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‘Know the latest innovations to excel as an architect’

The alumnus of Apeejay Institute of Technology-School of Architecture & Planning, says that he has very fond memories of the institute even two decades later



What does a student who wants to serve India and protect her borders but doesn’t manage to make the cut to join the armed service do? He doesn’t give up hope or the inclination to serve the country. But he does it in a rather unique manner. He decides to pursue architecture and build things that will serve the people.

“I wanted to join Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and protect India’s borders. But sometimes, life has something different in store for you. I belong to Saharanpur anbd after passing class XII and failing to qualify for SSB, I was at a loose end and didn’t know what to do. Back then people either studied medicine or engineering. Then somebody suggested architecture. I sat for the entrance exam. And today I am a full-fledged architect,” Pankaj Pundir said. He is a silent partner with APS Green Architects & Associates and working full-time as an Architect with Uttar Pradesh Public Works Department.

In a candid interview, the Lucknow-based architect, who studied at Apeejay Institute of Technology-School of Architecture & Planning (AIT-SAP), talks about how and why he ended up taking the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission exam among other things.

Tell us about your journey thus far.

After I completed my programme at Apeejay Institute of Technology-School of Architecture & Planning (AIT-SAP) back in 2004, I worked with several architecture companies. But then in 2010, I started my private practice in Delhi. We did a lot of projects all over Delhi and Noida. I was part of projects like hotels, hospitals, townships, and several government projects. In 2014, I got to know that Uttar Pradesh was holding Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission exams for architects. I filled out the form, sat for the exam, and even cleared it. The rest is history.

Why did you stop your practice?

I have not stopped. I am a silent partner in my company that still does a lot of projects. My present job doesn’t prevent me from having my practice as long as my name doesn’t appear anywhere. There is a township that I am working on in collaboration with another organisation. There are several projects within the township like hospitals and hotels. My work is mostly centred on hospitals, hotels, and townships.

What does your present job entail?

I am directly linked to the Secretariat. There are some priority projects that the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath is involved in. I am his nodal officer. The work is all related to architecture – from designing to planning to execution and sanctioning. We make sanctions after checking and verifying the project. We had to start a project – Make a statute of Lord Ram (181 metres tall). But it has been put on hold since the mandir project has taken precedence. We also have 10 projects near the Indo-Nepal border. Again I am nodal and report directly to the CM.

What work is more challenging – your consultancy or working on government projects?

Both come with different types of challenges. The additional challenge while handling government work is that all work must comply with the policies that have been approved. One must know the latest policy guidelines and work accordingly. New policies have come in for townships. When we are called in for a meeting we must know the rules before we can give our opinion. The Master Plan for 2031 for Uttar Pradesh is out. Futuristic planning can only be done if one knows what the policy says.

After I completed my programme at AIT-SAP in 2004, I worked with several architecture companies. In 2014, I got to know that Uttar Pradesh was holding Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission exams for architects. I filled out the form, sat for the exam, and even cleared it

Pankaj Pundir, Architect Uttar Pradesh PWD & alumnus of  Apeejay Institute of Technology-School of Architecture & Planning

How did you end up studying at AIT-SAP?

As I said, when I couldn’t get through to SSB, I decided to pursue architecture. After sitting for the entrance exam I had four options and one of them was AIT-SAP. An uncle of ours at that time was staying in Ghaziabad and after speaking with him, I decided to enroll at Apeejay. He had only good things to say about the institute. He told us about the Apeejay Education Society and that it has a great foundation. Even the faculty was great and had some good professors from reputed places like IIT Roorkee.

Can you share some memories from those days?

Mine was the first batch to enroll back in 1999. Also, for the first two days, I was the lone boy in the entire hostel. The others joined much later. For two nights I had the entire hostel building to myself. It was a bit eerie.

What are the qualities that make for a great architect?

Students must develop an interest in the subject. It takes time but once you are there, this field is probably the best. While most people know what it broadly entails, few know the science behind the drawings that are made. Architecture is more than just being creative. There is a need to understand conceptual concepts and have the fundamentals clear. One must also know the latest innovations and technological advancements that have taken place in this sector. The more knowledge you have, the better architecture you will become.

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.

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