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  1. VOL 06 | ISSUE 11 | 2021 Most Promising ARCHITECTURE ESIGNING DFirms, 2021 & Amit Gupta Britta Knobel Gupta Urban Expansion THE RISING TREND OF VERTICAL ARCHITECTURE Architectural Innovation INNOVATIVE CONCEPTS IN ARCHITECTURE www.insightssuccess.in
  2. Editor’s Note that spells a rich heritage dating 4,000 years. Indian architecture has continuously evolved since then. Today, the country’s architecture has graduated to meet global standards. But one cannot deny that the Indus Valley Civilization was one of the world’s oldest urban civilizations. Its advanced architecture and town planning mesmerized the world. Excavations revealed the well-planned brick structure and drainage systems as early as 2700-1700 BCE! From the ancient to the medieval period, Indian architecture caught the fancy of visitors, rulers, and invaders from other countries. The country's architecture reflects the era in which it was created and a stamp of the then ruler. After the colonial rule, a blend of both modern and traditional architecture prevailed. Indian architecture is still evolving to meet the needs of growing urbanization while retaining the monuments. Aesthetics coupled with functionality has become commonplace today. TRANSFORMING VISIONS INTO REALITY
  3. Vertical development became the solution to accommodate an ever-increasing urban population. While ancient and medieval architecture focused on natural light and air in the designs, air-conditioned offices and homes became an integral part of the design in modern architecture. Like in every other field, technology in architecture became the norm. Immersive technology will change the future of architecture and will help in better planning. 3-D printing and virtual reality are expected to give the architect a virtual experience of the structure to be created. A handful of architects, however, stuck to eco-friendly constructions, and many gradually followed suit. The country today can boast about architecture that strikes a harmony between the environment and plush structures. Even materials used for construction are environment-friendly to the extent possible. Green architecture satisfies the requirements of the consumers while preventing, minimizing, or even eliminating impact on the environment by retaining natural elements during construction with reasonable use of technology. A country’s architecture speaks volumes about its socio-cultural fabric and lifestyle and t In our latest edition of Insights Success, The 10 Most Promising Architecture and Designing Firms, 2021, we featured architects who have employed sustainable ways while expressing their creativity and satisfying their clients' needs. Have a happy read! Sumita Sarkar Editor-in-Chief sumita@insightssuccess.com
  4. ArchBOX Studio Studio Meraki Sthapati Associates Studio Osmosis Total Environment Articles CONTENTS CONTENTS Architectural Innovation studio meraki Urban Expansion
  5. Cover Story Changing with Skylines Sustainable Designs
  6. Copyright © 2021 Insights Success Media and Technology Pvt. Ltd., All rights reserved. The content and images used in this magazine should not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission from Insights Success Media and Technology Pvt. Ltd. Reprint rights remain solely with Insights Success. Printed and Published by Insights Success Media and Technology Pvt. Ltd. Follow us on : www.facebook.com/insightssuccess/ https://twitter.com/insightssuccess Cover Price : RS. 150/- RNI NUMBER: MAHENG/2018/75953 Editor-in-Chief Sumita Sarkar Deputy Editor Abhishaj Sajeev Managing Editor Sayali Sangewar Assisting Editor Ananda Kamal Das Chief Designer Priyanka Rajage Designing Head Vishal Pawar Co-designer Rashmi Singh Operations Head Megha Mishra Business Development Manager Ashwini Pahurkar Business Development Lead Pravin Yalameli Business Development Executive Pratiksha Jagtap Technical Head Aditya Kothare Technical Specialist Amar Sawant Digital Marketing Manager Amol Wadekar SME-SMO Executive Atul Dhoran Circulation Manager Tanaji Insights Success Media Tech LLC 555 Metro Place North, Suite 100, Dublin, OH 43017, United States Phone - (614)-602-1754 Email: info@insightssuccess.com For Subscription: www.insightssuccess.com Insights Success Media and Technology Pvt. Ltd. Off. No. 22 & 510, Rainbow Plaza, Shivar Chowk, Pimple Saudagar, Pune, Maharashtra 411017 Phone - India: +91 7410079881/ 82/ 83/ 84/ 85 Email: info@insightssuccess.in For Subscription: www.insightssuccess.in Corporate Offices: sales@insightssuccess.com JUNE, 2021 We are also available on
  7. Management Brief Company Name Ramesh Thamilmani Founder Karan Grover & Associates Dimple Mittal Founder Sikka Associates Architects mayaPRAXIS Karan Grover Founder BLD Design Studio is proud to work with a strong and multidisciplinary team of young and energetic interior designers and architects. mayaPRAXIS is a design studio that looks at architecture and its landscape. Karan Grover and Associates though a young architectural practice, has emerged into a multi-disciplinary organization with the best associate consulting teams for all the services, which is seen as an integral part of the architectural design process. SAA - Sikka Associates Architects, began its journey in 1981. Today, it is a leading and respected architectural design consultancy firm in the country. BLD Design Studio Raman Sikka Founder Sthapati Associates Sthapati Associates is a multidisciplinary architectural firm with a highly qualified and professional team of Architects, Engineers, Structural Engineers in India, started as an architectural firm almost 25 years back in the year in 1986. Vipul, Anuj, Khushboo and Harsh Founder and Director Studio Meraki Studio Meraki is a design studio envisioned by Shweta Kaw, an architect with 13 years of experience in the industry including a successful role as a Sustainable Design Consultant in Singapore after completing her post-graduation (Msc. Building performance & Sustainability) from the prestigious National University of Singapore. Shweta Kaw Founder Studio Osmosis Founded in 2010, Studio Osmosis is a multidisciplinary design practice formed by Sameer Balvally and Shilpa Jain Balvally. Sameer Balvally and Shilpa Balvally Partners and Principal Architects Studio Symbiosis Studio Symbiosis is an architectural, master planning and interior design studio based in Stuttgart Germany and Delhi NCR India involved in projects of various scales and sectors. The design philosophy is to create integrated design solutions imbibing amalgamated, efficient, robust and sustainable designs leading to performative architecture. Amit Gupta and Britta Knobel Founding Partners The ArchBOX Studio ArchBOX is an agile architectural firm with PDCA (Plan Do Check Act) integrated deep in its work culture. Prathamesh Kudtarkar Managing Principal Archhitect Total Environment Total Environment has delivered more than 4 million square feet to over 1,200 customers across dozens of projects in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune. Shibanee and Kamal Founders
  8. Changing with Skylines Sustainable Designs We integrate sustainability into our design process and not treat it as an after thought “ “
  9. Amit Gupta Founding Partner Cover Story Britta Knobel Founding Partner
  10. Working with space and elements to make it functional is both challenging and interesting. Architects are the experts who achieve these and make the space liveable and usable. Lot of detail goes into architectural work and it is no child’s play. Some architectural firms stand apart from others with their sheer designs and eye for detail. Studio Symbiosis is one such architectural and design firm. It is an award winning multi- disciplinary architecture and design studio based out of Stuttgart and New Delhi. The studio’s name itself defines the ethos of the practice. They aim to create built environment that exists in symbiosis with its surroundings. Sustainability is at the core of the design studio and is reflected in projects ranging from masterplans, bio- diversity parks, hospitality architecture, museums to even the scale of product design. It is critical for us to create meaningful architecture where the built form is measured against various performance driven criteria to create a robust and efficient design. We call it performative aesthetics, emphasise the founders. Studio Symbiosis was founded by Amit Gupta and Britta Knobel. The founding partners are postgraduates from the prestigious AA Architectural Association London, and then went on to work on several prestigious projects at the Pritzker winner architecture studio of Zaha Hadid at her London office. During this duration, of approximately five years, each of the founding partners were working on various scales and typologies. These two institutions of design imbibed a sense of a research-based approach in Amit and Britta. The design process starts without a pre-notion of the final form but rather a process, a journey Iceland Cave Tower Ranchi Eco City Aura Cleaning Tower
  11. Arizona Villa Hilton Hotel Kathmandu ID Origins Mumbai Central
  12. that one takes during the design process. At Studio Symbiosis they successfully delivered prestigious hospitality as well as masterplan projects. In the last few years, the studio expanded into in- house teams of landscape, interiors and product design. Also, there is a separate smart geometry group in the office, which looks into research and development in the field of digital architecture. Overcoming Teething Problems Studio Symbiosis started off by bagging three prestigious projects, namely Rai Bareilly Sports city, 200 rooms Hilton Ahmedabad and Stuttgart Villa. Given the fact that the founding partners had practiced for most of their professional careers in Europe, it was critical to understand the execution technology in India. “These are two worlds apart. In Zaha’s office we would just send a 3D BIM model to contractor to get the co- ordinates in place but in India the role of technology on construction site was very limited over a decade ago. The practise made sure to go slowly and steadily, in terms of not trying too many projects in the beginning and to be very critical in terms of aligning the design and drawings in terms of easy construction technology,” shared the founders. Prestigious Projects The Studio is currently involved in projects of various scales and sectors ranging from hospitality, housing, master plans, offices, commercial eco park buildings, shopping malls, villas, museums, interiors and products. Currently the Studio has 40 live Aqua Villa Delhi Baiyappanahalli Railway Station Gwalior Train Station
  13. architectural projects in the office in India and five in the Germany office. In hospitality, the key projects are Hilton Kathmandu, Double Tree by Hilton Ahmedabad, Taj Ahmedabad, Port Blair resort and spa, Hyderabad hotel and service apartment. In the cultural sector, they are working on 890 acres Eco Park for NTPC which is already under construction and will be the second biggest manmade Eco Park in the world and the biggest in the country. Other projects in this sector are Perfume Park and Museum in Kannauj spread over 100 acres, Gwalior Central railway station and masterplan, Bengaluru (BYPL) railway station. “In the last few years, we have rapidly moved into Hyderabad and Mumbai with housing, commercial and hospitality projects. Also, in residential projects we are already working on a Ludhiana housing project spread over 10 acres which is under construction, alongside similar sized project in Jhansi and Hyderabad. Internationally we have on-going projects in Germany, Arizona, Nepal, Belgium, Indonesia, Burkina Faso and Togo,” shared the founders. Mitigating Pollution through Designs The founders are very environment conscious and are doing their bit to prevent pollution. They are concerned about the increasing air pollution in Indian cities and across the globe. They are taking steps through their designs to mitigate pollution as much as they can. Studio Symbiosis has developed an Air Purification system called “Aũra”, which has been developed using principles of aerodynamics. Gwalior Train Station Floating Terrace Hyderabad Villas Cascade greens hyderabad housing
  14. Aũra is a 5.5-meter-high cleaning tower and helps in tackling the air pollution problem at city as well as neighborhood level. This has been designed as a hotspot product to ensure clean air for inhabitants, to tackle the issue at the source. Simulation studies were conducted to attain minimum resistance and maximum surface area to achieve this optimum design. An elliptical geometry has been designed at the starting point, as this gave them the minimum resistance, and also for the same reason this geometry is used for the wings of an aircraft. The form was further developed by twisting it. This twist in geometry channels the wind along the surface of the tower in the z direction, thereby exponentially increasing the surface area. Reconnecting Humans with Nature Green spaces have become an integral part of residential and commercial complexes. Studio Symbiosis pays special attention to incorporate green spaces in their designs. “Living within nature and biophilic design” is a key theme in the projects of Studio Symbiosis. “With mass urbanization, we can see a growing disconnect between humans and nature. For the physical and mental wellbeing of the user, it is important that they feel very close to nature and be one with their surroundings,” said the founders. They added, “We look at blurring the boundary between built and landscape. At the design stage both the built and landscape are designed in totality, with the landscape not being an afterthought in the project. Various factors are computed and used to inform the landscape design. These range from local flora, factors of program, site Most Promising ARCHITECTURE ESIGNING DFirms, 2021 & Perfume Park and Museum Punjab Kesari HQ Punjab Kesari HQ Interior
  15. topography, wind and sun direction.” Sustainable design strategies are also a part of landscape design process. Understanding of the climatic condition of a certain project results in creating an outdoor landscape area that is comfortable for the user. “We integrate human comfort engineering in our designs to ensure meaningful spaces,” they said. Customised Designs Each project is unique in terms of site, program, budget, surroundings, site typography, construction technology, availability of materials and so on. It is very important to respect these unique conditions and design a built environment most suitable for that particular project. For each project Studio Symbiosis looks for a very strong concept which drives the project from concept design till completion. Each year they also have an overarching design theme in the studio to ensure that they push themselves to innovate. These things range from “low-tech high-tech”, “Green façade”, “reflection in architecture”, “machining architecture” to name a few. Technology and Creativity Studio Symbiosis works with the latest technology for its designs for better results. “On the design side we are working on projects that incorporate artificial intelligence and agent-based modelling. To give an example, for the 120 m high sea facing housing project in Versova, we setup an AI script that runs a number of iterations and finds the optimum orientation of the three tower blocks, to maximize the view of the sea from each apartment,” said the founders. In another project in Andalusia, AI was used to create villas on a 10-acre site, whereby the topography of site and views of the beach were computed to find the optimum views from the spaces. They are now working on a project in Europe, set in the digital domain whereby the movement of people is tracked in the given space. This movement is tracked in real time and translates into design iterations, which is based on a system driven by location of points in space. Overcoming Challenges The biggest challenge in architecture is always to ensure that the built product is better than the design visualizations. Something might look great on paper, but when executed might not have the same quality. “When starting a project, we look at material availability, budget and which machining tools can be used in the particular project due to the location constraints,” informed the founders. Prototyping and mock-ups are also very important to see the finishing, material colour, joint detail, fixing
  16. detail, etc for any project. These mock- ups give a sense of how the final product will look after execution. Inspired by Nature For the founders of Studio Symbiosis, Nature is the best role model. Everything is designed with a reason behind it. Patterns and systems in nature exist with an inherent meaning. Each and every element is stripped out of anything unnecessary, creating highly efficient and robust formations. For us it is very interesting to study these elements/phenomena of nature, analyse the system behind them and translate it as a design system. Mostly bio mimicry imitates nature’s models or takes them as inspiration, but for us by breaking down these systems in nature using mathematics and creating codes, gives us the essence of the system. They believe in a research-based design approach where systems, materials, execution techniques are tested and perfected in the studio before they are rolled out for projects. Hence, in architecture our role models are individuals who dedicated their professional career towards creating a basis for design as research. Architects such as Frei Otto, Felix Candela, Antonio Gaudi, Oscar Niemeyer, Zaha Hadid are the notable architects that they hold in high prestige. Frei Otto’s studies in Pneumatics, Radiolarian, minimal surfaces and transforming them into light weight structures and the notable Munich Olympic Stadium are inspirational. Gaudi’s famous inverse chain model that resulted in the design of Sagrada Familia was purely driven by gravity being used to create a structural model and thereby the design. Zaha redefined architecture with her forward-thinking design sketches and later with the use of computational tools. These architects were thinking way ahead of their time and created architectural masterpieces. The core principle of Studio Symbiosis is “Performance driven architecture” and that is what they want to keep on pushing in the years to come. “It is architecture with a purpose and meaning in everything we do to create a sustainable and smart future for generations to come,” We call it performative aesthetics where architecture which develops out of the performance criteria. they sign off. Name of the rm: Studio Symbiosis Location: Stuttgart Germany, Delhi, India Name of the Featuring Person Britta Knobel Gupta, Amit Gupta Designation: Founding Partner Quick Facts
  17. ArchBOX Studio Minimizing Impact of ARCHITECTURE on the ENVIRONMENT We, humans, are always fascinated with modifying our environment for our comfort, convenience, and advancement. Hence, we love to build. However, a built space negatively impacts its environment starting from the creation itself. Its impact continues through its lifespan and goes on even after its destruction. Prathamesh Kudtarkar Managing Principal, Architect of The ArchBOX Studio, observes that the construction industry is responsible for up to 50% of climate change, 40% of energy usage globally, and 50% of landfill waste. Can intelligent building design minimize the impact of architecture on the Environment? This is the challenge The ArchBOX Studio took up while designing the Kwench Package Drinking Water Plant at Karjat, Maharashtra. Located at the banks of the Ulhas river, the source of water for the water plant is from within the site itself. Hence, while designing, they made sure that the water plant did not impact the purity and sustainability of the groundwater. Minimizing at Creation Construction Type “Our client approached us with the idea of building the plant in RCC (reinforced cement concrete). Now, concrete most often ends up in Prathamesh Kudtarkar Managing Principal, Architect JUNE 2021 | 20 | www.insightssuccess.in
  18. landfills or rubble at the end of its lifespan. Moreover, a considerable amount of plywood is required for formwork, not to forget the time and effort. Hence, we offered a PEB (Pre- Engineered Building) solution. This way the construction timeline and cost, both were brought down by 60%,” Prathamesh explained. Materials Sheet metal is the major component of a PEB structure. For longer life and less maintenance, ArchBoX opted for Galvalume Sheets. Also, during rains, the elements from the paint of the sheets can percolate into the Location The water plant was strategically located to minimize the roadwork on the site. The requirements for a cul- de-sac access for loading unloading truck is the basis for the placement of the plant. Minimizing at Lifespan Solar Passive Architecture The plant is linear and placed along the North-South axis to minimize heat gain. Low-e glass is used for the continuous fixed windows on the East and West faces of the building. North groundwater, thus polluting it. Hence, lead-free and heavy metal-free paint was set as a criterion while selecting the Sheet Metal manufacturer and not the cost. Thermal Analysis Sandwich Puff Panel is commonly used in PEB construction for thermal comfort. “However, post thermal analysis at ArchBOX, we realized that it is only the roof that is taking most of the heat gain against the walls. With insulation only being designed for the roof, the PEB construction cost itself was further reduced by 40%,” said Prathamesh. 10 Most Promising Architecture & Designing Firms 2021 JUNE 2021 | 21 | www.insightssuccess.in
  19. offers the least heat gain. Here, a large-glazed facade is designed with regular tempered glass. This glazing, along with the large loading- unloading openings allows ample skylight at the front. No openings are provided on the South face of the plant. “Polycarbonate Skylights at the roof are the main source of natural illumination for the plant. At ArchBOX, we designed the surface area of these Skylights such that it maximizes illumination while minimizing heat gain,” Prathamesh elaborated. Full-length fixed louvered windows at the top of East and West walls naturally extract the hot air on the top with cross-ventilation. All these measures considerably reduce the requirements of energy for lighting and ventilating to operate the plant. Ground Water Sustainability The plant extracts water for packaging from the site itself. This may lower the water table in long run. Hence, the RO (reverse osmosis) discharge of the plant, and rainwater are pumped back into the ground using the rainwater harvesting system. Waste Management To further ensure the purity of the groundwater, STP (sewage treatment plant) is installed on the site. Thus, reducing the impact of waste on the environment through the lifespan of the plant. Minimizing at the End of Usable Lifespan With the Kwench Plant being built mostly in Steel and Glass, it does have the potential for easy recycling. However, a lot needs to be done to design for deconstruction, opines Prathamesh. Next Steps Modern Architecture is extensively focused on manmade construction materials. Architects by default design with steel, glass, and concrete in mind. “It is time for us to relook at naturally available and sustainable materials,” emphasizes Prathamesh. With better technology, architects are unlocking the limits of wood construction for high-rise buildings. “One tonne of CO2 is removed by the tree from the atmosphere for making one cubic meter of wood. Wood is ready to use with minimal post- processing required. No recycling plants are needed to dispose of it. We need to cultivate forests extensively for construction purposes. Wood can be the go-to material for minimizing the impact of architecture on the environment,” he suggests. Rammed Earth is another construction method used to build structures as high as 100ft. “The question is, are we ready to get out of our comfort zone as architects?” JUNE 2021 | 22 | www.insightssuccess.in
  20. The Rising Trend of V ertical Architecture Modern cities are full of robust potentials and provide endless opportunities for innovation. With an increased focus on cities, now there is a rise in urban sprawling. There is an immense pressure on cities to fulfill the accommodation requirements of the growing population. With a limit to horizontal growth of cities, vertical JUNE 2021 | 24 | www.insightssuccess.in
  21. U E rban xpansion JUNE 2021 | 25 | www.insightssuccess.in
  22. architecture is the best option left. Vertical buildings can efficiently cater to the residential needs of an expanding population. Defining Vertical City A vertical city usually consists of a series of vertically proceeding building floors. It offers the occupants with environmentally friendly and self- sustaining spaces. These buildings are not only a mark of luxury, but also a step towards energy-efficient cities. They help in preserving horizontal spaces for nature, recreation, and food production. Tackling Urban Congestion Urban congestion is gradually increasing, along with the global rise of population across cities. If this influx continues and the horizontal spread limit is achieved, then the developing cities will run short of land. In such cases, high-rise buildings and mixed-use developments are the most feasible solution. Examples of modern vertical city developments can be seen in the cities of New York, Hong Kong, Dubai, and so on. Representing Prestige and Lavishness For many individuals today, skyscrapers are symbols of modernity and prestige. However, in the years to come, these structures will be very common dwellings for humans, as this trend will become very ordinary in the near future. Sustainable Vertical Developments If a vertical development does not offer long-term benefits, then its hype and significance will be of no use. A building should fulfill the basic needs and the comfort levels of the residents. These structures should also embrace the nature and provide the residents with the experience of being closer to the nature. They should create an open environment, where the occupants can feel the taste of life. In order to enhance comfort levels, these structures should also contain public parks, parking lots, playgrounds, recreation centers, and a lot more. Residents staying in higher floors can enjoy the panoramic view of the green lawns, while experiencing better air quality and natural incoming light. These structures provide them with the opportunity to escape from busy life routines and work burdens, and enjoying quality life. The additional feature of sustainability allows vertical establishments to cater to various necessities and conveniences of the dwellers. Additionally, the upcoming financial centers and central business districts are adopting the new vertical trends to create excellent establishment, which would deliver lasting experiences. Resolving High-Risers and other Problems High-rise buildings are lucrative and attract various audiences. However, they have some exceptions, which need to be addressed. Many people are concerned about elevator breakdowns, reduced social interactions with neighbors, water supply disturbances, and so on. But, this should be kept in mind that high-rise buildings are of excellent quality. These structures address various concerns such as seismic codes, ease of vertical accessibility, fire exit routes, and so on. As far as social interactions are concerned, these high-rise mixed- use developments provide endless options in this scenario, such as public parks and community spaces infused with residential spaces. Strengthening the Green Game The innovative vertical buildings are not only providing a haven of luxury to the residents, but are also contributing towards creating a greener environment. It reduces the requirement of land usage, which in turn, protects agricultural lands. It provides more space for plantation of crops and trees, which helps in keeping the environment greener. Additionally, these structures also contribute towards tackling with environmental concerns of air pollution, because they decrease the dependency on roads. If the vertical architecture is planned properly keeping in mind the sustainability and environmental concerns, it can maximize the land use and keep the outlook compact. Vertical architecture can be a game changer in terms of sustainability and space accommodation. Residents living in higher floors will receive more air and sunlight. These building provide a close-to-environment experience and save a lot of land space, while also reducing pollution. Hence, marching ahead in the future, vertical architecture will introduce revolutionary changes in architecture and infrastructure. - Ananda Kamal Das JUNE 2021 | 26 | www.insightssuccess.in
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  24. To translate your imagination into reality with the right kind of materials, colours, design and layout is not what everyone can do. Conceptualising is one thing and executing is another. Here is where architects come to the picture, trying to create a utopia. It is no cakewalk though, putting the imagination into paper while keeping the practical aspects and user convenience in mind and then converting them into structures. These structures could be residential, commercial, hospitals, infrastructure or urban space development. We came across one such multidisciplinary architectural firm Sthapati Associates whose projects speak volumes of its tradition of excellence. Founded in 1989 by Ms Vipul Varshney along with Anuj Varshney (Founder- Directors) at Lucknow as an architectural firm, they gradually started designing projects of state and national importance. With master’s in Urban Planning, Vipul was Professor-Design Chair at the University and also had the opportunity of designing and executing some of India’s most renowned projects, like Resettlement of Bhuj after earthquake to India’s highest altitude Leh Airport and Imphal Airport, a township in Mumbai for an urban diaspora to state buildings like redevelopment of National Institute of Drama, New Delhi. In addition they have executed projects abroad as well to name a few- Software Technology Park at Mauritius, Residential project at Dubai and some ongoing projects include - Multi-dwelling project in New Zealand and Mahatma Gandhi International Convention Centre at Liberia. As Convenor – INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage), Lucknow and also as Adviser, National Scientific Committee of ICOMOS (International Council of Monuments and Sites), India, she authored three coffee table books, namely – Lucknow - The city of culture and heritage published by Niyogi Publications in 2017, Shaam e Awadh by Bloomsbury in 2017. Overcoming Teething Problems There were many problems initially like entrusting the young designers with projects. These were overcome with patience and hard work. Understanding the clients’ needs and trying to provide to them the required solutions to the best of the ability was another challenge that Sthapati Our projects reduce energy and water dependence by increasing the number of comfortable habitable hours with minimum reliance on mechanical means “ “ JUNE 2021 | 28 | www.insightssuccess.in
  25. overcame and delivered what the client wanted. “We have developed this approach by operating beyond the traditional precincts whilst addressing the user’s aspiration and building to perfection,” stated Vipul. Dynamic Founders Ar Vipul Varshney is also an avid art, culture and heritage enthusiast. She is also an activist with a passion for writing. Er Anuj Varshney has a special interest in structural and highway engineering and had been a great sportsperson since his IIT days. Their passions and interest and pursuit for perfection have helped Sthapati earn the reputation it has today. Currently the company is headed by Anuj Varshney and Vipul Varshney with directors Harsh Varshney and Khushboo Bansal. Conforming to Environmental Impact Assessment and Related Laws The first thing is to determine the carrying capacity and define a target population based on the water and renewable energy potential. It determines the human capacity of the land. The design process begins with creating an environmental master plan. Analysis of the local geology and natural resources and ensuring their protection as far as possible. Second, a geotechnical analysis that would tell about soil conditions and the bearing capacity of the land. In STHAPATI ASSOCIATES Aesthetics, Functionality and Quality Er. Anuj Varshney Founder-Director Arch. Ms. Vipul Varshney Founder-Director Harsh Varshney Director Khushboo Bansal Director 10 Most Promising Architecture & Designing Firms, 2021 JUNE 2021 | 29 | www.insightssuccess.in
  26. combination with a seismic evaluation of the land, it would give a clear idea of the kind of structures one should be building. Then a hydrological analysis, where the idea is to close the water cycle between rain, aquifer and extraction (avoiding extraction as far as possible). All these will give a clear indication of where to and where not to build. “Then we come to urban design where we start focusing on how the buildings should be configured; where you go high rise-low density or low rise-high density; all models being valid. The model emanates from a combination of the environmental master plan and the carrying capacity, essentially telling you what the urban form of the city should be. Tying that all together is mobility, configuring the city around transit- oriented development. Having done all the above, what is key is to design a building - to be safe; a city that has eyes on every democratic, public space,” explained the environment-conscious founders. Incorporating Green Spaces in Architecture Urban Green Index is an indicator that allows the amount of green area per inhabitant in urban areas to be calculated, as well as the surface area of green areas in a city. According to the World Health Organization, between 10 and 15 square meters of green space per inhabitant are needed to ensure a healthy urban ecosystem. Each project is conceived through a research-oriented approach to policy, planning, design, technology, passive and low energy design. “Our endeavour is to design in a manner that reduces consumption of resources and energy resulting in buildings consuming up to 50% lesser energy than certified Green Building benchmarks through passive design and microclimate creation, proven through post-occupancy evaluation. Green roofs, sky bridges and vertical greens with green inside out are some of the active methods in our design with other passive methodologies,” said Vipul. Designing Client Needs All projects are examined, based on its first principles on how to passively provide the fundamentals of comfort, safety, liveability and yet sustainably respond to the local climate and ecology while remaining economically viable and globally pertinent. Use of Latest Technology Green roofs act as sinks for CO2, the gas responsible for climate change. For each 100 square meters of green roof, the gas responsible for the greenhouse effect is reduced by 1.8 tonnes per year. In addition, installing 100 square meters of green roof on top of a building can produce the oxygen needed by 100 people in a year. “We understand that we are often working in an environment with limited resources hence, we deploy passive strategies by responding to the local climate and ecology and address comfort, safety, livability parameters and are mindful that projects remain economically viable and globally pertinent. With a socio-cultural response to design, our works reduce energy and water dependence by increasing the number of comfortable habitable hours with minimum reliance on mechanical means,” shared Vipul. Challenges with Current Trends “Architecturally, we celebrate identity and diversity versus visual homogeneity. We think of our buildings and cities as places of human interaction along with being places of human habitation,” said Vipul. This ensures all their projects are unique, whilst responding to the client, climate, context and the end-users. “The current trend of copying western parameters without considering our climate and environs with our cultural needs are not very advantageous to our country,” she added. Away from the Herd All the design solutions of Sthapati are rooted in sustainability, satisfaction, uniqueness and comfortable liveability. These parameters define the enquiry process that shapes the architecture. Looking Ahead The end-user is always at the centre of Sthapati’s design process in its approach to building smart environments. “We consider mobility, security, outdoor comfort, technology, health and well-being, ease of facility management and disaster readiness to create spaces that work equally well for all users. Thus, creating many more such unique spaces in future is what we foresee,” said Vipul. - Excellence Award 2020 by Indian Concrete Institute - Award at World Architecture Festival, Singapore and later at Delhi Architecture Festival. - Export Import (EXIM) Bank garnered a platinum rating by the Indian Green Building Council. - Heritage Award from U.P Government - U.P. Ratan 2013 - Shakti Samman 2015 from Governor, U.P - Excellence in Architectural Journalism 2016 from A3 International Foundation Awards JUNE 2021 | 30 | www.insightssuccess.in
  27. There is no dearth of creative people, some of whom are excellent architects. But few put their soul into their creativity when it comes to designing homes, commercial complexes or even urban spaces. They create your dream abode or offices with Meraki. And that is why some homes, offices and public places give us the feeling of warmth and positive vibes whether the décor is expensive or not and even though we may be visiting them for the first time. Leaving a piece of yourself and love in what you do, is what the Greeks refer as Meraki. And that is exactly what Studio Meraki does. It leaves its mark in each of its creation. We had the opportunity to explore more about this architecture firm. Excerpts from the interview: Please share your journey in this field and the inception/history of your firm? I have always been an admirer of structures that by their sheer design have conveyed the purpose they stand there for and was always fascinated by how designs and structures could convey a sense of purpose, induce effect and arouse emotion. During my schooling, my curiosity and imagination helped the evolution of my amateurish fascination for a drive to learn the underlying principles of how architecture could make a difference to mankind. I was introduced to the 'Genius Loci' by 'Norberg Schulz', which talks about the 'spirit of the place'; in the third year of my bachelor's degree in architecture during the course of a studio design project and it completely mesmerized me, modifying my entire perspective towards spatial design. After my post- graduation at National University of Singapore, I have further evolved and enhanced my skills professionally that have taken a whole new dimension towards the world of sustainable design and reducing energy consumption of buildings thereby making them healthier and breathe in an efficient way. My brief work experience as a Sustainable Design Consultant in Singapore has strengthened this foundation and provided me a better understanding of how architects should actually work in tandem with the greener principles of design more seriously and sensitively at the concept design stage giving the whole process a more holistic outlook. Did you face any teething problems? How did you overcome these? The challenges have been very similar to the other women architects. Females are automatically embossed as a 'species meant for decorating' with minimal or no understanding of hardcore engineering sciences and their inability to deal with on-site activities, is sketched profoundly in the so-called progressive strata of the society. But ultimately, I strongly believe that the vital challenges diminish with your sincerity and attitude, which is complemented by efficacy in work area. STUDIO MERAKI Architecture that reflects Soulful Creations Instead of dictating our terms, it always makes more sense to be in tune with the client's ideas and then navigating our way through instead of shunning or criticizing them bluntly. “ “ Shweta Kaw Founder JUNE 2021 | 32 | www.insightssuccess.in
  28. Please tell us about the person behind the success of your firm? Shweta Kaw (Founder) is currently heading Studio Meraki in Noida that is a design studio whose practice is diverse and ranges from architecture, green building design, interior and furniture design as well as graphics. As the name suggests, our intention is to aim for building happy and healthy spaces for a person to dwell in its habitat and nurture for him/her an improved sense of well-being by paying attention to psychological and physiological comfort and hence garnering less distress levels in our society. These are the core values that also define the philosophy of our founder and her international exposure and tryst with sustainability have further honed this dialogue. Green spaces have become an integral part of residential and commercial complexes. How do you incorporate these in your designs and architecture? Green spaces are of course an inevitable part as the breathing lungs of the city. Green spaces are extremely important and hence we, at our studio, maximise our efforts to incorporate green areas in the external as well as internal spaces to honour the principles of biophilic design and human comfort. In cases where there are numerous restrictions at site, we try to look for alternate options like green walls, sculptures, moss walls, vertical gardens, terrace gardens etc. We always aim to provide landscape in its natural habitat and refrain from using artificial green products. Green spaces in residential/commercial areas are enormously helpful in improving the microclimate and mitigating the UHI effect. What aspects do you keep in mind while designing for your client/s? Clients these days are more well informed and meticulous than five years back, especially due to the sudden boom in social media and access to all international brands/design ideas. Hence, the challenge has become doubly tricky and complicated to deal with. However, our design principles remain very straightforward at the core and communicating with them their best interests is the key. The client today is too distracted, swarming with a motley of diverse options to conform to. The expectations are too high and so are the deliverables. Hence, understanding the clients' needs and aspirations is the first and the foremost thing and instead of dictating our terms, it always makes more sense to be in tune with their ideas and then navigating our way through instead of shunning or criticizing them bluntly. What are the latest technologies that you incorporate in your designs? We are trying to work out typologies for energy efficient buildings to optimize green building solutions in every project. Technology has helped determine a lot of energy related information as well as predictions/forecasts beforehand to us now and maximizing the output is now up to us. What are the major challenges in this field at present – with respect to the market and also with respect to the current trends? In a field full of ambiguities arising due to a plethora of unskilled tasks performed by non-professionals and contractors at stumpy rates, we the qualified professionals are taking the brunt of it all. Also, the psychological impacts of aggression and absence of trust in the society dampen professional relationships and interrupt smooth workflows. The personal journey of any person representing a company and trying to fulfil the daily challenges comes with a fair deal of self- realization. It goes much beyond sole creativity and narrows down to pure inter-personal skills. I think COA and the government have an immense role to play in this being the policy makers formulating the ideologies on which construction practices are based and laws implemented in this country. Currently we are particularly lawless when it comes to irregularities in payment, rights of employees and exploitation of resources in the field. Creative freedom can only be achieved after solving these problems at grassroot level. Otherwise, everyone's hands are tied, and they have to compromise in offering the quality they want to deliver. What makes you stand apart from the others? Yes, there is a string that binds us all as well as our work and our imagery in thoughts. I don't think it needs to be deliberate as it comes from a sub- conscious innate level that defines who we are and what we want to become and do for the society. We may not focus primarily only on form/morphology but certainly on the emotions they generate and what psychological impact they have on the users inhabiting the space. This stems from my earlier readings on the subject of "Genius Loci" that Norberg Schulz talks about in detail in his book. The concept has been discussed in modern architecture but still is underestimated. So more than building a marvel, it is imperative to study the human brain and its wiring, its instincts and responses to be able to design for the average human being already stressed out in a mindless society overrun by social media and its onslaught along with a lot of unnecessary tremors. Where do you see your firm in the future? We would like to focus more on technology and its multifarious aspects and how we can benefit from them in our work and collaborating more with local artists and helping to contribute to the society in the best way we can. 10 Most Promising Architecture & Designing Firms, 2021 JUNE 2021 | 33 | www.insightssuccess.in
  29. Innovative Concepts in Innovation in architecture has been defining the feature of societies since the ancient times. It has been gradually evolving according to the changing needs and requirements of builders and occupants. In today’s age, many innovative design concepts have emerged, which can help shape the future. These design ideas have been described below. A I rchitectural nnovation JUNE 2021 | 34 | www.insightssuccess.in
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  31. Silver Architecture With the ageing population today, the society has to tackle the challenge of providing help and support to the people who require special care. The current building designs and hospitals are set up in such a way that it becomes difficult for older people to get around and be independent. This is a major challenge because older people compose a significant part of our society. Research state that over a quarter of people aged 65 fall every year and suffer from injuries classified as fatal or critical. As a result, many people who would otherwise want to live independently are forced to stay in care-based facilities. This where, silver architecture steps in; it aims to change this problem faced by old-age individuals. It offers sustainable, modern, and accommodating building designs. It does not transform age-related impairments into crippling disabilities. Silver architecture efficiently integrates space planning, clear directional layouts, stress-reducing lighting, and techniques to reduce ambient noise. It also offers comfortable and accessible furniture, safe flooring, soothing colour combination, and interactive, health- focused interior. Wounded Warrior Homes Many soldiers, who return from war homes, suffer from debilitating injuries. For them, navigating even a typical accessible home can be a challenge. Focused on fulfilling the requirements of these warriors, the wounded warrior homes were constructed. These residences were designed by taking inputs from several war veterans. The primary focus of wounded warrior homes is to cater to the diverse needs of injured soldiers. These homes are provided with various features keeping in mind physical disabilities. Wide doors and adjustable stove tops are some of the many amenities, which help the residents to stay comfortably. These houses are also designed with large windows and dedicated therapy rooms to help with trauma recovery. Dementia Village Dementia is a disease, which not only affects the people who suffer from it, but also their families and friends. It has physical, psychological, and social impact on careers, families, and societies. Situated at 10 miles outside Amsterdam, Hogeway, also known as dementia village, offers a haven for people suffering from dementia. This town has been designed keeping in mind the requirements of all the patients. The nurses and caretakers act as fellow town people to provide the much-needed care to these patients and to keep them healthy and safe. The dementia village creates an environment, where people require less medication and less medical intervention. The concept behind this design is to value the person and to support them to live their life as usual, as they can do anywhere else. Zootopia Zoos play an important role in conserving wildlife and in various research purposes. However, there are certain shortcomings in their design, which leave a lot to be desired. The cages and concrete enclosures do not exactly give the animals an experience of their natural habitat. This, in turn, raises several ethical concerns. To meet these modern requirements, zootopia has emerged. This zoo’s design is reimaging the designs of a regular zoo and that of a natural safari. In this structure, visitors will be placed in enclosed areas, instead of keeping animals in cages. The viewing locations will be disguised in order to minimize human interaction with animals. The main goal of this structure is to provide zoo animals with as natural of an environment as possible. Everything from the animals’ feeding stations to their shelters is designed to provide a natural look and experience. Eco-Friendly Concrete Concrete is one of the most commonly used materials by mankind. With the passage of time, its demand has gradually increased, and so has its environmental impact. Research states that the cement sector is the third- largest energy consumer in the world and second industrial emitter of carbon dioxide in the world. In light of these research results, many companies are focusing on developing better concrete. The science and engineering professor of Rutgers University, Professor Richard E. Riman developed a technology to make concrete that stores CO2. Riman then founded Solidia Technologies Inc. in 2008 to produce cement which can reduce carbon footprint of cement and concrete by up to 70%. Innovations in architecture are endless with vast future possibilities. With changing times, modern technologies, and advanced processes, the architecture sector is witnessing massive transformations. Marching ahead, this sector will go through even more such developments, which will lead this sector towards excellence. - Ananda Kamal Das JUNE 2021 | 36 | www.insightssuccess.in
  32. Creating Spaces that Reect the Owner's Personality As a firm, we believe we will have to continually research, experiment, learn, innovate, and absorb further from the failures and tough situations “ “ Sameer Balvally Shilpa Jain Balvally Partners and Principal Architects JUNE 2021 | 38 | www.insightssuccess.in
  33. Ahome is a feeling and one that reflects your personality, makes you feel secure, happy and peaceful. Engineering gives you the structure on which architects work to design your dream home that speaks volumes about your personality. Hence, it is rightly said that architecture begins where engineering ends – a famous quote by world renowned architect,Walter Gropius. Recognizing the need of the client as well as the context is the primary requirement for design.Thinking out of the box to suit the needs of the clients and producing exquisite designs and stunning projects are, however, not the forte of every architect. We at, The Insights Success, handpicked some bright architects for our latest edition10 Most Promising Architecture and Designing Firms, 2021 and selected Mumbai-based Studio Osmosis. Excerpts from the interview: Please share your journey in this field and the inception/history of your firm? Founded in 2010, Studio Osmosis is a multidisciplinary design practice formed by Sameer Balvally and Shilpa Jain Balvally, Partners and PrincipalArchitects. The Studio's foundation is based on the genesis of the 'Osmosis' phenomenon where the ultimate design is a product of client collaboration and intricate aesthetic detail.The firm has to its credit, many award-winning designs and clients.Within a short span of time, Studio Osmosis has become a venerable name in the design and architecture space. Staying true to its name, the design philosophies of Studio Osmosis exhibit a sense of fluidity and dynamism.A more adaptable and flexible approach to design is followed by not sticking to one particular formal style of design but instead, by understanding and absorbing the client's needs and developing tailor-made solutions to projects. Studying and working abroad has been a gaining experience for our careers and life. We have realized the importance of being open minded, sustainable in practice, and the impact of cross culture as well as past influences on design.These encounters have become an important part of our personality and today we constantly merge the pros of both cultures and experiences, into our lives and the way we practice at Studio Osmosis. Being part of a passionate academic and work environment and interacting with students, faculty, employees, and peers from different cultures with a wide range of ideas, led us to understand that the most important part of architecture was the ability to absorb, assimilate and extrapolate information and ideas. Thus, was born the idea of Studio Osmosis true to the genesis of the word. Did you face any teething problems? How did you overcome these? We started against all odds; a slow economy that hit the market and virtually no contacts or leads. It was obviously challenging at the beginning of our own establishment compared to working for someone as there is so much more at stake and we are also clear of our own work philosophies as well as ideologies. We have been lucky to bag some very good work and design opportunities and especially repeat clients which are always an honour. As far as working environment is concerned, the methodologies are different here and in the U.S. - from dealing with clients, employees, pitching a design idea, budgeting schedules and many other things. We are constantly merging the best of both the work experiences and cultures to form the crux of our practice which helps us create an experimental, experiential and fun work environment based on interaction, research, and assimilation of ideas at all levels. Initial challenges were also to get a good set of peers, consultants and vendors who understand our open-ended, collaborative and macro to micro approach. But with time and experience we have been lucky to get those on board and continued collaborations which lasted a decade. Please tell us about the person behind the success of your firm? A dreamer with an eye for detailing, Sameer finds inspiration in ironies. His passion for design is his unique signature that Sameer exudes into every project. Sameer's forte is his innovative application of materials and technology, which eventually churn design concepts into reality. He believes in stretching the boundaries of design with constant experimentation while adapting with site, context, strategies, materials and budget. Sameer is an avid fan of music, adventure and cycling. He enjoys photography and loves capturing nuances of life from behind the lens. Shilpa is an ardent glocal traveller who strongly believes that every new adventure, historic and cultural and food experience helps a creative mind breed newer ideas and this in turn gives a fresh perspective to design. She also has a keen interest in holistic growth of children and learning process via experiential travel. Shilpa's interest in Healthcare Design, design for well-being and the whole process of story-listening and storytelling for spaces get beautifully combined to create environments that improve the way we live, work, play, heal and enhance the 10 Most Promising Architecture & Designing Firms 2021 JUNE 2021 | 39 | www.insightssuccess.in
  34. experience giving it a unique and memorable story. Studio Osmosis was influenced by a similar core approach and genesis which can be applied across genres. Green spaces have become an integral part of residential and commercial complexes. How do you incorporate these in your designs and architecture? Or what innovations are you making to incorporate green spaces in your architecture? It is important to realise the effects that outdoor spaces can have on the human mind, wellbeing and the entire lifestyle and wherever possible it is imperative to give access to green spaces be it residential, commercial, hospitality or importantly healthcare where it actually affects the healing of the patients. Seamlessly merging the indoors with the outdoors is the best way to do the same. Integrated and sustainable self-sufficient neighbourhoods are need of the hour. Sometimes we become very inward looking and end up creating best public spaces within our complex and forget the rest of the area. The community area, green spaces, public interaction space is very important as you need to give spaces to people to interact amongst themselves and for all levels of society thus uplifting them as a whole. What aspects do you keep in mind while designing for your client/s? Each project is unique in its own way in terms of design, concept and details. What does remain constant is the methodology of our collaborative as well as interactive approach based on research, site and context. The diversity of each project be it big or small, has a new experience and it opens up a variety of ideas. There is a constant experimentation of design and technology, adapting to different clients, site, materials and budget. The conceptual stages for each project is unique and comes with its own identity. But yes, whilst preparing drawings, executing and during marketing stage, we have a common approach, streamlined systems and processes for every project which makes it better in the long run.We believe in personal attention to every project and site with constant adaptability as required through the project irrespective of the scale. Attention to detail, proportions and scale, together with creative common sense and sustainable solutions ensure that the finished product fully develops the potential within the concept. What are the latest technologies that you incorporate in your designs? While Studio Osmosis has a contemporary and flexible approach towards design and technology, we derive inspiration from various walks of life, art, culture, history and people. We believe in stretching the boundaries of design along with constant experimentation while adapting with site, context, strategies, materials and budget and understanding the limitations or extents of all.We enjoy the diversity of each project be it big or small. Each one becomes a journey and a learning experience.The key is to be dynamic and to constantly reinvent ourselves. We like to approach every project like it is our first, constantly adding to our learning and experiences “ “ JUNE 2021 | 40 | www.insightssuccess.in
  35. What are the major challenges in this field at present – with respect to the market and also with respect to the current trends? It was challenging as well as a good self-realization and learning experience to work on very small projects to a much larger scale ranging between 400 sq ft to 40,000 sq ft. We slowly realized each of those ended up being important milestones and learning experiences.When ideas and thoughts are reinforced by a coherent philosophy, they transcend scale. Enquiry and growth are an inseparable part of the creative and analytical mind, and so is the urge to challenge the boundaries of one's own comfort zone.This exploration can take place at many levels, from typology to material to process to scale. These became the building blocks to a very strong foundation at Studio Osmosis and this is what set us apart. Getting our team involved in every detail of the project whilst collaborating at all levels and understanding the requirement of each space, client, resulting in a unique solution which is just meant for that client without following any specific trend or style is what we believe sets every space apart. There is always a new learning while trying to balance the creative and the business aspects of design, yet always feeling content with the final outcomes to keep going. The idea of growth, in this case, is to keep outdoing your own self while building relationships with people and spaces. What makes you stand apart from the others? Over the years we have found recognition within the design community, received both national and international awards, been invited on various design jury panels, talks and presented our work in architecture schools and it always feels good to give back to the society. We have completed numerous projects with repeated clientele in healthcare and hospitality other than residential and commercial, thus building lasting relationships with our clients. Irrespectively , we are grounded and like to approach every project like it is our first, only adding to our learning and experiences.While every project is unique in itself, our experience helps us to solve problems and propose solutions to create spaces that are cherished. Rather than just keeping with the latest trends or trying to be a trendsetter, have a dialogue and evolve design with our clients thus creating projects which stand out and yet are a reflection of our client's personality . We intend to keep doing this better, evolving our own designs and processes and step by step making a difference and helping create change in our own small ways. Where do you see your firm in the future? Team Studio Osmosis looks to continue to design spaces that are enriching and go beyond the physical program given by the client. For us, it is important to challenge themselves to critically examine the context and respond meaningfully. Visions are constantly changing, evolving with each project. End goals will not just be the outcome but also the process and the journey that has been made, something that the team can look back and feel gratified about. We strive to be a practice where professionals enjoy what they do - building relationships and spaces.As a firm, we believe we will have to continually research, experiment, learn, innovate, and absorb further from the failures and tough situations. We also see a lot more collaborations currently as well as in the future at various levels of the design process, execution, art, architecture with other designers as well as creatives, craftsman and technical experts from other allied fields.That is the way to go. JUNE 2021 | 41 | www.insightssuccess.in
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