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A legendary man who changed the whole perspective of architecture design in India. We got chatty with Ar. Sanjay Puri to know what went behind the making of his legendary design firm that grew by leaps and bound. But before we get to the interview section here is what you need to know about him.
Sanjay Puri, the Principal Architect of Sanjay Puri Architects, India has been a speaker and a judge at numerous international architecture events including the Leading European Architects Forum, The World Architecture Festival & The Perspective PLAN events held in London, Amsterdam, Bologna, Milan, Venice, Barcelona, Singapore, Berlin & Belgrade. Winning the World’s Best Housing project at the World Architecture Festival 2018, Amsterdam and the World’s Best Residential Project of 2017 at the LEAF Awards, London , Sanjay Puri Architects have now won 140 international architecture awards. 7 Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture & Design’s International Architecture Awards in 2019, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 & 2011, 10 World Architecture Festival Awards in 2018, 2017 , 2015, 2014,2012, 2011 & 2010, 10 Society of American Registered Architects Awards (SARA), New York, 18 World Architecture Community Awards U.K and 3 Hospitality Design Awards New York in 2015,2012 & 2010 are some of the other awards won by the firm in the last 7 years. With 138 international and over 100 national awards, the firm has won architectural projects in Spain, Montenegro, Mauritius, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Montreal, Oman and Dallas in addition to projects in 40 Indian cities. With a diverse portfolio of townships, schools, hotels, retail and office buildings, they continue their quest for creating innovative design solutions that are sustainable on a large scale. With a firm strength of 72, evolving design solutions that are contextual and creating spaces that revolutionize the way they are experienced form the essence of the firms design philosophy.
Featuring some of our favorite design projects by Ar. Sanjay Puri
THE STREET, MATHURA INDIA
Taking a cue from the old city streets of Mathura city in India where this project is located, this 800 room students’ hostel creates organic spaces. Designed in 4 level high, 5 linear blocks, the built spaces snake across a wedge shaped site twisting and turning along their length. Sitting adjacent to repetitive hostel blocks on the east and west these new hostels within a large university campus create individual spaces with a discernible identity in each part of the layout.
The orientation of all the buildings are done with a view of generating large north facing garden areas overlooking a vast playground towards the north. In addition, each hostel room is punctuated with a wedge shaped bay window oriented towards the north and the playground.
Each hostel room has ventilation openings in the internal corridor facilitating cross ventilation. The linear buildings create small break out spaces at each bending point allowing natural light into the internal circulation spaces.
These factors create an energy efficient building minimizing heat gain in response to the climate which has average temperature in excess of 300 c for 8 months of the year when the sun is in the Southern Hemisphere. Due to the ‘north-facing windows’ sunlight is facilitated inside the rooms throughout the year.
Two focal areas are created at the ends of the linear buildings to house cafeterias, games rooms and gymnasium opening into the north facing gardens and terraces. Each of the public spaces are large volumes with 20’ high ceilings.
The organic layout of the buildings characterizes each space within the site. Color accentuates different blocks and facilitates within. Each block is differently colored along with the internal face of the bay windows of the hostel in bright colors to create an identity.
Rain water harvesting and water recycling and usage of solar panels additionally make the project more energy efficient along with the orientation and facilitation of natural ventilation.
The Street is contextual to the climate and the orientation of the site, thus creating varied experiences and changing perceptions of space in each part of the 6-acre site.
AWARDS WON FOR THE STREET:
2018 – Winner of Best Large Housing Project Award in the World Architecture Festival,
2018- Winner in the Residential Category in the International Design Awards, Los Angeles
2018 – Winner in The Residential Architecture Design Awards
2018-The SARA Award, Society of American Registered Architects Awards, New York
2018- Winner of 27th Cycle Award World Architecture Community Awards, U.K.
2018- Highly Commended in Housing Category in the Cityscape Awards for Architecture in the
Emerging Markets, Dubai
2018- Winner in the Colour+Architecture Category in the Architizer A+ Awards, New York
RESERVOIR, RAS, INDIA
This site is located in Rajasthan amidst desert land where water is a scarcity and temperatures are in excess of 40C through 8 months of the year.
The site is steeply contoured and the land forms a natural water collection pit from the surrounding land. To capitalize on the water collection that the site naturally has, stepped wells located in Rajasthan since centuries were studied and the design of the built form is directly inspired by the form of the ancient stepped wells.
Office spaces are created on the two north facing sides gradually stepping down at each level along the existing contours generating north facing landscaped terraces fronting each office.
The opposite south facing sides are shaped into open stepped platforms along the site’s contours further generating landscaped spaces and creating a large community space as the traditional stepped wells had.
Externally the southern side is protected by earth berms that rise to create sheltered parking spaces with lower berms on the northern sides.
The office spaces at each level vary from 6 to 7.5 meters in depth thus ensuring that there is sufficient natural light penetrating all the spaces & no need of artificial lighting through the day.
Opening into terraces facing the water reservoir & the north, the internal spaces will extend visually to the outside while each office space can use the external spaces.
The design is responsive to the site contours, the climate of its location and to the need of its users, generating office spaces that require much lower energy consumption due to their orientation while imbibing the traditional architecture prevalent in the region since centuries and creating a large water catchment area in response to the water scarcity prevalent in the location.
The entire structure will be built in local Chittorgarh sandstone available in close proximity of the site.
The design is thus sustainable in numerous ways creating an energy efficient responsive architectural solution.
The offices while being a small part of a large 100 acre site, create a large community space that is usable by the residents of the township.
In addition the original water collection area is enlarged and will serve to augment the water requirement of the entire township.
The Reservoir is thus not only a sustainable office design but it extends to create a meaningful & contextual community space.
AWARDS WON FOR RESERVOIR
2016 – Winner in the Commercial Category in The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture
& Design’s International Architecture Awards
2016 – Winner of Future Commercial Project Category in the Cityscape Awards for Architecture
in the Emerging Markets, Dubai
2016 – Highly Commended in the Commercial Category in the PLAN Awards, Venice
2016- Winner of the Jury Award as well as the Popular Choice Award for the Best
Un-built Concept worldwide, in the Azure Awards, Toronto
2016 – Winner of 22nd Cycle Award in the World Architecture Community Awards, U.K.
2016 – Winner of the Public choice in the Architizer A+ Awards, New York
2015 – Winner of Best Future office Building of the Year in the World Architecture Festival,
2015 – Winner of the Best Future Building of the Year in the Leading European Forum
Architects Award (LEAF), London
2015 – Commendation in Offices Category in the MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project
AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH Ar. SANJAY PURI ARCHITECTS
Who is Sanjay Puri?
The son of 2 professionals, a father who is an engineer & mother who is a doctor, Sanjay is an alumni of Mayo College Ajmer, St.Xavier’s College Mumbai & the Academy of Architecture, Mumbai .
Tells us more about the making of Ar. Sanjay Puri?
Having started by working with Architect Hafeez Contractor at the age of 18, Sanjay started his own firm at the age of 27.
What inspired you to start Sanjay Puri Architects?
The desire to create buildings with a different perspective that challenged the way people perceived spaces fueled the starting of the office in 1992.
How would you describe the aesthetics of your designing?
Every project is different in terms of scale, context, location & clients brief & therefore there cannot be one way to design or one kind of aesthetics. We constantly strive towards creating different aesthetics that facilitate the engaging of people in multiple ways. The aesthetic of each project is the outcome of contextual responses enmeshed with conceptualizing unique spaces.
Has any particular period or architecture influenced your designs?
Rather than any particular period, the vernacular regional architecture of different cities & cultures has made a strong impact on me when it is organic in essence.
What are the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?
The challenges are multiple and in every aspect of this field. The most daunting challenge is convincing people to attempt something that has not been before.
Post this, the challenge is building within restricted budgets, dealing with largely unskilled contractors & workers & finding good talent to prepare the designs in extensive detail since the projects we do are generally complicated, to execute.
A word to young upcoming designers?
The need to understand detailing. This is generally overlooked nowadays. Everyone wants a fast result without spending time on the detailing & effort that is required to truly create a great project. Other than this, they must experience spaces of different kinds to understand them and not just look at photographs on social media .
What is your idea in mentorship, mentoring the young?
This is constantly being done in office to an extent since most of the office is between 25 to 35 years in age and may have not had enough experience to execute a project with meticulous attention to detailing.
Your plan in future?
The plan for the future is to limit the number of projects being done with a focus towards creating contextual public architectural projects that contribute to society in a magnanimous way .
What are the problems you faced while getting approvals on introducing your style of architectural designing in India?
I have been laughed at when showing an abstract design for the first few times. It was a long struggle to convince any client to create something that is different from what has been done before. It was almost 10 years before my first abstract design was approved after having worked on abstracting spaces & trying to convince various clients on numerous projects.
How does technology help you in forming parametric forms? Your favourite softwares?
My favorite way of designing is still sketching ideas directly without any softwares. Once a series of sketches including plans, sections & views are done , then these are transformed into drawings & 3d views using various softwares.
Tell us about your first project at Sanjay Puri Architects?
The first project with which we started our office was Vasant Nagri a 54-acre residential layout in Vasai, Mumbai with 3000 apartments, a school, a club, shopping areas and a temple.
We designed everything from the overall master plan, infrastructure, landscape and buildings.
How can fresh architecture graduates work for you?
We constantly hire fresh graduates, interns as well as experienced architects.
The factors we look for while hiring anyone are the quality & presentation of their design portfolios & their passion for design.
An Arch Attire Perspect Production
Featured Architect: Ar. Sanjay Puri Architects
Interviewed by: Ar. Swati Sharma