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               Interview with Mr. Iqbal Chaney


Where did yo start? What were your initial influences like?

Actually I was very used to the typical traditional way of architecture and I thought it was very boring. But it all changed when I went to UK.

What was the turning point of your career?

When I joined the GMW partners in London. Until 1977, I was into backdated techniques like with hand drawn designing. It was a big change when I saw the modern architecture in UK. It was a totally different kind of designing process and a varied exposure. I am still the only architect who uses the quality management system in the whole of India. Since we are the only ones we have no guidelines, we work on our own.

What are your favorite projects?
In the last 17 years we have had atleast 400 projects. I do not have any particular favorite projects but the most satisfying ones are the ones that have appealed to the clients and me.

I think that in the residential architecture I feel that all the Clover projects have been my better projects. Clover Village put Wanowrie on Pune’s real estate map and it was only after Clover Village that other builders have been coming into that area.

Also the ones that have creatively satisfied me are those that contribute to the community because buildings and monuments are not something you put in a file and forget about it. It is something like an indelible mark one leaves behind and affects not only the clients but also all the people around them. Like Sagar Plaza made a difference to the entire road. There are quite a few that have made a positive impact and of course others that have not

.I also design houses but those really have to be tailor- made according to the clients’ requirements. Though I try to design just a few houses per year because the clients keep changing their minds and they keep on meddling. It is the best and the easiest when the client knows exactly what he wants.

What are your Current Projects?

The new Times of India Printing Press that is coming up, they know exactly they need and so it is coming up very well and very fast. Also the Iridium Company is an international company and they have branches all over the world. In India their branch is going to be just a little outside Pune. I am also working on that and it is coming up very well. I also work on leisure activities such as hotels and resorts Like the Splendor project. I am working on the Times of India project in Pune and Chandigarh.

How would you describe your work in 3 words?

What any client is looking for in a project is that it should be good-looking, practical and buildable. Keeping that in my mind I would say that my architecture is elegant, practical and cost effective.

What do you think about Architecture in Pune?

I feel that in Pune there is very little of really good architecture. I think that Puneites are not as aware as they should be. The old architecture in Pune is extremely good but in the recent years it hasn’t been very good. We just have one Koregaon Park and instead of trying to make more Koregaon Parks we are ruining the only one we have and now everything is just Camp and city. Poona has a lot of natural beauty it has a river and hills and a lot of greenery but people don’t appreciate it.

We have a river and we could use it like a river Thames. People all over the world use rivers for recreational activities and for transport but here instead of beautifying Pune with its river, people just use it for sewage.

If you don’t agree with the client what do you do?

When I design house for a client I have to understand the needs of a client. . Most clients don’t express their needs well. I have to judge their budget and keep their lifestyle in mind. I would not design something I know that would not be easy to maintain. If there is just no common wavelength of thinking between the client and me I won’t take on the work. Very often when I think that I won’t be happy or the customer won’t be happy I just don’t take on the project

How would you describe your own house?

If my own house didn’t reflect on my personality it would mean that I am a very bad architect. Yes, I think that my house does reflect on my personality. I would say that it is a bit like a Folks wagon. It has no frills but the same it is very elegant. It is very practical and has all the conveniences that one needs in a house.

Do you take on any trainees?

Yes, I take on many trainees. In most architectural courses the students have to have one semester practice. We take on trainees from Pune during November till April and from June to October out of Pune trainees.

In the beginning did you have to agree without making any suggestions and comments?

No in that way I was very lucky I never had to do that because I did not start working young.
Do you think that being an architect is profitable?

I think that architecture is an art, you cannot do it with the idea of making money. You make a decent living but then if I wanted to make money I would have become a builder and not an architect. It is a profession and not a business.

What would be your Advice to all those thinking of doing architecture?

They should not be thinking of the money but whether they would enjoy it.

What are your working hours?

9AM - 6PM. 5 days a week, 4 holidays a year- Republic Day, Independence Day, 2 days for Diwali.

How do you deal with stress?

I really enjoy my work so I don’t have any stress.

If you had not got into architecture what would you have done?

If not architecture, it would have been advertising.