Jan 15 2017 | Q&A

Ar. Ricky Doshi, Founder & CEO, ARD Studio

“An architect’s role is very important in green development. The architect decides what material goes where in their designs and thus the usage of these materials shall be such that all its properties are put to the best of its abilities. Materials like glass that has a great reflective property, shall be placed in such a way that maximum light passes into the structure and the need for artificial lighting is minimized, but at the same time it doesn’t allow heat/cold to enter the structure thereby, not prompting excessive load on HVAC. There needs to be a collective effort from the entire real estate fraternity, including developers & architects.

Ar. Ricky Doshi, Founder & CEO, ARD Studio shares his view with Sandeep Sharma about his firm, core competencies, inspiration behind ARD studio, signature projects, market scenario in MMR, sustainable construction & design, architectural trends, impact of demonetization, scope for architects in the Smart Cities programme. Edited excerpts…

What's the inspiration behind setting up 'ARD Studio' and core competencies of your firm?
ARD Studio is a dream project which was initiated when I was still pursuing my under graduation degree in Architecture. Coming from an entrepreneur background, I always wanted to build something that I could call my own. It took me quite some time to fulfil this dream and there were a lot of roadblocks, but eventually the dream turned into a reality on August 08, 2013. I have always been attracted towards the designs that look different from the lot. I realized that working for someone will never allow me to experiment on my designs, and I’ll be stuck with a monotonous job. I like freedom and love trying out different things in my design. I don’t get much about the success rate of those designs, since I know I can’t please everyone. I always strive to design something which stands out from the others. This is the major inspiration towards starting ARD Studio, which is a design studio where out of the box thinking is appreciated over conventional standard designs.

What kind of projects you are interested in? How far the architectural solutions provided by your firm can be customized and is comprehensive?
Our firm caters mainly to residential & mixed use architecture and interior design services. But we are also focusing our resources on mass housing schemes like residential townships, social housing, and institutional developments. We believe in maintaining the identity of the structure for the purpose it serves, thereby one can clearly identify the function of the structures that we design by the look of its façade. Our designs have a scope for customization on the interiors part, where we give freedom of usage of space for serving any purpose. We promote technology which allows freedom in out structures without disturbing the external features. We believe that all of us have a designer within us, which wants to get out and display its skills. But most of them gets bogged down due to lack of knowledge of the technicalities. Our designs, to a greater extent, try to maintain simplicity of movement of space, which allows our clients to customize their internal spaces as per their requirements.

Which are your signature projects till date and could you share with us details about your upcoming projects?
Two residential buildings coming up in Matunga (East) are our signature projects so far. These are redevelopment buildings (15 storeys and 18 storeys). Both the buildings are in close proximity to each other (approximately 300m) but the designs are exclusive. While one of the designs is a cheerful play of balconies and flower beds, the other has a concept of curtain wall on its front façade, allowing maximum daylight into the structure. The play of building materials, form of the building and window coverings gives this building a very unique look and is a standout structure in Matunga (East).

We have several upcoming projects in the Matunga (east), Kings Circle and five garden area projects. There are three residential buildings under construction, and we are awaiting approvals for two of our projects. Also, a mixed use development building project is at a conceptual design stage. How is the market scenario shaping up in Mumbai Metropolitan Region?
Mumbai Metropolitan region has seen tremendous ups & downs in the last decade. With the housing markets at an all-time high in 2007, the market crashed badly in 2008-2010. There has been some revival since then, but it has been a slow process. The government has introduced some strict norms in the real estate industry by introducing acts like the RERA, to strengthen the regulatory norms and give more transparency to the buyer. Such reforms take time to get accepted by the people who’ve been running this unregulated industry for a long time. Thus the markets have been slow, just because everyone is more cautious & aware this time around, which is a positive sign. The demonetization act which was enforced recently will have huge impact on the real estate industry, and we might see some downfall in the next six months. But in the longer run, there is will be a strong growth opportunity in the real estate sector. In Mumbai alone, almost 55% of people are without an ownership of a house, thus the demand is never going to decrease. The positive side is that disorganized development will be put to an end, and infrastructure and real estate development will go hand in hand in the next 5 years.

How far the market situation impacts architectural domain?
The market situation certainly has a huge impact on the Architectural Domain. The supply and demand factors which run the markets, affect the architects based on which the amount of work that one can find. If the markets are booming, the demand also increases, so there is a lot of work and vice-versa.

What's your take on sustainable construction and green building development? What's the role of an architect in influencing the decision in favour of sustainable construction?
Sustainability is the need of the hour in all fields. The changes in the environment can be seen today, and the impact will be far worse. Understanding how we can safeguard ourselves from the exhaustion of resources to the ultimate apocalypse, one must do every bit possible to save our beautiful planet. Sustainable development means a development that can sustain itself from the environment. Its impact on the environment by the use of natural resources and minimizing the carbon footprint is taken into consideration in a sustainable green development. An architect’s role is very important in green development. The architect decides what material goes where in their designs and thus the usage of these materials shall be such that all its properties are put to the best of its abilities. Materials like glass that has a great reflective property, shall be placed in such a way that maximum light passes into the structure and the need for artificial lighting is minimized, but at the same time it doesn’t allow heat/cold to enter the structure thereby, not prompting excessive load on HVAC. There needs to be a collective effort from the entire real estate fraternity, including developers & architects.

What are the latest architectural trends globally and in place like Mumbai?
The latest architectural trends going on around the world and in Mumbai are concept of minimalistic modernism. The concept not only makes the buildings look suitable, but also contributes in saving of useful natural resources. Mumbai also has adopted a similar style of architecture with some changes that suits the local climatic conditions.

How far demonetization is likely to affect the real estate sector?
The demonetization policy initiated by the government of India is by far the best policy by any government. The entire real estate community is happy with this bold move of the government. This act would not only bring more transparency into the system but will also wipe out corruption to a greater extent that was hampering growth. There will be a downfall in the realty market in coming six months, but looking at the bigger picture, the realty sector will thrive in the next ten years.

Is there any hope for common man to buy home at affordable rates? Are you designing any such projects for the common man?
Social housing schemes are initiated by the government of Maharashtra where affordable housing will be given to all. We are looking out for opportunities to design such housing schemes in the metropolitan area.

What kind of scope do you see in the 'Smart Cities' programme initiated by the Government of India for the architect fraternity?
Smart city concept is a dream project of our Hon. Prime minister, Shri Narendra Modi. The concept behind such cities is to develop rural areas so that people don’t have to migrate to big cities in search of work and leave their families behind. This concept also helps in maintaining the ecological balance, where over crowdedness kills the resources of a city. Smart cities are neighbourhoods with good housing, provision of basic amenities like water, electricity, sanitation and roads, services like hospitals, schools and colleges, community structures like theatres, squares, shopping malls, gardens, etc. It is to be designed is such a way that there is an easy access to all the facilities and caters to a certain amount of population. A smart city concept for an architect is a dream project, where one can design such neighbourhoods in a systematic way for the ease of the population living in that area.


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