Mr. Bimlendra Jha, Vice President (Long Products) - Tata Steel, explains why an Initiative like 'RAISE' is imperative in the current building scenario.
What is 'RAISE'? Why is there a need for an Initiative like 'RAISE'? How is it different from other design competitions?
'RAISE' stands for Responsible Architectural Initiatives and Structural Engineering, and is an Initiative by TATA TISCON in the construction sector. There is a trust that the 'TATA TISCON' name brings and we want to take that trust forward by bringing innovative, economic, buildable solutions for our country.
As the construction industry grows rapidly in India, profitability is taking the upper hand over responsibility. Responsibility should ideally be the sixth design element which designers have to keep in mind while designing. Quality and integrity tend to suffer as a result of increase in demand. At TATA TISCON, our focus is on responsibility at affordable cost.
This initiative has two objectives. First is to encourage creation of designs more suitable to Indian conditions with appropriate choice of material and design elements while keeping the overall cost structure affordable. Second, RAISE aims to spread awareness and education about responsible architecture and structural engineering. It brings Architects and Structural Engineers on a common platform to deliver overall value while bringing in new design concepts to enhance flexibility, beauty, functionality, energy saving etc.
There are specific elements of the competition that focus on innovation in the design concepts to promote flexibility, modularity to help the customers utilize structures over a long span of time with their changing needs.
The 'RAISE' competition was initiated last year. How has your experience of the first cycle been so far?
The response to RAISE in the first cycle was overwhelming. The first cycle of the RAISE Awards was focussed on "responsible" buildings built in the last five years. The competition was launched in 10 cities namely, Delhi NCR, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Coimbatore, Kolkata, Guwahati, Jaipur and Patna. We received 750 registrations from many architecture & structural engineering firms. The quality of entries was such that the jury found it extremely difficult to shortlist and select the winners. It was heartening to see the response from the building construction industry and even better to realise that people have been building responsibly but have not got due recognition for their work. The program culminated with the Award Ceremony and Panel discussion at Kolkata in July next year where eminent personalities from the Architectural and Structural Engineering world and dignitaries from industry bodies such as INSDAG participated & welcomed this Initiative from TATA Steel.
What is 'India Homes – 2020'? How is it different from the first round of the 'RAISE' Initiative?
This is an all-India, open, design-build competition for practising engineers and architects. The theme is "Flexible Homes for the future." The house was chosen as the primary design unit because in India, a house symbolizes a lifetime of ambition, so all of us who have been given the opportunity to build, need to do it consciously and responsibly. And, it has to maintain its relevance through the constantly changing circumstances that the future brings. This competition is unique because it asks for designers and engineers to envisage the needs of the future and then gives them an opportunity to try their theories out in real life. TATA TISCON intends to bring further relevance to this competition by actually building the winning entries in some real locations across India to test the feasibility of the designs. It's like a housing laboratory for the future. It's different from the first RAISE because that focused on built projects which exhibited responsibility in different ways; here the idea is to design with responsibility as a critical aspect of the design brief.
What are 'Flexible Homes'? Why was this chosen as the theme for the competition?
Individual home builders (IHB) build, typically, only once in life and need a house that suits them through the changing circumstances, without too great a cost in terms of time, money and resources. Initially, he may build it intending it for a couple to use only, and eventually, his family may extend and the space may prove inadequate for his needs then. So the idea of 'Flexible' Homes became interesting. Imagine having a house which can transform easily depending on the needs of the owner. RAISE: 'INDIA HOMES - 2020' is a competition that invites ideas that can make a conventional house a flexible one, without the flexibility being a strictly temporary solution. Through technology, engineering and innovation, we hope to see a huge number of professionals putting their mind to this idea and coming up with creative solutions.
TATA TISCON is looking forward to partnering the winning ideas by building these on real sites across India, showcasing responsibility towards the consumer.