By Satish Purohit
Of all the stupidities in this world none is perhaps as in-your-face as the architectural. The world over, local climate, material and building traditions be damned, buildings are being built with steel, Portland cement and bricks.
In our country such buildings are considered ‘modern’ and those who can afford them are believed to have ‘arrived’. So Indians suffer sweltering summer heat, bone-rattling winters, and heavy monsoons in houses that are barely inhabitable in any season. Those who want even more, cover buildings with glass and then spend a fortune on air-conditioning.
The book being reviewed, a joint venture of the publishers with TEDBooks, is a brief look at 100 buildings that can serve as seed ideas to create new ways of constructing, shaping spaces, and planning living spaces in the near future. The buildings do not appear to have been selected on any particular basis but for their ability to shock, question deeply held notions, and nudge the mind into new areas of architectural thinking.
Among the buildings listed are homes that allow one to survive arctic extremes, an inflatable dome that could be what your residence on the moon may look like, a warehouse that has been turned into a hotel, huge drainage pipes that have become comfortable sleeping pods in this space-starved world, and homes, churches and even skyscrapers built of little more than recycled paper tubes.
One gets to see what each of the 100 buildings looks like, along with a short description and snappy captions, all compressed in just over 150 pages of a volume the size of a school calender book. A brave little red book with a big heart. I recommend you buy the little fella, and
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