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DESIGN Contemporary… yet with timeless elegance

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“The built form is permanent, and its existence will affect the quality of the lives of all those who come in contact with it directly or indirectly. We, therefore, carry a responsibility, not only to our clients and users of our buildings, but also to the community at large.” This belief is the corner stone of Chaney Architects. Over the years, the firm’s projects have tried to speak the language of simplicity and elegance. “We carry a responsibility, not only to our clients and users of our building, but also to the community at large”, explains Architect Iqbal Chaney, who places a very high value on professional integrity. This integrity forms the base for every project the designs, – irrespective of site or size. Buildotech is focusing here on two of Chaney Architects projects – Ruby Hall Clinic and Contemporary House, both in Pune.

Pune-based Chaney Architects endeavors to provide appropriate solutions as per the projects, which are practical and cost effective. “We believe in values rather than in style, in analysis rather than in established criteria. We work closely with our clients and consultants and try to infect them with our passion for quality. Provide quality service, quality architecture can only but follow”, explains Iqbal, the 1968 graduate of Sir J J College of Architecture whose primary interest has been art, especially painting.

Ruby Hall Clinic Trauma and Diagnostic Centre – Hinjewadi, Pune

Hinjewadi, the Information Technology hub has, in recent years, grown to become the second Silicon Valley of India. The site in of Ruby Hall Clinic is a stone’s throw from the Mumbai- Pune Expressway. The odd shaped site is barely 1600sqmt with the road sloping by almost 1.2mt. The brief called for a small but effective trauma and emergency center, as well as, a diagnostic and treatment facility addressed specifically for the common problems afflicting those employed in the IT and software industry. The challenge was to make the best use of the site limitations. The proposed design comprises a basement for parking and six floors.

The ailments that generally inflict those working in this sector are profession related lifestyle disorders, such as back strains, migraines and obesity brought about due to lack of exercise. This center is designed to provide preventive counseling rather than curative treatment. The diagnostic and health check set-up together with the physiotherapy unit will cater to this.

Its proximity to the highway and keeping in mind the extremely high road accident rate, inclusion of a trauma center became a necessity. A 4-bed emergency room is well supported by CT scan and X-Ray. It is further supported by an Operation Theater and an 8-bed intensive/critical care unit.

The result is a design which is a sum total of the site constraints and the client’s requirements. The building mass started out occupying the maximum footprint available and the maximum height permissible. What could not be accommodated above ground went below ground. The mass is then scooped out to create a large lobby at the ground floor, a double-height atrium and waiting areas on the upper floors. The North elevation is covered with a clear reflective glass to permit deep penetration of natural light to the public areas. The other three elevations are protected with insulated aluminum cladding with small shaded windows to reduce penetration of direct sunlight as much as possible. The exposed areas of the roof will be landscaped to eliminate heat gain. The interior finishes are carefully selected to maintain a high level of cleanliness. Almost all finishing materials are locally manufactured.

Contextually, it sits well in the contemporary architectural environment of Hinjewadi. The various departments are carefully segregated for ease of visitor and emergency movements. The building and MEP services are designed to LEED standards and sustainability will be evident everywhere. Reduction in power consumption and conservation of water, as well as, recycling of treated waste water are part and parcel of all the firm’s health care projects.

Contemporary House – Koregaon Park

This contemporary residence reflects the architect’s philosophy of achieving elegance by keeping it simple. Through the entire process of design, the architect was very sensitive about keeping the existing trees intact, which led to deciding the location of the built mass. The house is a three-storeyed structure including basement. As required by the client, the private spaces and common spaces are segregated vertically; semi-private and shared spaces are on the ground floor and basement, whereas the first floor has all the private rooms.

The very spacious master bedroom on the first floor with an en-suite bath and a walk-in wardrobe, gets the dominating view of the lawn outside. The ground floor has an elegant living with a bar that merges through a patio into the landscape. The basement had a wine cellar, a gym and a home theater.

The architect’s concept of keeping transparency between built and unbuilt along with the consideration of local climatology is achieved by fenestration mostly on the north side. The recessed glass facades provide plenty of natural light without excessive glare, giving inmates a pleasing unhindered view of the landscape outside. The entrance lobby establishes a visual connection through all the common areas whereas the private areas are designed such that only their access is seen from the lobby. The staircase seen from the double height dining area is not only a transition element but also acts as an aesthetic feature. It is supported on a single stringer beam, and has open risers, solid wood on the tread and beautifully done glass railing.

Q& A with Iqbal Chaney

How would you describe your signature style?

Timeless architecture, no fuss, end user centric is probably how I would describe Chaney Architects now after being in continuous practice since 1982.

What is your firm’s strongest asset and how has it evolved over the time?

We are a process driven practice. Priority has always been zero error drawn and written documentation and absolute punctuality. This has become our professional ethos.

Are you concerned about environmental and social sustainability in your buildings?

Sustainability, environmental consciousness are a given for us. We endeavor to improve on this with each project. One of our healthcare projects has received LEED Gold Certification. As Carl Sagan said “our world is a little blue dot in the universe and if we don’t look after it, there is no one out there to save us from ourselves.”

Who / what inspires you?

A lot of people, some architects too. Richard Mier would probably top the list for the Art of Architecture. However, for the Craft of Architecture, there have been many who may have crossed my paths and endowed me with their knowledge and experience.

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your work?

Very often an end user comes up to me and says thank you for the wonderful apartment or house or even a hospital. What more does an architect want?

The view of the house is animated at night with the soft LED light that runs three steps on the floor to the wall. It takes the focus to the most striking feature of the house, i.e., the angular glass cube projecting from the first floor. A walk through the house indicates that it is not always a smart system that makes a structure good for the user but the simplicity of its design.

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