“The most creative people, and the most successful Architects are those who have an interest not only in Design but also in fields OUTSIDE of the profession”
Babbar & Babbar has an impressive portfolio. Tell us a bit about BB Architects’ journey till here.
BB Arch is a successor in interest firm, with a history of over 35 years. The founder-partner, Mr. Baldev Babbar, is one of the most experienced and respected Professionals in the country. Besides his degree from the School of Planning & Architecture, Mr. Babbar has a post graduate Diploma in Town Planning, from Leeds, UK. He is a fellow of the Indian Institute of Architects.
I joined the partnership in 1997, after graduating in Architecture from the TVB School of Habitat Studies, New Delhi. Having done my Masters in Landscape Architecture from the School of Planning & Architecture, I am also a fellow of the Indian Institute of Architects, as well as a Fellow of the Indian Society of Landscape Architects.
We have been a visiting faculty in various schools of Architecture in Delhi.
You are the partner at the firm. What does your job involve and how has your experience been so far?
Heading an Architectural Firm involves managing various facets of the Practice. Besides Business Development (ie getting projects), Financial Planning, and Human resources management, technical aspects of Design, Detailing and Project Management form the core responsibilities of the Partners. A thorough understanding of design trends, new and appropriate materials and technology, construction documentation and legal frameworks for contractors and consultants, as well as environmental and ecological concerns in the entire life-cycle of the projects forms an important component of the profession.
Tell us about your approach towards your projects.
Every project handled by BB Arch gets dedicated inputs and supervision from one of the partners or senior associates of the firm. The focus is always on providing the clients with the best product at the most appropriate cost, while responding to the context, culture and environment.
Which has been your most challenging project and why?
We have done quite a few projects for the Ministry of External Affairs, and recently finished the Indian Embassy in Muscat, which was a green-field project. However, the most challenging project has to be the Renovation and expansion of the Consulate General of India in Dubai. Besides ensuring that all interiors, services (HVAC, electricals, plumbing, fire fighting etc) were completely replaced, this was all done within the time frame set by the clients, as well as with almost no disruption to a working high-security and high-pressure institution.
What kind of changes has architectural education seen since the time you were a student?
The educational system in Architecture has seen changes, primarily due to the tools of the trade changing. Most dramatically, in the past 15 years, almost all practices have changed over from manual drafting boards to CAD workstations. This has also integrally changed the process, as well as the product of Architectural services. However, core values involved in Architecture are time-less, and have continuity over decades, if not centuries.
What are the challenges one faces as an architect in the initial stages of their career?
The biggest pressure that young graduates face today is the race to earn money, especially compared to their contemporaries working in call-centres and BPOs. Since architectural education is of 5 years, and skills acquired during theoretical study need to be honed by practical experience, there is a tendency for young graduates to want to rush into starting their own practices. Ideally fresh graduates should ensure that they work with good, established practices.
Which technical and other skills should aspiring architects be equipped with?
The most important skills for good Architects is sensitivity (towards the client’s requirements, the environment, and the context) as well as high moral and ethical standards. Only practices that have both tend to last long, and eventually do well for themselves and the society as a whole.
What advice would want to give to the aspiring architects?
It would be appropriate for young aspiring architects to work on developing their interests, not only in design, architecture, and aesthetics, but also in ALL creative fields. The most creative people, and the most successful Architects are usually those people who have an interest not only in Design but also in fields OUTSIDE of the profession, as only with rigour and passion, come references that enrich one’s perception.