Mr. Shah talks about the Govt. policies, urbanization, smart cities, Vaastu and how all of them combined, have made an impact on our architecture.
Could you please tell us about your academic achievements and professional background?
I completed my Bachelors in Architecture from M.S. University in 2001. I had my goals clear from the very beginning. I wanted to develop my skills as a commercial architect so I didn’t want to enrol myself in a master degree course. However, I wanted to start practicing commercial architecture. After graduation, I worked with renowned architects based in Ahmedabad for the next 4 years who were already veterans in the field. Later, I started my independent practice in 2004-05 and we deal in corporate, commercial, residential and interior design projects.
What is your advice to upcoming architects regarding Vaastu?
Sure, they should focus on Vaastu as a subject from the very beginning. From my experience, I believe that Vaastu and Feng Shui – both are science practiced in different parts of the world following a similar concept. So, if the buildings are going to follow science, then without a doubt, they are going to generate positive vibrations. For example, in olden times not all houses had electricity so having a room in South West was beneficial because of the wind direction. The house owner, after a hard-working day could get peaceful sleep when the bed room was placed in South West. A peaceful sleep will keep him healthy and will enable him to go back to work the next day. Also, in olden times, Toilets, Soak pits, and Granary stores were in the South or West direction, the reason being these areas will get the maximum heat waves from the Sun, so this will keep the insects away from the grains.
The biggest initial challenge was having extremely competitive fee structure. From my experience, clients usually prefer architects who would charge competitive rates. However, with God’s grace, the clients we have been working with, have always preferred quality and serving over other factors.
What is your take on smart cites and urbanization?
I believe that, Govt. by itself isn’t going to be able to make the project a success. People must be literate enough to be able to accept the idea behind smart cities. All the policies released by the government should get clicked at the right time. Sometimes, they come before time while some policies get implemented quite later, when the time has already passed. To build a successful smart city, there are 2 very important things: 1) The decision taken by the government should be executed at the correct time and 2) Public should support the decision and understand the complete idea behind urbanization and smart city planning.
For instance, the BRTS project has been very successful in the city of Ahmedabad but implementation of the same project in a few other cities has been a disappointment. Projects like these first need be checked if they are feasible as per the city’s architecture. If it doesn’t, then they shouldn’t be copied and implemented from the exact model of some other city.
What is your take on the Check Vaastu app?
It is a very good initiative. I would appeal to make it visibly available to a broader range of public, not just the already prosperous giants of the industry. A person buying a 5 BHK villa might be able to afford the fees of a Vaastu consultant; however, it might not be the case with a person buying a 1 BHK apartment or a small office Start-up company. So, this app can work as an excellent tool for knowing if any remedies exist for their existing layout at quite an affordable price. Also, every Vaastu Shastra consultant should price their services in a way that people from middle class families are able to afford them as well.
Do you think Architects and Vaastu have a different viewpoint?
No, I don’t think they are opposite in nature. I have done many projects in which Vaastu has played a major role. Sometimes, there is a difference of opinion between architects and Vaastu experts. If the layout isn’t Vaastu compliant, we ask the Vaastu experts to propose a solution for the same layout rather than changing the layout in its entirety.
One of my commercial schemes in Science city, “Panchamrut Vaastu Villa” with 42 units, has been built based on the principles of Vaastu. Usually, when one building is designed with Vaastu principles, the site opposing it automatically becomes anti-Vaastu. However, we managed to build all 42 units as per Vaastu from commercial aspect. It was a dream project for the builder and had a noble thought behind it. They believed that every person buying a new house has dreams of a happier life ahead. So, why not make the forces of nature work in their favour? Vaastu is science of architecture so it well served the purpose here.