Steel manifest is the highest standard of beauty. It is strong enough to hold any structure and provides flexibility to the designer to mould the structure as per their design, says, Sachin J Indvatkar, Principal Architect, Studio-Arch
Q. What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
A. The role of any materials in architecture goes far beyond merely supporting forms. Materials are an integral and inseparable part of the architecture, and this collaboration of form and material together convey the spirit that is seeking to be expressed.
As far as steel is concerned it is the most underrated material in the construction industry. If you look in European or American countries, they utilize more steel and wood for construction than concrete whereas, in Asian countries, we still prefer concrete. Steel is strong enough to hold any structure at the same time it provides flexibility to the designer to mould the structure as per their design.
Q. How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solutions?
A. Steel manifest is the highest standard of beauty. Once Architect Roger Anger had stated “Beauty has the power to uplift the consciousness spontaneously,” and for me, steel exactly does the same for any structure. Steel gives complete freedom to explore different ideas and forms. As far as cost is concerned then the initial cost is slightly high, but if you look in terms of reusability, construction time, ease of execution, maintenance cost, and life of the structure then steel would be much cheaper than conventional material.
Q. What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
A. Currently, the market is full of varieties of sections, grades, and compositions while numerous companies even support customization in available sections which give designers a free hand in the design. Modern technologies like laser cutting, water jet cutting provides vast options for customization.
Q. What trend are we going to witness in the next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
A. The world is moving extremely fast and the way the innovations are happening in the field of construction I can see two options, on one hand, we are going to see more high-rise structures, and, on another hand, we might see more complex, free-flowing, integrated structures.
Q. What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
A. In the current scenario, designers avoid using steel as a major construction material because of its initial cost. If steel companies provide examples of such steel structures in terms of project cost, construction time, maintenance, reusability, environmental resources, etc. the designer and developer can get a complete picture.
Q. Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
A. We have completed a Warehouse Building and office building in Djibouti made with steel, and currently, we are working on an ongoing project i.e., an office building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The office building at Addis, Ababa, Ethiopia was one of the most challenging projects in terms of design. As the plot was very compact, we were obliged to have a certain height restriction since the international airport was in the vicinity, as the land was expensive which was tedious to consume complete FSI. The design must be unique and environmentally friendly. Addressing all these issues, we tried to keep the floor plate unadorned and spread our creative hands on the facade of the building.
Due to the ecologically diverse climatic conditions of Ethiopia, the steel frame gives a protective cover shield to the structure. As we aimed to give uninterrupted view of the airport, we have provided free flowing steel rods which give through and through view along with intermediate colour bands which adds a unique flavour to the whole structure.