BANGALORE: Dr M R Yogananda, consulting structural engineer for alternative technologies and visiting faculty, IISC, Bangalore, who has also won acclaim for his contribution in the usage of alternative technologies in the construction of low cost housing speaks with City Express about his view regarding glass facades.
What is your opinion of the glazed buildings in Bangalore and other
metros in the country ?
I find it very disturbing and that we are stupid enough to copy this kind of modern western technology for our cities. The construction of any mall or industrial unit with glass facade is now a mantra that many builders swear by. The consequences of the same results in higher energy consumption.
What is the overall impact of these
so-called architectural marvels ?
So much of glazing not only heats up the building but also creates a light effect. To cool down the trapped heat, one requires energy consuming devices like air conditioners, ceiling fans and other systems. Moreover, glass itself is very costly and an energy intensive material. It is used in areas that fall withing the temperate climatic zones. Our’s is not a country like that.
What kind of construction material can replace glass?
For any type of construction be households or industrial units, we need to look at ‘thermal comfort’ without using any external energy source. The criteria for designing buildings includes an important parameter: nataural light without any glare. But, not at the cost of heating the building itself. This is a challenge for the architects and so, many of us utilise ‘skylight’ or atriums. Glass by itself is an excellent, modern construction material but one should not condemn the material just because some builders are using it without understanding or knowing its properties.
In view of the unbridled usage of this material in Bangalore, do you feel it has contributed to the rise in temperatures?
I would not say that only glazed buildings have contributed to the formation of heat islands and rise in temperatures in Bangalore because, there are many other contibuting factors like rising vehicular pollution and lack of greenery. It is a combination of factors where these structures too are causing light pollution. The building industry which is dominated by builders who want to make their buildings look ‘attractive’ and although some architects are aware of this issue, they are unable to impose their viewpoint.
Do you feel that traditional
constructions were better suited for our cities and country ?
The basic issue here is, the effective use of masonry and more wall area that has no glazing and thereby reducing heat. Materials should be used in combinations keeping in mind our climate, land pattern and usage. We have to look at it holistically and takes a serious look at this issue. If one looks at the traditional buildings, they had less and smaller windows while nowadays, we have larger and vertical windows thereby, incurring more cost. Glazed walls are five times more expensive than brick wall, yet malls and IT sector prefer this concept without bothering about the consequences on the environment.