Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Student Life Renderings

This was one of my favorite projects in terms of renderings. The project was a commercial building. I named it "Wind Chimes" as I proposed a large wind chime dangling in the main atrium. These are images of the front elevation. I really enjoyed exploring the camera angles. These two came out the way I wanted. The softwares used were 3D Studio Max and Photoshop.

I tried to explore some waxy form, inspired by some of Gaudi's work. Not that I even came close to the level of a single volume of his designs, I still tried to liquify then freeze the form, molding it like soft clay, translating it into a glass facade,  diverting from practicality, and proposing warped glass segments.

I think this camera angle gave a pretty bold look to the volumes, and an illusion of extra height.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Let It Crumble...

Architecture is an index of society. We can gauge when a society reached its pinnacle and when it declined by studying architecture. Studying buildings, gives an in depth review of the mindset of people of an era. It tells what is valuable for them.
For a research project, I visited Noor Jahan’s Tomb complex frequently last year. I was required to document the structure in photographs. While photographing, I went through a four dimensional experience, that is hard to express in words. One prime dimension was the architectural appreciation of the structure, of course, but that is just a fraction of what my mind was going through.

Restored Elevation
A brief history of this old monument might be helpful here; the tomb was constructed on orders of Mughal Queen, Noor Jahan in her life. She died in 1645 and was buried here. The tomb was surrounded by a beautifully manicured garden. The tomb complex, that also includes Emperor Jahangir’s tomb, suffered at the collapse of Mughal Empire, when it was looted by Sikh invaders. It suffered further damage when used as a residence, first for the French officer to the Sikh ruler, Ranjit Singh and later by Sultan Muhammad Khan. Under British rule, the gardens suffered badly when a railway track was built by cutting Noor Jahan’s tomb from the rest of the garden.

Main Entrance

The question that irked my mind was of the motivation behind construction of such a personalized monument. Was the public at that time leading an ideal life? Were there no public issues to be taken care of? Was this the only best way to spend public money? What does the complex symbolize? Power of a single family? This bitterness in thoughts just boils when I compare these structures to not very different structures of today’s elite. Today’s palaces of the ruling elite can be directly traced back to these historic monuments of personalized glory. They have a quite traceable lineage to them and speak volumes of the ruling elites’ nonexistent concern for public interest. We have inherited all this, and are least concerned to change it. People of that era had left the rule in one family’s hands, thinking that the throne was a birth right of that family. Situation is not very different even today.

Roof Top
 Trying to trace any public interest through architecture of that era, we come across a very few buildings, if any, that were directly intended for public use. We have ruins of palaces, remains of forts, tombs and mausoleums that were constructed to glorify individuals. Even the masjids were dedicated to the royals. Tombs and mausoleums were constructed to lay homage and respect to the favorites of the royals only.

Now, the point is, everyone loves his or her family, friends and pets. It is innate human nature to develop strong bonds, fall in love, grow profound fondness, affection, gratitude and a multitude of positive emotions. But that simply does not justify absurd amounts of public money being invested in building monumental structures just to satisfy a single person’s emotions, and that too by the sheer pressure of power.

Noor Jahan’s tomb was designed to create a sad aura. The aura still prevails. These famous Persian verses have rather turned into a curse.

For me, monumental structures built by public money, to express personal glory or grief are far shorter in stature than a mud house built by hand to settle one’s family and give them shelter.
If the tomb crumbles today under its own weight, let it crumble. It will not make much difference to the lives of people in general. It never really mattered anyway. Sabotage and collapse of a comparatively newer Zyarat Residence, far superior in importance didn’t even spark any suitable reaction. The homeless drug addicts dwelling in and around the dingy complex will find another shelter. In a country, where food and clean water don’t make their way to the priority list, conservation is an alien term. The railway line that crosses the garden, has served the public more than these tombs.