Building was something I always enjoyed…. Seeing things emerge out of nothing and grow step by step was always a delight,” says Ashfaq Aboojiwala. This childhood fascination, fuelled by site visits with his architect father and exposure to the works of Corbusier, Escher, Ando and Bawa, made him realise the importance of design halfway through high school. To ensure a selection into KRVIA, Mumbai, he honed his sketching skills and prepared the necessary mindset by visiting architecture exhibitions, pavilions and buildings. “My architectural internship (Kuala Lumpur) and masters (London) gave me the opportunity to experience a different approach towards architecture and design practice,” says the 39-year-old, adding that he is intrigued by the way a building can have soul and emotion.
Aboojiwala joined NBZ Architectural Consultants, the firm co-founded by his father in 1979, as a partner in 2015. “Our office is interested in creating architecture and interior that is both accessible and appropriate to contemporary society,” states the architect. “The merit of (a) successful design solution is the surprise element….” And that, he says, arises out of reading “within and between the lines” of a desired programme. To ensure that their work is comfortably ‘readable’ to a user, Aboojiwala turns to traditional forms, to recreate the simplicity of indigenous architectural expressions — a work philosophy demonstrated beautifully in the Masjid Haji Abdul Rauf they designed at Malegaon. Featuring double-skin masonry cavity walls and a hollow clay block insulation on the roof, the programme includes all the mandatory elements of a mosque, orchestrated as a series of cuboids of different sizes paired to create a monolithic composition.
To the seemingly endless debate between form and function, the architect, who dreams of designing something memorable, especially in the public domain, responds: “When it comes down to it, there isn’t one right answer: it’s always a balance. Though, in my opinion, functionality is the key factor that separates a good design from a great one….”
1) Agriculture Produce Depot, Sinnar
2) Haj House for Ministry of Minorities Department, Aurangabad
3) Sinnar Sports Complex, Sinnar
MOST SIGNIFICANT PROJECT TO DATE: Masjid Haji Abdul Rauf, Malegaon