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How do we interact with architects? + all similar experts

This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    www.sefindia.org Forum Index -> Past Discussions Year 2004
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for_prof_arc at hotmai...

PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 11:47 am    Post subject: How do we interact with architects? + all similar experts Reply with quote

This type of arrogance or burying the head in the sand is nothing new and I
have encountered it many times.
Probably some SEFI member could compile a list of such damaged structures
and these can be sent to such idiots who think non-engineered structures are
better than engineered structures.

On a related topic, a few worthy experts who themselves live in their own
unsafe old buildings in Dehra Dun and Naini Tal did not bother about their
safety but insisted on totally unrealistic high earthquake levels for Tehri
Dam without extending the same logic to their towns. They had felt that so
far unheard of mega event will occur only at Tehri Site and not anywhere
else in Uttaranchal.

In this particular case, I would suggest tht Ms. Sheth write to Gujarat Govt
as well as to ASI. Warn them of dire consequences of not following the code
post 26Jan2001

----- Original Message -----
Message From  <alpa_sheth@vakilmehtasheth.com>
To: <for_prof_arc@hotmail.com>
Sent: Saturday, December 18, 2004 4:46 PM
Subject: How do we interact with architects?

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

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?


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