Bhubaneswar, May 6: Architects in the capital are intent on sprucing up the city’s aesthetics.
They resent the fact that the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) does not have a member-architect, who could have offered suggestions on matters relating to anything infringing on the pleasing look of the city.
They feel, while there are town planners, the presence of people from architecture background is mandatory in authoritative positions to understand the basics of structural, design and skyline ethics.
Kunja Bihari Mohapatra, president of the Council of Architecture, a statutory body of Government of India under the Architects Act, 1972, feels that most structures in the city would have been aesthetically better had there been an architect in bodies such as the BDA.
Speaking on the sidelines of launching a magazine on architecture and interior design in Odisha, Mohapatra said: “For a city like Bhubaneswar there should be an independent urban art commission. It should be headed by a senior and competent architect to monitor the design aspects of the major government and private buildings and work towards conservation of heritage structures. Such a body should have the power to even regulate hoardings on the buildings. The urban art commission should be on the priority list of the state government.”
S.S. Ray, professor at the College of Engineering and Technology, Bhubaneswar, said that apart from the formation of an urban art commission the city should also have a code of conduct on building bridges. Professional architects should approve the designs as bridges and flyovers do contribute towards the city’s skyline.
Raj Kanwar Nayak, project consultant and coordinator IIT Kharagpur, who looks after the comprehensive development plan for the city, feels that the architects should be consulted. “If they have additional qualification in town planning it would be better. Without understanding architecture, town planners will not be able to understand aspects of planning.”
Chairman of the Indian Institute of Architects (Odisha chapter) Akshay Beuria said the aesthetics in engineering construction and execution should compulsorily come under architectural supervision.
“The ongoing flyover construction at Rajmahal Square has proved that without a proper design an engineering construction can become directionless.’’
Urban management practitioner Piyush Ranjan Rout said: “If the public works department had no expertise on designing the Rajmahal Square flyover, they could have hired one. But by making an ugly structure in the heart of the city they polluted the Rajmahal Square skyline.”
Interestingly, apart from the observations of the architects, bureaucrat-turned-Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mohapatra also took a dig at the lack of coordination between engineers and architects.
“In the past we have also tried to create the post of an architect so that all engineering plans and drawings would pass through the person concerned. But after a few years that system vanished. Proper coordination is must for a beautiful city and as we are not respecting then Bhubaneswar would soon be full of many ugly structures,” he said.
“The city has already showing a haphazard growth of buildings, especially multi-storey structures. If there is no coordination then soon there will be complete mess,’’ he said. Calling for a resistance to the erratic growth of Bhubaneswar, Mohapatra asked the architects to contribute towards better aesthetics and skyline.