Architectural field is not immune from controversies. The public, academics, and architects have all disagreed on several problems. The challenges brought on by the development of building technology, the rise of digital tools, the concept of sustainability, and the increased involvement of other stakeholders in the design process have all contributed to the ongoing evolution of the architectural profession.

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Controversial issues in architectural field-©Daniel Hewitt_httpsdanielhewitt.comPhotographs-1

The dilemma of sustainability | Architectural field

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Future smart cities learn from the past_Green roof concept in Copenhagen, Denmark_©httpswww.ubm-development.commagazinenwhere-hilltop-sports-meet-clean-energy

One of the key goals humans have made as the ultimate paradigm for all their professional endeavours is to achieve sustainable and eco-friendly architecture. Because of this, achieving a greener design is seen as the primary objective of modern architecture. The effectiveness of “sustainable” design will continue to be in doubt if designers and the people they collaborate with can’t agree on shared criteria. One of the greatest hurdles to the development of sustainable architecture is the need for more agreement on what it entails. He says PVC has been linked to some of the worst toxic effects on environmental and human health. Recycling is a crucial component of sustainability; however, recycling incorrect materials results in completely incorrect products.

Preservation over innovation

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Bundeswehr military history museum ©Daniel Libeskind _httpswww.arup.comprojectsmilitary-history-museum-dresden

There are ingrained areas for improvement in our regulatory and planning procedures that perceive conservation as a retrograde action that stifles progress. A major issue is the need for a designations system and the reluctance to designate heritage districts and zones. Due to lax enforcement and fines, heritage legislation frequently lacks teeth. Owners and developers find it undesirable due to the absence of incentives.

In Kerala, Fort Kochi is a fantastic illustration of adaptive reuse, fusing tourism and income creation without compromising the city’s architectural integrity or character. The Nizamuddin Basti Urban Renewal Program in Delhi and the City Heritage Centre in Ahmedabad both seek to make conservation accessible to all people and commercially feasible for local communities.

Urban areas, especially more specifically emerging or thriving megacities, have substantially higher rates of change. Conservation is not given high priority by either the government or the average person due to pressure on the land, changing desires, increasing discretionary incomes, and a connection between politics and the real estate markets. 

Privacy vs Transparency | Architectural field

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Transparent public restrooms designed by Pritker Prize winning architect Shigeru Ban become opaque while in use_©httpswww.metalocus.esennewstransparent-opaque-clean-and-safe-yoyogi-park-toilets-s-

A structure that makes the most of transparency creates the relationship between interior and exterior space and shows the inner life to the public to invite them in. In this regard, transparency is recognised by us as a part of urban life and space, namely in the context of building access and spatial continuity. A building’s ability to serve as a culturally and publicly accessible space while maintaining its boundaries is crucial, especially in densely populated areas like benchmarks and axes. Designing and placing structures in areas that demand a great deal of privacy may limit the liveability of metropolitan areas. Then, the transition between private-public-urban settings significantly impacts ideas like transmissivity, privacy, and accessibility.

Affordable housing

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Affordable Housing for low-income Indian families_©https://www.architectural-review.com/buildings/revisit-aranya-low-cost-housing-indore-balkrishna-doshi

Affordable housing developers confront many challenges, including intricate subsidy programmes, high labour and material costs, onerous local land use rules, and community opposition. Many people who live nearby are often concerned that low-cost housing would be unsightly and consist of huge, boxy buildings with cheap-looking facades. Several developers employ inventive engineering design and include it in the engineering process to reduce building costs. It is quite efficient, although it works best in a single house or at the very least a small neighbourhood. Implementing innovation on a scale of hundreds of thousands of houses is far more difficult.

The consequences of gentrification

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Architectural field-The Consequences of Gentrification©httpsland8.comhow-to-avoid-the-pitfalls-of-gentrification.

Every community experiences constant change as residents move in and out, structures deteriorate and need to be renovated, and companies come and go. Gentrification does not refer to physically upgrading the environment, public spaces, or housing. Gentrification  Occurs when a community changes so that many long-time residents and businesses are forced to relocate due to skyrocketing land costs and rents. Several “different” individuals arrive, with the primary distinction being that these newcomers are significantly wealthier and more.

Along with them comes the money to upgrade the housing stock and the physical environment, frequently bringing about upgrades that the previous residents battled tenaciously for but were unable to afford or secure due to their lack of political clout. Gentrification is the eradication of a community’s historical heritage or its transformation into a trendy, commercial cliché. In Spontaneous Interventions, a number of urban initiatives taken by well-intentioned citizens to address issues in their communities are highlighted. Do other community members, however, favour the “improvements” they suggest? They claim to fix issues, but do they truly do so? Do they favour a certain group of people while ignoring the majority?

Cultural appropriation | Architectural field

Appropriation has centuries-old roots._©Alice Morgan_httpswww.housebeautiful.comdesign-inspirationa33433097appropriation-in-design-global-inspiration

When innovation becomes a fawning in imitation of what is deemed to be creative, the process of replicating creativity in architecture can be comically backward. Yet this century has given new life to that hypocrisy. Artificial intelligence will render the application of style obsolete, with the act of appropriation becoming a mindless recombinant duplication of all prior results jammed into a global database. Customers can choose their products from the world’s menu of choices. This is partial because creators, who are expected to see the special beauty in every circumstance, frequently need to catch up to the original innovation they are expected to offer. Beyond merely underestimating their potential, structures might be doomed by the careless application of defendable aesthetics. 

Architects will only be useful if we can pay attention to the unique facts of each circumstance, which is something that machines and algorithms cannot do. Designers will only be motivated to spend time and money on inventions if they can move beyond imitation.

References:

Rawsthorn, A. (2010) Debating sustainability, The New York Times. The New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/01/arts/01iht-design1.html (Accessed: February 27, 2023). 

Mahdavinejad, M., Zia, A., Larki, A.N., Ghanavati, S. and Elmi, N., 2014. Dilemma of green and pseudo green architecture based on LEED norms in case of developing countries. International journal of sustainable built environment3(2), pp.235-246.

The Heritage Versus Development Conundrum (no date) Forbes India. ForbesIndia. Available at: https://www.forbesindia.com/article/recliner/the-heritage-versus-development-conundrum/41077/1 (Accessed: February 27, 2023). 

magnoliaAdmin (2022) Challenges and opportunities in affordable housing in India, Magnolia Realty. Available at: https://magnoliarealty.in/challenges-and-opportunities-in-affordable-housing-in-india/#:~:text=Challenges%20for%20Affordable%20Housing&text=An%20increasing%20number%20of%20urban,a%20cramped%20and%20poor%20living. (Accessed: February 27, 2023). 

Green, J. (2019) Ethical design practices may help slow gentrification, THE DIRT. Available at: https://dirt.asla.org/2015/11/07/ethical-design-practices-may-help-slow-gentrification/ (Accessed: February 27, 2023).