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Traditional techniques in contemporary cultures.

“A place it feels like it belongs there”

Experimentation centre, start-up offices & convention centre.
Guide : Pinkish Shah, Kimaya Kerluskar, Vikram Pawar.
K.R.V.I.A, B. Arch Thesis, 2018
Location : GIFT city, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India.

Keywords: Traditional building methods, Contemporary cultures, Materiality, Sustainability.

The practice of architecture has largely been understood as an issue of technology and energy performance. Consequently the discussions surrounding it has remained separate from the broader discussion of architecture as a cultural project. Architects have long had an interest in the  relationship between their design interventions and surrounding culture, traditions and climatic conditions. 

The very fact that for centuries, ancient cultures were able to adapt to survive changes in social structure, climate and environment, without any mention of “sustainability”, should give us a pause for thought.  The fusing of building techniques, for example the application of digital tools to traditional craft, can lead to new solutions, innovations and benefits. Natural landscape, local materials, cultural techniques, local custom and lifestyle  - all can used as a starting points for new interpretations, integration approaches and strategies. These are useful as sources of inspiration; not to be imitated, but as a starting point for further developments and innovative ideas. A new focus is needed, on effectiveness and efficiency, on adaptability, and intelligent use of cultural techniques.

In this rapidly changing world, the current architectural debate as architects concern ourselves largely with the quantitative aspects of building. We refuse to concede the construction of ‘cultural value’, thinking about our built environment purely as a “commodity”. 

Learning from the past, analyzing the present and looking towards future.

Are we making our cities and architecture too generic and alien to our context?
What kind of transition are we undergoing with respect to built form?
If change must come, what should it be? How do we rethink the past and design for the immediate as well as for the longer future?

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Factors affecting the built form:

Interlink between the different factors.

Materiality, built form & culture are all inter linked to each other in various ways. The cultures have evolved and changed over the years influencing the other parameters. People adapt to the climate and try to work with it which in turn becomes their own culture and their identity. These are the various factors that affect the built environment of a building. All of these factors are interlinked with each other through complex networks. 

Architecture is becoming a design competition for the world recognition. There is the need for an architecture that doesn’t try to aim for the construction of the standardized configuration, but aims to create harmony between history and structure, harmony between past and present.


How do the elements of materiality, building systems and culture respond to the climate? What are the advancements in those fields and their contemporary uses and manifestations?


Methodology of sustainable architecture.

Materiality-Built form-Culture

A variety of approaches going after different logics for sustainable design appeared, one of which is eco-cultural logic. Environmental and cultural sustainability could be achieved through adopting a regional design approach. In regional approach, design regards the climate and topography and intends to sustain the culture of the region through considering the existing pattern of the region, the existing architectural features of the buildings, the existing lifestyles of the inhabitants and the existing cultural issues.

The diagram in the later page creates a web of different links between materiality, built form and culture. This catalogue becomes a database for the design intervention.


Semi-arid & arid:

Rapid modernization


Hot Semi-arid & Arid climate of the world are going under rapid modernization and growth. Arid regions offer largely developed areas for future expansion to satisfy major human needs: for passive energy resources(solar), for agriculture, and for new settlements construction, especially the urban type. In spite of their limitations, arid regions have diverse potentialities for urban as well as for rural development.

Semi-arid & arid regions of the world. 

GIFT city:

Delhi-Mumbai Industrial corridor

Gujarat International Finance Tec-City or GIFT is an under-construction central business district between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar in the Indian state of Gujarat. Its main purpose is to provide high quality physical infrastructure, so that finance and tech firms can relocate their operations there from Mumbai, Bangalore, Gurgaon etc. where infrastructure is either inadequate or very expensive.


Existing site plan.


Design Methodology:

Intent to study the alternative future of built forms by using traditional elements and techniques.

Developing the master plan according to the new ideology. 
Making guidelines for all future developments, then detailing a part of the master plan.

Water Edge



Masterplan handbook:

Iterations and possibilities.

Each building block & its context is an amalgamation of the following open ended rules which set basic guidelines for further and sustainable development. These guidelines can be altered according to the contexts and programs.

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Handbook implementation

Manifestation of guidelines. Combination of numerous rules to form one block. The site can be broken into 3 simpler zones.

Road edge

Water edge

Interior buildings


Extraordinarily ordinary:

Design Brief.

Redefining the existing programs with the introduction of new functions. This functions allows the public to interact with the new city center. It breaks the norms of the gated community and creates new public-private interaction spaces.  Weaving public functions like experimentation center's, exhibition spaces, maidan’s places for festivals, markets, parks, cultural center's, recreational spaces etc. with the private functions. 

The intervention is located along the main axis towards the river from the metro station. The building is developed using the master plan guidelines and forces of the context. The cluster is imagined as a series of streets which create a shaded promenade. The building is modern yet connects back to its traditional roots. 

Use of appropriate material in the correct place, sustainability, future expansions, traditional techniques and redefining the conventional programs are few of the pointers tackled in the design.
‘The building should embrace the context, rather than being an alien’.

Evolution diagrams
4. Basement
4. Basement

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Structural system




Water system


Radiant cooling


Façade treatment