‘It is the architect’s moral responsibility to be sensitive towards the environment’
Architect Lester Rozario owns the award-winning studio of architects in Bangalore, Kamat&Rozario Architecture.
An interview with the prominent architect. Excerpts
Layout plan - Lemirado restaurant
Could you run us through your architectural career in terms of your interest, your qualifications, work experience and the setting up of your firm?
It’s not that I always wanted to be an architect and frankly never thought that I would become one till I landed up in architecture school.
As a child I had the qualities of a handyman, always fixing things, understanding how things worked and putting junk to better use.
This I think was something that was unknowingly a spark in the right direction.
As far as qualifications go, I am a gold medalist from Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), Karnataka. I worked for some time with a few architects before setting up my own practice with SmrutiKamat.
Which are the major markets that you practice in?
Our practice and projects are based in India as of now.
We are active in the fields of architecture, interiors and furniture design
What are the challenges that an architect faces in India?
The commercial market is singularly profit-driven and if you can address environmental issues within those parameters then its works.
When it comes to the home owner – yes there is more sensitivity towards the environment, but we have a long way to go.
Restaurant with communal table
Light fitting using scrap truck clutch plates
Do you feel architects must be responsible towards the environment even if it adversely impacts the project?
Yes, I feel quite strongly that it is the architect’s moral responsibility to be more sensitive towards the environment. He needs to firstly educate the client on the impact of certain decisions such as using local materials rather than stuff that is hauled from half way around the world.
The monetary and environmental benefits of using something that is greener and cleaner in comparison to something that may on the surface look more appealing.
Is there growing awareness among corporates to follow norms and try to stick to world-class projects?
Yes, but the reasons for doing so are misplaced. Since larger MNC’s have certain standards that they adhere to, a number of builders try to put those in place to attract them. But this is only done superficially and not born out of the need to follow norms. Of course there are exceptions to the rule.
What is your advice for upcoming architects in India?
Always follow your instinct.
Urban Garden on a tiny 1200 sqft plot
Reception and Meeting Rooms-Corporate Office
Can you give us your date of birth?
What are your favourite monuments – in India and abroad?
In India, I find Mandu quite fascinating especially the JahazMahal complex and abroad my favourites would have to be SagradaFamilia in Barcelona.
If you had an opportunity to redesign an architectural marvel, what would it be and why?
It’s important to see and understand an architectural marvel in its context and how it addressed the issue/programme that made it a marvel in the first place. There will always be a few details that you think that may have done better. I think it’s more important to learn from them.
Who is your role model?
There are many different things to learn from the many people that I admire. There are many different aspects that I admire about people from different walks of life. I don’t have one single role model.
What is the most memorable day in your life so far?
There have been a few and it’s hard to single one out of them.
Can you tell us about the project that has been the closest to your heart?
The next one. Each project is an opportunity to experiment and create something beautiful and interesting. To create something that is fitting to its context, which addresses the brief. Hoping that the next one will be it!
What has been your biggest achievement professionally and the most proud moment?
Every project is an opportunity to create something that has not been done before, don’t waste it.
Your favourite holiday destination?
I love to travel and again feel that there is so much that I have not seen and experienced. Till now there are two. In India, the best has been Spiti valley. The untouched landscapes and the wonderfully friendly people made that trip through the valley very memorable.
The other one would have to be Rome. The beautiful architecture, food and again wonderfully warm people made it a place that I would keep going back to.