A pioneer in eclectic facades - Ar. Sumit Dhawan

A pioneer in eclectic facades - Ar. Sumit Dhawan
Ar. Sumit Dhawan

What prompted you to take up architecture/design as a career?

Since childhood, I had a prolonged affinity for architecture, and I always had an imperative inclination towards drawing and sketching. Being raised in a household that emphasized the importance of creativity and hard work, it was an obvious choice for me to pursue architecture. It was fueled by my father, who was an architect himself. During my early days of childhood, I used to see him working on his drawings, blueprints, and sketches with extravagant design hardware like the parallel bar, set square, various clutch pencils, ink points, and so on, which consistently captivated me. All of this fascination enticed a passion in me for the profession.

I always found architecture exciting and intriguing as it calls for imagination, innovation, and ingenuity rather than being highly theoretical, intellectual, or hypothetical. Likewise, design is dynamic and fluid and helps an individual to evolve and develop their everyday interests. The observatory skills it enthuses grants an eye for design with numerous opportunities to do something out of the box.

Your views on Market Outlook in 2021?

The market outlook will vary for different sectors. So, for instance, there will be massive potential for growth in the case of the residential sector and dwellings as people will be more than willing to spend a fortune on homes. The pandemic has encouraged people to adapt to a more mobile lifestyle and invest in places that bring them joy. Health has become an essential consideration for people these days. Everyone is re-evaluating their requirements and looking forward to having outdoor amenities, including home offices, salon stations, massage rooms, and gyms inside their houses. The notion is to be self-sustainable and equipped at the time of crisis.

When it comes to segments like commercial and F&B cafes, restaurants, and theaters, there will be a total shift in the trends in order to accommodate social distancing and other pandemic-related requisites. The basic idea is to live a relatively normal life in the face of chaos. However, other sectors like retail will take comparatively more time to revert to normal. Things are looking up economically as India is looking forward to increased trade opportunities internationally, attracting dynamic growth in the near future.

Any expert advice on the economic revival?

The future for the Indian economy is bright in terms of global position. Numerous international companies from Japan and Korea are investing in India. Over the next couple of years, we expect a complete revival of the Indian economy, leading to a steady growth graph.

Describe the design philosophy that drives your practice.

At Cityspace’ 82 Architects, our primary focus is on innovation and experimentation associated with each project undertaken. All the techniques we adopt aids in galvanizing different design styles into one another, leading to excellent outcomes. Each of our designs is balanced as we try to give equal importance to form and function.

We believe in going back and forth over a project to stabilize both the aesthetics as well as the function of every potential design. There is more to design than just theory. On that basis, we also wish that buildings designed by us must speak for themselves.

By adopting a scientific approach towards design, there is a lot of time, energy, and research put into every blueprint. Profoundly understanding the client’s requirements helps us design the space as if it’s our own, thereby linking the client’s identity to the structure. At the end of the day, our ultimate goal is to produce quality work accessible to one and all.

What is your definition of good design? What is your dream project?

"Good" design is very subjective. Good design is also highly situational in nature - what may be suitable for a corporate office may not translate well into a residential space. But when I see a design that brings happiness to the client while satisfying the need for creation and contentment in an architect is a good design for me. The work-life of an architect is a source of an incredible impediment for them, and they are usually deprived of satisfaction in the projects undertaken due to multiple reasons like the budget, client requirement, or site typology. So, an architect hits the lottery when he is able to deliver outstanding results for the client while soothing their desire to be unique.

A strong sense of elitism is associated with many buildings and structures. But I want my design of a recognizable public building to be accessible to every human being on earth. It can be savored and appreciated by people who are not a part of the architecture industry, thereby making a considerable statement globally.

How has the field of architecture and design in India changed since you began your career? Is it a change for the better or worse? Do elaborate.

It has definitely changed for the better. Following an organic trajectory, architecture in India has been growing consistently over the past few decades. There has been an exponential change in the areas like technology, materials used, and the method of execution.

Specifically speaking about our line of projects, I feel various new innovative development and construction techniques have been initiated. In the present scenario, we have developed an imperative inclination towards the industrial side of the practice, wherein engineering has come into the picture. Most of the work today is done in factories rather than the site. The level of precision has now become far better than it used to be at my father’s time.

Steel construction, unitized methods for gazing, ready-to-fit equipment at the site, modular furniture, modular doors and windows, and various other time-saving and precise techniques have come into play today.

What is your opinion of the development of architecture as a field that must benefit people?

Architecture is for the people. It is meant to ease out the common man’s life. Development in terms of prefabrication, innovation in technology, and new trends in materiality will ultimately facilitate the general public’s life.

What would you like to be remembered for, by your peers as well as by succeeding generations?

Whatever I do should be meaningful and must make sense to people. My designs ought to interact with the users as well as patrons. I expect all my projects to be a piece of architecture rather than art. Believing in perpetual designs, I want the world to relish and appreciate my work.

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