Hiren Patel: Kohler Bold Design Award winner - Community Harmony
A nation’s development is a two-pronged approach – advancements in technology and modernisation along with upliftment of the poor and education for all. This is why Hiren Patel’s Kohler Bold Design Award Community Harmony winning Manav Gulzar in Ahmedabad becomes significant. Inside a public space that was under severe neglect, the founder and principal architect of Hiren Patel Architects HPA found an opportunity. In an old complex, he modified the existing structures keeping in mind that building had religious sentiments and they needed to be respected. Here he added a community space for children to study.
He and his team kept the existing building intact; they just modified/improved wherever required. This saved half of the cost of the building compared to creating a new one. They used local materials, which resulted in a considerable amount of savings. They designed screen walls and windows out of waste materials such as glass bottles and bamboo. Today the entire complex has become a sense of pride in community, which was once neglected area. We speak to the visionary behind this project to get his insights into how he envisioned the place and his inspiration behind it.
ELLE DECOR: What does winning Kohler Bold Design Awards mean to you?
Hiren Patel: Kohler Bold Design Awards takes a serious and professional approach. The awards have a clear vision and encourage architects to upgrade their standards every year. It also helps build a positive image of the winner in the fraternity.
ED: Two things this project taught you...
HP: It made me realise that as a designer, you should not compromise on anything while doing a project for the underprivileged. The other was that the lesson of sustainability can be taught to children by the design of the building in which they study. In this way, the structure in itself becomes like a textbook.
ED: What's a bold decision you have made in your career?
HP: Leaving a great life in Switzerland and coming back to India to start my own practice at a very early stage.
ED: A dream project...
HP: I would love to design an entire city.