KRVIA Encounters

Reflections on Charu Kokate's talk, "Building with a purpose"

The talk takes us through her illustrious journey covering a few path breaking projects of the firm Sadie architects, situated in the south-east Asian sub-continent over the last couple of decades.

Moshe Safdie’s architectural practice began with conceiving utopian ideas of urban living by questioning the modernist paradigm of repetition and monotony of the built-environment. Habitat 67 was born out of these concerns which Safdie developed as a young student in his thesis project at Mc-Gill University.  He conceptualized proto-typical dwelling components for a future city at the Expo in Montreal in 1967.

The talk elaborated on the renewed sensibilities of a social premise for Singapore’s high density living with their design of the Sky habitat 2015. Although a gated community, the design focused on architectural ideas and formal strategies that address density and its overarching vertical dimension in the urban landscape.

Kokate emphasized on the creation  of  the public realm with a strong focus on the idea of inclusiveness in projects such as Marina Bay Sands which allows public access to its expansive rooftop landscape offering a spectacular panoramic view of the city. The elevated sky-park connects the three towers and forms a high density mixed-use urban icon in the city downtown precinct.  

The concluding part of the talk strings together stories of the making of the competition winning entry for the Jewel Changi Airport. The immersive presentation highlighted the need for strong collaboration and smooth communication of the diverse engineering teams, environmental experts and the numerous execution contractors. The herculean challenges that came with smooth running of one of the busiest airport in Asia compounded with the complexity of building an ‘indoor jungle’ were overcome by   ingenuous and innovative engineering. The Jewel Changi Airport  is the ‘New Urban Archetype’ that creates  a captivating indoor forest ecology with a pleasurable shopping experience and is one that has changed the very nature of interior urbanism.

The talk ended with a question and answer session where Kokate helped clarify complex aspects of synergy and team work required in projects that were shared in her presentation.    

Shantanu Poredi

Dean: Academic Affairs

Picture Credit: Safdie Architects