4 Decades of an Architectural Practice

Excerpts from an Interview Published in Construction Mirror_ July-2015 issue

  • Could you please give a brief about Design Plus architects and its journey since its first project?

As a thought, Design Plus originated on a drawing board at SPA in 1976. In 1981, the thought was formalized. We began with very humble commissions and an equally humble 100 SqFt. basement office.

Since 2010, however, Design Plus has been a sole proprietorship with a lot of young architects leading the Design and Construction pipeline of each project. Our mission has always been to maintain an ethical and honest practise, with its prime loyalty being towards the Project (not an entity or agency).

Chapter 101, the last defining chapter of the book ‘101 Things I Learned in Architecture School’, claims that “Architects are late bloomers”. We probably endorse that view 100%. It’s been a rough journey and we proudly boast that we are doing our best and biggest work now.

 

  • Tell us about the services you offer. Brief us about your designing process.

We offer comprehensive design consultancy within the umbrella of Architecture, Interiors and Construction Management. At the inception of any project, of course we look at the tangible elements (program, bye-law, local context, environment etc.) but more than that we look for the intangible inspiration. This could be direct like client’s trade or endeavour, or indirect like geometry, philosophy, math, material etc. This is where D+DR also first steps in. The marriage of both the tangible and intangible generates a concept design. This upon deliberations with the client heads towards DD and then eventually construction sets. At Design Plus we strive to develop environmentally and morphologically responsible designs within market and programmatic pressures.

  • What are the major challenges for the architects in India?

Depends on the perspective I could interpret the challenges as opportunities too. To list a few:

  1. Our industry operates at 1/5th to 1/10th the cost. This is very real constraint.
  2. We are and we shall always remain a labour intensive industry.
  3. The co-existence of low and high tech –  While our methods of design and development are medium-high tech, our site execution is predominantly low-medium tech.
  4. The lust for foreign architects – Even though as per the act, no Foreign Architectural Company can practice in India, the lust keeps on growing. This is a threat to the talent pool we possess. Even when the Act is violated, there is no understanding of knowledge transfer.
  • What are the current trends in the architecture in Country?

This question cannot be answered globally. There is no “design trend” anywhere in the world. Never ever has architecture has gone through phase where every design philosophy is both relevant and prevalent. However, Sustainability and Computation are the ‘hot’ words currently. Unfortunately, they get thrown around very easily and loosely.