IIA Kerala Chapter’s recent conclave attempted to find solutions to the damage done by the floods

An Architects Conclave organised by the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) Kerala Chapter to assess the extensive damage inflicted upon the buildings and other infrastructure in the aftermath of the recent floods (this August) that devastated Kerala, called for a shift in the building technologies that are more eco-friendly and those which consider the increasing dangers of natural calamities.
The Conclave, held on October 6, 2018 at Taj Gateway Hotel, Marine Drive, Kochi, saw presentations from six centres of IIA: Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kottayam, Kochi, Thrissur and Kozhikode (Calicut).
The IIA Kerala Chapter had got into action soon after the floods, the immediate efforts being to reach relief to the affected across the State. The architects of all the centres in Kerala did a commendable job of supporting the relief activities in their respective regions.
Following that, an emergency meeting convened by BR Ajit, chairman, IIA Kerala Chapter, formed a task force called the IIA Task Force with architect Lalichan Zacharias as convener to study and assess the damage caused by the floods in their respective areas. For this purpose, the State was divided into six regions:
l First region: Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Aaranmula and Pathanamthitta
l Second region: Kottayam, Idukki and Kuttanad
l Third region: Ernakulam, Paravur and Angamaly
l Fourth region: Thrissur and Palakkad
l Fifth region: Kozhikode and Wayanad
l Sixth region: Kannur and Kasaragode

All the six centres of the IIA got into action, conducting extensive works of study and analysis which were presented at the Conclave.
The event was inaugurated by MLA Hibi Eden, following an address by BR Ajit. The presentations made by representatives from the various centres of IIA revealed the tremendous work that the members of IIA had put in to visit the affected area and to conduct an in-depth study on the damage caused. They had not only analysed the causes of the damage, but also suggested prototype designs for the flood-affected areas for the future.
Presentations were made by architect Gopi Krishnan representing Thiruvananthapuram; architect Dipu George representing Kollam; architect Shobak Thomas representing Kottayam; architect Monolita Chatterjee on behalf of the Kochi centre; architect Pramod Kumar MR for Thrissur and architect Vivek P for Kozhikode. Monolita Chatterjee played the role of the anchor for the presentations. An exhibition of the study were presented at the venue, which was open to the public.
An array of interesting prototype designs were included in the presentations and the exhibition, focusing on flood-resilience and cost-effectiveness. One of the designs from Niranjan Das Sharma, lecturer and TKM Engineering College, Kollam, used hollow bricks. Another design from Sharma used walls made of panels on elevated foundation and roof using metal sheet. Zacharias presented a design using pre-fab panels. Kochi-based Kochuthomman Associates presented a model using pre-fab modules which can be assembled quickly.
After the presentations by the centres, a panel discussion with representatives from all of them was conducted in the evening, moderated by architect Biley Menon.
The highlight of the day was the presentation made by senior architect Prof.Arunava Dasgupta, head of the department of Urban Design, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, in the evening. He presented the methods of construction suitable for hilly terrains which were prone to landslides. Dasgupta also presented live examples from Himachal Pradesh.
The conclave was attended by over 100 architects from across the state. Architects Ramchandran and Kurien also spoke on the occasion. A vote of thanks was proposed by architect Ajith Vyas. A consolidated report of the studies conducted by IIA Kerala Chapter and the inferences arrived at will be submitted to the Government of Kerala.

Author : By Renu Ramanath

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