Every generation has an architect who provides a brand new perspective on architecture and design. Today, Sanjay Puri is among the very few architects in India who have designed projects that are innovative, new, and relevant to today’s times. The architectural journey of Puri began with Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. He says that the book talks about how architecture is the perfect marriage of creativity and engineering. Puri obtained his architecture degree in 1988 from Rachana Sansad Academy of Architecture, Mumbai, along with working for architect Hafeez Contractor. It was in 1992 that Puri started his firm, Sanjay Puri Architects, with the intent of creating something unique.
The essence of his design philosophy is to create spaces that foster social interaction and engage people holistically. The designs focus on evolving spatial relationships and responding to the context. Sanjay Puri’s design mantra is – To not repeat any design. Each of his projects is unique and is responsive to the site conditions and context. He firmly believes that every project should respond to the site context and evolve spaces that can be perceived in a new way by the users. He believes that, by keeping the sun and wind direction in mind, buildings can be designed sustainably and be energy efficient.
Sanjay Puri’s process of designing has remained constant over the years, where initial sketches get modeled to study every aspect of the site and client requirements, encompassing all aspects cohesively and eventually creating spaces that are exploratory while being functional and sustainable. Puri believes that sketching is the best way to translate your thinking onto paper and is better than any software. He believes there cannot be a single design philosophy for all projects and the best way is to keep it contextual and resolve designs in a way where people get to experience something new.
The architectural style of Sanjay Puri has been described as avant-garde, a style that focuses on experimentation, uniqueness, and novelty. Puri draws inspiration from immersive and perspective art, which leads to most of his structures being sculptural and abstract. It took him a long time to bring his style into reality as it was hard to convince a client about the kind of architecture he believed in and wished to execute. Puri is inspired by a 600-year-old village, Sveti Stefan, in Montenegro, now an island resort. The experience of staying in the resort has led Puri to work on creating spaces that give every user a different experience in the structure. Puri also believes that organic spaces are far more interesting and interactive than the planned, geometric spaces.
Innovation and Sustainability
The main aim of Sanjay Puri’s projects is to create a new and refreshing experience for all of its users. Along with this approach, he also focuses on creating environmentally sustainable structures that respond to the site location and context. One of the important aspects of Puri’s designs is the maximum use of natural light and ventilation. Puri is always looking for ways to achieve an energy-efficient building. It could be by using more glass on the northern side and less glass on the southern side or by using solar power, water recycling, or use of eco-friendly materials. Some of his designed residences have a large open space within the building, which naturally lights and ventilates the structure.
With continuously changing trends in architecture and design, Sanjay Puri has evolved over the last 30 years and has stressed the need to focus on sustainability and energy-efficient structures. He believes that architects can have the maximum impact if they build sustainably and start using sustainable materials. Many of the changes in the overall sustainability of structures can be brought by making policy changes that encourage the use of sustainably produced materials, leading to energy-efficient buildings.
Let’s have a look at his projects that best define his style.
The Courtyard House, Beawar
Built in response to the climate of Rajasthan, The Courtyard House keeps in mind the principles of Indian courtyard houses that create a cool and calm environment within the home. Due to its proximity to a cement plant, the structure is built in concrete. The use of concrete reduces the cost of transportation which, in turn, supports the cause of sustainability. The beautifully sculpted house is angled in different directions with volumetric variations. The planning of the house ensures cross ventilation for every space, and the creation of large internal courtyards and small external courtyard spaces helps the house remain cooler in the harsh Rajasthan weather. Sanjay Puri has sculpted this masterpiece in concrete and focused on the aspects of energy efficiency and sustainability.
Ishatvam 9 is a residential building in Ranchi, designed for the people of Ranchi, who have been used to living in individual houses with private gardens and open spaces. Due to rapid urbanization and no scope for city expansion, the government rules now allow high-rise structures of 50m in height. Sanjay Puri describes this building as a bungalow in the sky, where one floor is occupied by one family. The most eye-catching design element of the building is the balconies which act as private balconies, where none of your neighbors can look into your space or invade your privacy. The 24 ft high balcony spaces act as extensions of the indoor spaces, with every room opening into these balcony spaces. This element is a meaningful functional space and gives the building an organic and sculpted elevation.
- Sanjay Puri Architects
Available at : https://sanjaypuriarchitects.com/about-us/
- BlessedArch (18 Jan 2022). Sanjay Puri on his practice, inspirations and the Metaverse. [Youtube video]
Available at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4GgONynaMI
- Artize (2022). Architect Sanjay Puri shares how good design can affect people positively in the second episode of The Artboard by Artize
Available at : https://www.architecturaldigest.in/article/architect-sanjay-puri-shares-good-design-can-affect-people-positively-artboard-artize/#s-custarchitect-sanjay-puri-in-the-second-episode-of-the-artboard-with-tiaara-by-artize
- Archdaily (2012). The Courtyard House / Sanjay Puri Architects
Available at : https://www.archdaily.com/255603/the-courtyard-house-sanjay-puri-architects
- Archdaily(2017). Ishatvam 9 / Sanjay Puri Architects
Available at : https://www.archdaily.com/869095/ishatvam-9-sanjay-puri-architects#:~:text=Ishatvam%209%20is%20designed%20in,rise%20tower%20that%20will%20allow