24 October 2019

Interaction- Abhijeet P Patki, Sr Project Architect, Somaya & Kalappa Consultants Pvt Ltd

A single approach cannot suit all projects

 

Founded in Mumbai back in 1978, SNK has been a leader in Indian architecture. With a strong belief on the fundamentals of architectural elements, SNK has catered to its clients with the best of its services. With the architecture sector facing the churn of time, ABHIJEET P. PATKI, SENIOR PROJECT ARCHITECT, SOMAYA & KALAPPA CONSULTANTS PVT. LTD in an exclusive interview with CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES speaks about the firms thoughts behind its designs, the changing trends, impact of Green Buildings and a lot more.

 

 

What is your rationale behind your designs? Do you follow the minimalist or maximalist approach.

 

Our approach towards any design revolves around several parameters varying from nature to commercial depending on the typology of the project and Client’s aspirations. We believe that a single approach cannot suit all projects. We design our buildings and spaces corresponding to the regional contents of culture, traditions, geographical importance, regional importance or any other unique concept. Our company strongly follows 5 design ethos which are – Water, Light, Geometry, Wall and Materials which we believe are the fundamentals of architectural elements that represent the Indian architectural vocabulary.

 

 

How have recent mix of technology with the innovative materials used, changed the scope of architectural design.

 

Development of technology has aided the pace of projects at all stages including design stage and hence has become more challenging. Clients are ready to move forward to use the latest technology or choose innovative materials that will help them build and complete projects faster than it used to be. This is certainly the need of the hour today as project delivery is directly linked to market economics. There have been limited changes in the architectural design approach with the advent of technology. For certain projects, designing has become rigid while at times it has eased in realizing the vision of architects. To cite an example, we can see how technology and material of the concrete formwork has affected the change in residential building designs. The developers demand that the design form to be simple and straightforward which will enable them to use advanced formwork systems consistently at all levels to achieve short construction cycle and help deliver the project on time.

 

With the advanced formwork systems coupled with Aluminum shuttering we can help achieve construction cycle of a slab to about 5 or 8 days as against 14 – 21 days. Thus with a thoughtful design and with the help of technology, results can be achieved faster and superior. In today’s competitive situation, aspects like architectural design, engineering design, construction technology and material selections, all have to be analogous to each other to have a good result.

 

 

 

With regards to usage of green and energy efficient buildings materials, to what extent are they used in your projects? Could you also share with us names of such products you use.

 

Buildings consume energy at different levels in every stage of the life cycle. Building materials occupy a great share of this consumption. Therefore, the amount of energy consumed by materials used in building during life cycle is an important parameter while using the same. Due to growing awareness of Green products and active involvement led by organizations like CII, IGBC and other domestic & international organizations, there are many products which are certified Green products. Although those materials have been available earlier too, those were never termed or promoted as “Green” due to lack of awareness. Mentioning about the materials, we have been regular users of Fly ash bricks, Autoclaved Aerated Concrete blocks, certified woods, gypsum boards, low VOC paints etc. We also ensure that we use majorly regional materials and limit the use of imported items as then the cost of the transport of the same as well as labour cost is kept in check. Speaking about products, we always consider products like low flow fixtures & aerators in plumbing, LED fixtures & BEE rated electrical fixtures etc, solar control glasses for facades etc. Besides materials and products, we give lot of thought on MEP system design and try to make the whole system as efficient as it could be. Use of VRF or water cooled HVAC system, solar energy, rain water harvesting system; sewage treatment plant (STP) etc. will always find its way in our projects.

 

 

 

Speaking about green projects, how important is the concept of sustainability and green footprint from the context of landscaping?

 

Landscaping is an important discipline in any project that provides human-nature connect which helps improving quality of life. At the same time, it is one of the areas which requires extensive and appropriate maintenance for its upkeep and growth. Hence it is very essential to adopt measures that are sustainable which will not burden on the operational cost of its maintenance which eventually helps the owner to maintain it with satisfaction. Measures like Xeriscaping, indigenous vegetation, use of water from STP or harvested rain water etc. are necessary to ensure sustainability. Even the water bodies if planned should be in accordance to the regional climate typology and planned only if they do not demand make up water too frequently. The ambience lighting for landscaping should be preferably connected to solar energy so that it doesn’t escalate the operational cost.

 

 

 

Is it possible to design a Smart, Sustainable, home at Affordable price.

 

Recently there has been wide promotion about Smart, Sustainable homes & few developers claim to have entered in the foray of smart homes project. However, we think that sustainable homes can be certainly affordable but Smart homes, we believe, come at a high cost simply because of the inclusions of hi-tech or futuristic technologies which come as a pre requisites for such smart homes. The capital cost of such technologies is huge and needless to say that its cost is recovered from the buyer. The buyer then has to continue bearing its high operational cost which we believe reduces its sustainability. One of the main examples of the failure of ‘Smart Homes’ is of Songdo City in South Korea which was designed & built around technology but has failed in its expectation and it is totally deserted as developers are unable to sell the homes. On the other hand, if homes are built to be sustainable with combination of local traditional materials in combination with modern construction method & known sustainability measures, homes can certainly be affordable. Cities in India certainly require self-sustainable projects considering the fact that infrastructure in the cities do not keep pace with the real estate development.

 

 

 

Your comments on evolving trends in architectural designs in Indian real estate sector.

 

Indian real estate sector is getting highly influential by western trends. To mention few examples, space planning is getting compacted & rigid, utility areas which is an essential requirement of Indian homes are being compromised, elevation treatment as well as material selection is inspired from designs abroad and are being used without due diligence of its adaptability to Indian context. The designing, essentially in metro cities, is governed by economics ahead of functionality. This is not a good sign and has become an area of concern.

 

 

 

Can you state the progress of architectural opportunities in the Smart city Mission.

 

It is too early to state about the progress of architectural opportunities in the Smart City Mission. For a successful Smart City, key aspects like –Infrastructure, Transportation, Utilities, Waste management are fully developed to support the development the city. I think in India we still have wide gap between these element and real estate development. The later generally moves faster than the former. In any case, in such missions there are ample opportunities available but only time will tell if those could really contribute and correspond to the intended mission.

 

 

Is it possible to design a Smart, Sustainable, home at Affordable price.

 

Recently there has been wide promotion about Smart, Sustainable homes & few developers claim to have entered in the foray of smart homes project. However, we think that sustainable homes can be certainly affordable but Smart homes, we believe, come at a high cost simply because of the inclusions of hi-tech or futuristic technologies which come as a pre requisites for such smart homes. The capital cost of such technologies is huge and needless to say that its cost is recovered from the buyer. The buyer then has to continue bearing its high operational cost which we believe reduces its sustainability. One of the main examples of the failure of ‘Smart Homes’ is of Songdo City in South Korea which was designed & built around technology but has failed in its expectation and it is totally deserted as developers are unable to sell the homes. On the other hand, if homes are built to be sustainable with combination of local traditional materials in combination with modern construction method & known sustainability measures, homes can certainly be affordable. Cities in India certainly require self-sustainable projects considering the fact that infrastructure in the cities do not keep pace with the real estate development.

 

 

 

Please provide details regards to an iconic structure designed by you either ongoing or executed.

 

  • Project : Software Development Campus for TCS at Indore
  • Design Architect: Somaya and Kalappa Consultants Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai
  • Plot Area: 100 acres
  • Built up area: 10,00,000 sft
  • Project Status: 2 Phases completed, 1 phase ongoing
  • Sustainable Features: Double Glass Unit, Fenestrations for shading VRV Air conditioning, Rain Water Harvesting, STP, Solar Panels, Indigenous Vegetation

 

 

Project : IT Knowledge Park for Zensar Technologies Ltd.

 

  • Design Architect: Somaya and Kalappa Consultants Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai
  • Plot Area : 10 acres
  • Built up area : 37,000 sft
  • Project Status: Completed
  • Sustainable Features: Double Glass Unit with Solar reduction, VRV Air conditioning, Rain Water Harvesting, Use of regional ‘Nevasa’ stone, STP, Bio Gas.

 

 




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