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Today modern architecture is so design friendly. Are they maintenance friendly as well?

The Architecture of modern era is defined by minimal design, adding ample amount of dramatic quotient to it. We see both curvilinear structures to straight lines with computational facades to simplest openings. Architecture has now become more diverse and versatile. With the introduction of 3D printing technologies, our facades are becoming dramatic and flexible. One can go on and on with experimental designs, but it has to be maintenance friendly. Today we have materials available to us which are long-lasting and requires less amount of maintenance. One major part of postoccupancy cost goes into the maintenance expenditure for fixtures and facades. As an architect, it becomes an imperative duty to choose the materials to be used wisely and comparing this wide range available with us on the basis of time needed to clean, less annual maintenance and longer life expectancy.

[box type=”shadow” ]Sustainable architecture has become one of the swiftly growing architecture trends in today’s eco-conscious world. Ar Prem Nath of Prem Nath & Associates speaks to Clean India Journal about sustainable designs and also shares some of his cleaning friendly projects with us.[/box]

Where do you perceive your design would be after 10 years?

As one says, “Change is the only constant”, the design industry is the flag bearer of this slogan. There are new trends, material and techniques coming in the market every now and then, from swirling whites to black and gold’s, from energy guzzlers to self-sustainable structures, this trend changes more frequently than the seasons. One can only foresee changes and be a trendsetter. I consider myself lucky to have had various opportunities to do many first in the country and today with “Smart Architecture” being the current buzz word, I’m currently involved with a lot of smart developments with emphasis on Sustainable and liveable habitats.

I foresee intelligent building with sustainable techniques would be soon part of our skylines, architects will have to back to the roots, use techniques that have also been a part of the traditional Indian Architecture and amalgamate it with the latest technologies. Though we are moving towards vertical living, those vertical livings have to suit the Indian climatology and not just another glass-clad building promoting ‘cross-border terrorism of architecture’.

What are the aspects that you take into consideration apart from the material for construction?

Materials is just one part of it; there are various other aspects that go into designing and planning of a space. The building orientation, space planning, sustainability factors, climatology aspects, techno financial feasibility aspect, etc., all are vital to the development of a good design. All designs have to suit the urban context they are proposed in, the building should either stand out or blend in. No building stands in isolation; the environmental impact of the techniques and materials used for construction have to be taken into consideration.

[box type=”shadow” ]If we go back to the traditional Indian architectural practices, all material that was used for construction were long-lasting. They had the factor of longevity in terms of materials and techniques. These structures still stand tall and require minimum maintenance in comparison to the materials coming in the market in the recent years.[/box]

How do you re-orient the designs to create a maintenance friendly architecture?

My designs have always been cleaning friendly. It is not a new term for us. It’s just that it has now come in vogue owing to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. In my 50 years spanning architectural practice, it is ensured that all projects should be as clean and green as possible.

As mentioned, all designs have to be cleaning friendly in terms of the materials, technology, sustainability aspects. Cleaning friendly cannot and is not limited to just the literal “cleaning” but it has to be clean in terms of energy and power and should have minimal effect on the environment and carbon footprint.

Which is your best design that meets the demands for effective cleaning ?

Cleaning friendly architecture is a vital element of a good design. All my designs aim for being as clean and green as possible. Designs which fits best in terms of cleaning friendly architecture would be Cygnus world school Vadodara, which is the first-platinum rated campus architecture in the country, and HMEL Refinery Township, Bhatinda, Punjab, the first green rated township, awarded with gold grading by MoEF, and HUDCO design award for Green Architecture. These are one the best examples of the many smart, clean and green projects done by us.


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