Architect Hafeez Contractor’s footprints are undeniably stamped across India’s built environment. He was born in Mumbai and did his schooling from Boy’s Town Boarding School, Nashik. He undertook his architectural studies from the Academy of Architecture in Mumbai and New York’s Columbia University. In 1982, he began his own practice, with the commitment to create excellent design, efficient delivery and sophistication in building technology. These three characteristics have become the hallmarks of his work as he constantly strives to create structures that exemplify functional and aesthetic qualities.
As for his firm, it is considered to be the largest architectural group in the country with 530 employees. Currently, it has 72 crores sq. ft. of ongoing projects in 100 cities and five countries and numerous awards and accolades to its credit.
Hafeez himself is the winner of over 70 national and international awards for excellence in contribution to architecture. He has been recently awarded with a degree of Doctor of Architecture, HonorisCausa by Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University, Hyderabad. Hafeez along with officials of the urban development department and senior authorities has introduced the slum rehabilitation scheme.
Hafeez Contractor has designed the tallest buildings in the subcontinent, The Imperial, Mumbai; modernized the two busiest airports in the country, Mumbai and New Delhi; and designed one of the best cricket stadiums of the country, DY Patil Stadium. Here, we take a look at his latest work to get a fuller understanding of his impact on the country’s design landscape.
23 MARINA, DUBAI
23 Marina is an exclusive waterfront development located at the beginning of Dubai Marina. Towering to 392 m, this building manifests itself in composite aluminum and blue glass. Podiums and protruding triangular balconies contrast with its distinct profile and accentuate its powerful form. The spire at the pinnacle embraced by triangular canopies covering the terrace, further streamlines the form and gives it a dynamic disposition.
The imposing six storey entrance offers a dramatic sense of entry into the tower. It offers a combination of luxurious 2 and 3 BHK apartments and lavish duplexes with varying vistas ranging from ocean view to spectacles of the city, Marina and Jumeirah beach. Each of these stylish duplexes offers unique features such as private elevators, open deck plunge pools and a private Jacuzzi. All apartments feature contemporary internationally styled interiors with marble and wood finishing and a fully equipped kitchen. The residential development also boasts of a health spa, landscaped garden, jogging track, indoor temperature controlled pools and children’s pool.
BHARTI AIRTEL, GURGAON
The futuristic headquarters of Bharti Airtel Limited at Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon successfully translates the company’s modern-day image with Gen Next’s ideology. The state-of-the-art building, spread across 5,53,500 sq. ft., is designed to meet the requisites of the corporate world and ensures a controlled environment to work in, thus ensuring enhanced efficiency levels of its occupants. The complex is equipped with modern amenities, health club, day care centre and a cafeteria in the courtyard with a skylight, all at par with international standards.
The planning of this eight storied building is simple and functional. The circular courtyard with its majestic water fountain forms the epicenter of the hub around. The office blocks are safely encircling the courtyard, maximizing daylight and external view to its occupants. The soothing landscape cut to geometric patterns further highlight the profile of this distinct structure. The external multi-coloured façade is made of high-performance glazing, thereby reducing load on air conditioning and optimizing temperature control within. The façade has integrated lighting provision that highlights the hi-tech digital Airtel Logo in its trademark red and white colours. The two basements allow for a car park of almost 900 cars. The complex with its strategic planning and contemporary design breaks free of so called post modern shackles and beautifully integrates with traditional courtyard planning.
MODERNIZATION OF AIRPORTS, MUMBAI
At Mumbai airport, a large quantum of the local air traffic is accounted for but the facilities are rundown and undersized. As part of Indian government’s initiative to modernize and restructure airport infrastructure, the architect was commissioned to give a long overdue facelift and space addition to the airport terminal. Hafeez endeavoured to give a forceful character to the form by using strong sinuous lines.
The all new look terminals 1B and 1C of the Mumbai Domestic Airport were designed using aluminium composite panels, glass roofs, and large skylights. Terminal 1C, which was newly built, was placed between terminals 1A and 1B, terminal 1B was modernized and terminal 1A is currently undergoing the modernization process. A 5 star hotel adjacent to T1C is also under construction as part of this upgradation process. This luxurious hotel will have a glass and steel frame with large skylights and view of the runways. With a total built up area of 5,00,000 sq. ft. spread over 30 acres, this project was a challenge to execute as alterations were made on a fully functional airport and flight and ground operations had to be shifted from time to time in order to carry out the modernization. The General Aviation (G.A.) terminal for chartered flights was also redesigned and transformed into a swanky lounge for the VIP passengers. The older shed-like structure is now a plush 650 sq. m. private airport with numerous facilities.