“Since 1971 when I passed out into the open world, I am still a student,” remarks Architect Anand Upalekar, Owner, Anand Upalekar & Associates
Anand Upalekar & Associates, established since 1973 in New Delhi and later shifted to Pune in 1977, specializes in corporate, industrial, IT architecture, and institutional buildings with special accent on single window service. In a conversation with ACE Update, Anand Upalekar shares his architecture vision and what he learned from the great Fathy Hassan.
Challenges in architecture One of the biggest challenges is lack of population threshold on cities. This results in expeditious construction techniques and vertical architectural products, such as multi-storeyed housings. This cuts off our relationship with the ground reality which is to be enjoyed. In earlier times, lime construction, bricks and maximum two-storied structures resulted in a development relative to human scale.
Memorable achievementsMy achievements have been my working experience with Architect Fathy Hassan in Cairo in 1985. His talks and work practice has been my inspiration throughout my carrier. I firmly believe that his style, a resurrection of Nubian Architecture of 3,000 years (being practiced even today), is the true architecture. It is practiced and executed by community as a whole, and one does not depend on any architect to achieve this. It has reflected in my style whenever possible in the form of mulquaf (wind scoop) and courtyard plans. His conviction that buildings breathe and adequate air changes are the perennial spirit of planning is imbibed in me. For this, he created knowledge of air currents with the help of courtyards and vertical tunnels as well as convection of air vis-a-vis the natural breeze currents.
Awards in architecture Most of my works are institutional architecture such as schools, colleges, public buildings and so forth. My efforts to create proper ventilation systems and open plazas have been a result of this belief.
Future outlookThe No 1 enemy of our architecture is glass and synthetic surfaces like ACP cladding. These are not of oriental origin and hence should be treated as invasion to our ethnic style of environmental design.
Worst architectural designI would lay the principles as well as features to identify bad design so that we go out and look for these symptoms — buildings which create a problem and then run around to resolve it, such as glass box architecture. These create suffocating spaces and admit huge amount of sunlight. Also all buildings that depend on enormous power which comes from outside source are bad buildings. All surfaces of yards, plazas and open spaces — especially covered by hard surfaces lead to emission of heat waves in surrounding areas — are bad spaces. Repercussions of these features affect other population which does not draw any benefit from such structures.