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In conversation with architect Hiren Patel.

In conversation with architect Hiren Patel.

DE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW with architect Hiren Patel, the principal architect at Hiren Patel Architects, Ahmedabad.

Hiren Patel is one of India’s top leading Architects. The Principal Architect at Hiren Patel Architects, Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Design Essentia Editor in chief Anirudh Datta had a detailed interaction with the architect for the DE Spotlight interview series about the work at Hiren Patel Architects and about the post COVID scenario in architecture, along with the topic of Make in India to promote & go “local”.

Hiren Patel architects started out as a small firm that has grown exponentially by accepting every challenge that came its way. In my quest for excellence, “I have poured into my work passion, commitment, wholehearted enthusiasm, hope and my energy and I hope to maintain such a level of integrity and commitment in all my work as long as I live.” says architect Hiren Patel.

“the city will grow horizontally post covid.”

A journey of more than a decade with an insight into social and professional dynamics and working on projects with man, material and nature, the architect says he has learnt that there is an inbuilt harmony within these three elements. It has been my constant effort by the studio to make optimum use of these components and archive growth, excellence and perfection while contributing to the society, conserving nature and respecting tradition. “Success to me does not only mean volume of work, but also the quality and imprint it leaves behind. For us the achievement is in appreciation and recognition we gain for our projects. We constantly strive to change with time and incorporate new ideas for enriching our service for you.” says architect Hiren Patel.

It was interesting talking to Architect Hiren Patel as he shares his insights on the going local with Make in India concept as well as on the post covid situations in architecture with a need for a sustainable future.

AD : What inspired you to pursue a career in Architecture?

HP : My father, a government employee, was actually a 2nd town planner of Gujarat state. And my both elder brothers were pursuing civil engineering . I saw them making models of buildings. They introduced me to the word “architect”. They once said – “we engineers make buildings but architects are the one who actually design them” At the same time a beautiful exposed brick work house was being built in from of our house : I saw the owner Kumar Vyas and his friend Dashrath Patel visiting site. Both were a legend at NID. I think this house indirectly inspired me to choose the field of architecture. From 10th standard I was sure to be an architect . I was a good student and could have got in to medicine or computers but I preferred architecture, which was less known at that time and that became my passion.

AD : In few words, how would you define your design process – philosophy?

HP : We look for a “timeless “ quality in all our projects. Nature plays a major role in it . Garden design and landscaping beyond decorations, we thrive for. I saw my father with the Love for gardening. He was so good at it and with his busy schedule of work , he was always devoted to his to gardens. We saw him, he never insist us to work or help him in landscaping – that was his passion. Our home garden was his soul and there was oneness in their relationship. Hope one day I can get this quality of oneness with landscaping. We work on architecture, interior design and landscape design. For us it’s one thing and we look for a synergy between all the three. Architecture teaches us the space making, interiors teaches us fine detailing and landscaping teaches us the connections to nature. At the moment we look for the quality which is beyond design. The work has to be a poetry or an Art. And that “Art” shall be artless for us. This is what we are working towards.

AD : The world is now slowly realising the seriousness about climate change. What is your take on sustainable practice in architecture today?

HP : Green and sustainable design is a experts subject. Our heritage always respected the sustainable aspect in design and living. For this we have to go backwards then forward. Our ancestors did so well in green design. We need to get their sensitivity back. I am a LEED AP (accredited professional). I think it’s good to have such measuring tools today to check how much sustainable your design is. At HPA we did few projects, with such green certifications. One shall try to get such certifications to get aware for green design approach. We all have to work in direction as someone wise once said rightly – that we are only visitors to this planet, and we shall respect and maintain it so well for the next visitors in future. With such kind of data and technology available, we can see our future well and we can rectify where ever it is needed.

GARDEN HOUSE by Hiren Patel Architects. Photographer: VINAY PANJWANI.

AD : The world is now slowly realising the seriousness about climate change. What is your take on sustainable practice in architecture today?

HP : Green and sustainable design is a experts subject. Our heritage always respected the sustainable aspect in design and living. For this we have to go backwards then forward. Our ancestors did so well in green design. We need to get their sensitivity back. I am a LEED AP (accredited professional). I think it’s good to have such measuring tools today to check how much sustainable your design is. At HPA we did few projects, with such green certifications. One shall try to get such certifications to get aware for green design approach. We all have to work in direction as someone wise once said rightly – that we are only visitors to this planet, and we shall respect and maintain it so well for the next visitors in future. With such kind of data and technology available, we can see our future well and we can rectify where ever it is needed.

AD : Your most proud – favourite project at HPA?

HP : My first building, (unfortunately I do not have a details or photo of it . It was before computer was in architecture). It was a beautiful house of 3 vaults, great powerful architecture and I have it in my memories. During practice, working with real estate developers was a bit challenge . We had to work hard to convince them a do good architecture and design apart from a business of profit . We did one sample villa at one project with beautiful garden courtyards and people loved it so much. Every weekend it will be full of visitors. It was kind of a dream house. When you work for community, one will have another level of joy. Doing Dadamiyan Mosque, doing a Samadhi for a spiritual leader, or doing a community center for underprivileged children brings a lot more satisfaction in design as one feels that you are giving back to society which is meaningful. Revisiting such space makes you much happy , when you see people are enjoying these spaces you and your office have created. Also working on town planning is a great interest for us .

I believe you can rectify the building if they could not achieve desired quality . But when one works on road lay outs it’s a final footprint on Mother Earth . It is gonna to stay for ever for years . So we love that challenge and enjoyed working on such urban projects for corporations.

Dadamiyan Mosque, Ahmedabad by Hiren Patel Architects Photo courtesy : HPA.

AD : What other projects are you currently working on?

HP : We primarily work on buildings for living and working. We realised the nature plays a strong role in this and we try to bring our end users towards nature . There is a project we call – Garden House , it has this philosophy to live with garden at every space of this urban house. We have established the relationship with nature and indoor spaces. Almost every spaces has a great view to garden.We created different landscaping for all different areas. Also same way when we were working on an office, we thought of designing garden office. So we have complete transparency in office with floor to ceiling glass and all around is a garden for the green visual connect.

GARDEN HOUSE by Hiren Patel Architects. Photographer: VINAY PANJWANI

AD : Outside of architecture, what are you currently interested in and how is it influencing your design thinking?

HP : I believe in fitness. I love running , swimming and doing Yoga . Learning in these fields are life long. But some time one feels happy by achieving certain milestones. I did my half iron man, and I feel happy to be a fit person. Same way I love art and i paint alot of big size of watercolours. Doing watercolour helps me to be fresh and I am able to work well with my demanding professional hours.

AD : DE’s this month theme is Make In India. How important today do you think is “going local in design and construction”

HP : In India we have lots of local talent. Our artisans are rare & skilful. And we need to work with them and keep them busy. Most of the developed countries have gone in mass production, where as in India we still have things produced by hands. That is the thing which we should shall be taking forward with pride. We can produce work which is beautifully produced by hands and not machines. Make in India is a great initiative by government, we shall work in this direction what ever little we can contribute. Also good products, if we are not able to produce, then we shall not be ashamed to import. We too import things and learned from it. A competition for better product is must and we shall be as good as any world class product.

AD : How has HPA indulging themselves today and in the past towards the Make in India Idea?

HP : Yes , we look for good products which are appropriate for our clients. In our projects we also choose certain areas to be developed with local brands and local products. We demand the high quality work and service from our local vendors and artisans. One thing we need to understand is that, using local products doesn’t not mean to use inferior products. We need to improve to get respect from the

AD : You have been an architect for over three decades. How has the architecture industry evolved from what it was back then?

HP : At the beginning of my carrier the real estate was huge but still not at all focussed for good design. It was just a platform of good profits. There was no respect of architects who worked for builders.  Today the scene has changed. Now a real estate developer wants best of design for his project. And they obey architects. It’s a big shift. People benefit from this hard and honest works of architects.  Second now one have so much in terms of material availability and possibilities. The technology is evolving drastically. In architecture it is slow where in interior industry it has already gone to world class level.   Our local manufacturing people are at par with rest of the world in quality. And year by year it is improving. I see massive shifts in using local talents v/s imported ones. Which is good. As it promotes local. It will improve the economy of country as well. But we shall always thrive for best quality, for that one can import and learn to develop locally later. And then export again.

AMOEBA OFFICE, Surat, Gujarat by Hiren Patel Architects Photographer: VINAY PANJWANI.

AD : In the current covid situation what you think will be the future of Architecture after COVID? How would you think this would affect the design industry?

HP : COVID-19 has made us a better humans for sure. Now we respect nature, humans to all levels. We have become conscious about family bonding and persuading our hobbies. As a designer we will more sensitive in terms of quality design.We need to slow down. Most of us have realised that quality makes us more happy than quantity.  So we all have become quality conscious.   Architecture practice will not suffer like any other industry like hospitality on long run. Yes immediate financial crisis will happen but that is unavoidable and we need to fight for such situations. In Ahmedabad we had seen earthquake and we had experience similar financial crisis.

“City will grow horizontally, post covid. ”

AD : What is your “message of HOPE” in this COVID crisis?

HIREN PATEL :  Live a simple life which is much more meaningful.

Read the full interview below in our DE magazine Edition.

check out the above full story in our

DE JUL-AUG 2020 Edition – The edition to promote local #MakeInIndia

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