How has been your journey from your first venture as an architect to now?
Being an outsider in Mumbai and a first-generation architect – the beginning was moderate. I started with 2 trainee employees in a rented residential premise in Dahisar in 1996. The living room of 160 sq. ft. was my first office compared to our current office space of 35,000 sq. ft. In our journey of two decades, we come a long way since our startup days of designing small bungalows and redevelopment layouts to malls, hospitality, high-rises and now infrastructure.
What is your success mantra to continue and push your ways to achieve your goals and surpass them?
I always believed in investing my time and resources in future. In a way, we dreamt of our future and worked hard to convert them into reality. Still if you ask my Success Mantra – then it is attitude. Attitude towards myself, towards people I deal with and towards my work. With right attitude you generate opportunities, you can make them fruitful, in fact you can convert failures into successes.
When tall buildings are implemented, do upfront cost affects the construction budget, and what are the expected pay back times?
How tall the building should be erected, and its profitability depends upon lot of factors like land cost, permissible built up area, site conditions, finance flow, expected sale rate, and market situation etc. In bigger cities, tall buildings are need of the future, and almost inevitable to make projects financially profitable provided the project adheres to the construction schedule till completion. If you study and control all the parameters correctly, the payback period is almost till the completion of the project or even before that.
Now-a-days skills of architects are blended with latest software solution and new technologies, what is your viewpoint on the same?
If we need to update and upgrade ourselves to international level, then it is most important to keep yourself resourceful in technology. I give 50 per cent of my time for R&D in software, even today I work lot on coding, algorithms, and graphical programing. We implemented BIM in 2006 and today we have our own drafting software for speed, accuracy and cross checking.
What is your signature style while designing a project? What various aspects are considered by you?
I always try to achieve complex forms and spaces with composition of perceptible forms and visually responsive spaces. The spaces, the geometry, the light of an architecture in great proportions must remain the core aim, while to achieve engineering aims for ultra-green architecture, I use lot of 3D-based software, along with other aspects like environmental simulations, structural and services requirements.
What is your take on green building residence?
I always go back to the real sense of the word ‘sustain’, which is to be able to uphold a state for a longer period of time. For me that is really important. If you build something and use money and resources on it, it should be something that will sustain in the situation you are in for a longer period of time. The biggest problem with the word ‘sustainability’ is that it has become a fashion word, something that you use as a stamp. We shouldn’t mix what we call ‘advertisement sustainability’ with the real architecture sustainability. Residential buildings consume more than 50 per cent of our resources in terms of energy, water and ground coverage. Hence, I believe that we should focus more on green residential developments. We recently completed 62-storied twin towers with platinum rating, and now, are doing country’s biggest urban renewal scheme of 24 million sq. ft. with parameters of gold rated green building.
What sets your design style apart from rest?
When you have multiple projects with similar requirements, it is very common that you start copying your own work. I try to avoid it, and to achieve it I keep on updating and improvising the planning principles, design priorities and even the drafting technics. Secondly, I always try to derive aesthetical character out of the functional planning with minimal added redundancy. So, if you find any key aesthetical feature in my project, it will always have functional or structural purpose. I feel along with my skill in planning and knowledge of various services my hold on subject of structures gives my structures different level of rationality.
Being an architect what do you see as important issues or considerations in your project?
I believe that architecture needs to be completely anchored in its program and site. Its meaning must be so deeply rooted in the condition of its inception that it is unfazed by fashion. My design describes the relation of a building to a site, to its culture. Character and design of the project should be associated with satisfaction of the user and profitability of the client. Apart from that, environmental aspects and contextual references are my priorities while planning.
As per you what measures are expected from the Indian government in promotion of tall buildings in the country?
When we design tall buildings, except in Mumbai or Delhi, we face lot of issues in approvals. Most of the cities don’t have supporting regulations or practically viable regulations. We recently completed 22-storied towers in Bhopal for which we got fire safety approval when the developer agreed to provide two fire tenders with snorkel free of cost to the department. Our country needs unified regulations for B and B+ cities for tall buildings and mega structures.
Beyond design and construction how BIM can help improve the performance of the building?
BIM has much more depth than just designing and simulation tool. It can help in coordination, site planning, execution, and supervision too. There are two major hurdles in the 100 per cent implementation today. I feel the technology is at infancy and hardware and the memory management of the software are not supporting large projects. Secondly, unless all the agencies involved use the same platform, get used and updated, its full potential cannot be used. We have invested in BIM heavily on my belief that we will overcome both these problems in near future.
As an architect what scope do you see in the Indian infrastructure industry?
In next few years, we will not just regain the status of fastest growing economy, but, also will achieve a status of developed nation. To see this prediction to be reality, we will have to achieve the pace of our infrastructure at par with China. I believe that we will witness the biggest boom in the infrastructure industry in coming years. We have already completed 4 skywalks for MMRDA and extension of 12 railway stations in Mumbai with MRVC, and now bidding for metro stations in Mumbai with international collaboration. I feel there is lot of scope in infra works for architects.
What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your work? What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to live by inspiration and concretize inspiration in space. Architecture can be a gift left for others to enjoy. A fundamental change of values must take place, and emphasize sustainable building and site development as fundamental to innovative and imaginative design. So far none of the Indian Architects can be considered successful internationally except few significant projects. The goal is to set firm foundation which can grow into a corporation in its maturity state, impact architecture at international level.