Tropic Responses/ Ar. Sanjay Jain
How did you come up with the name of your studio?
‘Tropic’ instantaneously relates to ‘Sun’. The Sun being the source of life influences the living environment and dictates the design. Architecture is overwhelming ‘Sun-centric’, it could be designed to provide for comfortable heating in the winter, cooling in the summer, and daylight all year along. The Sun dominates as the primary parameter for our design consideration along with the other elements like Humanities, Science, Art and Technology. Thereby, a ‘well-thought response’ to all primary elements is what ‘TROPIC RESPONSES’ is all about.
What determined your passion for design? Tell us about the moment when you decided this is the way to go.
It was in my third-year studio that we were first introduced to the concept of sustainability. A site visit was organized to The Retreat by TERI in Gurgaon. Its design in terms of its architecture and services, using a variety of sustainable processes for the reuse & recycling of natural resources impacted me greatly. That is when I decided that this is what I want to do – practice sustainability and eco-friendly design.
What kind of projects were you doing when you first started as a designer?
Right after college, I was working on a lot of large-scale projects, especially malls. But going forward I recognized that this was far from my main interest. Hence, I founded Tropic Responses as a way to realize my goals of addressing climate-oriented design with attention to every detail.
What field of design are you most interested in?
As an architect, I believe in sustainability and eco-friendly design, but I also believe that we need to cater to our client’s needs and tastes. We majorly practice handcrafting our designs to suit the users’ requirements, but at the same time make sure that educating them towards adopting a sustainable lifestyle remains at the core.
What is your favourite book/magazine on design? How about your favourite site?
Currently, Pinterest is a good platform to inspire us daily and keep exploring out-of-the-box ideas.
What is your Signature Style?
I won’t say I have a signature style. We change our style in order to create designs that are unique and customized to a particular client’s needs. The context of the site plays a huge role in the final outcome as well. Hence our portfolio consists of a wide variety in terms of styles and materials explored.
What inspires you to thrive in this industry? Which piece of architecture inspires you the most.
We aim to play our part in the global network of designers and make an effort to tackle the issues the world is facing today. The construction industry, with its high energy consumption and carbon emission, plays a major role in contributing to global warming. Contributing even a little towards elevating the situation and working towards a better future is what drives me forward.
In terms of Architecture that inspires me, I would say that Laurie Baker and Geoffrey Bawa’s works have been key. My contemporaries in this field such as Chitra Vishwanath, Palinda Kannangara, and Bijoy Ramachandra motivate me to better my practice.
From your point of view, is design an art or a science?
Design should be a perfect balance of both – art and science.
If you had no limits (money, resources), what would you create?
I strive to create simple and sensible designs that are context-oriented and climate-sensitive. The size of the budget wouldn’t change that.
What advice do you have for young designers or architects reading this interview?
I would advise them to concentrate more on built space and space planning. I’ve noticed a trend in young architects and designers that focuses more on visualization than workability. A good design is when it functions just as beautifully as it looks on paper.