Architecture is applied in society only 1% of the time, and that too is devoted to building luxurious buildings. The importance of architecture is not fully utilised for the development of society. This is prevalent in India also, and architecture has rarely set foot in rural India. Sustainable planning of villages is now essential. Let us see in this article the challenges faced by architecture in approaching rural India, along with solutions.
How should an architect pursue her/his career in architecture?
According to Charles Correa (1988), an architect must act not only as a prima donna professional but as one who is willing to donate his energy and ideas to society. This is an appropriate way for an architect to pursue his career. Architectural skills should not be confined to only the rich people of urban areas but should also reach rural areas to bring equality.
Many different approaches are adopted by architects to practice architecture. Three of the different approaches given by Burgess (1983) and Garrott (1983) are,
1) Facilitator approach – “I–give–them–what –I can”
2) Pragmatist approach – “I-give–them-what-they–want”
3) Egoist approach – “I-give–them-what-I-want”
The role of the architect should be that of a facilitator, because this is the only approach that gives value and respect to both the architect and the individual. Using the facilitator approach, an architect should apply his skills to develop rural areas too.
Why is rural India unapproachable?
Rural India is not approachable for the architecture alone, but it is not approachable for various other things, too. The lifestyle and development of rural areas when compared to urban areas are very different. Rural India is still backward in many ways. Even now, many rural areas lack essentials to living, such as roads, transportation, schools, telecommunications, medicine, etc. When it is hard for the rural population to get the basic needs of living, it’s practical to understand that the penetration of architecture will also be difficult. But we should take steps to integrate architecture into the development of villages, which is also essential and important.
The Challenges faced by Architecture to approach Rural India
There are many challenges faced by architecture to approach rural India. Some of the challenges are listed below.
- Cultural stigmas prevailing in rural India.
- Complexity in the methods of construction introduced by new architectural methods which the villagers may think as difficult.
- Problems with communication between the architect and the people as the rural people may speak in the native language.
- Less income in the rural areas cannot effectively support an architectural plan.
- Political Influence most of the time stops the development of rural areas for many reasons, one being vote bank politics.
- Architects may face difficulties staying in the rural areas to execute the projects.
- Less availability of resources.
- Rural areas like villages and tribes take more time to accept the changes. So, it may take more time to implement some architectural plans.
Solutions that can help to integrate architecture in rural India
Though there are challenges in implementing architectural plans in rural India, they can be tackled by various solutions. Some important solutions that can help in this process are listed below.
- Government initiatives and policy frameworks should be introduced.
- Architects should gain more experience in community development.
- Public participation should be enhanced to bring architecture to rural areas.
- Cluster planning methods should be adopted.
- Architects should be taught about village planning and design along with the importance of implementing it.
- The architectural educational system should be designed in such a way it emphasizes village planning.
- Increase the interaction with the villagers and explain the importance of architecture in their village planning and importance.
- Development and housing of villages should be included in the sustainable development and should be considered the socio-cultural identity of the villagers.
- Architectural and housing designs should be made by understanding the needs of the rural people.
- Villagers should be made an integral part of the planning and design.
- Refer and study different rural projects where architecture was applied successfully. Learn about their positive and negative outcomes.
Initiatives in India to integrate architecture in the rural areas
Many initiatives were taken in India by the Indian Government and many NGOs to integrate architecture in the rural areas. Some of them are listed below.
- The Center of Alternate science for villages, Dattapur, Wadha, India designed Boldawadi, a housing of 105 units in Hingoli District, Maharashtra.
- NIVAASA – Udagiri Village Redevelopment
- Thannal Hand Sculpted Homes – Earthbag Home, Thiruvannamalai.
Some rural architectural initiatives in other countries
Architects and organizations that took steps to promote and execute sustainable rural architectural projects in other countries are given below:
- Kere architecture – Gando primary school, Burkina Faso.
- Anna Heringer – METI Handmade School, Bangladesh.
- Social Practice Architecture – Amani Library, Tanzania.
So, steps mostly from the government side need to be taken to integrate architecture in rural areas to get more positive outcomes. To become an architect yourself, you can pursue a bachelor’s degree in architecture. For rural development, a more relevant course would be B. Plan. Town and Country Planning and B. Plan. Housing. If you search for the best B. Planning colleges, one of the architecture colleges in Coimbatore, named Karpagam Architecture under the Karpagam University, provides both the courses in B. Plan. Town and Country Planning and B. Plan. Housing. You can also pursue a postgraduate degree in planning.