Chintan 2019: Contemplating Built Environment

Ordinarily speaking, heritage is something which we inherit from our ancients, our ancestors. We cherish it because it is the memory of those objects which gives us a sense of wonderment in life. It enriches our knowledge of the times gone by, how people lived. Similarly, we desire to leave behind a mark of our own culture so that people in the distant future may also be informed as to what kind of cultural ethos we possessed. So it is evident that heritage gets built in the present, to inform the future as testimony of a spatio-temporal context of identity and culture.

How is a contemporary building heritage?

ICOMOS’s Modern Heritage program in Holland “focuses on raising awareness concerning the heritage of architecture, town planning and landscape design of the modern era, which is considered to be particularly vulnerable because of weak legal protection and low appreciation among the general public.” INTACH has also submitted to the DUAC that “the post 1947 period in India is architecturally important as the country was shaping a modern identity and buildings possess contain the same characteristics of heritage as historical buildings which require preservation.” DUAC however contended that contemporary heritage was a complex issue and needs to be studied further.

At School of Architecture & Planning, G D Goenka University, we are looking at the rapid, and frankly bewildering, developments in the city around us with a sense of trepidation, if not impending doom. Our students look at the built environment around them for architectural inspiration, which is abysmally low. Yet, there are some buildings which remain inspirational and memorable enough to be classified as heritage.

In this set of panel discussions we are exploring the viability, requirements, components and characteristics of contemporary heritage in India. Issues of urbanism, history, technology and environment may inform this discussion as well as context, identity, conservation, preservation, adaptive reuse, organization/individual among others. It is our intent to open up the subject using this short symposium as a platform and continue the ideas beyond this threshold in much greater detail so as to maintain a continuity of sorts between one conversation and the next one.

G D Goenka University is a young university with a vision of aspiring towards becoming a University which is internationally recognized as an institution of higher learning through an inclusive, innovative, value-based education & research preparing socially responsible citizens.

Our mission is to educate globally competent graduates through:

  • Inter-disciplinary project based learning with a focus on innovation & research that improves employability.
  • Flexible and distinctive pedagogy that leverage technologyand instill a notion of lifelong learning.
  • Efficient systems and processes that enable the faculty, staffand students to optimally realize their potential.
  • Association with leading institutions and industries.

The School of Architecture & Planning is hosting our annual event “Chintan 2019 – Contemplating Built Environment” where Mr. Raj Rewal, an eminent architect is being felicitated with a honorary doctorate. A panel discussion with architects, conservationists and other stakeholders follows on the status and issues in the field of contemporary heritage. The audience is proposed to include eminent professionals and academicians along with students of architecture. We hope that this event will raise relevant questions and allow ideation on the subject.