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  • Rutuja Rode

With reference materials available at the click of a button, one may easily get carried away by project imagery of large Architectural Endeavors. It is important to remember that all of Modern Architecture essentially identifies the same base principles in order to achieve the tag of being recognized as a Masterpiece. Even the complex of complex projects take support to build on these five basic laws.

All architectural projects require a site - a fabric to base the project upon. The selection of the site is a crucial aspect in driving the project feasibility. The aspects involved are area of site, topography of land, geographical factors, connectivity by roads and other forms of transport, proximity to other elements within the urban development and most importantly its category of land type. Upon the selection of site, the designer needs to analyse all these factors that control the strategic component of the project and prepare a Zoning Plan. This is the first Law of Modern Architecture. Appropriate positioning of built masses with respect to the sun and wind directionality gives way to the next sub principle - Orientation. Where does your building open up? Where are the habitual zones? How appropriately is your building entrance located? These are the questions that need to be catered in the process of Orientation Design. Thus the Zoning and Orientation become the first Law of Modern Architecture where spatial planning is a key priority of design.

Circulation is the next principle that shapes up the project. It is the most critical aspect of planning that divides, connects and co relates the built with the unbuilt. Circulation in both forms, vertical and horizontal need to be correctly placed after analyzing factors like mode of circulating, safety routes and proximity to usable areas. Circulation Design is like solving the rubiks cube. Once the right corners and edges are twisted and placed, the cube almost solves itself inside out. Metaphorically in the same way, once the circulation routes are earmarked, the usable spaces take birth naturally.

When we read the terms “Modern Architecture” we essentially visualize clean volumes of buildings that are minimalist, true to geometry, having clean lines and repetitive materials. The third law that we shall discuss is Massing Design. What is a mass? Imagine a block of clay getting shaped by a sculptor. Massing design involves strategic objectives derived by analyzing climatic and orientational factors. It is a play of building volumes that balance out the function and the aesthetic. There are infinite ways to approach form design - from physical modelling to computationally generated forms by application of design parameters. There is no limit. The mass of the building is its character - it speaks about the user, the building response to climate and its contextual relevancy.

Light defines the volume of the space. No space can be perceived in its real sense with the absence of light. Every space has an appetite for natural and artificial lighting. Sustainable concepts involve grabbing as much ambient sunlight into the building interiors as possible. Light breathes volume into a space. Openings inside a structure not only decide the amount of light that gets pulled in but also creates visual connections between the outdoors and the interiors. The sister principle to Lighting is Ventilation. Human beings need air to breathe and this air needs to be circulating through space. Ventilation of the building again goes hand in hand with the orientation of the structure. Every space is different and shall have different needs. The structure that involves the mist optimum amounts of these design principles stand out as extra ordinary in terms of form and functionality both. With billions of materials being mass produced or naturally available, trueness to the material scheme is the last and the final principle that defines modern architecture. Ideally, a structure that has fruitfully passed the previous four laws can satisfy any and every material pallet. However, with the changing thoughts of the society, the world is leaning towards a minimalist approach. Using less variety of colors and texture, repeating patterns enhances the authenticity of the pallet. Modern architecture eliminates ‘decor’ or ‘ornamentation’ as a component. Every finishing element has a value functionally based on research and design philosophy.


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