Petitioning Shri Sanjay Lalbhai, Chairman and Dr. Bimal Patel, President, CEPT University, Ahmedabad.
Can CEPT with its limited 5 acre land include all the possibilities that today offers and cater to students in large numbers that would benefit from the way of learning it fosters? Will CEPT remain the same if it was to attempt to do that? In the same breath it is important to query what the position of CEPT would be a few years down the line when possibilities and methods would undergo further change. Would one want to tear the place down and build a sky-scraper to achieve the density that such a place would demand? Would all this be justifiable since it probably would be the only way to compete? Since when has it become important to gauge ourselves in comparison to others?
At CEPT we experienced, we learnt and we grew. The yardstick was always our own it was never in comparison with others.
I have always considered myself privileged to have commenced my studies in Architecture at The School of Architecture, CEPT. To have been one of the select few who were found fit to experience the learning environment at CEPT from among the many who tried, no doubt, had its moments too. But all this pales to insignificance when one considers the openness of experience and learning each day at CEPT had to offer. Learning and experiences that I carry and cherish to date as I continue my studies in Architecture.
Is it right, I ask, that a colonnade becomes a wall?
I remember learning to differentiate an open surface from surface with openings. The fins are in fact deep columns making the internal space contiguous with the outside both equally inviting. The openness of this open surface became the character of those it belonged to from time to time. This open surface now being changed to a surface with openings in effect breaks the contiguity and is a departure from the open and inclusive spirit of CEPT to say the least. Should CEPT become this? Does CEPT want to become this?
Each one of us who may at some point take on the reins of an institution such as this must necessarily realize that this is not only a built environment of great significance with reference to a time and ethos but also one of the few that initiated and will continue to foster learning in an open, exemplary and unparalleled way. It is one of the symbols of change of a way of thinking and a way of learning. Any Architectural change thereto is therefore derogatory. It should become the onus of every person or group of people who take on such responsibility to additionally take on the responsibility of disallowing any requirement to alter the Architecture of the Place.
It is probably another significant change in the ways things take place that is sought to be exemplified by the recent changes that the campus has witnessed and is going to witness. Why change this "statement"? Why not make "another"? "Another" that is going to stand as a testimony to the age of computerization, air-conditioning, competition and whatever else have you?
If we are to allow this let alone moot such requirements of change to the architecture of our own institution of learning how then will we impress on non-architects the necessity to retain in its pristine condition architectural works that are of importance, which house their institutions or homes.
I have great respect for everyone who has been, is and ever will be involved in any capacity at CEPT. I am sure that serious introspection would generate an appropriate way to ensure that CEPT heads in the right direction maintaining openness in its character and environment, retaining in mint condition its architecture and respecting its culture, history and heritage.
ARCHITECT KURIAN GEORGE