Build­ing your ca­reer brick by brick

CHANG­ING SKY­LINES From churches to col­leges and schools, Ran­jit P John has been fol­low­ing his pas­sion and see­ing his sketches trans­late to real, solid struc­tures

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page - Rozelle Laha

As a school­boy, Ran­jit P John was cap­ti­vated by the mag­nif­i­cence of old tra­di­tion­ally con­structed build­ings in Ker­ala, which in­cluded old churches and his own alma mater, St Ber­ch­mans Col­lege. Later, mak­ing ca­reer plans, he de­cided there was noth­ing bet­ter in life than de­sign­ing build­ings..

Talk­ing to en­gi­neer friends and fam­ily mem­bers about his pas­sion, John was ad­vised to pur­sue a full-fledged grad­u­ate course in ar­chi­tec­ture. Af­ter com­plet­ing his pre-de­gree course (Class 12 equiv­a­lent) from St Ber­ch­mans High School, he moved to Delhi in 1974, join­ing Gandhi-Me­hta and As­so­ci­ates, an ar­chi­tec­tural firm in the city, as a draft­ing as­sis­tant and si­mul­ta­ne­ously started pre­par­ing for the en­trance exam of the School of Plan­ning and Ar­chi­tec­ture (SPA), New Delhi.

John had also signed up for sketch­ing classes to hone his skills in draw­ing, an im­por­tant com­po­nent of the en­trance exam at SPA. “We were, in the test, sup­posed to make free hand sketches of var­i­ous ob­jects in dif­fer­ent shades of light. This was done to test the vi­su­al­is­ing skill of the ap­pli­cants,” says John. .

Af­ter he grad­u­ated from SPA with the gold medal for the high­est scores in the his­tory of the in­sti­tute back then, John started as­sist­ing SPA pro­fes­sors Ran­jit Sabikhi and Ajoy Choud­hury with de­sign­ing work.

In 1985, he started his own com­pany and till date has worked on al­most 1,000 projects, which in­clude the YMCA Cam­pus, Greater Noida; Je­sus and Mary Col­lege, Chanakya­puri; Deepalaya School, Kalkaji; Tri­van­drum I nter na­tional School, Tri­van­drum – Ju­nior School Park; Re­nais­sance School, Mathura; St Michael’s Church, Gur­gaon; St Martin’s Church, Delhi Can­ton­ment; Yusuf Sadan, Con­naught Place; Mother Teresa’s Deep­ashram, Gur­gaon and Shan­thi­giri Ashram, Saket.

From schools, col­leges, spir­i­tual homes to old age homes, or­phan­ages, homes for tribal peo­ple, dis­pen­saries in ru­ral ar­eas, churches and ashrams, he has done it all.

While work­ing, John says ar­chi­tects cre­ate con­cep­tual sketches based on their un­der­stand­ing of client re­quire­ments. They need to fac­tor in the scale and na­ture of the site of con­struc­tion, the di­rec­tion of light and even the bud­get for the project.

The con­cep­tual sketch is then pre­sented to clients. Based on their in­puts, ar­chi­tects might re- work or mod­ify the same. De­tailed draw­ings are then

Fol­low­ing this, de­tailed draw­ings of the project are made and ap­provals sought from lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, in­clud­ing the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, chief fire of­fi­cer, Air­ports Author­ity of In­dia (if the project is in the flight path).

“While de­sign­ing the project, an ar­chi­tect needs to keep in mind the lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal laws, build­ing by­laws and the na­tional build­ing code,” says John.

It takes about six months from con­cep­tu­al­i­sa­tion to start­ing of ex­e­cu­tion depend­ing on the project and the city. Af­ter get­ting the req­ui­site ap­provals ar­chi­tects start work on projects in co­or­di­na­tion with con­sul­tants in di­verse fields such as car­pen­try, plumb­ing, and air con­di­tion­ing

Ar­chi­tects also need to float ten­ders for big­ger projects, an­a­lyse pro­por­tions of ma­te­ri­als re­quired to com­plete the project and ap­prove ten­der ap­pli­ca­tions in con­sul­ta­tion with project own­ers.

It is one of the most promis­ing sec­tors one can work for. If you’re good, one project al­ways leads to an­other, John says.


Imag­ine ev­ery cre­ation be­fore you cre­ate it, says ar­chi­tect Ran­jit P John. In the back­ground is the YMCA Cam­pus, Greater Noida, that he has de­signed.

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