Significance In Insignificance

By Architect Vivek Sabherwal, Director, Apeejay School of Architecture & Planning, Greater Noida

Architects focus time and energy on large projects or even smaller projects expressing their creative juices. Often, the micro projects within macro level projects get ignored or sidelined. Large complex or individual Houses get published, however, how many times do architects focus on small size projects within the same large project complex which do not get the detailing and attention they ought to have. For instance, Guard huts are found at the entrance gate of most of the building complexes, yet people do not pay much attention and do not stop to look at them with a critical eye or appreciate if something different has been created. Guard hut at entrance is the first building one sees on approaching a complex, yet ignored when it comes to design. Also windmills in the past or the ones at present do not often exhibit architectural exuberance.  These examples are mere pointers to suggest that there are similar, smaller structures within a larger whole that deserve significance that they lack.

Romeo and Juliet, Windmill -Architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed a windmill for his aunts in 1897 in their native place, Spring Green, Wisconsin and named it Romeo and Juliet. The interlocking octagon and diamond shape provided the windmill with its strength as well as its name. It is the oldest existing building designed by Mr Wright on the Taliesin property. It was 60 feet high and the original sheathing was of cedar shingles and later in 1990 was changed to cypress wood and the internal structure of wood repaired.

Guard Hut, Bhimtal Resort

A Guard Hut was designed by me in 1997 for a Hotel Resort and was perched at the edge of the stone retaining wall. It faced the Entrance gate from where people approached. On the other side of the Guard Hut was a deep depression and  the car parking was located. The Guards in the Guard Hut got a panoramic view from all sides, serving the function for which it was built and made the Guard enjoy the natural beauty all around and gave the joy which so often we deprive them of.  Visitors stopped at the Gate and noticed the Guard hut with a sense of appreciation and excitement and went inside expecting more to come.  It was made of local available wood  treated at site and put up by makeshift carpenters on  the  site  with the given instructions. It still stands as it is, whereas many other major renovations/ changes have taken place inside the Resort complex.