by Aritra Singha
CREDAI Bengal, state chapter of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) and Indian Institute of Architects took the first-of-its-kind initiative“Connecting Histories”,a two-day architectural convention to be attended by more than 400 delegates, architects from both national and international forums, a distinguished panel of expert theoreticians and practitioners along with architect students from various parts of India. The inaugural ceremony commenced in the esteemed presence of Chief Guest Janab Firhad Hakim, Minister for Urban Development & Municipal Affairs, Govt. of West Bengal, Mr. Nandu Belani, President, CredaiBengal, Ar. Gita Balakrishnan, Chairperson, IIA – WB Chapter, Mr. Pradeep Sureka and Ar. DebatoshSahu Conveners of this Convention along with George Ferguson, British Architect and First-elected Mayor of Bristol, Palinda Kannangara, Sri Lanka Architect known for experiential architecture, Leila Araghian, Iranian Architect known for Tabiat (Pedestrian) Bridge in Tehran and Mr. Sugata Bose, Indian Historian and Lok Sabha MP.
A city in transformation. A city recreating its horizons. A city maneuvering itself to accommodate, invigorate, and assimilate its many layers of history, its multicultural population, and its diversity of intellectual expression. Calcutta morphing into Kolkata. The two day conference on 3rd and 4th March 2017 at JW Marriott Hotel is based on the main theme of ‘Connecting Histories ’which investigates against the multipart milieu Kolkata, as a city at the threshold of promising new possibilitiesof contemporary regional and global concepts of development, and aims to subsequently channel them towards sustainable directions. It draws attention to how one responds to an ever-changing world. Kolkata is growing and diversifying everyday. Its strategic location on a trading delta at the crossroads of civilizations ensures that it is a melting pot of cultures - Indian, British, French, Danish, Dutch, Armenian, Chinese, and more - where each flavor finds expression in the layered built environment of the city as colonial echoes, traditional mysticism, and periods of synthesis leading to a contemporary syntax of tropical modernism. But what sets the city apart from other metropolises is the expansive, densely planned residential built fabric of the city.
The whole convention is divided into four sub themes namely:
Humanizing Heritage: Situating heritage within the current climate of developmental pressures, this session seeks to revolutionize approaches to heritage conservation and management – encompassing both nature and culture tangible as well as intangible - in order to bridge between the past and the future through conservation, restoration, adaptive re-use, technological innovations, rights based approaches, heritage responsive infrastructure development and integrated planning strategies. SugatoBasu, Joy Sen, and George Ferguson would be the speakers for this session.
Design Dialect: This session explores how the vocabulary of architecture adapts itself to its context to successfully navigate ground realities and also transcend the banal to communicate larger theoretical underpinnings. It basically focuses on the philosophies that can both delineate the method and define the output of design and technological hybridization towards building autonomous design identities. The speaker for the same would be Palinda Kannangara.
Where the City sleeps:At a time of rapid urbanization, mass metropolitan migration, and mounting pressures on the cities’ infrastructure systems, this session explores in particular the aspect of an escalating housing deficit. It revisits people's aspiration and participation as a dichotomy of quantity and quality in housings against a backdrop of affordability. Kaiwan Mehta, Biju Kuriakose, Sameep Padora and Alejandro Echeverri would be the speakers.
Grand Moves: This session investigates the DNA of the city as the route to make it livable, sustainable, and resilient through aspects such as waterways and waterfront development, public space-making, social infrastructure improvement and revitalization of the city's network of cultural institutions. Juergen Mayer, PratapTalwar, Madhav Joshi and Leila Araghian would speak on the same.