Do buildings have souls? This architect seeks to find them
It is important for someone working with buildings to think about their purpose and their legacy for the planet, says Vidur Bharadwaj
This sustainable architect-turned-developer believes that like humans, buildings too have souls. It was this belief that encouraged him to exhibit art installations that are based on his architectural works and ancient design elements – nature, monuments, ghats of Varanasi, water bodies with stepped landscaping, Fatehpur Sikri, Udaipur, air, wind, light and shade, courtyards, terraces and verandahs. His exhibition, Soul in Structure, was held in the Capital recently.
The first series of art installations by architect Vidur Bharadwaj are the office buildings he created when he started practice as an architect. “Elements omnipresent in every painting are the courtyards and water bodies, the imagery of the sun and child. The sun is the source of all energy and the child represents the future,” he says.
On display at the exhibition were 15 canvases showcasing the inspiration behind an architect’s commercial and residential spaces. “When I started out I realised that I was creating beautiful structures but not thinking enough about their soul, about their purpose and legacy for their planet and that was particularly ironic in a city like Delhi that has exquisite monuments that have stood the test of time. It was then that I decided that each building ought to be treated like a living being, a being with a soul and fundamental need to breath,” he says.
The painting of a child in its mother’s womb juxtaposed with modern pod-like structures. (Vidur Bharadwaj)
People usually do not understand architectural drawings and find them boring. “I have therefore used art as a medium, a confluence of art and architecture to make people understand what sustainability is all about. People get attracted to art and through the medium spread the message of sustainability,” he says.
One of the paintings depicts the project he created in 2008 called Green Boulevard that drew inspiration from the iconic Fatehpur Sikri. “The concept of nature’s walk is the highlight of this installation. Each of my works draws energy from the sun and that is depicted in this painting. The backdrop of the work is bamboo. All my works also have the child in some form or the other and it is for future generations,” says Bharadwaj.
Another one of his installations depicts the Delhi One project in Noida, a high-end mixed use development inspired by Chandni Chowk. It has bullock carts and dancers in the background to depict life in the old city. The brand Four Seasons which has a hotel in the project is represented through fields as seen during the four seasons of the year. The canvas also has a car going across a field with the Yamuna river in the backdrop.