Builded in conversation with Architect Nilanjan Bhowal, on his ” Organi.Tech.Ture”

Hi
Friends, dear colleagues and my respected fraternity,

It was while attending  INT-EXT CONNECT 2019, Architects Meet, co-supported by  The Indian Institute of Architects, Haryana & Punjab Chapters, that  I got to hear and meet  in person the keynote speaker, Architect Nilanjan Bhowal, on Saturday, 9th February 2019 at Chandigarh.

Sitting amongst an august gathering of some 300 architects, I heard him address on” organitecture”. Slides after slides of his architectural projects demonstrated his long standing history of responding to natural forces in creating environmentally sensitive designs and reflected his Eco-friendly strategies. His projects revealed his strength in  integrating architecture within nature and using technology of  local people,benefiting the community at large.

Now,  if you are very keen and  enthusiastic to know about his stance on sustainable architecture,read the responses on five questionnaire put up by “Builded.in” to Ar.Nilanjal Bhowal, a Gold- Medalist in Architecture from Institute of Environmental Design, Gujarat. He earned master’s in Architecture from Catholic University, Belgium and a post-graduation specialization in energy-efficient architecture from Istanbul Technical University. A recipient of several National level awards for Architecture, Interiors and conservation projects, he has  more than 100 publications to his credit and many authored articles with major dailies. A young entrepreneur, heading Design Consortium- a south -Delhi based firm, he is sought by media as well for his contributions and efforts.

 Ar.Nilanjal Bhowal-

1. Builded.in : Can you elaborate on your ideology of organitechture.  What can you say is your best reward for choosing to adopt this ideology?

 Ar.Nilanjal Bhowal-The prevailing climatic issues and environmental threats are a matter of global concern. The profession we are in requires us to extend our horizon beyond materials and construction, to human psychology and environmental upgradation.

We have thus created our own niche with ‘Organi.Tech.Ture’, which reflects the core values of sustainability, comfort, art and modernity, all synthesized in the contemporary design forms which are aesthetically pleasing while being organic and technologically advanced at the same time. Organi.Tech.Ture is inspired from the two strong forces of nature and technology. The primary focus of our practice has been to evolve our own language of architecture that is rooted in our traditional learning, contextual material and sustainable construction methodology, together fused with the future ready technological comforts of modernity.

Following ideology of ‘Organi.Tech.Ture’, helps us to create designs and spaces which are much more responsive to the inhabitants, the prevailing culture and tradition and most importantly, the environment. The products of the ideology are sustainable and add to human comfort and overall development of inhabitants, making them happy and satisfied.

2. Builded.in :You are into practice of integrating architecture within nature and with local people and the community at large; do you enjoy experimenting and developing the project in this manner? If so, Can you briefly touch two of your projects where this harmony was best developed?

NB:The idea of integrating two major aspects of human existence, nature and technology, has made way for interesting and sustainable architecture solutions, which have led to the overall betterment of the community and are also deeply rooted with local people and culture.

Our primary focus remains to design in harmony with nature however two projects where it was best developed are in the Camp Forktail creek and Brooks Arthous-

Camp Forktail Creek, nestled within the woody perennials of Jim Corbett National Park, has been designed respecting and incorporating the natural surrounding into the design elements by virtue of local materials mixed with technology.

Camp Forktail creek,The design addresses the vernacular as the focus for sustenance and shelter, by revisiting wattle and daub construction with wood and thatch. Optimal use of local material ensured the greenest approach to make an adventure camp work, breathe and live amongst its natural surroundings. The element of technology has been added by the use of solar panels to generate electricity.

Brooks Arthous, on the other hand, stands pretty against the beautiful landscape of Bhimtal, Uttarakhand. It is a perfect blend of nature and modern technology fused in minimalistic yet comfortable design of architectural concepts.

Nothing has been procured beyond 10 km from the site, thereby reducing the carbon footprint in Brooks Arthous. And if one closely looks at the rooftops, they mimic the folds of foothills that line the horizon.

Brooks Arthous,is a gated community with eleven premium vacation villas designed as a remarkable fusion of traditional Kumaoni architecture, green design and pleasing aesthetics. As a part of the urban plan, all ecological aspects were taken into consideration, starting with cutting minimum trees, rain water harvesting, and pavers to reduce soil erosion.

Vernacular knowledge is used for solar passive design with large overhangs to provide shade from the summer Sun but allowing the winter Sun to enter the villas via large windows and glazing heating up the interiors.

The rain water harvesting system is designed as open channels where water trickles from shallow lily ponds into these pebbled channels. It forms good landscape feature and controls water percolating in the ground.

Only natural materials and finishes have been used to construct the buildings. Local materials such as stone and wood have been used in Brooks Arthous.

Developing ideas and designs on the lines of co-existence with nature has always been an interesting and thought proving method to identify new architectural elements. The experimentation on these lines never becomes monotonous; moreover, it paves way for a wider range of design solutions.

3. Builded.in :With your passion of sustainable energy how do you pay attention to the aging of buildings? Your buildings are not so temporary, and they should last as long as possible? Can you briefly touch on this aspect with an example of a project?

NB:Buildings, like humans are living entities and should be allowed to age gracefully. Construction materials have varying life spans by virtue of their properties. Natural materials like wood, brick and stone have a long life. The ancient Indian as well as Greek architecture exhibits the use of stone in buildings which are still intact. Wood construction has time and again proven the strength of wood as a construction material by being used in high seismic zones in the hilly regions of the country. These materials when used in combination with one another exemplify their properties and increase their strength thus increasing the total life span.

The Pahalgam Club, located amidst the mountain peaks of Pahalgam, along the bank of river Lidder, incorporates the local vocabulary of brick and wooden construction. The ‘Dhajji Dewari’ system, which consists of braced timber frame in various patterns has been incorporated in the construction and reflects in the elevation of the building as well. The building language uses wood in wall claddings, trusses and bridges.

4. Builded:Now that you are working in many different places — which place did you connect most and why?

NB:We have worked in drastically varying contexts not just places, ranging from the Himalayan region in Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal, to deserts region in Ramgarh, Rajasthan, to the Coastal areas in Goa, Cherai in Kerala, to High Seismic and heavy monsoon areas of North-eastern India in Manipur. The climatic conditions and geographical topography specific to each of these places being very different, calls for variable responses to design and construction. The hills of Himalayas have a cold and dry climate whereas the north east fosters a cold and windy climate. The desert state of Rajasthan has a hot and dry climate. While the coastline of India features a hot and windy climate

Fortunately, we have had the opportunity of working in each of these contexts, which are not only climatically different but are also culturally contrasting. Hence, picking up one of these is a difficult choice to make.

5. Builded.in:How have you seen your career evolve over the past decades? Has your personal approach to architecture changed?

NB:Every human being evolves due to his experiences and consciousness. My philosophy and approach has been fairly consistent- using nature in design. The only inputs which have evolved are the influence of technology. It is the meeting point of nature, materials, ecology and technology that has now prescribed my architecture.

Times of India award given by -The Indian Institute of Architects, Haryana & Punjab Chapters

“Arhitecture is a space you belong to, a space you relate to”-Nilanjal Bhowal


With this at heart, I end the second of the many interviews that are planned to be conducted  with writers, influencers, and magnates.This interview is all  public and a part of this website- builded.in.

As always I look forward to suggestions in -leave a comment- box.-Ar.Babika Goel


htttp://builded.in is a privately owned domain by Architect Babika Goel, a graduate from college of Architecture,Lucknow, an associate Indian institute of Architects and Member Indian green building council.

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