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The Impact of Blindly Adopting Western Architecture in India

In this knowledge sharing series, Dr. Benny Kuriakose describes how regional traditions and building practices that had been created over thousands of years to accommodate the climatic extremes of various locations were abandoned as a more uniform international approach to building design arose and the consequences that have been faced as a part of this. In present times, there is no attempt to look at the local climate, building materials, or techniques; instead, people end up blindly adopting the western model. For instance, the glass facade is designed for the cold western climate and is completely unsuitable for the tropical climate in most parts of India. Meanwhile, in India, they adopt such building practices and find ways to reduce that heat using technology like air conditioning.

He also describes the drawbacks of the present architecture education system in India. There is not much teaching on vernacular architecture or local building materials in the curriculum of the engineering and architecture schools. Even what is being learned is mostly about the disadvantages of these materials. They study more about concrete and steel. Meanwhile, all the craftsmen who built traditional buildings and monuments were completely disregarded due to the modern awareness that failed to understand the importance of traditional building practices that evolved over centuries.

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