Our focus has been to drive POD (people oriented design) and UCD (user centric design) to the next level

By Anup Naik - Construction Opportunities Magazine

Space Matrix Architects and Planners have rendered valuable services in the built environment – architecture and master planning. The combination of global expertise and local know-how makes it the firm of choice, often teamed with the world’s best-known “starchitects” to deliver exceptional projects in Asia.ANUP NAIK, PARTNER AND DIRECTOR, SPACE MATRIX ARCHITECTS AND PLANNERS responded to queries from  CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES.

Very briefly tell us about your academic and professional background and your contribution towards developing sustainable structures in India?

As an architect and urban designer have been actively involved in profession for 22 years. After completing my graduation from BMS College of Engineering (Dept. of Architecture) Bangalore, went on to specialise in Urban Design from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. Along with my professional pursuit have been an academician and involved in teaching Urban Design and varied architectural subjects.

At present am a Partner and Director in Space Matrix Architects and Planners. Space Matrix Architects & Planners is involved with various projects and across multiple verticals dealing with Urban Infrastructure, Residential, Hospitality, High Rise, Health Care and specialised buildings.
At this moment in my carrier, the focus has been to drive the aspect of POD (people oriented design)to the hilt and to push the envelope of sustainability to its maximum. The drive has been to demystify this whole business of green.

Tell us about the services and solutions offered by your company?

Space Matrix Architects and Planners offer services in key sectors – Residential design encompassing Villa developments to High rise apartments, Mixed Use Developments, Corporate Campuses, Commercial buildings encompassing Retail and multi tenanted office buildings. The team specialises in Institutional projects panning from Universities to Schools. Health Care has been another key focus area with Multi speciality Hospitals and Assisted living. Across the years the team has been involved with Master Planning works ranging from City level Comprehensive Development plans (CDP) to large scale Master Planning works for integrated townships.

Give us an understanding of the process and methodologies you employ in the design of buildings?

The 2 aspects, which very tightly woven in our design methodology, are Activity Centric Design and Passive Right Approach. The design thinking in the studio encompasses –Focus on People, Being Curious, Creating idea prototypes , Team diversity, Taking Considered Risks, Digital Tools , Look for Balance. It is about Defining the Vision – Knowing the People and Context – Exploring ideas – Prototyping, Testing and Iterating – Deliver Right

What difference can a quality architect bring to the construction process – in terms of savings in cost, time, planning and execution? Citing a few case studies tell us about the benefits accruing to clients through such services?

Land , Ecology, People and Affordability are the key drivers to design. Projects need to follow an integrated design approach right from the beginning and has to involve active participation from users, master planners, architects, landscape architect, environmentalist, geologist, engineers, cost consultants, water consultant, etc.
A key aspect here is to use technology, using a BIM platform will clarify all the possible clashes before the first brick is laid. Keep the building systems as modular as possible from structural systems to finish items. This will push higher returns from a procurement perspective. The other aspect which is normally forgotten, is to have a clear information transfer from Mind to Hand (thinkers to executors,)this will reduce rework on site.

How much does a region’s location and climate influence your design elements? Tell us about your company’s strategy to blend Earth elements (air, water, light, etc) in your projects?

The focus has always been on PASSIVE RIGHT, which becomes the fundamental driver in the approach to green architecture and zero energy development.
The need arises from the fact that most of the active components have a very short shelf life and are superseded in a blink of an eye. The physicality of the building does not change, but the active components become outdated. This forces one to believe that make the building Passive Right is the only solution.
Our ancestors have left us a huge wealth of knowledge. My understanding is that we as professionals need to run this part of the relay and contribute to this knowledge transfer.

As a nextgen architect, give us an understanding on the evolution of design and architectural practices in India?

Design is a fundamental building block of innovation, a critical enabler of competitive industries and vital to building liveable, sustainable and cohesive communities. Innovation and design aren’t simply about new products or technology. They’re about improving products in everyday use, reducing cost, increasing usability and new business opportunities.
Design as a methodology imbibes the full spectrum of innovation. Design is now branching out of its core roots to newer applications and utilities while being more relevant today. Areas such as interaction design, service design, transformation design, and instruction design are establishing new paradigms. From being an intuitive discipline, today design is growing into becoming a discipline replete with tools and frameworks. There is a growing focus on systematic and methodical incorporation of user experience in design, which entails the involvement of competencies in marketing research, consumer behaviour, technology, anthropology and psychology in the design processes.
The biggest barrier in businesses embracing design for innovation is the lack of information and accessibility. Businesses are unaware of the potential offered by design disciplines. It calls for a strong information dissemination system. Research has proven that companies that integrate design at the highest strategic levels are more successful than those that do not.

Tell us about your ongoing and recent projects

Our project focus has been to drive POD (people oriented design) and UCD (user centric design) to the next level integrating all aspects of sustainable development, under this light we are now involved with IIIT for their campus in Kurnool, spread across a land parcel of 150 acres, the challenge being to cope with a very fragile landform of loose conglomerate and undulating land with close to 45° slopes.
We are designing an integrated sports facility for CSE (Centre for Sports Excellence) in Bangalore, spread across a land parcel of 15 acres encompassing a highly integrated program of interdisciplinary sport, the challenge here has been to make the entire facility water neutral.
We are involved as designers and strategic partners with key developers like Mantri, Assetz, Godrej, Ajmera, DNR Corporation, Vajram, Azven Reality, Address Makers,Shapoorji Pallonji, SNN and Spectra on their various projects across the region.
Our endeavour to create high performance office campuses has resulted in long term relationship with Infropro Solutions, Broadridge, Kapil Infra Hub, Kotak Bank, Microlabs, Mantri, Mylan, DNR Infrastructure and other corporate clients.

What are your company’s plans for the future?

As with any design firm, Space Matrix Architect & Planners’ ongoing projects are influenced by the current market trends. There has been a shift in the scale of projects with mid segment luxury homes closer / in the city and large plotted developments and apartments on the periphery of the city. With the revised real estate norms, investors and developers are spending time on project planning to ensure compliance in all aspects. While this can delay the launch of the project, this also means seamless execution of the same.
Space Matrix has always been a client- focused organization and it is our constant endeavour to raise the bar. With our focus on Net Promote Score or NPS, the team solicits and incorporates feedback and reviews from the client at every stage of the project to ensure that the product brings value to all its stake holders including the end user.
Space Matrix Architects and Planners is undergoing a brand renaissance and will re-emerge with a new look, feel and identity very soon.
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