National: Historically, architecture and design have interlaced with the needs of the community to define the social fabric of each era. As time progressed, different ecological challenges and metropolitan risks came into the picture which evolved the role of architecture too. So, when it comes to creating an equitable and inclusive society, the responsibility falls to the gatekeepers of the field – our architects to keep social responsibility at the centre of their profession.
Architect Gita Balakrishnan has spent the last 20 years of her life bringing together prospects and people in the student, professional fraternity and the industry working in the built environment sector through her initiative, Ethos. This year, ‘Walk for Arcause’, marking the twentieth year of her efforts, involves Ms Balakrishnan walking 1700 km from Kolkata to Delhi on foot to shed light on Architectural Social Responsibility, pressing issues that need redressal through good design that improves lives.
ITC Vivel supports her cause under its brand philosophy of Ab Samjhauta Nahin. The Ab Samjhauta Nahin programme has been vocal about equality and empowerment, encouraging women across the nation to question the status quo, voice their opinions uninhibitedly, speak up and own their choices without any compromise. The brand’s Know Your Rights initiative conceived under this philosophy was designed to raise awareness on rights and laws that empower and safeguard women. In a nuanced approach toward the very same ethos, Vivel stands for gender sensitivity in architecture and design.
Speaking on the initiative, Architect Gita Balakrishnan says, “ITC Vivel brings gender sensitivity to the fore through activities engaging with women and girls, talking about their claim to spaces. They have always been one of our strong supporters in our goal towards building a gender-inclusive and environment-first design awareness infrastructure. The brand truly supports and envisions a more gender-equal future and this reflects in their commitment to encompass all aspects that will help in nurturing a more equitable society. Walk for Arcause forms the framework for an empowered society and enables gender-sensitive design understanding. It is about enabling change one step at a time and I take this step forward with the spirit of Ab Samjhauta Nahin (no compromise).”
Last year, Vivel initiated the Designer’s Know Your Rights workshop with Ethos | Acedge. This module, designed to talk about women’s rights and gender sensitivity in design including women’s rights, comprised of live workshops from renowned design expert, Michael Foley and his team – Ranjit Raju and Kruttika Gulhane. To begin with, this was conducted in eight highly motivated colleges online like Industrial Design Centre – IIT Guwahati, Department of Architecture and Planning- IIT Kharagpur, Sir J. J. College of Architecture- Mumbai, Gateway College of Architecture- Delhi, SRM University Chennai, Sharda University- Delhi and Hindustan University- Chennai, Manipal University Jaipur. This workshop encouraged students to look through the lens of gender-sensitive design. Participants were given the task of reimaging public spaces from the lens of safety, accessibility and hygiene. The outcome so far has been in the form of compelling proposals for re-designing existing public spaces to make them more inclusive, safe and sensitive. To date, 900+ architecture and design students have enrolled in the course online for the combined ‘Know your Rights’ and ‘Designers, Know your Duties’ module on Acedge.
Michael Foley’s comments on the importance of inclusivity consideration in design can be heard here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ti4zzv2C4zc
To support the Walk for Arcause, please visit the link: https://walkforarcause.com/