Mr Ashok Purohit

Architect's Voice, Nov 2008

Ashok-PurohitClients have become more Vaastu conscious now ,
says well-known Architect Ashok Purohit.

Mr Ashok Purohit is one of the most successful architects in Ahmedabad. He is also the owner of City Pulse Media (India) Ltd., the first tech-studded multiplex in Gandhinagar. In a tête-à-tête with Vaastuyaogam, Mr Purohit emphasized that before planning any structure, he lays priority to the functional factor as well as the Vaastu perspective.

Mr Ashok Purohit

Mr Ashok Purohit is a multifaceted man. He is professionally one of the best architects known for fulfilling the expectations of clients, especially when it comes to FSI (Floor Space Index). He is also a design consultant and connoisseur of Indian classical music. In his young days, he often courageously rode his motorcycle from one state to another.

Vaastu principles have been implemented in our buildings from the beginning without our explicit knowledge of it,  he pointed out. In the last 15-20 years, when Vaastu became more popular, we started putting logic to it as it benefits our design,  he stated.

The moderately built and balding architect said he started his independent practice about 35 years ago. During that period, architects and clients both were not wholly aware of Vaastu or it was not given the importance that it is being given now, he said. Now things have changed; the client s requirements have gone up and the architect has to meticulously adhere to them.

Till a few years ago, the fair-complexioned architect was hyper-active. Almost 50% of the designing and planning work in Ahmedabad, Mr Purohit claimed, came to him. As many as 25 buildings that exist on a 2 km stretch on CG Road were planned by him and it is considered as a record for any architect, he said.
Mr Purohit s motto in his professional life has been simple and straightforward: concentrate on the clients requirements and fulfill them to the maximum extent.

In his heydays, Mr Purohit focused more on commercial structures as compared to the residential ones. The reason, he said, is simple: there more hassles in residential structures as every family member would want a separate design for his or her space in the flat or bungalow. Designing a commercial structure is relatively easier as one can fulfill clients requirements without such dilemma.

I give more importance to functionality,  he said emphatically. If there are too many requirements, particularly from the Vaastu perspective, I take the practical way. 

As a result, he said, my buildings are not bad buildings, and may be they are not a good piece of architecture . But these structures are better from the functional aspect.

During the earthquake, he said, 90% of the buildings that collapsed were of low height. Only a few high-rise buildings collapsed, he claimed. This is my analysis I don t know whether it is right or wrong when a three or four-storied building is raised on small pillars, it will not be able to bear a strong impact of the quake. So the smaller structures collapsed. The high-rise buildings or towers had big columns and some even had basements. So the impact of the quake was less. Now almost all buildings are planned as per the earthquake norms, he believed.

In the old buildings, there is evidence of Vaastu principles. The main entrance should be from North while the rear portion, particularly kitchen from South or South-West, as South is the direction of wind. The architect needs to ensure in the plan that the air coming from the south should flow into the drawing room or adjacent rooms, he said.

I don t do two types of designs; one that is strictly Vaastu-studded and the other without much focus on this ancient science. My sole intention is to make the client contented by fulfilling his requirements and expectations,  Mr Purohit stated.

My approach while planning a commercial building is what I call non-architectural. The main reason is that architecture is not simple mathematics. Like Maths, there are no fixed solutions to problems. In architecture, we can create number of possibilities that can meet the clients requirements.

I can cite the example of Divya Bhaskar House. For this project, I used to sit with a Vaastu expert with tracing papers and design the structure blending the Vaastu perspective and clients requirements,  Mr Purohit stated.

Vaastu varies from person to person. Some persons also reverse the Vaastu principles. As a result, we see changes from one construction to another. Some people say South direction entrance is not recommended. My City Pulse has a South entry but it did roaring business for the first 20 months. However, when more multiplexes came up, there was competition and my business dwindled,  he said asking does this mean South entry was responsible for it? 

There are two types of architects, according to him. In the first category, the architects make plans for fine buildings as per their perspective and mostly do not get concrete and expected commercial returns.

I believe in God, whether Vaastu or no Vaastu. Whatever God wills would happen, he said. Remember, when God is the partner, there is obviously no profit-sharing,  he said adding there is temple (of his partner) behind City Pulse.

Mr Purohit came to Ahmedabad from Rajasthan in 1963, studied in the School of Architecture (now CEPT University) and started solo professional practice from 1973. He is also a connoisseur of music and holds classical music programmes in the state capital where he resides. During his college days, he used to travel about 500 km many a time on bike from Ahmedabad to his native place Jodhpur in Rajasthan.

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– Girish Mudholkar
Mr Ashok Purohit