L-R: Raj Vaswani, Rahul Makhija, Manish Kumat, Vikas Thakkar and Arjun Hablani.
L-R: Raj Vaswani, Rahul Makhija, Manish Kumat, Vikas Thakkar and Arjun Hablani.

Think Turf’s Indore edition saw a robust discussion on building sustainable and efficient spaces

The “Think Turf” Smart Living Forum co-created by Architect & Interiors India and Voltas India, brings together the country’s most sought after architects and designers to discuss the key challenges and opportunities faced within the fraternity. Within the forum, they share their insights and experiences regarding the dynamic trends and innovations on designing and building sustainable and efficient spaces. The event has been taking place along the length and breadth of the country in cities like Surat, Guwahati, Pune, Chandigarh, Kochi and many more, with the latest edition held in the rapidly evolving city of Indore.

Bibhor Srivastava, group publishing director at ITP Media Group (India), welcomed the audience with a brief overture about the forum and also introduced partnering air-conditioning brand Voltas, applauding them for successfully co-creating the forum. He then proceeded to invite the keynote speaker, Shantanu Poredi, principal architect at MO-OF/ Mobile Offices onto the stage to deliver the keynote address on Designing & Building Sustainable & Efficient Spaces.

Poredi started off by sharing a few of the diverse smart and sustainable projects done by his multidisciplinary firm, based out of Mumbai, ranging from a campus in hot and humid Vijaywada to a housing development project in snowy Kasauli.

The attendees strike a pose.

“Our office works on a keystone consisting of two parts, which are, working on building communities by trying to understand the client and what kind of community they would like to build and how we can foster that into our architecture, and the second part being the environmental climate pertaining to sustainability,” explained Poredi.
He then gave an in depth anatomisation into one of his most prominent projects, School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada, a phenomenal precedent of sustainable architecture.

Poredi concluded by saying, “As architects, sharing a project that has been completed is the best way to exemplify a topic, in this case sustainable architecture.”

Poredi was then felicitated by Yasir Noorani, zonal manager - Product Sales, Voltas, for his insightful presentation. Following this, Noorani went up on stage to quickly share the partner presentation highlighting the global presence, achievements, divisions, manufacturing units, products and features of Voltas, and what the architect and design community can look forward to from them in the future.

Progressing onto the panel discussion, Srivastava invited architect Manish Kumat of Design Cell to moderate the session. Kumat began by introducing the topic to the audience and followed by inviting the four panellists from Indore onto the stage for a thought-provoking panel discussion.

To begin the dialogue, Kumat said, “There’s always been a dilemma that for centuries architects have been building green, sustainable and efficient buildings, however, these days the sustainability and efficiency of buildings and spaces is debatable.” Following his introduction, he invited panelists to briefly share their thoughts on sustainability.
Raj Vaswani of LS Vaswani Architects shared his views on the topic by saying, “Sustainability is not something that can be defined as a commodity, rather something that is a people- and ideology-centric concept, which depends on the user and how they want to communicate with the environment and the space around. Sustainability doesn’t come easily to us these days as it involves a fair deal of factors in terms of materials being used, space planning, climate, location and topography.”


Poredi was felicitated by Srivastava and Noorani.

When it comes to the ideology of efficient spaces, this depends on how we, as designers, relate the spaces to the individual that will be using it and try to make the space more dynamic and energy efficient, he stated.
According to Vikas Thakkar of Vikas Thakkar and Associates, “Over the years, to cater to the exponential growth in population, humans as a species have depleted most of the valuable natural resources that have taken centuries to form. In lieu of this, we are now getting conscious and trying to steer development in a direction that reduces the negative impact on the ecosystem. As responsible professionals, I believe that it is our duty to contribute in as many ways as possible to build sustainable and efficient spaces through our profession to eventually create a better world for us and our future generations.”

Arjun Hablani of Hablani Architects is of the opinion that, “Although we’ve learned about sustainability and factors such as climatology, topography, etc., it is gradually forgotten when we come in contact with the materialistic world. I strongly believe that sustainability simply means to be connected to nature. The more you connect with natural resources, climatology, topography of the land and use materials locally available to you, all that leads to sustainability. The requirements of clients are almost never-ending, however, we as architects need to educate them on the subject in order to develop efficient spaces,” he said.

“Sustainability has always been a part of us for as long as I can remember, however, in recent times, we’ve lost the level of sustainability which was built within us. On the subject of development through efficiency, I feel that we have not grown upwards; on the contrary, we are more dependent these days. Sustainability can be simply defined as the limits we set for ourselves in our lives, whether economical, physical, mental, materialistic, and so on and so forth” said Rahul Makhija of Design Attitude Enterprises. He believes that sustainability on an urban level involves the environment and if the spaces we create have adaptability of use, it is considered sustainable.
In conclusion, Voltas India and ITP Media felicitated the speakers for carrying out the insightful debate. Srivastava thanked the delegates and speakers for their gracious presence and time and the bar and buffet were declared open for networking.

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