A skillful resolution to practical problems, which was at the heart of all Hasmukh C Patel’s architectural endeavours, continues to be HCP’s most important design philosophy. As an architectural practice, HCP has continuously evolved and so has its body of work. What began in 1960 with only three employees, grew in keeping with the needs of the changing political and economic times. In the process, it gave the city some defining, iconic structures. The earliest of HCP’s projects were a mix of different types of facilities, for example, banking, educational, housing and commercial.
Hasmukh Patel’s innovation in this building was a pair of vertical fins that created shaded air space. He used a solar model to demonstrate that direct sunlight would be excluded from the building until the bank would be nearly closing.
The Newman Hall is a commune designed by HCP for the Society of Jesus. The straight forward and simple form of this hostel reflects the austere and disciplined life of the Jesuit seminarians. The requirement was for a series of individual rooms, a dining hall, a chapel and a small office block. The chapel, a simple circular brick structure, is placed on the central axis of the encircled courtyard. Generous corridor areas serve the dual purpose of providing access and ritual ambulatory spaces. Two and three storied structures flanking the courtyard house the seminary rooms.
While designing the St. Xavier’s Primary School, the attempt was to blur the boundaries between work and play. The result is an environment that truly belongs to the children, where they can lay claim to any space as their own.
This small clinic, located in a village outside Ahmedabad, combined medical facilities with a hostel and a chapel for the order of nuns who ran it. The main functions of the brief have been pulled apart and take simple forms which are organised either orthogonally or diagonally along a linear plan.
A highlight of this design is the achievement of minimal circulation and the clever use of smaller spaces for domestic activities and storage. Simplicity in design and rigor in detailing has strengthened the overall concept.
This Jesuit vocational training campus is among Hasmukh Patel’s most memorable projects. Clusters of hostels, workshops, classrooms and administrative buildings have been oriented for optimal breeze and shade and staggered to minimise transmission of noise and to enclose different scales of public space. It remains a beautiful campus, grown into its surroundings, but is actually best remembered for the ingenuity of its construction system.
This small church is a powerful exploration in pure platonic form. Simply built of brick and with a corrugated roof, the triangular prism is complemented by a freestanding bell tower. The building is economical, practical and modest. Patel’s interest in platonic form can also be seen in institutional and commercial projects.
The significance of the project lies in the ingenuity with which the east-west-oriented facade has been conceptualized with deeply recessed openings which protect the inner space from heat and rain.
Dena Bank’s proportions, carefully considered shuttering pattern of the side facade and high-quality construction emphasize the corporate ambitions of the bank. The front plaza, with its trees and seating, demonstrates Patel’s belief that institutional buildings should make an amenable contribution to the urban landscape.
It is easy to miss the Reading Centre, even though it is prominently sited on one of the main access roads to Gujarat University. The building is exaggeratedly low. It appears to hover above the ground uncompromisingly silent and solid. From the street, not a single opening decorates the massive concrete block of its exterior. It is a brutalist building, yet somehow, it is also modest. The user, as in all of Hasmukh Patel’s buildings, is at the centre of the experience.
H.K. House is a modest and economical office building developed as a commercial project. While taking full advantage of the site’s development potential as defined by planning laws, it is formally appropriate for its site. The key feature is the optimised relationship between core and perimeter.
This hostel building is sensitively integrated with its surroundings. The requirements of the brief could not be simpler, and the plan could not be more logically, symmetrically and repetitively straightforward. However, it is the section of the buildings, which is most striking. The roof slopes, from a height, sharply and all the way to the ground at the back of the building where it shelters stacked verandahs amongst the overgrowth. The front facade is deeply recessed for sun protection.
Chinubhai Centre, – a multifunctional commercial complex, located on a prominent corner plot at the junction of Ashram Road and Nehru Bridge, is designed by HCP for owner and builder Hasmukh Shah. It is designed to maximize the economic potential of the site and to capitalize on the views of the Sabarmati. The east façade is stepped back to create shady terraces overlooking the river.
This real estate development project comprises of 400 three-bedroom row houses, designed in five phases. Taking the concept of row houses as a viable alternative to apartment living in urban areas, this project seeks to resolve the classic conflict between the demands of the developers as client and the needs of the user, the faceless client.
The design for Entrepreneurship Development Institute is an attempt at creating an indigenous, Indian vocabulary. It draws on lessons learn from vernacular, Islamic and colonial buildings, to enrich the modern aesthetic. The campus won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1992.
The National Institute of Port Management is an institute which trains personnel for managing Indian ports, with both residential and academic facilities. The design uses courtyards as organizing devices, along a narrow and linear coastal site.
Located at Panchwati, Center Point is a mixed development of apartments and retail facilities and became an instant landmark amongst the more pedestrian commercialisation taking place in the district. Standing at the junction of the five roads today, even amongst the chaotic development typical of any major Indian city, its iconic formal gestures remain as visible and powerfully coherent as they were in the original marketing material.
The significance of the project lies in the manner in which the irregularities of the old structure have been accommodated by using gable frames between the regular space frames and covering them in different colours of fibre-glass sheets.
The design seeks to evoke a sense of order and dignity and lays an emphasis on shaded public space. The main court building, aligned on the East-West axis and fronted by spacious gardens, is the focus of the complex.