Architect Hafeez Contractor - An Icon

Architect Hafeez Contractor


Who could believe that a student who was once scolded by his teacher for drawing structures of forts, bikes, guns, etc. in his notebook and also got prophecy out of anger and frustration that 'you will grow only as an architect', has today become the most famous icon of architecture in India who hardly needs any introduction. He is none other than Ar. Hafeez Contractor who at that time was not even aware with the meaning of the word 'architect'.


Demand Triggers Innovation from Architects

Today with over four decades of successful stint in Architecture and innumerable projects to his credit, Ar. Hafeez Contractor had just not grown only as a well-known face in the architecture fraternity for his avant garde and surrealistic designs but also as a man whose design approaches are in response to current demand. His vision has given a new meaning to highrise construction in India. He believed that architecture should be honest and respond to the spirit of times characterized by distinct ideas, disparate mission, contrasting conviction and divergent preferences.

Being a controversial architect for unrealistic ideas and thoughts, his designs are not bound to one set of beliefs but he keeps playing with infinite possibilities and out of the box concepts. Speaking to Maria R. about his stints in the architecture world, flight of imaginations, and generation of innovative ideas with changing demand trends, Ar. Hafeez Contractor says, "Dreaming for anything is completely open as I'm dreaming for houses without water supply pipes and hopeful also to get them soon. 'I think demand is a vital thing which triggers innovation from architects. Vertical and sustainable construction is the need of the hour considering accommodation to huge population, thus maintaining a perfect harmony between increasing population and limited land. Architect while designing for today, should always keep future in mind. My desire is to work on such projects where a design and construction gives shelter to more people at a time as my wish is to see every Indian have his own house to live in." Excerpts:

Minerva
Minerva
What fascinated you to enter into the world of architecture and design?
Since my childhood I was fond of sketching, drawing and designing sections of buildings, fort etc. So in short I will say that my passion drew me here.

Will you please give an overview of your journey since inception to present stature?
Firstly, I would like to say that there were lots of hurdles in my way to become an architect as my mother was not in a financial position to bear the expenses of my architectural studies which was quite expensive that time as per the income of my family. Secondly, I was also weak in studies and scored low marks up to SSC which refrained me from getting admission in any architecture college but I didn't leave the hope and kept trying and finally after a short time came to know about the Academy of architecture where admission was possible only if I qualified the entrance test. And I did it. I believe that creativity is vital to become an architect, not the marks.

After completing the architectural studies from the Academy of Architecture in Mumbai my career began in 1968 as an apprentice with my uncle Architect T. Khareghat. Later, after I completed my Master from New York's Columbia University, I became an associate partner in my uncle's firm in 1977.

In 1982, I started my own practice, with dedication to design excellence, efficient delivery and sophistication in building technology. We have over 550 employees, comprising architects, town planners, interior designers, landscape artists, civil engineers, CAD operators, and graphic designers.

ONGC Dehradun
Main - ONGC, Dehradun

So far, I have worked 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. The firm has to its credit over 2500 satisfied clients with 72 crores square feet of ongoing projects in 100 cities and 5 countries.

ONGC Mumbai
ONGC, Mumbai

What architecture means to you? A word about your Design Philosophy?
Architecture is a part and parcel of my life.' It is something to me which is priceless and can't be expressed in words what I feel for it. Keep creating and designing something innovative and out of self- expectation is my passion. Moreover, I believe that architecture should be honest and should respond to the spirit of time characterized by distinct ideas, disparate missions, contrasting convictions, and divergent preferences.

My design philosophy is not restricted to one but it varies from project to project, construction sites, clients' demand, budget, etc. I am an architect, who has always felt that the need of a client is of paramount significance because it comes out of necessity and my role is to satisfy that need rationally.

An architect should be very clear for whom (clients) he is creating; what should be incorporated in design that becomes unique once completed and draws others' attention and also he should consider what will be its impact on the society, people and environment. Architect should design for today, keeping future in mind.

Do you have any particular role model in the architectural and technological industries that have inspired you most?
Universal Majestic Mumbai
Universal Majestic, Mumbai
I have lots of role models from whom I learnt a lot. I believe that it is not necessary to learn something from only famous personalities but an ordinary person can also teach you lot. So just keep your eyes open as ideas can come anytime from anywhere.

How do you see at the current architectural trends?
Architecture is always based on current demand which inspires architects to think innovative ideas that meet the demand by coming into reality. Seeing the huge population of our country, I am advocating for layered infrastructure, 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.

As we are living in such 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. Vertical construction is one way we can provide accommodation to lots of people on limited space. 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 has been the biggest cancer destroying our cities. I had worked with a developer in Gurgaon and convinced the government that highrise development had more advantages in terms of quality life versus intense low rise structures dotting the landscape.

Moreover, with land becoming a scarce resource, we need new imaginative policies which preserve land, pave the way for new compact cities with intense development. We have to find out new ways and have a new approach towards designing our cities. For me a sustainable compact green city is the answer. We need compact cities and intense development for better taxation, connected centers of social and commercial activities, community based society, rich urban landscaping and proximity reducing waste of energy. Special emphasis should be on social housing to irradiate the housing shortage. These cities would be cheaper and easier to run rather than sprawled out, evolved existing cities.

Mumbai International Airport Limited
MIAL- CSI - T1C

Your name is associated with several iconic projects including the recent Infosys software development block in mysore, global education centre infoys Mysore or other projects such as DLF Aralias, Gurgaon, Imperial Tower, Mumbai, GIFT Gujarat and many more. What always inspired you to think and design out of the box concept? How do you get the ideas?
I think demand is the most important thing which triggers innovation from architects. I will also say that the capability to think out of the box is God gifted and one has to keep it polishing and nourishing through his/her firm determination, dedication, and passion.

As you are seeing that today for most of the mega projects in India, developer/contractor are generally contacting international renowned architects like moshe safdie (khalsa heritage-punjab), ADRAIN Smith (imperial tower or Mumbai master plan), John Portman (park hyatt hotel Hyderabad), Ar. James Cybertecture (cybertecture egg, Ohm Tower in Mumbai) etc. Do you think it will be a drawback for the Indian architects as they will not get chance to show their creativities?
Competition is any way better. We have to show the world that we are the best. But my only concern is that why we are allowing the international architects to compete in our land when we are not getting chance in their country.

The Aralias PAN
The Aralias- PAN

What is your take on Green construction?
Many people think that I am against the green building construction or development. But I want to make it clear that I am also advocating for green construction. Only there is a difference of definitions. I think that green or sustainable construction means not just to use energy efficient building materials and products in your projects but it should 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.

I feel that 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.

Which building material such as glass, steel etc you love to work with?
All materials are good and nothing wrong with anyone. The only thing is that you should know its proper usage and method to apply. I believe that glass is a material of future.

Being reputed as one of the most innovative designers who is committed to create unique, inspirational, path breaking and sustainable structures; what new idea/theme is in your mind that you are looking for to work on?
Currently, my focus is also on social housing as I have a dream that every Indian should have his own house and in this government role and support is of utmost importance.

What according to you are the mantras/secrets of your successful life?
Hardwork, dedication, understanding of the social & environment needs and client's demand are the vital elements to get success in life. One should also keep abreast with changes and always adopt changes with time.

Pool House: 42MM Architecture creates an environment for well-being

Pebble in the Grass The design inspiration of the pool house by 42MM Architecture lies in creating meaningful environments that enhance the feeling of well-being The unique and quirky pool house breaks many conventional architectural ideas with a bold design and an unusual execution. Conceived as a standalone structure, it complements the existing house, without replicating it. It accommodates a consolidated entertainment zone with a home theater, lounge, pool, changing room, a gym, and two... Read More ...

Space Craftt Architects build a cottage atop a steep slope

Rugged Beauty Space Craftt Architects build a cottage atop a steep slope with panoramic views of the valley and mountains Fact File Project Name: Hill House Client: Yallappa A. Patil Site Area: 10000 sq.ft Built Up Area: 3500 Sq Ft. Location: Fort Panhala, Dist, Kolhapur Architect: Space Craftt Architects Project Team: Ar. Umaesh Raje, Ar. Sachin Pande Interior Designer: Space Craftt Architects Landscape Designers: Space Craftt Architects Structural Consultant: Sunil Desai MEP Consultant:... Read More ...

Ar. Ujjval Fadia designs a modern farmhouse

Weekend Getaway Fact File: Project Name: Weekend Home Location: Bavlu, Ahmedabad Site Area: 4880 sq.yd Built Up Area: 700 sq.yd Architect: Ar. Ujjval Fadia Team: Ar. Ujjval Fadia, Ar. Mitali Shah, Id Sejal Patel Interior Designer: Ar. Ujjval Fadia, Sejal Patel Landscape Designer: In-house Structural Consultant: Er. Nitin Patel, Maruti Consultants MEP: In-house Civil Contractor: Dharmendra Patel Project time taken: 15 months Cost: 2, 05,00,000 Photo Credits: Subhash Patil Material Palette... Read More ...

Architect firm Saransh uses rustic materials to re-create a tactile apartment

Homely Textures Architect firm Saransh uses rustic materials to re-create a tactile studio apartment in AhmedabadFact File Project name: MD Apartment Location: Ahmedabad Gross Built Area: 725 sqft Architecture Firm: Saransh Completion Year: 2019 Photo credits: Ishita Sitwala, The Fishy Project Material Palette Kitchen Appliances: Siemens Bath Fixtures: Kohler Lighting: Flos Flooring: BFT In stripping the space bare, there was a conscious decision of making it minimal and at the same time,... Read More ...

Studio Svarup Architects' design celebrates rural life

Celebrating Rural LifeFact File Location: NH24, Azadpur Mafi, Distt. Amroha, UP Built up area: 1,500 sqft Site Area: 20 acresClient: Anekant GroupArchitect Firm: Studio Svarup ArchitectsPrincipal Architect: Arnav MathurTeam: Divyaa Saxena, Siddharth BansalConsultants: Sudhir Banga (kitchen)Awards: Winner Architecture Ideas 2.0 at FoAID 2016, Winner A’Design Award 2017 Studio Svarup Architects’ design of the Enroot Restaurant captures the spirit of the rural landscape through the grains,... Read More ...

Green Building: Design Consortium designs India's first 5-star SVAGRIHA rated residence

A Sustainable ApproachDesign Consortium designs India’s first 5-star SVAGRIHA rating residence in CR Park, New Delhi Awarded as India’s first residence to achieve a 5-star rating by SVAGRIHA a TERI and GRIHA collaboration, the form of this 8100 sq.ft house is achieved by staggering and stacking, in order to maximise diffused light. SVAGRIHA is a simplified rating and audit process for green homes.The design, based on principles of green architecture, is punctured with fenestrations to reduce... Read More ...

Castles in The Air by Ar. Sangeet Sharma

ISBN: 978-1-945563-85-0Publisher: RumourPages: 234Paperback ExcerptsLaughter is said to be the best elixir and the book is a satire on architecture written by one who knows the bricks and concrete of the profession by heart. The author delves into the journey of a professional practice with wit and acerbic humor. Every scene unfolds like a screenplay, leaving the reader amazed with the brutalities of life in architecture, and life itself.The book is not for architects alone; but also for... Read More ...

Trends 2019

"Future of the building material industry is very optimistic, especially for safe and environment-friendly products," says Ashwin Reddy, Director, Aparna Enterprises, while giving a perspective on the construction activities in the real estate sector Demand for energy-efficient, environment-friendly, sturdy, light and safe products will continue to be strongAshwin Reddy According to industry estimates, the building material industry is currently valued at $126 billion, employing around 40... Read More ...

Architectural Voices of India by Ar. Apurva Bose Dutta

Bengaluru-based author and award-winning architectural journalist, Ar. Apurva Bose Dutta brings together luminaries of the architecture fraternity, for a discourse on architecture and planning in India, its evolution, and a sharing of their journey in the field. The diverse voices of architects Karan Grover, Brinda Somaya, Hafeez Contractor, Shiv Datt Sharma, Christopher Benninger, Ravindra Bhan, Parul Zaveri and Nimish Patel, Raj Rewal, Prem Nath, Sandeep Khosla, BV Doshi, Sanjay Puri, Sonali... Read More ...

Ravi & Nupur Architects

Ravi & Nupur Architects
Ravi & Nupur Architects is a design consultation firm, established in 2009, headed by Architects Ravi & Nupur Jain, with the aim of design of built environment that prioritizes the occupant’s need & quality of life in coordination with social & natural environment.Ravi & Nupur Architects is a professional architect and interior designing firm, based in Jodhpur. The firm was established in 2009 by Ar. Ravi Jain, now principal architect, in 2009 and later joined by Ar. Nupur Patwa in 2013,... Read More ...

Javier Sordo Madaleno Bringas

Javier Sordo Madaleno Bringas
Javier Sordo Madaleno Bringas studied at the Architecture Faculty of the Universidad Iberoamericana. He has made an enormous contribution to architectural development and style in Mexico, improving the environment and quality of life for users. His professional life, with over 30 years of experience as an architect and developer, has been highly prolific, with approximately 180 projects designed, over nine million square meters constructed, and around 2.5 million sqm developed.Sordo Madaleno has won... Read More ...

The Material Palette

Interior designers and architects are experimenting with a host of building materials, from the traditional to the most modern, to offer infinite interior design optionsCompiled by Seema Gupta Interior spaces in India have never been so uniquely designed and furnished. Along with the new products in the market, the age-old traditional time-tested and eco-friendly materials continue to find favour. According to Sachin Gupta of Beyond Designs, home decor is the best way to inject your... Read More ...

Greenbuild India

One of our main focus is preparing for the next 20+ years and sustaining LEED’s explosive growth trajectory. So, in the last few years, we have shifted our vision to prepare ourselves for the future, writes Mahesh Ramanujam, President & CEO, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI)More than 20 years ago, the USGBC started as a vision; today, it is an unparalleled community of sustainability-focused and like-minded people responsible for anchoring one of the... Read More ...

Ar. Hiren Patel

Ar. Hiren Patel
In my architectural practice since 1989, I have gone through several ups and downs, small ones and big ones... growing with every challenge... adapting to prevailing conditions to tide me through the worst crisis. This journey has taught me through wonderful experience to introspect about the intricate idiom with ease.In my quest for excellence, I have poured into my work passion, commitment, wholehearted enthusiasm, hope and my energy and I hope to maintain such a level of integrity and... Read More ...

Ar. Galal Mahmoud

Ar. Galal Mahmoud
The Sofitel Tamuda Bay's architecture and interior design were conceived by us as a smooth and seamless transition between indoors and outdoors. Moroccan culture and craftsmanship are rich in colour and texture and are highly characteristic of this Mediterranean civilization which has evolved over many centuries. The use of innovative materials and methods allowed me to reinterpret this traditional lifestyle into a contemporary language. A telling example is the use of Plexiglas to create the... Read More ...

Ar. Sanjay Arora/ Ar. Sanchit Arora, Renesa Architecture Studio

Ar. Sanjay Arora/ Ar. Sanchit Arora, Renesa Architecture Studio
Renesa Studio and architectural & interior design consulting firm based in New Delhi, is led by Sanjay Arora, Principal Architect & Founder, along with his son Sanchit Arora, Studio Head Architect. Renesa Studio has partnerships with industry leaders who include landscape specialists, contracting firms, furniture manufacturers, etc. The added benefit of these partnerships is that Renesa ensures on-time and on-budget completion of projects. Sanchit Arora holds a bachelor's degree in... Read More ...
MGS Architecture

Modern Green Structures & Architecture

Modern Green Structures & Architecture
NBM&CW

New Building Material & Construction World

New Building Material & Construction World
L&ST

Lifting & Specialized Transport

Lifting & Specialized Transport
II&TW

Indian Infrastructure & Tenders Week

Indian Infrastructure & Tenders Week