Decoding Vatsal Joshi, Co-Founder, Associated Architects Pvt. Ltd.
In this episode of Design Leaders Decoded, an interview series by Arcedior, we spoke to architect Vatsal Joshi, who talks about his journey and learnings as a successful architect in the industry. Joshi co-founded the architecture firm, Associated Architects Pvt. Ltd. (AAPL), in 1992 with architects Bhavik B. Nandi, Mayank H. Ghedia, and Rizwan M. Kadri, and has completed approximately 1200 projects together till date.
The firm has been known for its strategic approach while evaluating each project according to its type, size, budget, functional needs, aesthetic demands, and, most importantly, the inclination of the user. To know more about the influential architecture team at AAPL, we asked Vatsal Joshi some questions and got some insightful answers that would undoubtedly help architecture students and aspirants. Read on.
AAPL’s Design Philosophy
“We are a team of four partners who founded AAPL and have been working together as an exceptional team for 26 years now. We studied together, graduated together, and are now working together”, said Joshi as soon as he begins speaking to us. This shows that the essence of their brilliant work lies in the harmony of these four creative minds. When asked about the design philosophy that he and his team follow at AAPL, he explained how it has always been the same – “doing ethical work which is appropriate for the client and suits the project needs.” He also adds that their inclination and clients’ aspirations are secondary; what’s right for the project is what matters the most.
On being asked if he thinks that the entire approach towards architecture and design has changed in the last 26 years, he says that it keeps changing with the new-age requirements and new-age technology. “The approach comes out from the challenges in front of us. We take our philosophy in terms of building a consensus between the clients, us, and the entire team. The consultant, the on-site team, suppliers, etc. – everybody comes together to make the project more cohesive. The best technology available and the requirements of a project help us come up with a new approach every time so that we can overcome the challenges and do justice to the project”, Joshi adds further.
If a project achieves unimaginable standards depends on the three most important factors, according to the talented Vatsal Joshi.
- Resource management – Using resources judicially wherever you are in the world
- The perspective of the user – Understanding how the user visualizes a space and how their comfort can be prioritized
- Natural environment – Understanding the climate you are responding to
He adds, “We go across the table and sit in our clients’ chairs to understand the requirements of the project. And once we know what the client expects, we create a project that’s synchronized with natural climate and is a result of the optimum use of resources, technology, and trends”.
The Influence of Architecture Segment on Approach
“The image a company wants to communicate to its clients, investors, and partners, is very important. And the philosophy of a business should be showcased in its interiors and architecture. If a real estate business is about low-cost and affordable housing, using every penny smartly is important. In healthcare, the focus is on making the environment conducive. In hospitality, the project should exude a sense of welcome. Similarly, every other segment influences the approach and makes our vision as architects clearer,” says Joshi on being asked if the architecture segments influence the team’s approach.
This again reflects the firm’s philosophy – doing what’s right for the project.
Vatsal Joshi’s Favorite Projects
When asked about his favorite project, Joshi says that favorite is not the right word, important is. He and his team at AAPL have completed several landmark projects. And some important ones for Joshi have to be the award-winning exposed-brick farmhouse they did when they stared the practice, a business management school, and regular schools for children. The firm also completed the Governor’s office building in Congo recently and is on the verge of completing the President’s building – two of the most significant projects that AAPL has undertaken so far.
When asked about the most satisfactory project, Joshi answers, “HNI residences are the most satisfying since they offer a lot of freedom and options to explore in terms of the use of space.”
Our Favorite Projects by AAPL
Madhav Orchid, Ahmedabad – A business complex in the eastern zone of Ahmedabad, Madhav Orchid, has an iconic appeal, thanks to its dramatic clusters of cuboids with curved corners. The linear boxes running low create a vanishing transition in the forms. Moreover, the size mass of boxes is different, which offers the drama in the depth of the facade. It’s also the project’s detailing and execution that have made it a landmark identity.
Shivoham, A Private Residential Project in Ahmedabad – The arrangement of this contemporary bungalow, Shivoham, was derived from the idea of nine quadrants that lead to the root geometry of this magnificent house. Surrounded by greens, the plan has two functional sectors with ample communal areas, all spatially connected. This courtyard house is broadly a play of RCC roof structure with open bridges on the first floor that offer a glimpse of the courtyard below, establishing a visual connection. An elevated mass offers protection against direct light inside the building and enables cross ventilation beneath it simultaneously. The long central axis allows nature to flow inside.
Private Residence, Ahmedabad – The unit consists of three bungalows with common outdoors consisting of a garden, a party area, a beautiful water-body, a gazebo, and a cinema screen. At the entry, a huge cantilevered porch provides a lavish introduction with granite underfoot. At night, the walls in the parking area cast a lattice of shadow and light, providing a welcoming sight. The vastu aspects have also been taken into consideration.
The home has an intelligent, practical layout, with a drawing room, family room, and dining area, all connected to the outdoors for a calming backdrop. The dining room and the living area are separated by a rotating divider, which acts as an LCD screen on both sides. On top of it, the carved, stone-cladded walls and luxe artifacts magnify the allure of the project.
Other Brilliant Architecture Projects by AAPL
Aarush Signora, Mehsana
Gamara Capital, Ahmedabad
Maruti Centrum, Surendranagar
Mauryansh Elanza, Ahmedabad
Private Residence, Ahmedabad
Shanti Business School, Ahmedabad
Challenges in Architecture
Talking about the challenges in architecture, Joshi explains, “We have been working as a team for 26 years, and we believe that teamwork only works. It is everywhere. The architecture is the captain of the ship, but sailors, including everyone from suppliers, delivery professionals, installation experts, construction workers, etc. take the projects through. Therefore, the biggest challenge is sourcing the right products and getting the team together to make the best use of those products”.
He further adds, “As a team, we chart out a plan so that every block kind of fits in perfectly, which makes it possible to come out with a successful project which is ideal for the user.”
Joshi makes it very clear that no matter the challenges if you work as a team, each one of them can be overcome beautifully.
AAPL and Arcedior
At Arcedior, we have had a chance to work with the super successful architecture firm, AAPL, on various projects, such as Shivoham, a residential project in Ahmedabad, Shanti Business School, Shanti Asiatic School, and Rivera in Congo. And our experience has been nothing short of amazing. Talking about his experience with Arcedior, Joshi says, “Sometimes not finding the right products gives emptiness to the project, and that’s where Arcedior has always helped. The team at Arcedior takes the pain and goes the extra mile to make sure we always get exactly the right solutions to complete what we have visualized”.
AAPL has been setting new standards of excellence for years now, and we can’t wait to see what new levels the firm achieves in the future. The core members, i.e., the founders of the firm, have always outdone themselves, and we are sure that they are going to continue to be an inspiration for the aspiring architects in the country.
We hope that this interview with the experienced architect Vatsal Joshi has been insightful for you. We will soon bring you another episode of Design Leaders Decoded. Till then, stay inspired and keep creating.