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 Home > City Resources > Construction > Architects

Vinay Parelkar talks about architectural trends in India

Vinay Parelkar at the 'Housing for the poor' Conference in November, 2000Vinay Parelkar, a Bachelor of Architecture, from Sir J. J. College of Architecture, University of Bombay (1974), is a practicing architect, valuer and interior designer, having been in the field for the past 26 years. Parelkar comes from a family of architects and is a partner of M/s. Parelkar & Dallas, one of the oldest firms of architects in Mumbai, which was established in the year 1943 by Parelkar's grandfather, Late Shri. Shankarrao H. Parelkar.

Vinay Parelkar at the IIA meetToday Parelkar is a well known name in the architectural fraternity He has designed many prestigious projects of in Mumbai and is an active member of the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA), presently holding the chair of Vice President. His wife, Neelam Parelkar, also an architect, is a chairperson of the Brihanmumbai Centre of IIA. Here is Vinay Parelkar, on Mumbaibest, speaking about his achievements, architecture in today's world and The Indian Institute of Architects.

Tell us about the Indian Institute of Architects ; its growth and work procedure.
Vinay Parelkar (left)The IIA is the only professional national organisation of architects with a membership of over 12,000 architects all over India. The 83 year old institute is affiliated to different international organisations, which include The International Union Of Architects ( UIA), The Architects Regional Council Of Asia (ARCASIA), Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA), and the South Asian Association of Architects (SAARCH). IIA renders its services to architects all over India and to society at large, through its various Chapters, Centers, and Sub - Centers.

Today, we have around 16 chapters and 35 centers/Sub - Centers spread all over India. The Institute has various boards and committees such as its Professional Service Board, the Board of Architecture Education, the Board of Examination, Publication Board etc. It also conducts examinations for eligible candidates through its Board of Examination. The Institute organises seminars, workshops, lectures on various subjects / themes linked to the architectural profession and practice. The IIA also assists local bodies and government in formulating various policies and guidelines for urban and rural development. Public lectures are sometimes arranged on commemorative days such as IIA Foundation Day, World Environment Day, World Habitat Day, World Day of Architecture etc.

The institute has taken a bold stride forward in this age of information and technology. It has launched its website, We believe that the website will give global coverage to the activities of our Institute, and also present the architectural scenario and the building industry in India. Our web site is also hyper linked with web sites of other international Architectural Organisations, such as UIA, ARCASIA, CAA.

Do you have any plans for the middle class and low income groups of people ?
Today, all housing plans and developments are meant only for the rich upper class. The middle class and the lower middle class, cannot even dream of such residences because of the high prices. We are trying our best to reach out to those at the grass root level, so as to uplift the present standards of the building industry, in terms of technology, quality and durability. On many occasions, we invite architects specialised in this field from various parts of India and abroad as speakers to speak at seminars / conferences. There is new technology available in the west in the field of building construction, which will enable the builder or the architect and perhaps the government and semi - government bodies to construct low cost affordable, durable housing for the poor.

In fact, due to globalisation, many architects, builders / contractors from abroad are already here, for the promotion of their construction technology and skills. But for that, first of all we have to educate our masses, about the developments. And we are spreading these messages through our workshops and seminars. In November, 2000, we had hosted the International Conference on the theme " Housing for the poor " in Mumbai, under the auspices of three International organisations of Architects. The sub-themes at the conference included planning and designing, innovative technology, and implementation and finance.

What, do you think, was the reason for the sudden drop in real estate prices ?
The market generally operates in a vicious circle. Earlier the profits of the share markets was invested in the real estate, and the builders had enough money to construct massive structure even without advance payments from the buyers. Scams and slump in the stock market automatically affected the real estate. Today the builders with advance payments also are not in a position to construct the desired houses. Many builders ran away with money, which in a way caused distrust in the minds of consumers. Today no one is ready to spare their money without final work and documents.

What do you have to say about the new trends in Indian architecture ?
India is now the confluence of the east and the west. We have absorbed and assimilated influences from the west and the Far East. Even though we accept the post-modern, we still love our traditional architecture. Today, we can see the blending of the ancient style of Indian architecture in the building elements of post-modern and neo-architecture.

On the other hand, Indian architecture is influencing the way architects work in the west too. Trends indicates that Indian architecture will be a source of considerable influence and will have significant impact on trends in global architecture. We have vast resources from our past to inspire us. We have the qualities of creativity, innovation, adaptibility and ingenuity in abundant. There is a growing feeling that the world has turned into a global village, where each culture is influenced by the other.

Author's Name : Sharmistha Chakraborty

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