The Seminar on Architecture, organised by the Lalit Kala Akademi, was held at Vigyan Bhavan from the 17th to the 21st of March, 1959. An exhibition of local and foreign works was also organised at the AIFACS galleries and the entire proceedings were inaugurated by the Prime Minister.
The Seminar proved to be the most representative meeting of its kind ever held. Architects in private practice and from Government departments from all parts of India as well as important guest delegates from France, Great Britain and the United States were present. The discussions were marked by intense seriousness and a sense of purpose. There was a general consensus of opinion about the most important and vital problems that face architecture today.
The Seminar discussed the effects on architecture of climate, technology, visual arts and indigenous rural forms, in addition to subjects like the architect and society, architectural education and the effect of culture on architectural expression and national policy.
It was the unanimous opinion of the Seminar that the present architecture in India can be evolved by rationally expressing the solutions connected with materials, technological and climatic considerations within the social and economic objectives in a harmonious way satisfying the visual demands and not by applying fragments and adornments of past styles of architecture. Architecture in the past was dynamic and, to keep up the continuity befitting the present age, needs intellectual integration of present-day problems.
In order to ensure the best results, it was recommended that:
- The Government should adopt a policytowardsarchitecture and not a national policyonarchitecture. To do this:
- The Government must give larger grants to architectural institutions to attract the best available talent;
- A national Institute of Architecture and Planning, to serve as a research and advanced training centre, be established;
- The Government should realise that a socially acceptable, visually attractive, functionally sound and economically feasible architecture cannot be reproduced in a formula. This can only be realised by a creative architecture, conscientiously working in an atmosphere of freedom;
- The Government must accept that J1 years after Independence, it is amply demonstrated that no architectural progress and economy of construction has been possible. This, it was strongly felt, was due to the existing organisational set up of the Public Works Department, which prevented the architect from performing his basic functions effectively. It was, therefore, recommended that architects should be in total control of all aspects of the building and its construction;
- The Government should realise that the use of obsolete styles and their economic implications are beyond our economy and irrelevant to our needs;
- In order to improve the standards of architecture, Governments should entrust important building and housing projects to architects, through open competitions, organized according to the code of conduct and scale of fees laid down by the professional body on an equitable basis. The competition should only be assessed by recognised organisations, like the Indian Institute of Architects and Institute of Town Planners (India) and their professional judgment should not be subjected to undue interference by non-professional dictates;
- A Registration Bill for architects is imperative to ensure desirable architectural standards;
- Governments must recognise that for the ultimate efficiency and economy of building projects, it is absolutely necessary that a reasonable investment must be made on the complete planning process; and
- Considering the stimulating influence of Chandigarh planning, Governments should initiate such bold experiments from time to time.
- A great deal of research on climatology—involving observation and experimentation which can be of infinite value, giving new expression to architecture—was needed.
- That technology in its present state should be fully exploited by coordinated effort, sufficient data and research.
- Pure art has a very definite contribution to make towards architecture and collaboration of the artist should be adequately assured.