Michael Jansen, Chairman & CEO, CityZenith
"In 1992, while I was in China, I received a book - The New Urban Landscape by Charles Correa - from my father, which emphasised on the urban challenges of Mumbai. It intrigued me and I was fortunate to speak to Correa. He encouraged me to come and learn about ´the other half of Asia´. In my first year in India, I visited 70 different cities, travelling by train and bus, to the remotest locations. After this, I returned to the US. My visit again was with a renowned US architect to open his office in India. In 1998, I was lucky to discuss the future of India with businessmen like Ratan Tata and Godrej. In 2003, I formed my own architectural production company in Delhi with about 1,200 architects in its ambit to produce technical documentation for architecture firms abroad. We have completed over 5,000 projects across India.
A few things that make architecture in India special today are the impact of technology on the profession, namely Building Information Modelling (BIM) or 3D modelling, and the influence of international practices transformed for the Indian context. The new set of architects brings a perfect blend of contemporary and old architecture. If you go back to the days of the British Empire, British architecture emerged from the building boom coincident with the rise of the Raj. Today, in India you have that same opportunity to create and innovate. I would like to say to the architects here, in addition to the great buildings you design, the cities will need your help too. Please take those lessons of design, context and history and bring it to your cities. India has to build 200 cities over the next 20 years and it needs your help to do it.´
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