Faced with massive population growth, melting ice caps and the need to own an ever-increasing number of gadgets, the world needs to find sustainable solutions quickly.
Luckily, far-sighted architectural firms are already taking the required action just like Jaisim Fountainhead is.
Jaisim, its founder has enjoyed the practice of architecture for over four decades now. His early years in the field were inspired by greats such as Buckminster Fuller, Koenigsberger and Geoffrey Bawa. And in the sixties, Ayn Rand’s book, ‘The Fountainhead’ gave his aspirations a whole new meaning.
Over a span of forty years the firm has undertaken and executed scores of projects in almost every aspect of the building industry. Building on a philosophy that is committed to the earth and dedicated to the client, every creation bears the unmistakable trademark of ‘Jaisim’-iconoclastic, individualistic and eco-friendly.
In 2001, Jaisim-Fountainhead Projects Private Limited was formed as a subsidiary of Jaisim-Fountainhead in order to handle larger, non-residential, corporate projects. JFPPL works in tandem with JFPPL Associates located in and around Bangalore and India.
In order to uncover the firm’s reductive approach to building and to prove that one can be tremendously innovative even if using less, we offer you an exciting peek into the creative mind of the founder of Jaisim Fountainhead.
How would you describe the architecture you practise?
The first response that surges in my mind is the book, ‘The Fountainhead’. The spirit of Ayn Rand s writings in that book has become, the Bhagvat Gita, the Koran, the Bible, and the Commandments and in a manner of speaking the reference to all that my practice attempts and reflects upon and achieves – an objective, goal-oriented architecture that interweaves timelessness in space. Expressing the spirit of man and his glory through joy and happiness in this created environment of space and time; the senses play with elements to become living architecture!
Which structures of India impress you? Do any of your works reference them?
Without any hesitation Fatehpur Sikri, the abandoned capital, the temples of India, the Buddhist Nalanda University, the Padmanabeshwar Temple in Trivandrum and the organic villages and cities of the past, which are so timeless and play with space in the most fascinating manner. They are so very human and express the senses through the elements with silent music and dance. This has been the experience that I have attempted to express in today’s context in content.
Each and every project of our firm is conceptualised with a silent prayer and attempts to complete it with an anthem to these spaces.
How are the buildings built by your firm different from the rest?
Jaisim Fountainhead integrated the historic content of the Indian sub-continent with lessons inspired from the works of Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Geoffrey Bawa and few classical architects of the present. Thus inheriting, preserving and integrating and evolving an ethos that has been and is the language that I attempt to follow. A path that makes a difference and is yet not different for the sake of being different. We look at materials and elements without being influenced by catalogues and sales pitches. Each is an opportunity to seek fresh values that are hidden beyond the obvious.
This is not easy, but when completed looks so simple. Living nature is what we like to create!
Where do you think architecture in India is headed?
It is a bit heady. I hope the present trend of ‘cut and paste’ that seems to have become the number one choice of the big new firms somehow gets rejected by people and the profession. This habit of seeing something abroad and shrinking it to our sites seems to have become an easy option for industrial and business houses.
Even students and teachers of architectural design resort to these examples. The internet has made access to information and downloads extremely easy.It is a misfortune, a great potential being misused constantly. There is a glimmer of hope however dim. After all it is that beam of light in the eternal darkness that is the harbinger of knowledge and wisdom. This will take time and patience.
Sometimes I feel I am in Jurassic park and think it is the end – a few gasps before the final bye bye.
I hope I am wrong and that the future is a bold expression of relevant architecture.
What recent technology trends are important to your firm?
Architecture is not just about technology. It is the way art is expressed through technology. Without technology there is no art. And art without technology has no expression. In JFPPL we search not just research. We cross known and accepted boundaries of limitations. We explore, we indulge and we evolve. Waste is our source of wealth!
Walk us through your plans for the future. Any dream assignment?
We have spearheaded several new ideas and expressions in our forty years of practice. Many often ask, “Why don’t you patent your ideas? You would have been a billionaire by now!” No, why stick to one’s past? It is better to let others tread on your path and make it a highway. I prefer to be lost, both in mind and spirit.
Personal homes have always challenged me and to express each new one in a manner that is different from what has done before has been the soul that preserves my practice, however subtle that difference might be. We are now involved with institutions and edifices of education and public and private spaces. There are a few clubs, very exclusive showrooms, management institutions and unique research spaces for scientists; at present these are the projects that we are trying to express into reality.
Many ideas… the body tires at times, the mind ever exploring and exploiting. I am hoping that the youth working in my ‘Fountainhead’ will carry on ahead with greater vigour and will add new dimensions and take the new banner to greater heights!
Interviewed By Mala Bajaj