Eminent Indian architect and lead designer of the new ‘Central Vista Redevelopment’ in New Delhi, Padma Shri Bimal Patel joined more than 700 civil engineers and architects on 5 January 2023 for a special one-day conference at Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar in Ahmedabad.
The ‘Planning and Construction Conclave’ was organized by the Gujarat Institute of Civil Engineers and Architects (GICEA) and BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS).
The conference was led by a panel of prominent speakers, namely Dr. Vatsal Patel (Chief Urban Planner with Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and President, GICEA), Padma Shri Dr. Bimal Patel, (Architect and President, CEPT University), and Vijaykumar Kulkarni (Founder-Director, Low Carbon Construction and Forum Co-Chair, Imperial College of Information Technology and Business). Other notable panelists included P.S. Patel (Director and CEO, PSP Projects Ltd.), Ar. Brijesh Bhatha (Lead Design Practice Ground Design, Faculty at CEPT University), and Ar. Rajan Rawal (Professor, CEPT University, Fellow of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers).
In his welcome address, Dr. Vatsal Patel, Chief Urban Planner of AMC and President of GICEA, briefly elaborated upon the activities of GICEA. He further said, “Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar has several aspects that can serve as an inspiration for architects and civil engineers.”
In his keynote address, renowned architect and President of CEPT University Padmashri Dr. Bimal Patel shared his insights on the need and features of the newly developed ‘Central Vista Redevelopment’ project in New Delhi. He said, “One of the main objectives of the Central Vista Redevelopment was to modernize the facilities of the Indian Parliament. This had become necessary because of the lack of space to accommodate the more than 500 Members of Parliament and the pervious ad hoc additions.” He further shared details of the upcoming New Parliament House, the newly named ‘Kartavyapath’ (formerly ‘Rajpath’), and new additions to the Central Vista area.
Vijaykumar Kulkarni, Founder-Director of Low Carbon Construction and Forum Co-Chair of the Imperial College of Information Technology and Business, delivered an address on “Climate Change and the Role of Architects and Civil Engineers.” He said, “Factors such as a rise in population, the subsequent increase of resource utilization, and the continuing migration of people from rural to urban areas due to occupational necessities are contributing to an overall increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is leading to global warming and thereby resulting in floods, cyclones, wildfires, heatwaves and an overall decrease in human productivity and a loss of jobs. To reduce GHG emissions, we should focus on using renewable resources, reducing carbon emissions, and increasing use of energy-efficient equipment in our new projects. Personally, adopting a vegetarian diet can also significantly reduce one’s carbon footprint.”
At the end of the session, Dr. Bimal Patel and Vijaykumar Kulkarni answered questions from the audience.
In an inspirational talk delivered by Gnanvatsaldas Swami, a leading spiritual motivational speaker of BAPS, he said, “We can learn how hard work and immense faith in God can produce phenomenal results from the life of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Although Pramukh Swami Maharaj did not have an extensive formal education, his vast experience from all walks of life and his personal spirituality lifted BAPS to become an international organization. In 45 years of his spiritual leadership, Pramukh Swami Maharaj travelled to more than 50 countries, sanctified 250,000 homes, replied to 750,000 letters, created 1300 societal institutions (temples, hospitals, schools, hostels, etc.), initiated 1,000 sadhus and created a permanent force of 50,000 volunteers. Through his immense hard work and spiritual vision, Pramukh Swami Maharaj created an exemplary infrastructure and systemized the organization. He taught us in BAPS to always strive to do our best and to never be inflated by praise, but always seek out ways to improve so that we can better serve society as our devotion to God.
“Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar is a perfect reflection of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life. Every guest is praising its management, cleanliness, etc., but we are constantly monitoring the festival and seeing how we can still improve. Again, this comes from what Pramukh Swami Maharaj taught us about introspection, humility, accepting constructive feedback, and improving ourselves in the service of others and God. Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar can serve as an inspiration to all architects and civil engineers.”
An interesting panel discussion on ‘Sustainable Development’ was conducted by P.S. Patel (Director and CEO of PSP Projects), Ar. Brijesh Bhatha (Lead Design Practice Ground Design, Faculty at CEPT University) and Ar. Rajan Rawal (Professor at CEPT University and Fellow of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers), and moderated by Dr. Vatsal Patel, Chief Urban Planner of AMC and President of GICEA. They began by unanimously acknowledging that Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar was the most appropriate platform to have this discussion since 85% of the material used in the Nagar will be recycled and reused.
The panelists further discussed important subjects, such as defining sustainable development, finding alternate sustainable materials, energy efficiency, and defining parameters for ensuring sustainable development in government and private construction.
Today’s event is the eleventh in a series of 14 such conferences for professionals of various fields, including doctors, lawyers, industrialists, technocrats and entrepreneurs. It is a testament to the progressive mindset of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, whose work and teachings touched people from all walks of life, to ensure the holistic success and happiness of everyone in society.