Ar. Jay Shah Director, Access Architects
"To be innovative in our designs and design processes looking beyond the set norms. The future of architecture lies solely in innovation and the better use of technology."
Ar. Jay Shah grew up travelling to various places in India and abroad with a varying and rich cultural history. He recognized a part of him that was sensitively aware of the effect that great buildings had on the people within them. The internal optimist in him believes that great architecture helps enrich the soul.
He is a dynamic young man whose interests lay in architecture since his early years. He studied Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University in New York City under the tutelage of architects such as Steven Holl, Bernard Tschumi and Kenneth Frampton. One of the reasons Jay chose to attend Graduate School, was to be exposed to the cutting edge Design and Technology. He recalled that during the orientation, the Dean said, "This is not design studio, this is a design laboratory." The goal is to 'realize' the future of design. The Software being used in movie studios and architectural offices today was partly developed in his college, Columbia University, in the 1990s.
In his endeavor to have the same research mindset to continually design better buildings, Ar. Jay Shah keeps thinking and innovating new designs. After completing his studies, he joined Access Architects which was established in 1981 by his father Ar. Atul Shah, with a focus in creating a new style for every design and transforming the ones that are alreadyexisting. The firm has evolved into a design studio that believes in innovation and modernization while keeping the traditional principles of design intact and Jay feels that this is the right place to bring his ideas into reality.
He believes in Looking Beyond where every effort is made for continuous improvement to ensure that clients receive cutting edge innovation, design and implementation. He works closely with clients to develop initial concepts that complement their overall strategy. He is an innovative architect who draws inspiration not only from his travels to different places around the world but also from the daily surroundings that he lives in.
He is a huge believer in using technology that allows in analyzing, designing, and visualizing buildings.
One of the things that he learnt to aide his creative process is parametric design - which allows one to design their own tools through computer coding. Moreover, this enables one to harness unlimited potential of computing, not relying on frameworks of software available today. He believes that the future of architecture lies solely in innovation and the better use of technology.
Apart from these, he believes in the "four a.m. miracle" and explains it as "an unexplainable and unusual event that happens around 4 a.m. where sleep deprivation erodes your internal censors and allows you to come out of yourself and create something amazing. When you spend enough time designing something, the mind tends to merge the left brain – right brain thinking. And then you're able to use the left and right brain at the same time, which sometimes leads to Eureka moments in design."
The reason, he enjoys designing buildings in a city like Mumbai, is because no matter how many one builds, the next one is always a new challenge. Commercial buildings, for example, don't allow a lot of freedom to express creativity when it comes to designing. There are a huge number of municipal guidelines, developer requirements, and general structural stipulations that need to be adhered to when an architect designs this kind of a structure. But what is more important is that even with all these parameters and challenges, if one is still able to create a building that has an eclectic and admiral value, then the goal has been achieved.
Access Architects believes in India-inspired designs hence they design and execute structures that are constructed keeping Indian culture, climate, and surroundings in mind. The firm has its own in-house research cell 'Derive' that focuses on how to innovate while designing buildings and help achieve economies in costing with an efficient utilization of natural resources besides being environmental–friendly, without compromising on utility. Presently, Derive has been working on a research project that is very close to Jay's heart – Affordable Housing. For three and half years, the research that has been done for this has been used by Jay to conceptualize a design that investigates various means and ways to deliver an apartment to a client that is not only profitable and valuable to them, but also viable for developers to build without special government support.
Ar. Jay firmly believes that no one expects to live forever but hopes to be a part of future. For this he tries his best to incorporate his aspiration into every design, he creates.