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Environmental Retrofit: An Academic Journey

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Inspiring Young Minds to Embrace the "Small": Exploring Their Immediate Environment

Teaching has presented an intriguing dimension of my career, allowing me to engage with students on a conceptual level, something that can be challenging to achieve in a professional context. This presentation revolves around my future aspirations, seen through the perspective of these young minds. We delve into their aspirations for the future and how they can translate these aspirations into design concepts. They explore the present, its underlying factors, and contemplate how their personal lifestyle changes can breathe new life into the immediate environment they inhabit. In the words of Achille Mbembe, the students are encouraged to incorporate every element, including human creations, into their design projects. These projects take the form of architectural studio assignments.
Throughout the course, we engage in discussions about how architecture is an essential societal need. We critically assess its disconnection from people and places and seek ways to address new societal needs. Our goal is to reestablish these connections, with a particular focus on addressing the challenges posed by climate change. The term "Retrofit" is deliberately chosen, as it neither signifies a mere renovation nor a simple repair. The studio acknowledges the environmental state of disrepair and uses this as a foundation to create something new, grounded in empathy. Architecture becomes a conduit for embracing ecology and making a positive impact.

Preparatory Work: It would be helpful if the participants could document through sketches the environmental information of their immediate surroundings including the home. They could read The Great Derangement by Amitav Ghosh, The Dasgupta Review, Dipesh Chakravarthy on Climate change, and Achille Mebembe on Colonialism and the future for everyone and everything

Bio: I have been working as an architect in Bangalore, India, since 1991 under the banner of Biome Environmental Solutions ( Our primary goal is to create environmentally conscious designs that seamlessly blend into the existing urban landscape. We achieve this by minimizing material usage, promoting water positivity, adapting to climate conditions, and fostering biodiversity.
Biome is a dynamic team comprising approximately 50 individuals who collaborate on projects in both the fields of architecture and water management, either collectively or independently. Our most recent endeavour is the publication of our book, Biome Diaries. This publication features contributions from various professionals involved in the construction industry, as well as insights from fellow architects and educators.