Mr. Arpan Shah, Principal Architect, Modo Design
Mr. Arpan Shah, Principal Architect, Modo Design, Ahmedabad

Modo Design the brain child of Mr. Arpan Shah, who believes design, is a participatory and an exploratory process, a process of research, exploration and refinement. Talking about his inspiration, pros and cons of new technologies in architecture and future plans

  • What is your design Philosophy?

Essentially our philosophy is about being Inclusive, interpreting and responding to place, people and purpose to naturally have different and appropriate expressions. Our approach to design is not to impose but explore and flow through interpretations. Our architecture plays up on specific quality and local nuances. Inspirations and peculiarities are gathered from place or people and given expression. These peculiarities can be climatic, cultural and could also be personal preferences of people we design for. This has come from observations of natural landscapes and vernacular architecture of different parts of the world that are totally rooted and relevant from where is arises.

  • Who inspires you?

During the formative years of my architectural studies, works of Frank Lloyd Wright, Alvar Aalto, Le Corbusier and Doshi inspired me and shaped the course of my architecture. The natural landscapes and vernacular architecture has also been an inspiration to me wherein my efforts has been to observe typologies and patterns that make a creation rooted to that place. Recently the inspirations have been more random from works of contemporary designers from architecture and different realms like product design, movies, etc. Generally any creation which is taken to a deeper subtle level inspires me to find parallel interpretations in my own work.

  • How have the new technologies affected an Architect’s thinking process? How have they impacted procedural architecture?

While in the past the constraints of technology or local materials guided the form and space, the emergence of newer technology and construction systems allow designers towards infinite modulations in form and structure. While in the past, the constraints shaped form and its expression, now the new technologies allow freedom to designers.

Further to this, advancement of computer soft wares has led to procedural methods, which allows possibilities beyond the mind towards more complex geometries in a systematic way. These technologies though shift the focus from a more sensorial environment to a more cerebral mathematical form creation. Here I think, the architect’s task get more indirect and machine or computer leads towards resultant formation, never the less resulting into imaginative enriched solutions.

“Our practice is more inclined in doing less things at a time, and thereby more focused on exploring design from conceptual planning to detailing and eventually seeing it”

  • Are you concerned about environmental and social sustainability in your buildings? If so, what role does green building play into your work?

Our Concerns has been towards energy efficient buildings and the approach so far has been through passive means as observed in traditional Indian architecture. We ensure that environments designed by us has adequate natural lighting and ventilation, that open spaces are weaved into the fabric of building, appropriate orientation and layering of semi open spaces is achieved which will reduce heat gain into the buildings. Integration of plantations into the building has been a feature of our buildings which leads to a more comfortable environment.

So in essence we do not formally approach green design through certification, but have a more passive approach which I think was addressed earlier by the traditional Indian architecture.

I think green buildings will play a crucial role in future as buildings will not only have to conserve energy but also return it back to the energy grid through renewable sources like sun and wind and our efforts shall eventually be to involve more active technology driven means to  achieve the same.

  • Can you tell us about any projects you are currently working on that you are especially excited about?

Currently we are working on residential projects, which are mostly private houses along with a couple of apartment projects and an office project. The ‘minimum matter maximum content’ contemporary phenomenon is interpreted in our residential projects where in we strive for maximum space with minimum structure. The eventual expression is expansive flow of spaces and bold horizontal cantilevered formations on slim steel columns.

Simultaneously through our R & D endeavors, we are exploring possibilities of variations in high rise buildings unlike the stenotype floor plates that cover the cityscape, and working on dia-grid structures in residential towers that would free the individual floor plate and allow individual flexibility.

  • What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your work? What do you want to be remembered for?

Our endeavor and goal has been to create environment that is locally relevant and yet of universal relevance, our practice is more inclined in doing less things at a time, and thereby more focused on exploring design from conceptual planning to detailing and eventually seeing it through during construction phase.

Surely it would worthy to be remembered for an architectural practice that further evolves the Indian Architecture in the 21st century and inspires the younger generation through its innovative and sensible approach to architectural design.

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