Please tell us about yourself
Recognized as a fine combination of science and art, architecture has always been one of my most sought after subjects since childhood. Through-out my formal education, we were under an impression that completing the rigorous five year degree course (BArch) and registering ourselves as a licensed architect would mark an achievement by itself. With the passage of time, as the degree course was finished with honours, reality dawned upon me with the fact that this was only the beginning to a life-time of learning. Today, I think, even though a formal education system to gain a degree in architecture does exist, the development of an architect is a blend of creativity and practicality combined with scientific guidelines which evolves with experience and education together. The measure of this development could perhaps be seen in the projects designed by the architect. As rightly stated by Harv Eker, “thoughts lead to feelings, feelings lead to actions and actions leads to results.”
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unique career?
The transition of my thoughts began during the process of participation in various competitions during the final year of my bachelor’s degree. Along with the final year of my degree course, I started working as an assistant to Architect Sen Kapadia, the founding director of my architecture school and one of India’s best institution design architects. My daily schedule started with working on the final year dissertation early morning at sun rise. Mr. Sen Kapadia’s studio would start at 9am sharp. The evenings were mostly occupied with listing down all the best scholarships available for higher education. Financial constraints were one of the biggest challenges in thinking of a master’s degree from the west. However, there was a sense of belief coming together with every course detail I would explore for further studies. Back then and till date, I am deeply inspired by Architect Frank Llyod Wright’s lines, “The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.”
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Tell us about your scholarship
On the 27th of April 2010, I received an email from the Student Services Centre at the University of Reading to inform me regarding the Felix Scholarship competition. As my eyes carefully comprehended every word of that email, my vision became blurred; tears of happiness couldn’t be controlled. This moment was perhaps the turning point of my life. This news came after two years of thoughtful, conscious and a rigorous application processes, leaving no stone unturned. I had started to apply for competitions across the globe since January 2009, but to win a 100% scholarship competition and sponsor a M.Sc. (with living and travel expenses), in those challenging economic times was more than just a dream. Even though it was clearly mentioned in black and white, the feeling of victory and success took months to settle in.
How was The UK Experience?
The MSc Development Planning course at the School of Real Estate and Planning has been consistently ranked amongst the top three planning courses in the UK. With a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and a year of work experience, it was exciting to start from a project architect’s position towards a large scale development planning professional. The evolution involved burning the mid-night oil, adapting to advanced learning techniques and comprehending the “critical evaluation” system. Our coursework included a variety of subjects ranging from the built and natural environment to the basic procedures for planning commission approvals, planning theories / politics, international planning, real estate economics as well as overall development valuation calculations. This would ensure that every graduate has complete knowledge of all the layers involved in the building development process. The twelve months spent at the University were intensive and fun. The professors at the Henley Business School create an atmosphere which is a perfect combination of theory and practicality. Our coursework also included planning strategies for improvement of certain locations on the outskirts ofLondon. The presentation jury panel comprised of the best professionals from the industry. With two field trips and industry oriented coursework, the degree was culminated with an Integrated Project / dissertation based on the DEEP theorem (Development, Economy, Environment and Place). My dissertation was based on a comparison of Mega-City Regions between London and Mumbai . The MSc Development Planning degree allowed me to further channelize my thoughts and comprehend levels of planning elements, which intricately come together and form our developed zones.
Can you talk about your Career Path?
The Felix scholarship has transformed my life immensely. The time spent studying, travelling and interacting with various cultures in UK was the undoubtedly the best time of my life. It has not only allowed me to gain another degree but also rebuilt my confidence towards managing my daily finances and taking independent decisions. After successfully completing MSc Development Planning, I returned toIndia and was working on the Mumbai Railway Station: Victoria Terminus / Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) redevelopment proposal with a French organisation known as EgisIndia (based in NCR,India) in collaboration with French Architects, Arep Ville. This project has recently been approved by the railway authorities and is being planned to ensure that the heritage value of the project remains intact. Currently, I am working with Architect Shakti Parmar on the Global Headquarters for a leading corporate firm in India on a plot of land measuring 15,300 sq. mts. and a small residential apartment project in South West Mumbai. With increasing focus on environmental friendly development, I am making a conscious effort with an attempt towards LEED certification for both these projects. After completing these projects in the next few months, I intend to continue to contribute towards sustainable development either in India or another country as time and opportunity permits. I owe this exciting career progression to the esteemed Felix Scholarship program.