The firm of BS Bhooshan and Associates is headed by its founder Dr. B.S. Bhooshan and is driven by a team of like-minded planning and architecture professionals. Presently it has branches in Bangalore and London and is represented in other locations through associate firms.
After finishing his studies in architecture, Dr. B.S. Bhooshan researched and taught at the Institute of Development Studies in the University of Mysore and was a consultant to the UN at Nagoya. He was also associated with Human Settlement Studies at the International Institute of Environment and Development, London before he set up his practice in 1987.
In the creation of the buildings commissioned to his firm Dr. Bhooshan has always endeavoured to be as environmentally responsible as possible and complemented the structures built by him with a fine balance of concerns for economy, utility, durability and comfort. He also ensures that the resultant construction have the least overall impact on both human health and the environment.
Creating green structures using a combination of simple home-grown techniques and well established traditional green practices this firm shines with the sheer glory of its work which has gone on to serve as a hand-book for other architects that share the same compassion for the environment.
We at Home Review hope that the following interview conducted with Dr. B.S. Bhooshan will benefit both the ‘freshers’ and the experienced of the world of green architecture.
How would you describe the architecture you practise?
I try to practise architecture that is sensitive and true to the social, economic and environmental context in which I work. I try to be innovative, try to raise questions and would not like to be labelled as a particular kind. The context for me is not the immediate physical one alone.
Reacting to the societal value system critically is equally important. Not just satisfying the client’s brief but critically examining it, is the duty of the architect, I feel. Experimentation with materials and techniques is part of our work, so is also not being extravagant. I believe that architecture expresses through the materials and the construction methods employed.
How does your firm manage to achieve business goals whilst adhering to your sustainable outlook?
I never had any business goal. Nor do I have any now. Never set any target. I do what I can within my limitations. I don’t personally know of any architecture which is really and wholly sustainable in the true sense. What one can easily do is to be sensible. Sustainability can be of many types. What is sensible is responding positively to the climate and using local resources in a non wasteful way. All other claims about sustainable architecture tend to be bogus and boastful, bordering sometimes on a pure business strategy in order to create a niche. To be green in architecture is of special value; to individual life styles and more so collectively because of its projection in the built space. I believe architecture has a strong social dimension beyond the mere physicality of it.
Walk us through your plans for the future. Any dream assignment?
No plans as such. To complete the current projects at hand is the only plan, as always. No dream project either. Every project is a dream to build as one really wants, but it gets a bit compromised in the context one works. My dream would be to grow a complete building.. Or to help evolve and popularise a social code which can produce sensible architecture; a social production as a basis for social space where individuals can fit in without any difficulty.
What has been your most complex project? What challenges did you face?
Nothing in particular. I found most of my projects complex enough to receive our utmost attention. Large projects are complex, but we have not done any that are very large. I personally find residences and hospitality projects very complex. We are expanding our work at the Hoysala Village Resort at Hassan and we find it very complex as the demands of the hospitality industry are anything but sensible. And of course I don’t even want to talk of their mere lip service towards green architecture.
Which structures of India impress you?
I don’t know how to answer this as I am impressed by many buildings in India. For example: the stepped wells of Adalaj; these celebrate the collection, storage and conservation of water in a region having an abject scarcity of it. The Gandhi Sangrahalay at Sabarmathi by Charles Correa is another structure which expresses the simplicity and openness of a Gandhian life. It’s a shame though that today it is not in the best of conditions. There are many new unsung contemporary buildings which impress me.
Where do you think architecture in India is headed?
India continues to be plural; there are several sensitive green buildings of deep environmental concerns, commercial exploitations of green sentiments and small and medium scale delightful innovatively pleasant projects and of course a sea of insipidity. India today is building more than in any previous time. The sizes of projects have become incredibly large, so much so that we are attaching greater value to the size, volume and the mindboggling costs rather than on the impact of the project really. Having said this, one must acknowledge the confidence with which the younger generation is handling projects and discussing them. India will offer a substantial contribution to the world of architecture in the years to come maturing out of the present cauldron of confusion.