Sustainability: A Solution to Contemporary Problems

Kritika Juneja
By Ar. Kritika Juneja
Every era depicts its own style of architecture - affecting people’s lifestyle as well as the culture of that place. Traditional architecture was the result of a concentration of people in a location as the population was unevenly distributed and was concentrated more in areas where water was available. Today, technology has simplified construction techniques and material technology - giving us the flexibility to design. But sometimes, there is an urge to follow our culture and we start imitating it, especially in this part of the sub-continent that has a 1000-year-old rich culture. But we need to understand that imitating any piece of architecture is not going to solve the problems of a modern India that requires new solutions, while keeping tradition alive. On the other hand, we cannot follow the western architectural style blindly and equate it with modernisation. It reminds me of a phrase by Prof. S.M. Akhtar, “Architecture can never be imitated”.

Attaining SustainabilityAttaining Sustainability (source:

Every site has its own context, and we need to respect that. Cultural heritage is an irreplaceable part of a city, but no city can be conserved, irrespective of how valuable the city fabric is, as new functions and therefore new architecture will appear. What we need to preserve is our culture in the midst of our modern architecture.

Sustainability as an approach to holistic building design
Green Construction in IndiaGreen Construction in India (source:
“A building is not a mass of brick and concrete but a living organism that breathes.” Various terms have been coined from time to time like organic architecture, green architecture, and eco-sensitive architecture - all of which follow holistic principles for designing a sustainable environment.

By following the holistic principles of sustainable designing with eco-friendly materials we can provide a healing environment to the user, which will not only affect the physical, emotional, and mental state of the human body but also the spiritual state.

Sustainability can be achieved by managing the building from its construction stage to its maintenance, and up till its disposal, so simply placing solar panels on the roof, or taking a few other sustainability measures is not enough.

Today, we need to be in closer proximity with nature, just like the traditional buildings which were built in and around nature. However, we seem to be lost in the so-called perception of what urbanism is, ignoring the context the site offers.

Creating a balance between the open and built spacesCreating a balance between the open and built spaces (source:

Spirituality as an approach towards a holistic building design

Curvaceous Brick HouseCurvaceous Brick House
Taking a spiritual approach in the design of buildings can enrich the lives of the people residing within them. Architects are not only responsible for providing the basic functions of a building but also for making it an entity that lasts and is remembered. Innovation in design does not compromise the basic necessities but seeks to create a building that incorporates all the necessities in a way that allows the user to interact with nature. Many of the master architects have achieved this by taking a holistic approach, including spiritual. It is also true that by discovering and formulating our higher self, we can become more innovative and unleash the creative potential within us. Once we are able to understand ourselves and our abilities, it will be much easier to channelize our energy. As an architect it is our basic responsibility to identify and react to the dream of our client and create something wonderful and which brings joy to the user.

“Nature is life and life is nature”. The worldwide ecological imbalance is the outcome of our destruction of nature. The desire for modernisation is leading us towards a robotic future. We must understand that if our built environment responds positively to nature, we will feel peaceful. To achieve this mental, physical, and spiritual harmony, architects need to take a holistic design approach – one that inculcates natural elements and materials – and which conserves the natural environment to the extent possible.

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Ar. Parul Zaveri Abhikram

I believe that ‘architectural style’ should be a response to the various climatic zones in context of India, to be designed according to clients’ personalities and project needs. Each place has a plethora of creative solutions, that have evolved using local resources and techniques, which constitute the part of our architectural knowledge. It is necessary to achieve a balance between continuity and desirable change, without fossilizing the past, and without making the change incongruent with... Read More ...

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I believe in liberating spaces, not enclosing them. Every space needs to have a good optimum, be it a small sized apartment or large commercial offices. Every good designer analyses the plans from the client perspective, regarding practicality, functionality, and accessibility, before executing it. I don’t believe in confining spaces between four walls, on the contrary, I believe in open spaces, both for the interiors and exteriors.It takes exemplary quality to reach elusive heights. The... Read More ...

Ar. Lalichan Zacharias Atelier

My approach to design is simple and open. I start my design with two guiding factors: the requirements and the site. I would like to see the building grow from the site naturally while fulfilling the requirements. I try to keep it extremely simple and responding to the climate. Integration of nature in the built form is always given importance.  Round Chapel Kalamassery Ar. Geoffrey Bawa’s works have always inspired me. Another aspect which influence my design is the sociological aspect of it.... Read More ...

Ar. Sourabh Gupta Archohm

I believe that the language and vocabulary of architecture is not a question about style. Every building is built for a specific purpose, in a particular setting, for a set of audience, and it is therefore intentional that we don’t impose any pre-defined visual form onto a project, rather let things emerge as the project evolves. There is a deliberate attempt to not make specific choices in our design directions.As a philosophy, we try to work on projects that allow an element of... Read More ...

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Architectural style is characterized by the feature that makes a building structure notable and visibly identifiable. Every architect has a specific style and I would call mine “form follows function” as was the thought of Architect Louis Sullivan. However, my style of architecture is not confined to one kind since every client is different, every project is unique, every plot is diverse, and every functionality brief is exclusive. So, any one style of architecture doesn’t work as the design... Read More ...

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Ar. Alfaz Miller & Aahana Miller ABM Architects

The designs by our firm have not changed the skyline of cities, but our smaller architectural projects of commercial buildings and bungalows have made a significant design impact, producing architecture that is site specific, sensible and timeless.We believe in architecture that is simple and controlled and lacks stylised decoration. With large exposure to interior design, the buildings we design are practical with emphasis on function rather than just form. The designs are constructive, with... Read More ...

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We constantly strive for simplicity of form and design. Our architectural style is a minimalistic interplay of lines, planes and volumes. We believe that beauty lies in the ability of a design to be explained through a few lines. We constantly explore the power of lines and their ability to shape space. We work intuitively to create spaces that are episodal and spatially engaging. The core aspects of scale and proportion in design are constantly debated upon to arrive at spaces that balance... Read More ...

Ar. Arpan Johari AW Design

We believe that an architect’s signature style should serve more than just being a set of features to identify ‘the architect’. At AW Design, climatic and site response are the essential guides to evolution of our building’s aesthetic language. In case of interiors, it is the purpose, services and available internal volume around which proportions, openings, systems are designed.Given that most of our work is in the hotter regions of the country, we have developed an unsaid affinity towards... Read More ...

Ar. Monish Siripurapu ANT Studio

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Ar. (Dr.) Harish Tripathi & ID. Jyoti D Tripathi Architect Harish Tripathi & Associates

Over the years, we have positioned our efforts around the belief that the best objects of nature are simple, not complicated. Consequently, we try to create buildings with simple forms and facades. This is often achieved, in our case, through the case of sunken windows wherein the building is double skinned and neat. This way, unwanted protrusions get negated and the double layer of the façade provides a better response to climatic extremities.We have always been fascinated by the virtues of... Read More ...
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