A Chat with Architect Naveen GJ of De Square

Young Turks Dated:  Feb. 1, 2017
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Architect Naveen GJ

This week we talk to the young and dynamic architect Naveen George Joseph from Bangalore. Born and brought up in Bangalore, Naveen completed his Bachelors in Architecture from RV School of Architecture, Bangalore in 2008. After working for experienced architects initially, the entrepreneurial bug bit him early and he started De Square in 2011. Read on to know more about him and his design philosophy.

When did you start De Square and how has the journey been so far?

After college, I worked under a couple of architects to get the experience. It helped me to sharpen my skills and understand the ground reality. When I realized its time, I left the job and started on my own. First by freelancing, and then I started my first office in HSR layout. Its been almost 6 years. We are now in a bigger office in Indiranagar, Bangalore. The journey has been wonderful. There always the usps and the downs, but I am living my dream.

Could you elaborate your design philosophy and how it reflects in the key work De Square has done?

We give a lot of importance to the nature, Our designs are centered around the sun and the wind. The context of the site is very important. We are very sensitive to the site conditions. We don’t even cut any trees, we make them part of the design instead, like in our projects residence for tawar” and the court house.We always try to create the right balance between the built and the unbuilt spaces. For example in Dawns residence, in spite of a 60x40 site, there is a garden at every level including the basement.

GardenOPEING OF THE FAILY ROOM INTO THE GARDEN

Your projects are centered around residences. What excites you most about their design?

We get to express more in a residential project. There is not much that we can do in a commercial or apartment buildings. Whereas in a residential building there is much more scope for design. We have specialised ourselves in independent villas. Its always a pleasure working for an end user rather than a builder because we can be sensitive to the clients requirements according to their usage and design the details accordingly.

What kind of projects challenge you? Which would be your dream project?

We treat all the projects equally. Every project is like our dream project. We are passionate about every project that we do irrespective of the context or the scale. We undertake only a few projects at a time so that we can work with great intensity on every detail right from the concept to the complete execution at site.
There will be some projects with some complications at site which can be challenging. These complications provide some interesting scenarios. These challenges are what give character to each design.

Where do you draw your daily dose of inspiration from?

I read a lot of architectural magazines and online journals, but at the same time, I don’t always lean on these books. I really love to visit and admire buildings and observe how they perform.

Which architectural greats do you admire the most?

There are quite a few like Alvar Aalto and Renzo Piano but if you ask me to just pick one, then I am forced to say frank Lloyd Wright and especially falling waters, Robies house and Taliesin in particular.

In one of your articles, you said, “We have come to a point where sustainable architecture is not just a choice. In fact, it is our only choice.” How easy do you think it is to convince clients towards this thought so that they not just accept but also ask for sustainable design?

These days even the clients are quite aware that we need to be sustainable. We need to give it back to the nature. As I had mentioned earlier nature plays a big role in all our projects. So we always take care about sustainability at the design stage. Whether it’s the light coming in, or the ventilation, or shutting out the heat, we make sure our designs are as sustainable as possible. But when it comes to installing solar or choosing environmental friendly materials, there is a cost involved in this. So definitely, the client becomes a part of that decision making. Its never easy convincing anyone, but luckily as I had said more and more people are aware and they themselves ask me for a sustainable solution.

How big is your team? Which cities do you provide your services in?

We operate from Bangalore, but we have sites all across South India. Our team consists of 5-8 people. It keeps changing from term to term.

Where do you see De Square ten years from now?

Well, its not in my hands. Its not important where we reach, what’s more important is the journey itself. I believe that if you love what you do, and are sincere in how you do it, you would definitely be successful. And so far its been really great.

On a lighter note, what could one find you doing during your free time?

Photography is my another passion, and I love to travel.

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