Glassy, gaudy Gurgaon

Ravi Teja Sharma / New Delhi July 7, 2007


Misguided attempts to ape the West have robbed Gurgaon of local
aesthetics or any individual character.

Whatever happened to cities with a character? Delhi has a character,
Mumbai definitely has one, so does Kolkata. Gurgaon looks nothing like a
normal Indian city, at least not in the way its buildings look
(everything else, infrastructure, drainage, power, water, cattle on the
road, is just the same).

Whichever side you enter Gurgaon from (M G Road or NH 8), you experience
deja vu: have I seen this before? Buildings with a glass facade line the
road as you enter from NH 8, almost all somewhat similar. Of course,
there are some that stand out but, more or less, they’re the same, even
as you go into the interiors.

Akshat Bhatt, principal architect at Architecture Discipline, explains
that there is a state of global homogeneity/universal generic space that
is emerging within our cities and buildings.

“Basically, all are similar but for something that will make it unique
to its own context — say, the way spaces are treated or used,” says Bhatt.

Real contextual design can be achieved but that requires a persevering
and sensitive design method. “Cutting edge architecture does not
necessarily mean it has to be expensive,” he adds.

He thinks most of what is happening or has happened in Gurgaon is
inappropriate. “It is not a very healthy trend,” he says.