The modern architecture and design fraternity is becoming more conscious of green buildings and sustainability. Therefore, unlike the past, the concept of green spaces has become an integral part of all residential as well as commercial projects in modern times. Balancing sustainability along with client requirements, the core purpose of the space, the end-user of the space has become a key point in the design process. We always seek for new materials, technology, methods to make our design more sustainable; which in turn helps us in increasing the efficiency of resources.
Santosh Baheti, Founder and CEO, Baheti & Associates shares insights with Sandeep Sharma about his organisation’s greatest strengths, achievements, design philosophy, latest architectural trends, views about and contribution towards sustainable design, signature projects, upcoming projects, way forward for urban planners in emerging cities, challenges and business opportunities in the Pune real estate market, and his valuable advice to the aspiring architects of India. Edited excerpts...
Tell us about your organisation's greatest strengths and significant achievement in the execution of architectural projects?
B&A has been on the design map of the country for the past 30 years. Having an immerse and dire passion in design and architecture, B&A has carved a niche for themselves and is advancing forward to set up new benchmarks in design. We are uniquely capable. We offer the full spectrum of services in one package, right from analysis, planning and design to construction and fulfillment. We are a team with an excellent amalgamation of technical and cultural knowledge and education. This helps us understand the client and the project from various viewpoints.
Could you provide us an insight about your design philosophy?
Design has impacted our lives in ways we cannot even imagine. Subtly and massively too. We often misunderstand design as just aesthetics, the core of design is the understanding of a space. Like Giorgio Armani has rightly said, "To create something exceptional, your mind must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail." I have always put our clients before us. A keen understanding of their lifestyle, their family , and their hierarchy becomes a huge part of our design process.
What are the latest architectural trends globally and in places like Pune and Mumbai?
According to me, “back to basics” seems to be trending righteously in Indian Architecture and design. As the spaces are getting tighter, people are keeping their minds open towards an “open layout” in our language, which creates transparency between spaces and also is sustainable. Incorporating green walls and getting some aspects of the exteriors into the interiors is becoming a trend too.
What are your views about and contribution towards sustainable design? How far architects fraternity in India are spearheading the movement towards the adoption of sustainable solutions?
The modern architecture and design fraternity is becoming more conscious towards green buildings and sustainability. Therefore, unlike the past, the concept of green spaces has become an integral part of all residential as well as commercial projects in the modern times. Balancing sustainability along with client requirements, the core purpose of the space, the end user of the space has become a key point in the design process. We always seek for new materials, technology, methods to make our design more sustainable; which in turn helps us in increasing the efficiency of resources. It is no longer uncommon to see large green spaces making an appearance in the interiors of a space, for eg. our terminal 2 of Mumbai International Airport has a beautiful jungle like space created!! If sustainability has reached large public spaces like airports, I can definitely say that the future is bright.
Which are your signature projects till date and could you share with us details about your upcoming projects?
Some of our client relationships have lasted for more than twenty years. The fact that we have not tired of each other is a testament to transparency and consistency in performance. We have been associated with Shree Cement for their commercial, industrial as well as residential projects for more than 18 years. Also, Elica Kitchens has been our esteemed client for more than 9 years. We have interesting boutique hotels and residential bungalows coming up, and B&A is all set to spear ahead in many other regions.
Apart from the selected 100 Smart Cities, what are your recommendations and the way forward for urban planners in emerging cities?
The number of urban towns in cities is rapidly growing in our country as a result of population and economic growth. Migration is expected to continue in the years to come and our country will have to grasp up to match up to this kind of change. The ultimate aim of urbanization or smart planning must be improvement of the quality of life of citizens. Smart utilization of present infrastructure, resources and technologies be will be a key feature in ensuring success in the process of forming a smart city.
What are the challenges and business opportunities do you see in Pune real estate market? Do you see revival of demand in the near term?
As we all know, the real estate market in India is currently in the midst of some challenging times. In the past few years, over trading, demand-supply gap, has resulted in a downfall in markets such as Mumbai and Pune, also, facing an oversupply of developers and properties. As it is rightly said, “Too many cooks spoil the soup”, a change is necessary and inevitable. I do see a revival of demand in the commercial sector, as planners and designers and creatively forming commercial spaces.
What's your advice to the aspiring architects of our country?
Firstly, Network, network, network. We are a service industry and our capability to provide exceptional service is determined upon the strength of our network. A strong network will make your job easier and foster countless opportunities. Another important value I have learnt in my 30 years of experience is to get out of your comfort zone. This will make it easier for you to push boundaries in the future and help you in embracing new experiences and meeting some fabulous people who become an integral part of your journey.