With its rich heritage and history, confluence of cultures and unique influences, Hyderabad has often been touted as a delight for architecture and design enthusiasts. But has the changing landscape been beneficial for the city? We find out
Few other cities in the country have perhaps seen a transformation as dramatic as Hyderabad. Once known as the laid-back city of the Nizams with historical and heritage buildings dotting the streets, it has over the last decade become Hitec city with its high-rises, mammoth malls and multiplexes. Locals who remember the city of yore will wistfully recall those cosy independent houses which have given way to huge apartment complexes, Irani cafes that fell to fine-dining restaurants and market places which have been replaced by malls.
As pleasing as the progress might be for the overall development of the city, it’s been detrimental for design, say experts. Professor Ravi Anand who teaches at the School of Planning and Architecture, JNTU for instance, is deeply unhappy at the direction that contemporary architecture in the city has taken. “Today, there is nothing different, nothing local or unique about the structures that have come up in the city. They are very out of context. These buildings are so global in nature they can be found in any part of the world. It is become a cause for concern for all of us in the industry,” he rues.
But what is it that makes a great building stand out from the rest? “Great architecture was never made with financial motivations. But now there’s no other kind of motivation. There are set patterns around which designers develop. They might be impressive at first sight but are not places you would want to live in or work at,” feels the professor of architecture.
Sudheer Reddy, principal architect at Kruthica is of a similar opinion. “These buildings and structures are a very real reflection of the confusion and the jumble prevalent in our own lives today. It’s the story of every metro in the country, not just Hyderabad. There is no character or soul to them. Unlike the old historic buildings that were benchmarks of design, one is not much different from the next, in design or spirit. Only the shapes and sizes differ,” he says.
The rich and illustrious heritage of the city poses a further challenge maintains Ar. Haresh Lakhani, co-founder of Lakhani Associates. However, all is not lost and that this is simply a phase in the evolution of things, he says. “Rome was not built in a day. Similarly, a lot of good design and good work is happening in the city. It’s evolving steadily. So there are going to be many a interesting things to come in the near future but we have to give it time,” he says.
Benchmarks of good design
- Babukhan Estate
- Birla Mandir
- Ravindra Bharati
- Hyderabad Public School
- Hyderabad International Airport
- Cyber Towers, Hitec City
Category: Art & Design