Business Times

Call for political support to build green buildings in Sri Lanka

By Quintus Perera

The use of solar power as a means of conserving conventional energy was recommended this week as a key source in Sri Lankan building construction.

At the inauguration of ‘Architect 2011’ – the Annual Sessions of Sri Lanka Institute of Architects in Colombo on Wednesday, keynote speaker Raj Rewel, Principal Architect, Raj Rewal Associates, India said that in his building designing he uses photovoltaic material to get solar power as a method of conserving conventional energy and the Indian government is offering 80% subsidy on the use of such material and recommended that this method be adopted in Sri Lanka too.

Mr Rewal is an eminent architect/urban designer and has made a great impact on Indian cities and community through his architectural approaches for over several decades. His humanist approach to architecture responds to the complexities of rapid urbanization, the demands of climate, cultural traditions and building crafts and technologies.

He told the audience that included Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa that there should be political support to build green cities. He said that there were such cities in the past but they were built by emperors, but today they have to be fitted into the democratic set ups that are prevalent now. He said that in such planning of green cities the architects could play a major role.

Mr Rewal said that to bring up green cities today the traditional architecture would not suffice, like in olden days, but there should also be a mixture of modern technology. Chandana Edirisuriya, President, Sri Lanka Institute of Architects said that already new developments are taking place in the country, such as infrastructure and road network for the greater mobility of the people and in this sphere architects have a major role to play. Therefore, he urged the government to allow the ‘trickle down’ benefits to the local architects too.

He said that Sri Lankan architectural fraternity is well equipped with a strong membership of over 1,000 of SLIA to undertake any magnitude of work and support the government in their accelerated development efforts. He said that 80% of their members are involved in small, medium and large scale consultancy services.

He pointed out a dangerous phenomenon where a group of persons are pursuing the government in an attempt to replace them (local architects). He said that there is no reason whatsoever for them to be replaced and indicated that it would take 7 ½ years for their members to obtain a license to practice as an architect and within this period their members acquired enough knowledge on the job.

Minister Rajapakse, in his comments, assured SLIA that the government would not allow such a thing to happen. He said that politicians and architects are all dreamers and the politicians’ dream to be one peaceful country has now been fulfilled.

Ms Ruth Reed, President, Royal Institute of British Architects also spoke, while there several foreign architect delegates present for the 29th Annual Sessions of SLIA. The theme of this year’s sessions is ‘Architecture for all: City and Community’ which aims to showcase issues facing architects in fulfilling their task of giving expression to the value and aspirations of the community.

The sessions would deliberate on the role of architects in national development including community architecture and discuss past achievements and emerging trends.

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