely talented local craftspersons and artisans who are struggling to keep our culture alive.
IIA NATCON 2020 was made invaluable by industry stalwarts who spoke on six sessions over the two days, and was attended by people from across the country. The prominent speakers included Rahul Mehrotra (founder, RMA Architects), Marion Weiss & Michael Manfredi (Weiss/Manfredi), Sonam Wangchuk (engineer & founder, SECMOL, Ladakh) and Moshe Safdie (Safdie Architects).
The first day’s programme had three sessions – Transcend, Resilience And Innovation – which were expounded by industry leaders such as Jelle Therry Ramboll (Ramboll Studio), Sanjay Mohe (Mindspace Architects), Rita Soh (president of ARCASIA), Debatosh Sahu (Espace), Naresh Narasimhan (Venkataramanan Associates), Parul Zaveri (Abhikram), Vivek Bhole (Neo Modern Arch), Mitesh Dixit (Domain), Jit Kumar Gupta (architect & town planner), Krishna Rao Jaisim (Fountainhead), Monolita Chatterjee (Design Combine), Vaissnavi Shukl (GSD), Sheila Sriprakash (Shilpa Architects), and Azmi Wadia (Azmi & Sarosh Wadia).
In his keynote address, Mehrotra spoke about the COVID-19 migrant crisis and said “it was unquestionably inhumane, which is evidence that the biggest design challenge going forward will be to design for ‘flux’.” He believes the most important question to be addressed today pertains to how architects must re-embed themselves in society.
The first session saw an enthralling panel discussion where the panellist spoke on the connection between the built and unbuilt spaces, the pandemic’s role in determining the future of architecture, its response to the unbuilt environment as well as the health impact of the built spaces on the user. The second panel discussion veered around resilience and the unpredictability that the pandemic has brought about. Architect Mitesh Dixit of Domain averred that architecture is no longer valued by whom it addresses but is driven by profit. The third and the final session for the day saw the idea of innovation through four women architects.
Day two of IIA NATCON 2020 covered the themes – Inclusiveness, Self Reliance and Inclusiveness & Innovation. These sessions were joined by industry leaders such as Biju Kuriakose (ArchitectureRED), Sameep Padora (sP+a), Abin Chaudhuri (Abin Design Studio), Vinayak Bharne (Moule & Polyzoides Architects), Leena Kumar (Kumar Consultant), Divya Kush (president of IIA), Habeeb Khan (president of COA), Jabeen Zacharias (president of IIID), V Suresh (chairman of IGBC), Satish Magar (president of CREDAI), Tushar Sogani (TSDPL), Amarja Nimbalkar (Amarja Nimbalkar Associates), Michael Samuelian (Samuelian Consulting LLC), Ameet Babbar (Babbar & Babbar Architects) and Fahed Majeed (Amarja Nimbalkar Associates).
The panel discussions themed around inclusiveness focused on the challenges and possibilities of building inclusive societies, public spaces and cities and the role of architects in bringing about this change. Some of the issues posed to the panellists were: How can an architect be a catalyst to facilitate this culture of inclusiveness through sustainable solutions? How do we address an increasingly challenging socio-political environment?
The panellists talked about the most pressing topics of the time. C R Raju, joint hon. secretary, IIA, moderated an enthralling panel discussion on self-reliance. The panellists on the session pointed to how self-reliance has been an integral part of vernacular architecture and traditional practices that unfortunately have been lost to globalisation. The panel discussion veered towards the evolving new avenues in architecture and shed some light on how technology is the future in terms of changing cities and altering design where buildings can become more flexible, adaptable and smarter. It would also aid in understanding how a smarter design can be executed with a computer as against a hand drawing.
NATCON featured expert talks by internationally renowned architects and panel discussion on the range of topics that are relevant to the society now. Each of the sessions presented a unique perspective. The event allowed the stalwarts to discuss and take collective steps from this quiescent period to perceive and rebuild an equitable and inclusive environment to serve the aspirations of all sections of society.
Lastly, to mark the closure of IIA NATCON 2020 - TRANSCEND, a 32-minute musical extravaganza was put together comprising 43 architects on the tabla, guitar, flute, keyboard and vocals – of course, shortlisted from 100 entries from across the country.