Friday, May 4, 2018

Dubai Gate!

Few Hours in Dubai

I did not see Dubai as a tourist but on my way to my friend's house, I saw little far away view of skyline and was not very impressed by it. But one building took my breath from the balcony of my friend's house. I clicked many photos. and here are few photos. What I learned that the building just completed few months ago and it is symbol of gate and connects old and new Dubai.
Below are photos. Enjoy!
Partial Skyline of Dubai
My dress pattern enhances with geometry of the buildings facade!
Dubai Gate!
LED Lights illuminating Building

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Peace and Harmony at the Spiritual Temple!, Guwahati

Kamkhya Temple, Guwahati!
Happiness is an human experience. That experience, which makes us happy, depends on both external and Internal conditions.  All the senses and brain need to register the surroundings and receive those information and then take time to process all or else everything passes by in moments and it feels like a dream. Yes, it sounds philosophical and the discussion is starting to go in a different direction then I intended to write here, in this post. What I mean to say that I believe that I could identify few tangible tangible elements, which played partial role in creating happy, memorable and dream like experience. It was an experience of  my short morning visit to  Kamakhya Temple in the city of Guwahati, Assam.
There was a look out pavilion and I walked there to see the skyline of Guwahati and noticed the temple was still up on the hill and the steps were visible at the far end.

View from the Temple site
Harmony and Balance
Rituals and Culture:
Kamkhya Temple, I did not know anything about except someone mentioned it somewhere. I decided to take an auto rickshaw early in the morning and head out. It is 7 KM outside of Guwahati, Assam, and it is a temple complex on a hill. I was dropped at the beginning of the street which leads to the site. I walked to first Chaiwala, I encountered to have first cup of tea. I waited while his first pot of milk, water, sugar and tea leaves yet to come to boil. It appeared very quiet though many ritualistic activities were visible across the street.

He burned  the incense stick and  arranged the mini wooden models of temples outside his stall (Check out in the photo above).  I have no idea why but I gravitated towards them and touched them and checked them out without any intention to purchase.  Soon, he handed me a tiny cup of tea, which could be 3 to 4 sips but I managed it to  multiply them twice and made 6 to 8 sips, paid some cash and started to walk ahead.

Synergy between Physical layout, design and Spiritual beliefs, Faith :
The current structural temple, built and renovated many times in the period 8th-17th century, gave rise to a hybrid indigenous style that is sometimes called the Nilachal type: a temple with a hemispherical dome on a cruciform base.  The temple consists of four chambers: garbhagriha and three mandapas locally called calantapancharatna and natamandira aligned from east to west.
Steps to ascend and leave the worries at the bottom
Somehow, there was this calmness around. People were dressed and carrying flowers and other items for offering to Goddess. The door was not opened and I hung out there and sat on the steps, from where ai got to see everything around. Below are the photos and I think the space was in perfect harmony with its proportions and scale. Goats, birds and people were all using the steps to rest and enjoy the morning sun.

Peaceful environment and serenity(
Steps to sit, observe and pray (
Feeding the Birds! 
Feeding the Goat!(
I noticed the place included people who appeared calm with complete devotion. Even I experienced a type of silence and peace; I felt as if super divine power touched my soul!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Kolkata Buildings at a glance!

Aesthetic language of Buildings by People in Kolkata, India

Below is a collages of building facades from moving car. Each one has distinct architectural element or color. What I believe that these are derived from functional or specific needs of the space just behind the facade and personal definition of beauty. Indian people are not afraid of colors, which is very obvious in the landscape. Also the Chief Minister of Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, made policy to remove one year of property tax if the building is painted Blue, which she believes “blue and white signifies happiness and the city looks bright in this color scheme”.

Residential Complex

Colonial Residential Building and Building adorned with Green Plants
Hotels (American Chains)

Commercial Buildings (Wonder what is that white building facade with no window) 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Non-Interference approach to landscape! Chandubi Lake, Assam

I remember reading somewhere the definition of  Spiritual experience as when;
"The experience of life transcends the limitation of material world!"
Exactly, that is what I would describe part of my trip.
Chandubi Lake, 65 KM from Guwahati surrounded by lush hills is a hidden gem. Only one road to reach to the lake and is lined by a series of thick forest of Sal trees (shorea robusta) which are large, deciduous trees with Oval shaped large leaves. Every part of the tree, from timber to leaves to seeds is used by local tribes. I forgot my headache and itching of throat, and we stopped the car on the side after a short heavy rainfall. Below are few photos, not even close to capture my feelings.

Danny Gam, Me, Diane Bracken
The continuity of forest was interrupted slightly by small village and rice field and small tea estate. Below are few photos of those pauses which were adding extra oxygen.
I am keeping the best for last. The destination ! I want to post photo of the only guest house very close to the lake but you will not know its presence if you walk out the gate 200 feet on the left side. We were the only guests and all the employees were cooking for us as we demanded! Nothing processed, everything from soil and lake.
Below is the guest house-
Guest House
Chandubi lake where only my heart captured the movement of water through live fish and wind!
"I am nature and nature is Me"

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Designed Spaces reflect creativity of Adobe's products!

Headquarter of Adobe's Dinning hall and Break room, Makeover by Gensler!

Adobe has been one of my favorite companies due to their creative products.  Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere to name few of their software stayed  my companions for long time and  have enabled me to play creatively with my ideas. When I visited their one of the floors, it did put the spell on me.  What a perfect remodel by Gensler!
Adobe Headquarter in San Jose, California (photo credit-

 It reminded me of visiting Candy-land with my daughter or Lego-land with my son and seeing the reactions on their faces. But this time, I had those emotions on my face. The scale and proportions of the interiors encompassed various cluster of  well designed, sophisticated and warm spaces for communicating, interacting and exchanging ideas. The whole floor was occupied by living spaces, dining spaces and food serving/cooking spaces in various configurations.

LIVING SPACES ( Bookshelf showing small scale artifacts, Vibrant Colors)(photo credit-

The eclectic furniture, use of textures and graphics reflected the creative freedom Adobe's products offer. The space is opposites of drab interiors of traditional old companies. For some this might be over excitement as they all are on the same floor and are flowing from one to another, but I prefer excitements over predicted boring gray and white interiors.
It feels like I could forget here that it is work place. I am sure, performance of the employees could benefit the company. Everyone wins.

Dining spaces, Modern take on the traditional furniture (Photo-
Slick and Modern Materials and Furnishings (Photo Credit-
By the way, these photos do not have employees as it was late in the evening and somehow, I was trying to respect their privacy and selected the area without people in it to click. Though, you can imagine these spaces buzzing with hundreds of employees. I think that Gensler really reflected Adobe in the space designed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Human-centered Design

Refugee Camp Shelter/Structure, Is it architecture?
Is it Architecture? Which is better?  What makes it better?
I am documenting the photos of different refugee shelters from various countries. The last video shows the shelter designed by architect.

1- Dedaab Refugee camp Structure.
This is a sad narrative of the temporary structures.  They are as shown in the photos, made by plastic sheets and tins and clothes. There are dried branches as walls. Want to know more about the shelters and people living in them, please read the book, "City of Thorns" by Ben Rawlence.
It seems like the largest refugee camp, Dedaab in Kenya, where the approx. 400,000 refugees live with the fictional dream which are difficult to sustain after more than 20 years. They are not allowed to work and earn, as well as they are not allowed to leave the camp so they live in those temporary structures for 10 to 20 years. Check out the tents made from whatever materials available to them.

An Aerial view of one of the camps at Dadaab, Kenya; credit B.Bannon, UNHCR
2- Container Shelter

Syrian refugees are moved to these sturdier houses made from container boxes. These are Syria but towards the border of Turkey

Syrian Refugees transferred to containers shelter Credit-

Credit- Kilis, a refugee camp in Turkey near the Syrian border. 
CreditTobias Hutzler for The New York Times

Bakka Camp in Lebanon credit- Dubai Media Office

Bakka Valley, Credit
3-Better Shelter by IKEA in Europe for Refugees

IKEA Foundation along with Swiss architects came up with the best solution. This structure is durable and easy to install, costs $1000, but of course these are shipped in Europe.Check out the video below.
IKEA Shelter equipped withinsulated and sturdy panels plus solar powered LED light which can give electricity for few hours in the night for reading
Check out the video below-


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bold Colors for Museums in San Jose and a Painted village in Mexico.

Bold Colored Children Discovery Museum and The Tech Museum , San Jose.
These both bold colored buildings are the landmark Buildings in San Jose Downtown. It is a focal point for many cultural activities and melts well with the fabric of the city and local community. Both are designed by Internationally well known architect, Ricardo Legorreta, known for the bold-colored splashed walls. They are in my radar and can be seen from different highways. People can enjoy them from different vantage points, driving around and also from walking around the area. Locals also view their colors and shapes from up above the buildings around, while dining on the terraces of the restaurants. See below -
Children Discovery Museum, San Jose, CA
The Tech Innovation Museum, San Jose, Photo Credit- Neela Shukla
Colors used as a solution and a strategy to intervene into the community.

Rainbow painted village Pachuca in Mexico
This project is a perfect example of improvement of the urban and social environment by collaboration of government, community and youth. It created  a largest mural project by just painting houses with bright colors. Check the photo below and for more details go to those both links below. 
Painted village through community effort.Credit- Photograph: Sofia Jaramillo/AP

Monday, January 11, 2016

Colors - a tool for problem solving!

Color has been an ongoing topic on my blog. Every kid smiles seeing a rainbow in the sky and brightly colored ladybugs in the soil. Colors are everywhere and everyone sees colors differently. Dogs see only four colors and do not see reds and Butterfly see more colors than human. I do not know how dogs and butterfly feel when they see colors. but I see the color and my eyes flutter and my heart beats little louder which I could hear. I see them in nature and I see them in our environment.

Way-Finding and Landmark

Each one sees the colors differently and also perceives differently. The correct use of color at the right place can help solve some problems which can improve our daily life. Here I am talking about the color improved my few driving moments. See the photos below; which made me think.
While stopping at the traffic light from Highway 280 to San Jose downtown, I see the dark space under bridge and suddenly saw circles of dark blue sky wandering on the concrete walls. It even inspired me do this doodle. See below.
'under the overpass bridge'
Having FUN by Doodling!
Now I remember that exit and do not mind to stop at Red light there. This could have been applied at few other places, specifically driving in San francisco, while passing long underpass bridges as well as walking under those parking spaces. It would be great if the City planners or urban designers could have some LED lights installed or collaborate with artists to show their work under those concrete surfaces. It would be helpful to remember specific spots. It might make us look up at sky too. :)., away from our phone screen.  Well, here is the photo of my idea. All these ideas are flying through in my mind because the residence I am designing has this tall concrete retaining wall and the client does not find much beauty in the concrete wall. So I was thinking of alternate ways to enhance it.

Idea of LED  under the over bridge -San Francisco

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A glimpse into 2015!

Looking back to 2015!
2015 has been a remarkable and unique year as any other year such as 2014 or 1994 or 1984. The difference is that in 2015, I got some time for my internal journey. Ups and Down, yes starring at sky, clouds and flowers; hiking, walking and getting my hands dirty in the garden, meditating, listening and reading. Lots of face-timing with kids. Of course buildings, projects, drawings and even sketching, digital painting, photography.  A mind's journey to go into these sublime and unknown territories was highlight of the year. I am ready for the new adventures in 2016. Below is a collage to represent some glimpses in 2015!

2015 Collage