Architect Pradeep Sachdeva

Interviews with Thought Leaders Dated:  Dec. 29, 2014
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Architect: Pradeep Sachdeva

The Garden of Five Senses and the famous Dilli Haat Buildings in South Dehi and Pitampura area, the Godavari riverfront and the Bamboo dome for the Indian Pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010 are few instances of public spaces that have been designed with an uncanny insight derived from an extraordinary perception of the neighborhood and the context surrounding these areas.

These design theories have been experimented, conceptualized and implemented by IIT Roorkee Alumnus architect Pradeep Sachdeva who believes in contextual and sensitive development of projects. The practice might appear off the beaten track to many, but yes this is the USP of his architectural firm Pradeep Sachdeva Design Associates.

This sort of urban design practice has made him win several awards in a row. And the architect believes that it’s his hard work that has brought him to where he stands today.

Here are few excerpts from his informal chat with the ZingyHomes team at his very own Windmill Place.

How did you manage to design your office in such a surreal location?
Initially when we started, we had our office in Khirki Village. But after some time we realized that we needed to expand and we began looking for a place that could incorporate the studio, the furniture manufacturing workshop and the showroom as well. It’s difficult to find such a space in Delhi, you know. And since I had bought this land quite a long time ago at Aya Nagar, I couldn’t think of any better place to fulfill our requirements. So we moved here in 2002. Now we have this building around a courtyard where we have 20+ architectural employees and a couple of craftsmen who design handmade furniture for Windmill. Also, we were lucky to find a huge open space which was converted into garden few yrs later.

You have designed some of the amazing public spaces in Delhi and North India. Where do you take inspirations from?
See, when in office we try to be as contextual as possible. Everything depends on the type of projects we undertake. We deal in public spaces and a lot of hospitality projects as you know. In terms of inspiration, I would quote you an example. For one of our well known projects - the resort in Bandhavgarh, the entire inspiration for the architectural vocabulary came from the villages nearby. We studied their style, incorporated their art which includes more than the pictures that can be hung on the walls and then to give the place a touch of its neighborhood, we also utilized things which are molded and plastered. Fortunately, we got the help of local artists from that area who were expert in doing paintings and wall murals.

So, wherever we go, whatever projects we take, that's the way we try to derive the inspirations from the surroundings nearby - including the materials available there and the art.

How do you approach a particular project/assignment?
It depends on a number of parameters. Project location, culture, setting requirements and user’s requirements are the most crucial ones. We take these parameters in consideration and then start implementing them and yes without compromising with our contextual design principle.

You have done a number of urban design and hospitality projects so far. Of all your projects, which one is your favorite- the one with which you are most attached to?
All are my favorites. Trust me; this is a very honest answer. Though it’s obvious to get most attached to a particular project in the making and once it’s accomplished, we are attached to the new one, but for me all are equal.

How does your approach comply with sustainable architecture?
We try to be as sustainable as possible. Talking about sustainability, there are various levels of sustainability. We try to work with only those materials that are available on the project site. Instead of getting an artwork from South India, furniture from Rajasthan or elsewhere, we try to work with indigenous objects.  Whatever is available, we try to work with that. And that's how we manage to keep our process as low energy as possible.  We have made use of recycled wood in most of our projects wherever required.

How would you define your working style?
That's really difficult to put under one umbrella. Each project requires different approach and similarly different style. We undertake projects that comply with functionality and client’s requirements. So it's different everywhere. It depends on what is demanded.

Everybody knows about your famous urban landscape design projects. Could you list a couple of other projects that your firm has worked on?
We have done a couple of projects in hospitality sector. Some of these are- Taj Nadesar Palace, Benares, Taj Usha Kiran Palace, Gwalior, Samode Palace Rajasthan , Fort at Bandhavgarh, Taj Ambassador, New Delhi, Himalayan Hideaway , Rishikesh etc.

Finally, we would like you to quote a message for young turks out there and the young architectural students who are looking forward to a career in architecture.
For students it is very important to know what they are getting into. Architecture is a very complex sort of discipline to enter; you need to be a master of everything you do. Most of them might have followed the extremely easy way of practicing architecture but my way has been tougher with years of extremely hard work.

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