Theory and Criticism
Contextualism in new construction in old city: Indian context
Contextualism in new construction in old city
Different ways of work of architects: In Indian context

The contextual design practice is assessed in a historical perspective with regard to its intention to carry towards the city’s architectural heritage.
That is a great challenge to architects when designing new building. Response to challenge varied greatly from time to time, from place to place, from culture to culture
Some architects showed great sympathy to historical context in their work by developing design that resembled or reflected historical style and characteristics.
To maintain city's historic architectural traits, professionals and academics have largely resorted to contextualism, both as a philosophic concept and as a design means.
1. As a philosophic concept, contextualism, is adopted to provide an effective wav to transcend the meanings that are embedded in the context of historical architectural characteristics.
2. As a design means, contextualism is used as a method to bring about sympathetic creations that blend into their surroundings instead of destroying them.
How contextualism has been involved in new construction in Indian cities and how it has been, as frequently happens in many historic cities, challenged by critics since its adoption in the early fifties.
The discussion in this article concentrates on the postwar period from the fifties to the present.
The historical architectural heritage and context of Indian cities are complex.
For example, it includes exterior characteristics, narrow street system, and the formation of indoor and outdoor spaces, articulations between the interior and the exterior, and the organization of building complexes.

On the philosophic ground of contextualism, there are two thing to be taken for consideration:
1. Preserve old historical building
2. Build new one that would resembled or integrate traditional architectural vocabularies

There are different arguments in architects,
Contextualism has been carried out in much more abstract and symbolic way, capturing its essence and creatively adapting the historical vocabulary. As a result, architects often took a more liberal, abstracts approach in developing contextual design as a mean of integrating both a sense of history and modernism.
Imran Mansuri
Contextualism in new construction in old city: Indian context
in practice,change rules the design,historical heritage aspect should be best left to discretion of designer as he/she leaves marks for future to act upon buldings.
Dushyant Nathwani
Contextualism in new construction in old city: Indian context
Building contextually is more than just structures which would 'resemble or integrate traditional architecural vocabularies', although that may become part of the design process. More, contextualism seeks to understand the special character of a city, town, village or area and to reinforce rather than dilute that special character. This can be done by in several ways (for example by use of materials and palette, by traditional plot distribution, use, architectural embelishment etc). All of these are important but none of them alone can provide a successful response to an historic area. It is more than a 'tick box' exercise. This can admirably be left to the 'individual architect to make their mark' (as the other reponse suggests) but only if the architect understands and responds to the above. Contrast ('the individuals mark') when inserted into an area which has an important and cohesive architectural character will dilute and undermine that area. When inserted into an area which has poor architecture and a disparate, incohesive character, a contrasting building can provide a stimulus for other good new buildings. Both are valid responses but either must be based on rigourous analysis of the surrounding area!
Helen Stratton
Contextualism in new construction in old city: Indian context
the funny thing abt context is that it is never the same. like people, like our lives, like our thinking so changes our context. our very understanding of how we live or meanings of words in languages.... contexts are ever changing.
to take a limited approach on 'context' in architecture can be damaging to the quality of the product itself. context is far greater than just historic bulidings. context also deals with the people who bulit the historic buliding then and comparing it to the people who live around them now. context as every thing else linked to the living evolves, and so should architecture. it must not be subservient to pre dictated past and niether should it deny it's roots, but the past should be the platform, the higher base from which we achieve a greater level of architecture.
let there be contextualism, but along with evolution and innovation.
Ahmed Asad Zuberi


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