'Architect should design for today, keeping future in mind' -Ar. Hafeez Contractor

Hafeez Contractor

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Architect Hafeez Contractor
Indeed, Ar. Hafeez Contractor has proved this well through his firm determination, dedication and passion for design. Since childhood he was fond of sketching, drawing and designing sections of buildings, forts etc but there were many hurdles in his way to become an architect. Firstly, his mother was not in a financial position to bear the expenses of his architectural studies and secondly, he was also not good at studies and scored low marks which refrained him from getting admission in any architecture college. But he didn't lose heart and kept trying. In his quest, he came to know about the Academy of architecture where admission was possible only if he qualified the entrance test. By the grace of God, he did not only qualify the test but also throughout his architectural studies stood first. He is of the view that creativity, not marks makes a good architect.

Urban Built Landscape
After completing his architectural studies from the Academy of Architecture in Mumbai and New York's Columbia University, he started his career in 1968 as an apprentice with his uncle Architect T. Khareghat. In 1977, he became an associate partner in his uncle's firm. In 1982, he began his own practice, with dedication to design excellence, efficient delivery and sophistication in building technology as his hallmarks.

Ar. Hafeez Contractor has constant eagerness to create structures that exemplify functional and aesthetic qualities. He has shaped and changed Urban Built Landscape of the country through his provocative unpredictable revolutionary ideas in executing wide range of architectural projects like bungalows, residential developments, hospitals, hotels, corporate offices, banking and financial institutions, commercial complexes, shopping malls, educational institutions, recreational and sports facilities, townships, airports, railway stations, urban planning and civic redevelopment, and infrastructure projects.

Over almost 45 years of his flourishing and famed practice, his constant belief is that architecture should be honest and should respond to the spirit of time characterized by distinct ideas, disparate missions, contrasting convictions and divergent preferences. His design philosophy is not restricted to one but it varies from project to project, construction sites, clients' demand, budget, etc. He asserts, "I am an architect, who always feels that the need of a client is of paramount significance as it comes out of necessity and my role is to satisfy that need rationally."

Architectural Projects

Giving his viewpoints on the current architecture trends he says, "Architecture should be based on current demand which may inspire architects to think ideas that meet the demand and make it into reality. Demand is the most important thing which triggers innovation from architects."

Ar. Hafeez Contractor has been advocating for over 4 decades for vertical growth of cities, judicious land use and the need for sustainable compact cities to maintain a perfect harmony between increasing population and limited land resources. According to him, "We are living in a country which has a huge population, so it is our moral duty being an architect to design in such a way that gives shelter to many at a time. We have to find out new ways and have a new approach towards designing our cities. For the past 25 years I have been propagating that we need to expand vertically and not be restricted by limited FSI (Floor Space Index). I would like to say that limiting FSI and restricting height of structure in our cities has been the biggest cancer destroying our cities."

He worked with a developer in Gurgaon and convinced government that high rise development had more advantages in terms of quality life versus intense low rise structures dotting the landscape. Hafeez Contractor has also designed 'The Imperial Towers, Mumbai; one of the tallest residential buildings in India.

Favoring 'Go for Green construction' he says, "I m not against the green building construction or development as many have misinterpreted me. But my only concern is that green or sustainable construction means not just to use energy efficient building materials and products in your projects but it should also be in your design too where emphasis should be on judicious use of land to save it as much as possible. As once exhausted, land can't be produced or replenished anyhow."

He feels, "Green construction is of no value when just to win gold or platinum rating, we will misuse our precious commodity i.e land but it would be worth when land along with energy will be preserved. Optimum use of land is Green and Sustainable to me and I must say that Architect should design for today, keeping future in mind'

Green Construction

Hafeez along with officials of the urban development department and senior authorities has worked out solutions for slums plaguing Mumbai, by introducing a slum rehabilitation scheme. His special emphasis is also on social housing and his dream is to provide a house to every Indian. He is currently empanelled and working with various housing boards of different states including Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and few others.

'I always think on ideas which can save land judiciously and desire to work on such projects where a construction gives shelter to more people. My wish is that every Indian should have a home to live in and Government role and support in this are of utmost importance.'