‘Architecture – – Disconnected?’, Where architectural professionals share their views about relevance of architecture and society today. In this post, Swati Janu shares her views, below:
“Architecture today is inherently an elitist profession which becomes apparent if we look at the percentage of our population that an architect caters to. Apart from public buildings, most architects today work solely for the affluent and middle income groups. Within India, a staggering 95% of the population does not have access to designers or cannot afford design.
Clearly there is a problem with our profession if most of the construction today is designed and directed, not by architects, but by contractors in large, planned projects and local masons in smaller, self-organised areas in Indian cities. We architects need to rethink how we can be relevant to our society. This requires thinking outside the silos of our professions and collaborating with other disciplines ranging from urban development, economics to sociology. Just as architects cannot be restricted to drawing boards/ laptops, we cannot be limited to our sites either. Our thinking needs to diversify to take into account the global forces of urbanization and climate change, as well as the socio-economic reality of the cities we live in.”
Senior Designer at the social enterprise mHS CITY LAB, Swati is an architect whose work is centered around using low-cost materials to produce high quality design through participatory planning. Through the medium of art, design, talks and research, she has been working to create awareness on and challenge perceptions of urban informality in Indian cities. A graduate from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, she has done her masters in Sustainable Urban Development from University of Oxford, UK.