The design firm that has created marvelous structures across all typologies, setting an example of their unique design philosophy….
GPM Architects and Planners is led by the man who believes that one learns from everything and every person around. This learning is reflected in the firm’s designs, making them one of the most renowned Architectural firms in the country…
To share his wonderful work, design inspirations and much more, Gian P. Mathur, Managing Director of GPM Architects and Planners, is here to share his viewpoint…
Read on to know more….
Q. What initially made you study architecture and made you an architect?
A. As a child, I was deeply involved in art and loved drawing. By the age of five, I had already decided to become an architect. This passion later led me to undertake my studies in architecture, post which I decided to start my own architecture practice rather than joining any other.
Q. What particular aspects of your background and upbringing have shaped your design principles and philosophies?
A. The values we receive and what we see around us in our formative years, be it from our parents or other people, shapes our principles and philosophies. It gives us new ideas and helps us learn from their achievements and mistakes. This inspiration is not just in terms of personal growth but also professionally. I believe as architects, we can learn a lot from what’s around us, and that influences our designs. In the initial stage of my career, I was deeply influenced by the architectural style of Chandigarh, but as we moved ahead with our practice, our design style and the way we worked also changed gradually.
Q. How would you describe your design approach?
A. We work on multiple typologies of projects – from commercial and housing to large scale institutional and infrastructure projects. Thus, it isn’t easy to outline a specific design approach. Our main principles while designing any project is the functionality of the design and the sustainability of the structure. For me, form follows function – Each project requires an individual focus on its requirements, which ultimately decides its design language.
Q. Since you have done so many mega projects across different sectors, what is your take on the Indian steel construction industry?
A. I started my architectural career by designing industrial buildings. This is why for me, function is more important than form while designing a building. When you design an industrial building, one gets involved in the basic requirements of the building and the relationship between the different parts of the project.
Steel has been an important component of all my designs for a long time. Earlier, we used to get a lot of steel structural work on-site, while PEB came in much later. I believe steel has a great future in the construction industry. Initially, the right quality of steel was not available in India. With the advancement in technology and construction materials in the market, we have numerable steel products available today. Though steel structures were mostly limited to the industrial sector when they started, now all kinds of projects are being done in steel – be it commercial or residential, making them an important part of our construction industry. The only drawback of using steel is that the cost of execution for steel structures is higher than other traditional construction methods. If the cost of steel becomes more competitive, more buildings will be done in steel in the future.
Q. How have technological advancements influenced your work?
A. Technological advancements indeed make a difference in the way we design our projects and their construction. The advent of Pre-engineered buildings and the availability of higher grades of steel have influenced the design of our projects. Many companies are now also working with H- beams and light steel structures with wall cladding, making steel structures easy to construct.
Q. What does sustainability mean today?
A. Sustainability has become an often-used word in the construction world today, but I think Indian designs have always been sustainable. For me, Sustainability in any design means a responsive design to the site, not just to its physical context, but also to natural factors like the wind direction, flow of natural light in the building and the movement of the sun. Another essential parameter for an environmentally sensitive design is the use of sustainable and recyclable materials in its construction. All these are equally essential to make a project sustainable.
Q. Having designed so many steel projects, name one steel project that you want to mention that is close to you.
A. Our aim has always been to engage in more functional designs as compared to only aesthetically pleasing ones. We have worked on projects of various scale – from very basic components of a building such as a chimney to competent steel structures in the past.
One of the most recent and challenging projects that we have worked on has been office accommodation for the government under the Central Vista Redevelopment. The scale of the project was roughly 10 lakhs sq. ft. while the time period was only ten months to complete the project starting from the foundation of the building. The project scope included a fully functioning air-conditioned building with interiors and furniture within the stipulated time frame. Though the construction was delayed due to the pandemic and lockdown in the country, we were still able to complete the project within one-month variation – including everything from laying the foundation to erecting the steel structures and finishing. The building is currently fully functional. It was indeed a challenging and landmark project for our company.
Q. How do you think the new normal will benefit the industry at large?
A. I think the industry is doing pretty good in the current scenario, even though the executing cost is a bit competitive. The use of new technology and the new designs are surely helping it to move forward.
The use of materials such as steel has good potential due to its flexibility in design and making buildings earthquake-resistant – features that are not available with complete concrete buildings. Today, several unimaginable steel structures are coming up, with steel tubes and larger spans that were not possible few years ago. Steel has a broad scope in the industry.
Q. What or who has been the biggest influence in your work?
A. There is no specific influence in my work, but I believe every project has its own challenges and own set of issues, and how they are resolved is important. Usually, while designing any project, builders have their own specifications, including the area where the construction is going to take place, the project cost and the timeline. One has to be very competent to work within such specifics – these are the parameters that define my work.
Q. What is your ultimate goal when it comes to work, and what do you want to be remembered for?
A. I do not feel the need to be remembered as I believe my work will speak for itself. I always strive to create good architecture and designs so that people can enjoy the spaces, whether in public or in private.