Delhi-based India Design Forum’s series of virtual debates looks at re-evaluating architectural practices and the relevance of the spaces we live in

The year is 2020. As is the case with every field, architecture and design thinking are also undergoing a perceivable shift, thanks to the pandemic. But Delhi-based design platform India Design Forum (IDF) intends to go beyond that, to discuss what defines architecture going forward, with its series titled IDF Debates: Building Blocks, spread over the coming four weeks.

Though architecture is the prime focus of this particular series, India Design Forum which was conceptualised in 2012, is a global platform that addresses design thinking in general, “And, when I say design thinking, it incorporates architecture, industrial design, culture, innovation, technology and art. I believe these things crossover,” says Rajshree Pathy, founder, IDF. She adds that it is important to look beyond the visual aspect. And this is something that India has not ventured into yet, she says.

Architecture has been an active point of discussion in all India Design Forum conferences. However, this year, the conference has taken the form of virtual debates. “Especially during these times with people being isolated, the relevance of the spaces we live in and how we socialise and have inclusive societies itself, are questions,” says Rajshree who has curated the talks along with architect and writer Mrinalini Ghadiok.

Rajshree Pathy, founder of India Design Forum

Rajshree Pathy, founder of India Design Forum  
| Photo Credit:
Vipul Sangoi

With fewer projects and more time in hand, architects are reevaluating their own practices, expectations and coping mechanisms. From challenges in dealing with the attitude of clients to larger questions of what mechanisms a society should implement during a pandemic, everything is on the table for discussion.

“Spaces really define how we live, think and feel. They define how happy we are. And today, these living spaces need to be revisited,” says Rajshree. She adds that the architects on the panel were involved with practices across the board. “Some are doing large, public projects; some are doing institutional projects like education and healthcare, others are doing sustainable projects… we curated this by keeping in mind different points of view.”

The series features topics that range from what is ‘good’ architecture and the business of it to responsible building, and the difference between professional training and education. Speakers include Brinda Somaya, Soumitro Ghosh, Sanjay Puri, Vicky Richardson, Asim Waqif, and Niels Schoenfelder among others. “One of the other aspects we address is the lack of critique of architecture in India. To build a mature community in any fraternity, there is a need for open critiquing,” says Rajshree.

Anyone can tune into the conversations, which will be streamed on YouTube on November 28, December 5, 12 and 19, at 6 pm. Register at www.indiadesignforum.com/event-registration/

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