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Preservation of cultural heritage through architectural innovation - Dayananda Sagar College of Architecture

The Role of Architecture in Urban Renewal: DSCA’s Impact on Cityscapes

Though we may not notice it every time, Architecture is an integral part of our lives, touching us from dawn to dusk, wherever we go – homes, offices, hospitals, libraries, malls, restaurants, schools, public utilities, etc.

Beyond edifices, architecture is about creating memorable environments that create bonds while delivering functionality and sustainability. It’s a template for communities, cities, and a nation, influencing our quality of life and handing over a distinct character for generations.

Urban Identity and Connect with a Place

For millions of residents residing in various global cities across the globe, their architectural design is a distinct reflection of their identity and culture, and themselves. They fondly remember and cherish iconic landmarks, historical buildings, and unique architectural styles, which are intertwined with their growing years, and memories.  Whether it is the Hooghly Bridge, Kolkata; Marine Drive, Mumbai; Marina beach, Chennai, or the Ragi Gudda in Bangalore, these locations are part of generations of citizens hailing from these cities. Architects over centuries have played powerful roles in creating a distinct character for each of these cities, shaping their landscapes, retaining tradition while providing the convenience of modernity. And from century to century, cities have been evolving to keep pace with the demands from the community, catching up with lifestyles and evolution.

Urban renewal is a concept that’s growing in popularity over the years, and something that is being voiced by planners across cities worldwide. It is an excellent opportunity for architects to present their views on how they can transform the lives of communities living them through designs and proposals that meet their functional needs, while also addressing their lifestyle aspirations.

Revitalising neglected neighbourhoods

One aspect of urban renewal is revitalizing neglected neighbourhoods, improving infrastructure, and delivering public services to communities that for long have been deprived of them. Each city will have regions that have been historically poor in terms of infrastructure, with underprivileged neighbourhoods that need regeneration to provide residents with a better quality of life. The role of architects is to identify these areas and suggest designs that recharge these spaces. The project could be about eliminating a slum to provide housing to residents living in it and providing all amenities and social infrastructure within the zone – a self-contained city of sorts with a playground, mall, school etc.

 Preserving historic buildings and Reviving old / underutilised buildings

Every city will invariably have a few landmarks – markets, theatres, libraries or town halls that would be reference points for generations. Over time these buildings will have outgrown the purpose they were built for, but are still cherished for their history and character. Not just this, these buildings also need to be renovated to preserve them for future generations.

Another approach is the repurposing of existing buildings. Many cities have vacant warehouses, factories, mills, and other industrial buildings that are perfect for conversion into residential or commercial properties. Architects can transform these spaces into apartments, offices, malls or similar retail spaces, in several cases retaining the character of the original space while offering new functionality.

Sustainability – the cornerstone

A key aspect of urban renewal is to ensure the new project is environmentally friendly and sustainable. The building could be built using eco-friendly bricks and similar materials, made energy efficient, use solar energy, have water recycling systems and waste management, to ensure a small carbon footprint. They could be designed by retaining some of the existing elements like trees and water bodies and also use some of the old materials – like door frames, steel or windows just to retain the character.

Urban renewal is an exciting concept for architects and town planners to explore. It is a part of an ongoing initiative of the city authorities to make the city more community friendly, comfortable, modern and functional while retaining the city’s intrinsic character in terms of elements and architecture. Through a long term vision, effective design and innovation, they can design a structure that stands as a timeless landmark while contributing to the betterment of society.

Dayananda Sagar College of Architecture (DSCA), a part of the Dayananda Sagar group of Institutions, is renowned for offering one of India’s most esteemed undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) programs in architecture. Our UG program, B.Arch, spans 5 years of full-time study, while our PG program, M.Arch, is a 2-year full-time course. DSCA boasts state-of-the-art infrastructure, facilities, and studios, complemented by a faculty of highly qualified and experienced professionals. Additionally, students benefit from interactions with industry experts from both the public and private sectors, gaining valuable insights into various aspects of design, construction, and sustainability. Graduates of DSCA are highly sought after by leading architecture and design firms, as well as real estate developers.https://dsca.edu.in/