Monday, 3 March 2014


WOOD PLASTIC COMPOSITE- decking and cladding solutions for outdoors.
These composite decking solutions are relatively new in India and are promoted as virtually a fool proof solution for any outdoor wood requirement, be it pool deck, terrace, patio, balcony or facade cladding.

( XTERIA CLADDING …This Brazilian product is brought to us in India by BVG Industries ltd.)
While maintaining the look and warmth of wood, this composite material is said to be extremely durable and free from all the traditional hassles like knots, splinters, decay and maintenance, associated with natural wood solutions. It is available in very easy to install interlocking boards.
The correct data of its composition is not known and any long term performance and exposure tests are also not available. This being a new product in the market, it is difficult to ascertain its durability as a justification for the high initial costs involved.
A research into similar products in the western markets has revealed that Wood-Plastic composite materials do have their share of issues like colour fading, water absorption, heat retention, expansion – contraction, mold buildup etc. The exact strength and performance depends upon the ratio of wood and plastic, the binder and the sealant, which is generally every manufacturer’s closely guarded secret.
Despite the high initial cost, there is no denying that they are attractive and relatively easier to install, but research suggests that a periodic maintenance schedule is most definitely required with all products in this genre and this must be recommended by the manufacturer and supplier at the onset.
It must be noted that the luxurious and exotic real hardwood floors and claddings also fall into the same cost bracket and truly require very little maintenance.

Click on to the Author's Website -

Le Corbusier Day at Chandigarh College of Architeceture - 2013

Being a part of the week long celebrations around the Le Corbusier day, Oct. 6 commemorating the Master Architect’s 125th anniversary, at my alma mater, Chandigarh College of Architecture was a delightful affair.
The Keynote speaker Prof. Antoine Picon, professor History of Architecture and Technology at Harvard School of Design, Massachusetts and also the President of Le Corbusier Foundation, Paris, spoke about some relatively lesser known aspects of life and works of the master architect, even taking a refreshingly critical view at times.
Ar. Rahul Mehrotra, Professor and Chair, Harvard Graduate School of Design and also running an esteemed practice in Mumbai, acquainted the audience with some of his Projects and mesmerized all as he demonstrated a highly sensitive social dimension in all of them.
I found the address by Sh. KK Sharma, Advisor to Chandigarh Administrator especially enlightening, where he put forward a number of projects initiated by the Chandigarh Heritage Conservation Committee under his Chair, the current issues and challenges in front of Chandigarh, while welcoming suggestions and ideas with disarming candour.
The high point of the event for me personally was a discussion on the sidelines, where I pointed towards the need to move beyond Preservation and Conservation of Le Corbusier’s Modernist Heritage in the future plans for the city, where it can adapt to a more contemporary role and can continue to show the way forward in terms of Urban Design, as was envisioned by our first Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.
While appreciating my point of view, Prof Antoine Picon gave the most thought provoking idea. We must move forward and plan for the 21st century but we must not lose our Modernist roots and identity in the process.

Click on to the Author's Website -


The City Beautiful and its first cousins, Panchkula-Mohali, have always taken pride in their sprawling Bungalows*.These elite single family homes today, are custom designed and built, to meet individual family’s needs and aspirations. It is delightful to see how the average private residence in the Tricity has evolved over the years absorbing multiple cultural influences and advances in technology, creating what we today identify as the Chandigarh Ambience.

A custom designed house provides a perfect opportunity to a family to indulge themselves, express their unique identity and to achieve a home best suited to their lifestyle. A successful partnership between an Architect and the prospective home Owner is the basis, of the success, of each such endeavour .Though an ideal abode has been a perennial quest for man, there is always scope for innovation, improvisation and new interpretations. New techniques, materials, use of space, light and nature, can each be used to enhance the living experience, be it the creature comforts or in terms of adding vibrancy and the feeling of well being and happiness. It is heartening to see more number of people, in the tricity, becoming aware of their requirements and seeking professional advice to achieve the same.

There is one area where I personally like to put more emphasis and that is the connection we achieve between our everyday living and the outdoors. As we are getting more and more accustomed to artificially regulated environments at work and at home, there is a shift towards cutting out the nature in the way we’re building our houses. Though this seems to suit our fast paced life style, it does leave a negative impact on our overall health and well being. Also, we are blessed to be in a region with a beautiful geographical location and a large area dedicated to low rise housing. We must continue to derive maximum advantage out of this. For example, sitting out in a verandah in good weather with a view of the mountains is a treat, especially to be cherished by all of us in this region.

Good Execution and Construction is an important part in the final realization of a dream house. Currently a large number of owners undertake the task of constructing it themselves with the help of small time contractors. It is interesting to note that the reasons for the same are different for different people. A good number of people undertake this task out of a desire, for building something best suited to their family. An equal number of people undertake this task due to a lack of better and cost efficient choices, in terms of ready to move in houses or standardized and reliable solutions. This defines an area which can benefit with Industry expertise and attention.
Owning your house is traditionally a huge event in the life of most of us in India. I have a word of caution to the people setting out towards that goal. It is about the irresistible urges that most people get during the course of construction of their house, to make changes and try alternative ideas. Correct decision making and closely following the Architect’s advice and drawings during the execution stage is crucial to achieve the desired result. It is very easy to get carried away with last minute ideas, numerous voices of advice and myriad choices of materials and finishes, any of which can hugely impact the final outcome and even cause financial losses.

*A Bungalow in the Indian context has come to mean an independent, detached house, with a garden. It could be built to 2 or 2.5 storey. It symbolizes the aspirations of almost every successful upper middle class Indian.

Click on to the Author's Website -