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How do we interact with architects?

 
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alpa_sheth
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Joined: 26 Jan 2003
Posts: 259
Location: Mumbai

PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 11:16 am    Post subject: How do we interact with architects? Reply with quote

Dear All:

I would like to narrate an experience I had today in an "international" conference on Heritage Conservation

A Delhi conservation architect, Ms. Gurmeet Rai  presented the "conservation" of a Gurudwara project in Lakhpat (in Kacchh, Gujarat).  She talked about issues of redoing it with lime mortar, redoing the sloping roof etc. To be fair it may have been an architecturally sensitive conservation project. However, nowhere was any seismic retrofit discussed - not even the rudimentary plinth and lintel bands nor the horizontal bracing in roof. And this when the retrofit was being done after the 2001 Bhuj earthquake. Interestingly the project won some kind of UNESCO award too.  I raised a query- How is it that you did not think of any seismic retrofit- I even went so far as to say that this retrofit project violated the seismic codes etc and it would never have gone through if it had been brought to the notice of GSDMA (Guj State Disaster Management Authority). Well, needless to say all hell broke loose. The answer I got from Ms Rai was- "We did not think it necessary. And I saw what others around were doing and did not approve of it"

I was the lone structural engineer who was bombarded with all kinds of accusations - "It is reinforced concrete buildings which fail, not the "traditionally" built homes etc. And then there was  another lady,   a known figure in Delhi "conservation" circles who had the temerity to say that "heritage" structures should not have to follow seismic codes. As per her, Japan does not require heritage buildings to be satisfying seismic requirements. Then, her lady  who teaches Conservation Architecture at SPA, Delhi  says that at Latur it was new buildings which failed while old traditional buildings that survived.  Someone said that a well known structural engineer the previous day had said that good, traditional vernacular buildings had survived and RC buildings had not in the Gujarat earthquake, thereby implying that empirically built buildings perform better than RC buildings.

I was aghast at the state of things.  I see many major problems.

a) We as Indians appear on the whole not to value life. Worse still, some so-called "Conservation" architects have decided to play God with the lives of the lesser folks and want to decide that all heritage buildings (some hospitals in Gujarat also happen to be heritage structures) should be outside the gamut of seismic codes.

b) There is a lot of ignorance in the architectural community about earthquakes and their behaviour which they have no intention of clearing.

c) We fear what we do not know. Many of these architects had not the foggiest idea that there can be seismic retrofit in a sensitive manner and so decided that following Codes would mean ungainly intervention.

d) Due to the failure of many RC buildings in Ahmedabad and other cities we as engineers have lost our credibility. And completely misleading information is being spread about RC buildings vis-a-vis non-engineered structures.  

I was completely demoralised by the low level of discussions and felt fit to quit the conference rather than hear a bunch of people praising the beautiful clothes of a naked Emperor.


But on a serious note, how do we improve the situation?

Cheers,
Alpa

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sdec.in
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 1:02 pm    Post subject: How do we interact with architects? Reply with quote

My dear Alpa,
what u've narrated is no surprise for all of us, the fact is the building
industry in general and Clients in particular have so long been monopolised
by architects, that there is neither any knowledge about significance of
correct seismic design nor any interest about it in an average Client and if
at all, he entirely depends on his architect for getting a "design" along
with fulfilling rest of the formalities.
i hope u had gone thru the mail sent by me reg agni pariksha of our
fraternity--wherein after doing an excellent job for a comm bldg, my arch
friend was hauled up for engaging a str engr who failed to design within 4
kg/sq ft.and later another arch friend told me he hesitated to recommend me
to a Client as a Proof Consultant on a large retrofitting project since he
feels I get esily scared of EQvagerah and scare him unnecessarily as well!
It is really sad that such things are the rule rather than being an
exception but never mind, if all of us are determined enough, things will
change eventually for the better, only each one of us has to continuously
strive to do a good job, and every drop in this ocean counts!
sangeeta
.
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clique
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Joined: 26 Jan 2003
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 1:50 pm    Post subject: How do we interact with architects? Reply with quote

Ignorant idiots are found in every profession, including ours.

Since no one can draft a foolproof code to deal with them, one should deal with such (lacking ) professionals on " To suit at SIGHT basis".

We should restrict our client list to only those whom we can elevate to respect enginnering to a practically acceptable level.

Regards,

D.M.Senjalia,
CLIQUE.

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nycindia2000
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Joined: 26 Jan 2003
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 3:12 pm    Post subject: How do we interact with architects? Reply with quote

Dear Alpa Sheth,
I really appreciate your whole hearted concern for the most honest entity (building) on the earth, They never give up until & unless they are fully deceived by such class of educated people whom you encountered at Delhi conference.Its really unfortunate that such class comes to these conferences.  But this is not a new thing to us. There are two categories : 1 Those who want to build Gymnasiums & (2) Those who wants to build only cosmetic beauty parlours. And unfortunately most of these so called sophisticated people prefer the later ones. Only enforcement of appropriate law can stop such things and avoid the catastrophy.
With Best regards
N.Y.Choudhary
Director,
Kutumbale Consultants & Engineers Pvt. Ltd
Indore.    

alpa_sheth@vakilmehtasheth.com wrote:
Dear All:

I would like to narrate an experience I had today in an "international" conference on Heritage Conservation

A Delhi conservation architect, Ms. Gurmeet Rai presented the "conservation" of a Gurudwara project in Lakhpat (in Kacchh, Gujarat). She talked about issues of redoing it with lime mortar, redoing the sloping roof etc. To be fair it may have been an architecturally sensitive conservation project. However, nowhere was any seismic retrofit discussed - not even the rudimentary plinth and lintel bands nor the horizontal bracing in roof. And this when the retrofit was being done after the 2001 Bhuj earthquake. Interestingly the project won some kind of UNESCO award too. I raised a query- How is it that you did not think of any seismic retrofit- I even went so far as to say that this retrofit project violated the seismic codes etc and it would never have gone through if it had been brought to the notice of GSDMA (Guj State Disaster Management Authority). Well, needless to say all hell broke loose. The answer I got from Ms Rai was- "We did not think it necessary. And I saw what !
others around were doing and did not approve of it"

I was the lone structural engineer who was bombarded with all kinds of accusations - "It is reinforced concrete buildings which fail, not the "traditionally" built homes etc. And then there was another lady, a known figure in Delhi "conservation" circles who had the temerity to say that "heritage" structures should not have to follow seismic codes. As per her, Japan does not require heritage buildings to be satisfying seismic requirements. Then, her lady who teaches Conservation Architecture at SPA, Delhi says that at Latur it was new buildings which failed while old traditional buildings that survived. Someone said that a well known structural engineer the previous day had said that good, traditional vernacular buildings had survived and RC buildings had not in the Gujarat earthquake, thereby implying that empirically built buildings perform better than RC buildings.

I was aghast at the state of things. I see many major problems.

a) We as Indians appear on the whole not to value life. Worse still, some so-called "Conservation" architects have decided to play God with the lives of the lesser folks and want to decide that all heritage buildings (some hospitals in Gujarat also happen to be heritage structures) should be outside the gamut of seismic codes.

b) There is a lot of ignorance in the architectural community about earthquakes and their behaviour which they have no intention of clearing.

c) We fear what we do not know. Many of these architects had not the foggiest idea that there can be seismic retrofit in a sensitive manner and so decided that following Codes would mean ungainly intervention.

d) Due to the failure of many RC buildings in Ahmedabad and other cities we as engineers have lost our credibility. And completely misleading information is being spread about RC buildings vis-a-vis non-engineered structures.

I was completely demoralised by the low level of discussions and felt fit to quit the conference rather than hear a bunch of people praising the beautiful clothes of a naked Emperor.


But on a serious note, how do we improve the situation?

Cheers,
Alpa










What use is to speak of freedom if people are not ready to sacrifice for it.

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sidhudaljeet
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Joined: 26 Jan 2003
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 6:26 pm    Post subject: How do we interact with architects? Reply with quote

Dear Apla Seth Ji,
Please donot loose heart. the main aim of Heritage conservation is to keep the old buildings in their origional shape and repair them with same material as was used during construction at that time.most of the old building were maintained by state PWDs, they repair them with modern material, if the wall with lime pointing is damaged they use to plaster  it since they donot have well trained staff and massons to repair that part up to the mark of origional one. So most of the old buildings lost their inherited properties. So the archeological department came forwarde to save their originality. Now if we try to make them earthquake resistant we may not be able to make them earthquake proof but certainly strip off their inherited properties.  

alpa_sheth@vakilmehtasheth.com wrote:
Dear All:

I would like to narrate an experience I had today in an "international" conference on Heritage Conservation

A Delhi conservation architect, Ms. Gurmeet Rai presented the "conservation" of a Gurudwara project in Lakhpat (in Kacchh, Gujarat). She talked about issues of redoing it with lime mortar, redoing the sloping roof etc. To be fair it may have been an architecturally sensitive conservation project. However, nowhere was any seismic retrofit discussed - not even the rudimentary plinth and lintel bands nor the horizontal bracing in roof. And this when the retrofit was being done after the 2001 Bhuj earthquake. Interestingly the project won some kind of UNESCO award too. I raised a query- How is it that you did not think of any seismic retrofit- I even went so far as to say that this retrofit project violated the seismic codes etc and it would never have gone through if it had been brought to the notice of GSDMA (Guj State Disaster Management Authority). Well, needless to say all hell broke loose. The answer I got from Ms Rai was- "We did not think it necessary. And I saw what !
others around were doing and did not approve of it"

I was the lone structural engineer who was bombarded with all kinds of accusations - "It is reinforced concrete buildings which fail, not the "traditionally" built homes etc. And then there was another lady, a known figure in Delhi "conservation" circles who had the temerity to say that "heritage" structures should not have to follow seismic codes. As per her, Japan does not require heritage buildings to be satisfying seismic requirements. Then, her lady who teaches Conservation Architecture at SPA, Delhi says that at Latur it was new buildings which failed while old traditional buildings that survived. Someone said that a well known structural engineer the previous day had said that good, traditional vernacular buildings had survived and RC buildings had not in the Gujarat earthquake, thereby implying that empirically built buildings perform better than RC buildings.

I was aghast at the state of things. I see many major problems.

a) We as Indians appear on the whole not to value life. Worse still, some so-called "Conservation" architects have decided to play God with the lives of the lesser folks and want to decide that all heritage buildings (some hospitals in Gujarat also happen to be heritage structures) should be outside the gamut of seismic codes.

b) There is a lot of ignorance in the architectural community about earthquakes and their behaviour which they have no intention of clearing.

c) We fear what we do not know. Many of these architects had not the foggiest idea that there can be seismic retrofit in a sensitive manner and so decided that following Codes would mean ungainly intervention.

d) Due to the failure of many RC buildings in Ahmedabad and other cities we as engineers have lost our credibility. And completely misleading information is being spread about RC buildings vis-a-vis non-engineered structures.

I was completely demoralised by the low level of discussions and felt fit to quit the conference rather than hear a bunch of people praising the beautiful clothes of a naked Emperor.


But on a serious note, how do we improve the situation?

Cheers,
Alpa









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alpa_sheth
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Joined: 26 Jan 2003
Posts: 259
Location: Mumbai

PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2004 8:31 am    Post subject: How do we interact with architects? Reply with quote

Dear All:

First of all let me thank Prof A R Chandrasekharan, Sangeeta, Mr Senjalia,
Mr Choudhary for asserting the role of engineers and our stand on issues of
safety. It is nice to know we all think alike.

I am  glad that Mr Daljeet Sidhu has raised the point regarding "Now if we
try to make them earthquake resistant we may not be able to make them
earthquake proof but certainly strip off their inherited properties".
I appreciate the comment. I hear it from conservation architects all the
time.   Mr Sidhu is  absolutely right that we must maintain our heritage
projects- in fact that is what we would all want. And his point  about PWDs
not being sensitive to old heritage structures restoration in terms of
materials and methodology used is also echoed by many experts. We should
take serious notice of this complaint and correct systems in PWD.

What we need urgently to do is to sensitise the community of conservation
architects, ASI etc and also our own structural engineers that
a) Life safety is paramount
b) It is possible to do sensitive seismic retrofit without major
interventions into the aesthetics of the building. It is possible to retain
the heritage character of the building in all its completeness. In my Alma
Mater, Univ of California, Berkeley there are numerous heritage buildings
which are being seismically  retrofitted. It would be nice for us to learn
the available techniques across the world.
c) We cannot make structures earthquake proof but earthquake resistant.
d) We must believe that it is possible  to make structures earthquake
resistant. The recent  history of earthquakes in US, Japan and other
developed countries tell us the story of how life safety can be almost 100%
achieved and how earthquake damage can be minimised. The trick lies in
applying the seismic resistance principles judiciously and sensitively.

There are a lot of seismic retrofit courses/seminars for RC structures but
unfortunately not for masonry structures and hence even structural engineers
are not clear about how to go about it. Retrofit measures being suggested
are most often prescriptive without being underpinned by sound engineering.
We need more confidence building measures in this field, then perhaps Mr
Sidhu or conservation architects will not have to make the statement "Now if
we try to make them earthquake resistant we may not be able to make them
earthquake proof but certainly strip off their inherited properties"

Cheers,
Alpa

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2004 1:39 pm    Post subject: How do we interact with architects? Reply with quote

I hope some day good sense would prevail among quite a few ignorant
architects. Do not loose heart.

Mandeep Singh

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2004 1:56 pm    Post subject: How do we interact with architects? Reply with quote

Dear Mandeep, I did learn something useful, quite a few years ago,
from a very good New Zealand architect in Dubai.
And I would like to share it with you all.
He asked me :- 'How do you know when you have a good deal ?'
I said :- 'I am not sure'
And he said :- 'When both sides are unhappy !'
And he was being absolutely serious.
I have thought about this quite a lot afterwards,
And am now convinced he is right !

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year, from Aberdeen, Scotland !

-----Original Message-----
Message From  mandeep_spa@sify.com [mailto:mandeep_spa@sify.com]
Sent: 19 December 2004 19:09
To: Robert Nicolson
Subject: How do we interact with architects?


I hope some day good sense would prevail among quite a few ignorant
architects. Do not loose heart.

Mandeep Singh

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anand.shah1
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Joined: 26 Jan 2003
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2004 8:30 am    Post subject: How do we interact with architects? Reply with quote

Dear all,

I think mind of  some architects or organizers are not going
change until we have some serious disaster repeatedly.
Every one doesn't wish such things to happen, but its true. They need wake
up call. Other wise they will take everything for granted.

Regards,
Anand

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dhirendrat
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2004 8:55 am    Post subject: How do we interact with architects? Reply with quote

Feel this communication gap with the architects is a symptom and not the disease. The
disease is that public awareness of relevant Structural Engineering issues is very
low.

Of what a structural engineer does, how that is different from a civil engineer. Of
why they must prefer a good structural engineer and the hazards when an incompetent or
no structural engineer is involved. And other relevant information that must be
available in the public domain.

Now if SEFI web-site can have lucid pages for the public in general and architects in
particular then there will be a simple way of giving the architects an opportunity to
learn of the hazards they expose themselves and their clients to when they disregard
the value of structural engineering. Then whenever there is a debate persons of
related professions all the structural engineer has to do is point the person to the
pages, instead of leaving it to chance of how much enlightenment is delivered to the
under informed person.

best,

Dhirendra Tripathi

Anand.shah@babtieindia.com wrote:

[quote]Dear all,

I think mind of  some architects or organizers are not going
change until we have some serious disaster repeatedly.
Every one doesn't wish such things to happen, but its true. They need wake
up call. Other wise they will take everything for granted.

Regards,
Anand

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