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Sudhakar Windows and Doors

“Façades are a Reflection of a Building Inside Out and Outside In”

By: Ar. Khozema Chitalwala, Designers Group

Please tell us about your practice and its growth over the years.

I started my practice in 1988 where the initial years ensued to be challenging as I was never keen on outlining small bedrooms, living rooms and apartments, therefore, a couple of projects did not materialise for me. Working persistently on various interior design projects, I manifested a strong base for craftsmanship, which led to extensive and diversified work experience.

Vivanta by Taj, Lucknow

I design projects, I manifested a strong base for craftsmanship, which led to extensive and diversified work experience. I designed numerous multi story outlets in the retail sector for various brands but my passion for hospitality never died and I kept pitching for numerous Hotel projects.I got my first break in hospitality in 1999 with the help of Mr Sampath Kumar, a marine chief en There has definitely been an evolution who can be considered my Godfather and  mentor, both. We both worked together in Wakad and that is when I told him about my dream of designing a hotel. Materialising my dream for the first time, I got to work with Hirsch Bedner who has always been an inspiration, and got a chance to start my career in Hospitality with the venerable “Taj”. This was the actual beginning of my career and since then God has been kind and I have never looked back.

What inspired you to become an architect?

I am an incidental architect. Initially, I wanted to become a doctor and also appeared for the MBBS entrance examination. While waiting for the results, I met some of my architect friends, and looking at their work ignited in me an affinity for the field and then I decided to pursue it as a career. Today, I feel happy and grateful that I opted for this profession as my career.

Could you please talk about a few of your ongoing projects?

Most of our ongoing projects cater to the hospitality sector including both architecture as well as interior architecture projects. The nature of work at Designers Group accommodates all categories of hotel projects from 3-Star to 5-Star at a pan India level. We are also working on some international projects.

Tell us about your recently completed projects featuring innovative façade and fenestration design.

In terms of façade and fenestrations, we are soon coming up with some interesting parametric façades binding in unique design elements. Most of our architecture projects are however currently under construction.

The façades and cladding industry in India has gone through a sea change in the past decade. Tell us about the latest in façade & cladding materials and technologies available in the Indian market and those used in your projects.

The Fern, Jalna

There has definitely been an imperative evolution in the façades and cladding industry in India over the past decade. Each building material today comes with unique properties. The latest material we are using in terms of façade and cladding includes zinc, wooden panels, brick cladding, external texture paint and clay tile finishes. We also envisage outlining intelligent façades like solar and media façade with the help of technology, given the right opportunity.

What are the key factors to consider while designing and installing façades & fenestration?

Façades are a reflection of a building inside out and outside in. The need to  integrate this approach in design is more pertinent now than ever before, given the evolving role of the skin or envelope surrounding the built mass – be it protection from external elements, maintenance of ambient internal temperature, ventilation and natural light whilst ensuring visibility from inside. In high rise buildings particularly, maintenance and wind loads are key factors to consider for stability and longterm viability. Considering India’s vast geographical locations and climatic conditions, it is important to look at façades holistically and ensure an ideal aesthetic as well as the functional regime.

Please brief on the design and technical details of a safe façade, considering fire safety, and wind and earthquake resistance.

Park Inn, Surat

the built form must involve enough strength to resist the applied loads in order to prevent wind-induced building failure due to inadequate design, application, material deterioration, or roof system abuse. Earthquake-resistant design of a building depends upon providing the building with strength, stiffness and inelastic deformation capacity that is good enough to withstand a given level of earthquake-generated force. This is generally accomplished through the selection of appropriate structural configurations and the careful detailing of structural members, such as beams and columns and the connections between them.

How would the façade design and other elements of the façade help the building to be energy efficient, and at the same time provide a better interior environment?

Sarovar Portico, Junagadh

What about sustainability and environmental considerations when choosing the façade/cladding material? Energy efficiency in the façade and interior environment both go hand in hand. The geographical and climatic conditions play a key role in the interior ambience of any building. Energy-efficient façades provide for the functional regime of the building. For instance, in an office environment, if the architect does not use energy-efficient glass in order to cut the source of direct sunlight, it will be impossible for the employees to work on their monitors due to reflection issues. Using material with energyconserving properties for aesthetic purposes is a waste of resources. It is necessary for a designer to balance material usage for aesthetic and functional requirements.

What are your views on future façades & fenestration technologies, and materials?

Architecture is on the verge of becoming a smart system. Spaces will eventually start growing intelligently based on existing forces and parameters in context. With the general public becoming more aware of the digital media and advertising front, media Sarovar Portico, Junagadh façades are soon going to be the new trend. The trend has already shifted towards solar façades due to their ability to convert solar energy into electricity. Façades with vertical vegetation are also gaining popularity as they aid in evaporation which contributes to the surrounding’s climatic conditions as well.

Vivanta by Taj

According to you, what is an intelligent façade? How can intelligent façades bring in the greenhouse effect and also restricting intensive use of air conditioners?

An intelligent façade can be defined as a variable technology that amends itself to provide a comfortable environment inside the building irrespective the external climatic and geographical conditions. One characteristic of intelligent façades is the greenhouse effect. These façades are designed keeping in mind solar radiation level, orientation and shading devices usage, opaque wall to window proportions, wind speeds, the colours of shading devices, depth and openings of double walls, glazing types and metal façades that adjust and adapt. This helps make buildings energy efficient and reduces their life cycle cost.

Gujarat International Club, aerial view

There are many cladding materials available in the market. How do you choose the apt one for your project? What are the criteria?

Cost, thermal properties, installation methodologies, wear and tear, maintenance, and availability are some basic factors to be considered while choosing the apt cladding material for a project.

The Fern, exterior view

What is your advice to young, aspiring architects?

My advice to the young gen is to avoid replicating designs inspired by the west. We need to work towards an architecture that not only adapts to changing lifestyles but stays true to values and identity; that communicates to people and shapes our society. Being contextual to indigenous architecture is significant for the heritage of the country. Sustainable practices and vernacular architecture translating into contemporary style is the need of the hour.

Ar. Khozema Chitalwala, Designers Group

Principal Architect,

Ar. Khozema Chitalwala, a prominent name in the architectural fraternity for over three decades, established his firm, Designers Group in 1989. Graduated from Rachna Sansad in 1987, Ar. Khozema Chitalwala worked persistently on growing his firm within the hospitality industry. His works include interior design and architectural projects for hotels of all categories and brands. His humble and humane personality is the focal point of his secret to success. A true devourer of mother earth, he finds calmness, creativity, and a great source of inspiration in his design philosophy from nature, while outlining astounding hospitality marvels. His hard work, perseverance and strong network over these years has manifested in Designers Group becoming a leading hospitality design firm in India. In a short interview with WFM Media, Ar. Khozema Chitalwala speaks about his design firm Designers Group, his projects, the façade design and other elements of the façade that help the building to be energy efficient, also providing a better interior environment and on intelligent façades

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