Mr. Vivek Mistry

Architect's Voice, May 2017

Architect at Studio 04 Architects, Ahmedabad

Please tell us about your academic achievements and professional experience.

I completed my B. Arch from CEPT University in 2011. During my academics, I completed office training from Charles Correa Associates, Mumbai and opted for exchange program from ETHZ, Zurich. I consider learning through Professional Practice versus learning through academic curriculum, two sides of the same coin. Both teach architecture and its real-life implications, but in different ways.

When did you first start practice and what kind of projects have you been doing?

In 2011 before completing graduation, we setup a small office in Ahmadabad along with my 3 batch mates to start practicing Architecture professionally. Initially, it was difficult to get projects and we ended up meeting people giving proposals for any future project possibilities. However, our hard work and dedication proved the test of time. Currently, we work on a wide range of projects ranging from individual residence to large housing apartment, plotting schemes, corporate houses, commercial buildings, hotels, etc.

Protea Hotel by Marriot (Earlier known as Naguru Skyz)

What challenges do you continue to face and what is your strategy to tackle them?

We face many challenges throughout the project. The list includes site and design challenges, client requirements, budget constraints, construction techniques, availability of resources/material and labour, etc. Every challenge is an important part of design that can lead us to innovation. All these challenges guide us through the entire design process and help us in giving an identity to our buildings. If we are given a hypothetical project with no site information when all has been left to our imagination, the question would be – “Where do we start with?”

Vaastu Shastra defines simple principles which can be integrated into the design to enhance the functionality of the building in accordance with forces of nature.

IIT Kharagpur introduces Vaastu Shastra to young architects. What is your take on it?

It will benefit all the students and people with interest in Vaastu to stay updated in today’s fast moving sophisticated world. As technology has become an integral part of our design, buildings nowadays are designed as landmarks, compromising on the basic principles of design, functionality and energy efficiency. The curriculum of IIT Kharagpur may play an important role in enhancing our knowledge of ancient Indian architectural traditions through introduction of Vaastu Shastra course. We try to imitate the West and are part of Globalization now, so why not get acquainted with our own history and traditional principles first?

Tell us something about the approach you use towards your projects.

We believe in no compromise philosophy and try to maintain it in all our projects for all phases irrespective of its size, from conceptual design to the end of the project. We understand the importance of any project for clients as well as people who are part of it and hence, we try to keep balance between client requirements, contextual responses, design philosophy, climatic responses etc. while designing. This ensures that the final product is user friendly, functionally viable and forms an integral part of the contextual setting.

What kind of projects do you enjoy the most and what inspires you and your work?

Every project has a lot of challenges ranging from site location, site topography, climate, availability of material and skilled labourers, time frame and client requirements. I believe challenges are a boon for designers as it helps define a starting point with clues that form a design identity during the entire process and final output. Challenges are a very important aspect of design process and their absence would question the existence of building design language as well as the identity of the building. We try to put in our best efforts for all kinds of projects and hence, we enjoy each of them.

Do you feel architects and designers should be concerned about environment sustainability? If so, what role does green building play into your work?

Yes, they should be; however, it is everyone’s responsibility to be concerned about environment sustainability, not just the architects and designers. The universe is a home to every human on this planet and hence, it should be everyone’s priority to keep their home clean and sustainable especially when development is moving at such a fast pace. Green building implies sustainable buildings. It involves all processes ranging from design, construction methods, operation maintenance, renovation and demolition that should be environmentally responsible and resource efficient. We design climate ready buildings by designing them in a way it can retain its ambient state under different climatic conditions with less utilisation of energy and resources. Buildings with proper natural light and ventilation throughout the day has a great impact in energy saving and natural resources, leading to save the environment. Another important thing we follow is use of local material and labour for construction.

Mr. Sitaram’s Residence, Kampala Uganda

Do you feel that Vaastu is an important aspect for architecture?

Vaastu Shastra, as per my knowledge, is science and a tool for design in architecture. Vaastu Shastra defines simple principles which can be integrated into the design to enhance the functionality of the building in accordance with forces of nature. Knowledge of Vaastu can be used to design buildings with a scientific approach instead of having blind faith in it. I am always of the opinion that following the principles of nature with logic should be one of the topmost priorities while designing. While on other hand failing to follow, one should not preach fear and caution in the mind of people residing in the building.

To what extent does Vaastu play a role in your projects?

We try to follow Vaastu principles where ever possible throughout our design. Following it doesn’t degrade our design, rather enhances it and keeps our buildings close to nature. Every planning or design has endless options and variations possible, and incorporating principles of Vaastu while designing doesn’t seem to be a restriction in design.