Sense n Sensibility (SnS) is a lecture series by ACEDGE, to give institutions access to expert viewpoints, from across the globe, on the Indian Subcontinent. These experts would demonstrate, through their choices, experiments and lessons, multiple vantages of developing and exploring design.
Sense n Sensibility is about integration and the big picture. We seek to dishevel the older notions of compartmentalisation of knowledge and introduce learners across the country to collaborative and interdisciplinary studies. Many of our speakers will be experts from varied fields- a mayor, a grassroots social worker who works towards community empowerment, an engineer working to resolve water-crisis, sustainability experts, social scientists, travelers, industrial entrepreneurs, and many others.
Our young designers need to have a holistic understanding of concepts, systems and processes. They should be sensitive and empathetic towards the needs of all strata of the society. They should learn to balance ecology and micro-environments in their sites. They should appreciate bottom-up planning proposals as well as participative processes. They should also understand the political scenario, be actively involved with the bureaucracy and suggest ways to improve central and local systems. We need our young designers to connect with one another, share ideas, have healthy discussions and passionately speak for their cause. Architecture and design will, thus, balance nature and culture. Young minds will learn to reflect upon ecology, archaeology, anthropology, psychology, aesthetics and technology to develop holistic solutions.
The inaugural lecture for the SnS series was delivered by Architect George Ferguson, Past President RIBA (2003/5) and first elected Mayor of Bristol UK (2012-16). On the other side of the globe, Architect Ferguson, fought for the rights of a neighbourhood to remain ‘mixed’, against the monoculture promoted by developers. In the 90’s he developed the ‘Tobacco Factory’, a multi-use project, catalyst for the regeneration of South Bristol and a model for culture-led city regeneration.
The second lecture by Amit Pasricha celebrates the lesser-known built heritage of India.
The third lecture celebrates Independence and ponders upon the way forward with Prof Christopher Benninger
ACEDGE’s launch on 15th August 2018 celebrated Independence and a new way forward. When the British left our subcontinent 72 years ago, we took charge and embarked on a new journey. There were new avenues to be explored on every front. Each nation was on its quest. The subcontinent got back together as SAARC nations in 1985 and we have come a long way since. We have had our share of failures and successes as we have grown. There are many examples of homegrown enterprises, expertise and solutions in this region but we have been working in isolation. We have many compassionate designers who work with people,
believe in participative designs by committee,
care for nature,
build eco-friendly solutions,
strive for beauty and perfection, and
appropriate technology for balanced living.
Such practices should be celebrated, shared and these values should spread like wildfire.
Through self-assessment and contemplation, we need to realise the scale of impact of our built forms. Many disasters like water shortage, flooding and landslides are often due to design oversights than natural disasters. These oversights are mostly because we focus on global and universal trends, technologies and systems when we should be studying and appropriating the local. We need to create a repository of new knowledge for our region. We stand at crossroads to make more informed choices for a better tomorrow.
We need to learn from our regional Masters, peek into their studios, listen in to their internal discourses, understand how they (re)solve and learn from their good practices. These practices demonstrate, through their choices, experiments and lessons, multiple vantages of developing and exploring design through their Sense n Sensibility. However, these practices may not be accessible to you physically; but the internet is a great connector!
Tiny beams of light reflected inside optical fibres will ensure that insight from these thorough thinkers reach you. ACEDGE would like to direct these beams of light to colleges in South Asia as we host Architect Christopher Benninger for the open ‘Sense n Sensibility’ lecture as a part of our Anniversary celebrations. Christopher Benninger and his team at CCBA will share their views on ‘South Asian Architecture- the Way Forward’.
Details of the Lecture
Date: 29th August 2019
Time: 3.00-4.00 pm IST
Professor Christopher Benninger is an Overseas Citizen of India. He came to India as a Fulbright Fellow (1968) from MIT. Soon he became one of India’s most decorated architects, being honored with the Great Master’s Award, an American Institute of Architect’s award, and five times winning Indian Institute of Architects’ annual awards, receiving more than thirty national and international awards. Apart from his well-known institutional designs, Professor Benninger has designed structures for Maharashtra’s Dalit Community in Pune, and Nagpur; he has also designed the Supreme Court of Bhutan (2014). As an urban planner, he planned the capital city of Bhutan (Thimphu); the new town of Denchi,Bhutan; the Development Plans for Thane and Kalyan,Mumbai region; plans of six provincial capitals in Sri Lanka; and many other city and regional plans. He is a thorough thinker and an inspiration.
Past President RIBA (2003/5) and first elected Mayor of Bristol UK (2012-16). He secured Bristol’s status as European Green Capital 2015, as a founder member of Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities and as a UNESCO Learning City. He has recently been appointed Bristol’s first International Ambassador. From his Bristol based practice Ferguson Mann Architects he founded the UK wide group of architects, Acanthus, in 1986. He was also a founder of the Academy of Urbanism during his presidency of the Royal Institute of British Architects. In the 90’s he developed the ‘Tobacco Factory’, a multi-use project, catalyst for the regeneration of South Bristol and a model for culture led city regeneration. He is also a restaurateur, brewer and social entrepreneur. He has an international profile as an advocate for liveable cities and the global environment and has represented the European Commission, Eurocities, ICLEI, including at Paris COP21 and at the G7 2016 summit in Japan.
Amit Pasricha is one of the world’s celebrated panoramic photographers. He is well published and believes that photography, as the most powerful modern language of today, must be used to draw attention to those aspects that stand neglected. Amit Pasricha’s lens looks at India the way few others do. One of the foremost panoramic photographers in the country, he uses a technique that stitches together multiple images to create a single image that is far larger or wider than a camera can capture, or indeed the human eye can take in at a glance. A third-generation photographer, Pasricha, 51, has worked on several projects that have been turned into highly acclaimed coffee-table books. They include India at Home, a fascinating account of people from across India captured in their homes, and The Sacred India Book, which examines the role of religion in everyday life, all shot in his signature panoramic style.