Architectural structures should inspire while shaping the future. Believes Nuru Karim, Founder & Design Principal of NUDES. Here he explains how the projects transcend their initial purposes to create experiential spaces that connect people and places.
Innovation Comes Through Asking the Right Questions
The dichotomy of ‘experimental’ and ‘real-world constraints’ is thought-provoking and acts as a fuel for innovation. As designers, are we immersing ourselves into a continual combat with the limitations, both internal and external? Are we realizing the uncharted territories?
Are we being honest and truthful to the design process and socioeconomic forces that govern the world of design and the built environment? Are we really pushing ourselves into finding the right problems rather than focusing on solutions? Innovations have origins not in the answers but in the way we frame and put forward our questions.
The Process of Change is Bottom-up
Sustainable eco-urbanism requires an integrated multi-sectoral initiative involving community participation. It is supposed to be designed and led by the community. Of course, as designers, we have a crucial role to play, but largely the process is bottom up. Our job is to add the layer of sustainability to our understanding of urbanscapes. Appreciating the change in the social behaviour, hierarchy and ecosystem and responding to this transformation is an integral part of any designer’s growth experience.
Tradition and Future Should have a Dialogue
The tension between the two words, ‘experimental’ and ‘traditional’ is something that gets design thinking going. Issues related to the design of products, interiors, architectural spaces and urban experiences are subject to enormous constraints revolving primarily around “code” and “budgets” immersed within a complex socio-economic and cultural context.
It’s very important that the two contradicting worlds not only meet but also have a dialogue with each other in complete harmony. One could also analyse this construct through the lens of “using tradition as a springboard to dive into the future”. But really, the tri-relationship of ‘playful experimentation’, ‘serious research’ and ‘old-fashioned problem solving’ needs to be exhaled in a single seamless continuous breath.
The design is an Open System of Interrelated Issues
An architectural solution engages design as a cohesive process of interconnected issues. The integration takes place between various subjects like typology, digital methodologies, sustainability, structure, fabrication, materiality, and tactility among others.
The solution also brings into its domain the use of larger networks of the social, cultural, and environmental phenomenon. Transfer of technologies and ‘smart materials’, just like the use of ‘digital’ in both design and production enables the transformation of ‘design history’ into ‘design future’.
Don’t Think, Just Look!
Today we need to stop ‘thinking’ so as to start again to ‘see’. “Design as Research” is a fundamental methodology that should be integral to every designer’s thought process. Research could also operate at several levels, ranging from philosophical positions to sector-specific analysis to technological systems. We need to develop an art of description where we question the methodology by which design projects are conceptualised, processed and documented.
Nature is a great teacher and a fantastic reservoir of research and design. Engagement with the nature-based systems in terms of researching and conversing is a way to both unlearn and re-learn. It’s very critical that architecture is deep-rooted within a context. But it should also address larger social, cultural and environmental issues.
In a Collaboration, the Inter-Disciplinary Lines should Blur
Successful collaborative processes largely involve both stakeholders and professionals as an integrated “team-based” mechanism, integral to the design process and evolution of space design. Our collaborations range from artists, engineers, social scientists, product designers fashion designers etc.
The next up is philosophers. The extent of collaboration depends and varies from project to project largely based on design methodology, strategy and scale of the project. These changes in architectural practice also collapse the differences defining various disciplines working together, blurring the line within these disciplines and manufacturing processes.
Materials are Defined by Purpose
Materials explain ‘what it does?’ as opposed to ‘what it is?’ Recent advances in both technique and process where materials are concerned to have emerged into broad heads such as Shape performance, Optical performance, Sustainable performance and Responsive performance to name a few.
In Japan, for example, researchers are experimenting with intelligent systems in the construction of seismic resistant structures, wherein building foundation equipped with sensors amplify waves producing a change in ‘Material Elasticity’ to absorb the shock wave impact. Materials that provide products with one or more life cycles and are advantageous in terms of production, workability, dissemblance, reuse and environmental preservation.
Colour Constructs, Not Embellish
“Colour” should be defined as “structure” and also as a tactile experience loyal and honest to its material origins. It is not wallpaper, ornament or a candy wrap of a building. Generally, white and black are timeless in nature and respond brilliantly to atmospheric changes and varying light conditions.
But sometimes, these decisions are also driven programmatically. For example, retail stores and art galleries are strategically washed in white to exhibit the artworks in all honesty.
Dive in to Make a Difference
Besides chasing design philosophies and related commercial issues, it is critical that we commit ourselves to larger social/ humanitarian goals. Architecture has the power to do that. India faces several issues, including and not limited to lack of housing, lack of infrastructural services, lack of property rights, air pollution, traffic, serious lack of urban governance and many more. Question on a daily basis why you are here. The responsive design will augment the process of change.
Published in Issue 04
The issue with the best insights from some of the top space designers and advertising tips from Happy Creatives with some exclusive mix of media experiments in type and digital art. So, go ahead
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