Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Bamboo- the Wondergrass

While our students spent two days at the bamboo machaan-making workshop with Shweta Bhattad of the Gram art project at Paradsinga village, I mulled over the celebrity status of this humble material. It is a grass after all! So why celebrate the 6th World Bamboo Day on 18 September?

World Bamboo Day was declared by the Thai Royal Forest Department on 18 September 2009 in Bangkok, during the 8th World Bamboo Congress held at the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel. The aim- to alter the image of bamboo as a poor man's material and bring it into the main stream especially in the developed world.

The scientists at  University of Pittsburgh are testing several varieties of bamboo for their strength and  mechanical properties. By standardizing these tests they aim to see that bamboo is safely used in construction.These tests also reveal the true strength and flexibility of this material. In fact some varieties are comparable to steel in their strength to weight ratio. Prof. Madhumita Roy's research on permanent bamboo buildings at Jadavpur University, West Bengal is also worth mentioning. 

Bamboo building workshops are helping to forward age old building techniques to the new generation and are also experimenting with other revolutionary methods. Auroville Green Practises Workshops feature various programs related to bamboo construction. '

The Maharashtra State Bamboo Development Board was set up this month as part of the National Bamboo Mission at last bringing credibility to the numerous bamboo workers in the state. 
Nagpur has the appropriate weather and a huge potential for bamboo constructions. The government really needs to boost its growth and use so as to ease pressure from our forests.

This wondergrass has come a long way from being recognizable only as panda food to becoming the poster boy of future sustainable building construction. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Building Building Models

 Models are a beneficial tool to teach and understand architecture. And they are such FUN to make! With the advent of computer graphics this art is losing its importance in the field and sadly in education too.

I noticed many cringed faces in class when I announced that the design brief will include a to-scale model.

Haven't you noticed that its so much easier to pass the time scribbling on a sheet than actually putting your hands to use and building something. 

Cutting, pasting and measuring are daunting tasks to many. FEVICOL and THERMOCOL prove to be a deadly combination, leading to sticky hands and snow covered hair.

But once made, a model enables the student to actually visualize spaces, forms, scale and all the rest of the architectural jargon.
2D pops up into shape and makes the imagining so much easier. The rough CONCEPT model encourages experimentation. Blocks can be twisted, turned, cut and extruded. The results are amazing!

Once the final drawings are ready then a refined PRESENTATION model is prepared. This tool can simplify communication. Many a shivering first year has been saved by his model during the final review when words and reasoning have failed him!

The Arts University Bournemouth, U.K. offers a 3 year B.A.(Hons.) course in Model Making. How interesting! Design-skills.org gives some good advice for students.

Happy Model-Making!

Monday, June 20, 2016


It has been more than two years since my last post and I have been shying away from returning to my blogger world. Why? Because once here it is a commitment that I have already broken before. So should I say 'Hello' again. I guess I already have...

Time flies. And not necessarily when you are having a good time. The past years saw me spend time at Syed Mobin Architects, connecting with the world of builders and hi-rise buildings. Every fresh venture opens a new world of learning. And another group of whatsapp friends :)

The present finds me at T.G.P. College of Architecture...!!Imagine that!!

The 'Teacher' tag sits oddly and heavily on my shoulders. Have never been comfortable with words and now I have these fresh young minds sponging in all that I tell them (Well, usually....unless they are busy texting or snoozing). It has been a good impetus to dust off the cobwebs and get the grey matter charged up again. Have been a regular at the college library. It has been so long since I have read any of the heavy stuff. (Groan..)

There were a few unsure first steps and unavoidable stumbles but the year has seen its triumphs. It is so rewarding to see a student rise in confidence and realize his/her hidden potential.

The NEW SESSION means a lot of new-s. The first year admissions will bring in the NEW FACES. We will try out NEW WAYS to get the students excited about their work again. Hopefully, they will come up with brand NEW IDEAS and by the end of the year we will really actually be able to                                                                              DESIGN!  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Jungle Safari

The Jungle Safari is open for business! 
Three weeks after hearing the design brief the office is complete with furniture, lighting, flooring and paint.

The one room 200 sqft office will seat 5 people and their visitors. They will specialize in jungle packages so the theme for the office was obvious.
The mdf jali with the company logo greets clients. The door is lined with cut outs of some of the popular animals seen in a jungle safari.

Inside, the company colors are used to make a brand impact. The bamboo is a fun element used to strengthen the jungle feel.
The tiny office is filled with storage space for the many files they generate. The seating is spaced and comfortable.
It is the front wall that catches the eye with its vivid green and tiger stripes. It will soon have a LCD to play informative videos of their featured destinations. 
This is the third office I have designed for this company.
The first was done very many years ago.
The second is on the same floor as the third. Here are a few snaps.
The office has a counter in front and a table for the accountant behind it.

It has two cabins, one of them for the Director.

The ceiling is  my derivation of a moving train! 

The red and white theme comes from the company colors. The white in both offices helps to brighten the space and make it seem larger.

With this third office a hat trick is complete.

Looking forward to designing their next office and may there be many more ;)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Another Renovation

rukhsanaDesigns is now simmering on a back burner....
I began this year by joining the office of Ar.Ashok Mokha here in Nagpur. These six months have flown by, filled with work and a fare share of fun.

Which leads us to this house. The architectural part of the project was completed more than a year ago and the furniture was finished in May. It was last week that I eventually pulled out the camera to take a few photos. 

This was a large scale extension and renovation. It is a semi-detached house. The families have grown over the years so the building had to expand around them.
It originally consisted of two homes, each had a small hall,kitchen, dining area and a bedroom below with two bedrooms on the first floor.
The houses were extended on both sides to make room for generous bedrooms, living areas and kitchens.
Though the pair were planned and built together, I was involved in the interior part of only one of the houses.

The two roofs and heavy columns dominate the entrance to this house.

Inside, the hall is undivided. The door opens to a small seating area near a window and then leads to the main drawing room.

The furniture is from Kashmir except the TV unit which was designed to match.

The flooring is white marble which continues to the stairs.

The staircase leads from the drawing room to the bedrooms above. The carved wooden balusters and glass panels make a beautiful combination. Colourful light filters in through the large glass panel on the landing.
 On the first floor is the living area. I designed the display unit more than a decade ago, one of my first projects.
This area leads to all the four bedrooms on this floor.

The youngest son has a bedroom which opens on to a beautiful view of a lush green playground and golf course.

He has his own dress and bath. The wardrobe has unequal doors and two drawers in the center. The dressing table matched the lines of the bed.

The other bedroom has a walk-in closet. A first for me. I can now see why they are so convenient, no opening  and shutting doors to find what you are looking for..your whole wardrobe at a glance.

The attached bath is a lovely lavender. The light streams in through a panel of glass blocks, you can see them reflected on the tiles!

This is the view from the master bedroom.

Two single beds were attached and refurbished with new laminate and headboard to make the bed.

The master bedroom also has a walk-in closet and an attached bath.

The walk-in...

and the bath...

Another renovation completed. This is definitely leading to a specialization!