Please tell us about your professional achievements and experience.
After graduating from college, I joined Hafeez contractor. I worked as a trainee initially for about 8 months and then, I rejoined their office after completing my thesis. I continued with them for the next 4 and a half years and worked with them on a lot of projects that included residential buildings, commercial buildings, townships, high rise, and one of my favorites – THE D.Y. Patil stadium. That stadium ranks among the six best cricket stadiums in the world and for the past decade I am with Adani realty and have been working on their residential, commercial buildings and Townships.
What are the special characteristics of the stadium?
First of all, the stadium is not funded by the government. Mr. Vijay Patil himself owns the stadium. What makes this stadium stand apart from other stadiums is the fact that there are 4 levels of seating arenas, and each level gives an unobstructed view of the ground and none of the structural members exist towards the viewing area, all the structure is cantilevered from the elliptical staircase cores.
Due care has been taken for the design to ensure that the person sitting right at the edge can have a clear view of the action happening at the boundary line.
Large spans of tensile fabric were used as shading feature for the Pavilion as well as the seating area. Tensile reduces the weight of the entire structure and as it was a new material those days, a lot of architects were experimenting with it. For a stadium, it was the first time such a huge amount of tensile was used.
Does it have any impact on its aerodynamics?
No, not much. It impacts the style and openness. Initially, the stadium was meant only for cricket, but now they have included football as well. In fact, it is also hosting the FIFA under 17 world cup in October.
Any other interesting projects of your career?
In Hafeez contractor, I worked as a concept architect for 23 Marina, Dubai – a joint venture between Hiranandani and ETA ascon. The building is 88 stories high and is one of the tallest residential buildings in the world.
During your career, earlier with Hafeez contractor and now with Adani, how much role does Vaastu play in terms of concept, design, implementation, and acceptance by the architects?
Honestly, we never really focused on Vaastu directly. While meeting so many consultants, we had learnt the basics of Vaastu principles so we follow that, unless the client wants the entire structure to be Vaastu ready. In that case, we would look for a Vaastu consultant.
Would you recommend architecture students to develop an understanding of Vaastu?
Indians are influenced by the western culture, and in a wrong way. Whatever they do, we follow them blindly. If you take yoga as an example, it has been prevalent in India since the Vedic times, but we failed to realize its worth. Today, Yoga has become a style statement for people in the US and hence, we have started to follow it. Similarly, Vaastu is everything about science which is built in and around our living, but the thing is, we realize the importance of our culture and traditions only when people in foreign countries start preaching it seriously.
Should Vaastu be included as a subject in college curriculum for Architecture students?
Absolutely. We have been very late already as we have been avoiding it all this time. Our Indian architecture comprises of temples and palaces, which are perfect examples of Vaastu principles.
Considering the current urban challenges, is career as an architect in India a safe career choice?
Of course, there is a decent living involved after studying architecture – whether you are practicing by yourself, or working for the government, or even for builders or NGOs. 15 years ago, an architect’s job was only limited to consultant’s office or the architects who were practicing it. Things have changed now; even the banking sector has their own architects who look into interiors as well. There are many options for architects – some move from pure architecture to façade, some move to interior designing, while some also get involved into product designing and advertisement.
Today urbanization means you have to keep pace with the rapid growth of population, vehicle traffic, parking places. How do you incorporate the urban challenges of modern India into architecture?
We as architects want to promote urbanization. The biggest problem in India is the infrastructure which the government makes or the infrastructure that needs to be built before population explosion. The government isn’t very active in making their own townships; they are dependent on private players. Most of the townships in India haven’t been successful and the Private players have been bleeding big time. The thing is, they look at the money rolling period of 5-6 years; however, for a township, it takes up a lot of money into infrastructure. Having a mindset of covering up all your costs within that 5-6 years’ time period would be unreal. Sales would materialize only after at least 10-15 years once the the township recovers its own costs.
CORRECTIONS FOR INTERVIEW WITH MS. CHITRA SATISH – JAN’17 ISSUE
- Ms. Chitra Satish works as a principal architect at Archids, Bangalore.
- She finished her bachelors in architecture from B.M.S. college of engineering, Bangalore in 1990
- Her first job was for a landscape company before completing graduation.
- Vaastu emerges from traditional Hindu Shastra and it is called the science of architecture, so she had applied Vaastu in her homes scientifically.