This issue of the journal brings together the practice of architecture in its
different facets, from typical design issues like the impact of style on regional
architecture and geometry in urban built forms to the implications of technology in architecture for seismic safety and resource conservation.
Seismic safety in buildings continues to be an issue of much concern, with major earthquakes and tsunamis in recent times causing widespread damage to the built environment in several parts of the world. The threat of such major catastrophes has not abated. It is, therefore, imperative for architects and builders to design and build seismically safe buildings. One major area of concern is non-engineered structures in rural areas, where there can be heavy loss of life during earthquakes because of poor design practices.
The first paper, “All Quiet on the Earthquake Front! Developing a Risk Reduction Tool for Self-Builders in Earthquake-Prone Rural Areas of Turkey” by Ali Tolga Özden, presents a tool that has been formulated for Unreinforced Masonry (URM) buildings for the rural areas of Turkey. The tool, named ‘Risk Reduction Communication Tool’ (RR-CoT), explains certain simple measures self-builders can take to construct seismically resistant buildings. The author also highlights that RR-CoT is a user-friendly construction manual specifically tailored for the rural builder. Moreover, there is a provision for constant upgradation of RR-CoT to meet the changing consumer demands and new sources.
Another abiding concern is the resource consumption pattern of buildings. Many studies are focusing on reducing resource consumption through conservation, recycling and reuse. An emerging innovative concept is ‘Disassembly’. The second paper, “Design for Disassembly: A Step Towards Zero-Waste Buildings” by Nikhil Sasidharan and P S Chani, focuses on the concept of Design for Disassembly (DfD) resulting in buildings which can be disintegrated into the modular components it was made from, leading to efficient resource utilization for the building’s life span. But the authors caution that a systematic design methodology and a deconstruction plan have to be prepared at the outset of construction for DfD to be effective.
The third paper, “Integration of Urban Form and Architecture Through Geometrical Systems in the Indian Context” by Sandeep Dua, Najamuddin and R K Jain, analyzes the relationship between architecture and urban form created by the application of geometry in varied manner as an organizational tool. The authors highlight the impact of geometry in imparting symbolism to our cities, while also serving as an integrating tool to harmonize individual buildings to the collective built form, resulting in a meaningful urbanism.
The final paper, “The Origin and Evolution of Woods Bagot Architects 1900-1940: Finding Cultural Relevance in Design Through Walter Hervey Bagot” by David Jones, is an interesting study on Woods Bagot Architects of Australia in the early part of the 20th century. The author highlights the unique and relevant regional style for South Australia evolved by the architects out of an intelligent mix of several architectural styles, with the architects underpinning their work with certain core values.
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs): The Changing Face of Banking in India
Information and communication technology has changed the way in which banks provide services to its customers. These days the customers are able to perform their routine banking transactions without even entering the bank premises. ATM is one such development in recent years, which provides remote banking services all over the world, including India. This paper analyzes the development of this self-service banking in India based on the secondary data.
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is playing a very important role in the progress and advancement in almost all walks of life. The deregulated environment has provided an opportunity to restructure the means and methods of delivery of services in many areas, including the banking sector. The ICT has been a focused issue in the past two decades in Indian banking. In fact, ICTs are enabling the banks to change the way in which they are functioning. Improved customer service has become very important for the very survival and growth of banking sector in the reforms era. The technological advancements, deregulations, and intense competition due to the entry of private sector and foreign banks have altered the face of banking from one of mere intermediation to one of provider of quick, efficient and customer-friendly services. With the introduction and adoption of ICT in the banking sector, the customers are fast moving away from the traditional branch banking system to the convenient and comfort of virtual banking. The most important virtual banking services are phone banking, mobile banking, Internet banking and ATM banking. These electronic channels have enhanced the delivery of banking services accurately and efficiently to the customers. The ATMs are an important part of a bank’s alternative channel to reach the customers, to showcase products and services and to create brand awareness. This is reflected in the increase in the number of ATMs all over the world. ATM is one of the most widely used remote banking services all over the world, including India. This paper analyzes the growth of ATMs of different bank groups in India.
If ATMs are largely available over geographically dispersed areas, the benefit from using an ATM will increase as customers will be able to access their bank accounts from any geographic location. This would imply that the value of an ATM network increases with the number of available ATM locations, and the value of a bank network to a customer will be determined in part by the final network size of the banking system. The statistical information on the growth of branches and ATM network in select countries.
The financial services industry in India has witnessed a phenomenal growth, diversification and specialization since the initiation of financial sector reforms in 1991. Greater customer orientation is the only way to retain customer loyalty and withstand competition in the liberalized world. In a market-driven strategy of development, customer preference is of paramount importance in any economy. Gone are the days when customers used to come to the doorsteps of banks. Now the banks are required to chase the customers; only those banks which are customercentric and extremely focused on the needs of their clients can succeed in their business today.