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Time for fast-track architecture to match our fast-track life style

“The role of an architect has become important to enhance the public, sustainable, and green building to take permissions from the various authorities,” comments Architect Prem Nath
Architecture was For Architect Prem Nath’s destiny. None of my family members were in this field. In an exclusive conversation with ACE Update, Architect Prem Nath of Prem Nath And Associates shares why he is proudest for the transformation of his dream to become a scientist to an architect.
Journey startedI started my journey with completing diploma in architecture from Sir J. J. School of Architecture in 1965, with highest ranking in design. When my practice started in architecture, the scenario was so different from now. Architecture was limited, scale was very diminutive, and resources were inadequate. In the evolution of last decade, there has been a glut of designers, manufacturers, vendors, suppliers and international clients, causing the shift towards commercialisation. There is an ocean of changes in availability of resources from overseas countries, from materials to finishes. Designing is no more detailing all the parts. It is setting up of resources available and assembling them.
Now architecture is getting smarter day by day. Using state-of-the-art technology and automation, we advanced ourselves. It is a time of fast-track architecture to match our rapid and fast-track life style.
Challenges facedEvery profession has difficulties. The only difference is that architecture is arranged. We react very fast to current issues with our ideas. Nowadays challenges are simpler; we have technologies, resources everything just one click away, but when I begin practice these things were not available. Still we were the first to put high-rise building, Usha Kiran, in 70s in Mumbai. But the biggest challenges to face being an architect was to portray the image of an architect to our society where majority of people doesn’t consider or hire architect to design and plan their buildings, whereas most of such work done by the engineers, draftsmen and junior architects. Reason is that it was difficult for an architect to look into the small projects and simultaneously it was hard to hire an architect for the normal people.However, society has been enlighten and become educated from the past 50 years, people started recognising architect and terms like planning, shape, ventilation, and orientation. Green architecture is new vogue and then engineers stepped back as they were not aware with the green architecture, sustainable, planning, orientation, shape, form, space, technologies, efficient equipment, colour, material, insulation, services, and so forth.
The role of an architect has become important to enhance the public, sustainable, and green building to take permissions from the various authorities. An architect is a supreme person; it comes under the duty of an architect that he/she have to come over from all the difficulties. We architects always discover opportunities from the difficulties we face, by keeping an attitude to sustain it with patience through which we can get ourselves beyond the expectations.
Remarkable achievementsIf you ask me about milestone, we are creating landmark from the very beginning. We have created country’s first revolving restaurant (Ambassador Hotel) in 1970s and first health spa and body rejuvenating centre at Golden Palms Resort, Bangalore. The spa was the first of its kind in India. We have also designed India’s first mall/multiplex at City Mall (Fame Adlabs) in Andheri, first fast track IT project at Mind Space Malad, First school with – No homework Concept, Vasant Valley School in New Delhi, my client said only few words to me; and those words were; “ I wanted a very high class, modern, and international standard school” rest he left on me, and then I designed 1st ever school with No Home Work system, for India Today Group – Vasant Valley School even today is known for its high educational standards and for its distinctive Architecture; it is the clients trust which speaks and helps the designer to think beyond the sky, first ISKCON temple, first IT-SEZ park, an Iconic Tower Building in Kolkata and many such Smart Buildings & Green Buildings under development.
Our performance leading us to create milestone, we are leaders and milestone created by us, which gives inspiration to others and followed by them. In fact, I was one of the first architects in the country to invest in a computer, way back in 1980s when a computer was a bulky machine which needed an expert to run it. Personally I admire technology a lot; technology is a tool for me. I keep traveling to various sites, meetings, and seminars but that doesn’t stop me from designing. Each project is designed by me, and my mobile is my sketchpad and use it to make sketches furthermore. I email them to my office for further detailing. By the time I reach office, my expert staff presents me with the accurate version of the same sketch and then we sit further to detail it. I have my architecture in my pocket.
Future outlookIndia has always been a land of opportunities. A hardworking individual is sure to have a very bright future; there is so much in store for the new generation with immense opportunities. India is on the verge of becoming the most influential markets in the world with entire world looking towards India. There are already so many infrastructure happening in India, including evolution in sustainable architecture. In fact, India is having more sustainable buildings than the other part of world. About 30-40 million household, and 10 million high end and billions of sq. m constructions are going on in India.
The young architects starting out today are very fortunate to begin their career at this stage, where technology is on their side. World is at their finger tips, communicating is a lot easier, and expressing themselves and their designs have got much easier than what we had during our times.
Architecture has a great future, not only in urban cities but also in Tier-2 cities, which are growing multifold. I feel with the start of new millennium, India has just begun building and more will be built.
One has so much of knowledge, technology, resources, materials and quality architecture products; all one needs to do is to understand it, brings into play all the facilities accessible, and create good architecture, while contributing to fast growing India. While I heartily convey my best wishes to each youngster of my fraternity, I once again reiterate that I foresee a bright future for these young architects. The future developments should speak of large scale.
India’s worst architectural designs I would talk about Mumbai in this context. It’s not about worst architectural design; it’s about redevelopment going on in Mumbai and suburbs. In Mumbai, the cost of land is close to unfeasible for residents to move out of aging and often sadly dilapidated housing societies. However, while many developers sell the dream of redevelopment to housing societies, there have been several cases where the dream has turned into a nightmare for the families. A redevelopment project going wrong can have disastrous consequences for the people who are living there. They hardly have a space in between the two building to breath. They almost have a handshaking balcony. Most of the residents acknowledged that sooner or later, there would be maintenance and privacy issues which would ultimately result in the demolition of the building or changing the building. We have seen so many examples for such buildings; these buildings are the real examples of worst architecture.

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