Designing & building sustainable and efficient spaces

Designing & building sustainable and efficient spaces

At Voltas’ first Smart Living Forum, architects brainstormed on key challenges faced while building modern-day architecture

 (L-R) Palka Nagpal from Esthetique; Evolution Architects' Bimaldeep Singh; Sanjay Goel from Designex Architects; Rajan Tangri of Ideas Hub; and Yogesh Singla from Aakriti Architects.
(L-R) Palka Nagpal from Esthetique; Evolution Architects' Bimaldeep Singh; Sanjay Goel from Designex Architects; Rajan Tangri of Ideas Hub; and Yogesh Singla from Aakriti Architects.

Voltas joined hands with ITP Media India in co-creating the ‘Think Turf’ forum which brings together expert practising design minds to discuss the latest trends with the evolving technologies and innovations in enabling smarter, secure and technologically-advanced spaces. The first of Voltas’ Smart Living Forums was held at Ludhiana in July, 2019.

Bibhor Srivastava, group publishing director at ITP Media India, welcomed the invitees on behalf of the hosts and opened the forum by inviting Akshat Bhatt, principal architect at Architecture Discipline, on to the stage for his keynote address.

Akshat Bhatt, principal architect at Architecture Discipline

Bhatt established Architecture Discipline, an award-winning multidisciplinary studio at New Delhi, in 2007. He believes that true advancements of regional expression can only be achieved through critical intimacy. His projects are integrated from the conceptual framework to tactile experience; as a result, the outcome of every commission is determined by a series of critical design processes that result in an architectural expression that is contextually-charged and contemporary.

In his talk, Bhatt highlighted how cities are getting more unsustainable and how technology and smart living is driving the architecture of today by sharing a few case studies. “Fundamentally, we need to start looking at how we, as architects, can construct structures that do not consume as much energy, are more bearable and are more viable,” he said in conclusion.

Naveen Sharma, zonal manager at Voltas India

Naveen Sharma, zonal manager at Voltas India, felicitated Bhatt for his insightful address. Sharma went on to share the partner presentation on the global presence, achievements, products and offerings that the pioneering air conditioning brand has achieved and has in store for the fraternity and community.
To begin the panel discussion of the evening, Sanjay Goel, chairman at IIA Punjab Chapter and director of Ludhiana Smart City Ltd, took the moderator’s chair to introduce the architects speaking on the panel.

To kickstart the dialogue, Goel asked Bimaldeep Singh to throw some light on the topic under discussion — ‘Designing & Building Sustainable and Efficient Spaces’ — to enlighten the young architects in the audience. “The three fundamental considerations for a smart city are society, its economy and the environment surrounding it. To achieve smartness in design, one needs to be wary of the waste generated, water management system, economical governance and sustainability,” Singh said.


  • Bimaldeep Singh, principal architect, Evolution Architects
  • Yogesh Singla, principal architect, Aakriti Architects
  • Rajan Tangri, principal architect, Ideas Hub
  • Palka Nagpal, principal architect, Esthetique
  • Sanjay Goel, director, Ludhiana Smart City Ltd (moderator)

Yogesh Singla shared his thoughts on building sustainably, saying, “In our quest for becoming a developed country, the infrastructural advancements should happen in a way that the environment is not harmed. Since sustainable architecture employs local materials and practices, it is kinder to nature. Hence, it proves to be a sensible way forward.”

Goel then asked Palka Nagpal to share her views on sustainable architecture and efficient spaces, keeping the residential sector in mind. “It is simply not sufficient for us to create homes that are ‘green’; the focus should be on creating ‘high-performance homes’. The factors that govern a high-performance home – sustainability, safety, functionality, productivity, sensibility, cost-efficiency and aesthetics – should always be in our checklist. Additionally, optimising the operation and maintenance practices will go a long way in adding to a smarter project,” Nagpal responded.

Rajan Tangri was asked to talk about the role of architects in tailoring energy-efficient spaces. “We, architects, have the power to create. If we look through our glorious history, elements like chajjas, balconies, jalis, etc, were incorporated instead of glass. But such energy-conserving building units are slowly losing meaning. Hence, to make our world more energy-efficient, I would suggest that all designers create climate-specific spaces that respond to the contextual needs of the building,” Tangri strongly emphasised.

Goel asked him to share a few tricks about how building materials can be employed efficiently. “Using traditionally-made bricks, terracotta roofing, and materials available locally, directly reduces the amount of energy consumed and aids efficiency in design. Additionally, acrylic sheets, PVC sheets and other recyclable applications can be used to reduce the overall building’s waste load,” Tangri suggested.

When Goel asked Singh to comment on the presence of automation and technology in today’s architecture, he shared, “Building automation systems can be integrated into building design to control energy-consumption with the help of data collection, sensors and other intelligent devices, ultimately to boost the efficiency of the structure. Automation and technology should not be used as a luxury, but as a means of saving time and energy.”

Closing the evening with hopes for a better future, the panelists were felicitated with a token of appreciation. Srivastava thanked the speakers, guests and attendees before it was time for cocktails, networking and dinner.

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