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Architecture in wood discussed at Canadian Wood webinar

As part of the Covid-19 initiative, Canadian Wood conducted its third webinar titled “Architecture with Wood in India” on July 24, 2020. A virtual panel discussion was presented by the Indo-Canadian Business Chamber (ICBC) and sponsored by Artius Interior Products Pvt. Ltd.

Nadira Hamid, CEO, ICBC began with opening remarks followed by Hon. Andrew Smith, Minister (Commercial), High Commission of Canada. Pranesh Chibber, Country Director, FII India, Mumbai introduced the moderator and curator of the event: Professor Gurdev Singh, Ex-Dean of the School of Environmental Design and Architecture, Navrachana University.

Architects on the panel shared informative presentations on architecture with wood. Invitees for this segment were: Ar. N Mahesh, Founder, Iyer & Mahesh, Trivandrum; Ar. Gurpreet Singh, Founder, Aakar Design Consultants, Gurugram; and, Ar. Kamal Malik, Founder, Malik Architecture, Mumbai. Ar. N. Mahesh is known for reviving traditional timber architecture in India using ‘green’ reforested timber and presented pieces that blended the heritage architecture of Kerala with modern technology. His presentation included wooden buildings, premium hotels and resorts such as the Ananta Spa and Resort, Rajasthan; the Lalit Resort and Spa, Kerala and the Zuri Kumarakom Resort and Spa, Kerala; and the Bell Museum, Trivandrum, which used Canadian-manufactured tongue and groove paneling made from western hemlock.

Ar. Gurpreet Singh presented acclaimed works such as the Royal Academy of Bhutan, Bhutan; the World School of Environment dining hall, Kerala; and the Aakar Villa, a luxury private residence spread over 1970 sq. ft. in Himachal Pradesh that exhibited the use of Canadian Wood douglas fir wood to build posts, beams, doors, and windows.

Ar. Kamal Malik defined architecture as a synthesis of ‘ecology’ and spirit’, referring to a mix of balance, tranquillity, and integrated approach to design. He presented luxury resorts in Lonavala and Alibaug, which melded contemporary architecture within the context of nature. The event concluded with an engaging panel discussion led by Professor Gurdev Singh and a Q&A session for the audience. Country homes, farmhouses, and resorts in the hilly and coastal areas were spotlighted for their extensive use of wood from sustainably managed forests.

Pranesh Chibber, Country Director, FII India, Mumbai, said, “It has been enriching to listen to these stalwarts of architecture and share their experience and expertise.”