An unfinished house may still look good if built with two or three different materials, colours, surfaces and textures, says Sathya Prakash Varanashi

Can a dish still being cooked taste well? Can a half-done painting appear attractive? Can an unfinished building appear beautiful? The answer to the first two is a definite ‘no’. However, an unfinished house may still look good, if it is being done the natural way.

Today, building with unwanted concrete columns, cement blocks and surfaces finished with cement mortar has become the norm, which altogether express no character. The options left are to choose the colour of chemical paints harmful to health or do up an ‘elevation’ to artificially spruce up the building.

Alternatively, imagine the full wall being built with two or three different materials, colours, surfaces and textures creating both the harmony and contrast. Imagine the pleasant looks without the falseness of lavish or grand elevation. Imagine the simple and elegant appearance.

We may choose from laterite, mud, bricks, stone, clay blocks, bamboo and of course painted surfaces too. Each of these materials again offer more than one look, based on how they are built. Multiple walls provide varied sizes and scales to play with desired patterns, compositions and proportions. Mostly being natural, they need no chemical painting lifelong, offering a good view to all people living there and passing by.

Can we add a touch of curved profiles? After all, curved lines are creations of nature, while straight lines, never found in nature, are a discovery by humans. Any combination of the two would be a beautiful fusion between natural and human creations, theoretically speaking! Unlike straight lines which appear the same from every angle, curves appear different from every spot, an attraction that cannot be explained, but can only be experienced.

There is a strong myth about elevation, with every architect drawing it up. We can never see that elevation exactly the same way it is drawn up, once the building is built. What matters is the view, nowadays offered by software. Unfortunately, very few architects share it as seen by us standing on the road, but show it from impossible angles just because in those ‘unseen angles’ they appear best! Look at all the billboard hoardings of large apartment complexes, shown as if seen from a drone or a helicopter.

We need to imagine a visual delight from the house view as we walk along or enter into the house. Vision in motion is more important than the technically drafted static elevation drawing. The frontal appearance can emerge from the design and construction itself, of course with natural materials. Spending a few lakhs on elevation is a wasteful act.

Just like in cooking or art, architecture is also governed by many design fundamentals. Most of them can be studied under a subject called ‘Theory of Architecture’, towards creating better buildings for the society. However, the word theory seems to put people off, who ignore it.

It is high time we relook at the ambience of aesthetic attraction – the natural way.

(The author is an architect working on eco-friendly designs and can be contacted at [email protected])

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