Discovering and Rediscovering
One of the realizations I have had ever since I started working as an architect was the fact that I have very little exposure to different kinds of spaces. My understanding was mostly limited to the apartment I grew up in, the ancestral home I visited for my vacations, or my college and it's surrounding architecture. I didn't really know, or rather notice spaces that were different.
Stepping into spaces which were different from the ones I was used to and grew up in, got me very uncomfortable as a child - and so, the inability to explain the emotions I felt turned into criticism.
Spaces that used rich material was "plastic" for me, spaces that used expensive technology was "excessive".
This continued, until I started working as an architect and realized that I cannot do that any more. I couldn't be a part of a team that was designing a space, if I was criticizing the existence of the space.
And as a part of my job of creating narratives for spaces, I began to learn to virtually experience spaces which were alien to me, without criticizing it.
So, one of the discussions that Sai was having as a part of orienting the new interns gave me a realization that I may have been looking at all of this from the wrong direction all this time!
Today's discussions were about an open air Jacuzzi that we are planning to execute in one of the residence projects we are currently working on. We have been having multiple discussions about this Jacuzzi for the last few months now.
But only when Sai asked me on the zoom call, "Ananya, have you used an open air Jacuzzi?", is when I realized that I had never thought about it, I had never connected to that space as one people would end up using in the future.
Every time I went to the site where this house is currently coming up, and stood in the courtyard - I visualized walking up the wooden staircase, amidst the dramatic effect that the Mangalore tile sloping roof was going to create. The kids bedroom is always a space where I think about my childhood, and how much I would have loved having the mezzanine that we have designed there.
But I walk into the open air Jacuzzi and nothing.
There was never any emotional connect, no excitement. I just couldn't relate it to anything I had experienced before. That's when Sai connected this modern Jacuzzi to his experiences in his village when he was growing up.
And with that, the connect happened.
All those times when I ran up the terrace of the apartments through heavy rain to just dance and frolic, getting drenched in the rain water! How would this Jacuzzi be any different, apart from the fact that it was designed to serve the same function.
So, it wasn't about the expensive material or the technology - it was only about recreating that joy of jumping in the rain - through design and doing everything that you need to, to bring that emotion and experience to everyone who ends up using the Jacuzzi.