Archi talks with Ramiz Baig

• What did you want to become when you are a child? What motivated you to become an architect
As a child you have no restrictions upon your desires and one is very honest with their likes and dislikes. However, these likes tend to change very frequently, when I look back there were many varied options I wanted to undertake like being a cricketer! (Imran khan at his prime in the early 80’s) or a Knight who lives in a castle to name a couple.

I was always fascinated by castles and other monumental buildings as a child. I also loved playing with Lego blocks. In the case of Lego, I used to enjoy coming up with my own designs by mixing various sets. This I believe was my earliest and most crucial interest in Architecture.

• What is one memory you have from childhood?
Just like everyone I have many memories from my childhood! For the case of this interview I will recall a memory from childhood related to architecture. I was fascinated as a child by machicolations which are the spaces between two stone blocks in castles which were used to fire arrows from and keep the shooter safe. I always wanted those in my house! Fortunately *laughs* I have never built a house or a building with such feature

• What kind of projects were you doing when you first started as an architect?
When I graduated I was working for one of the best architecture firms in the country and there I was exposed to fairly large projects with an open hand creativity as well as cost. First job is usually a continuation of school as you learn about how to actually build their only.

• Would you say architecture is a field for everyone?
No field is for everyone. That is why we have all sorts of people with different interests and expertise and that is how they make best use of themselves. Architecture requires a particular set of skills. When doing your own practice not only does one have to have a good business sense but also must have people skills. These are crucial if you are to progress in your practice. I feel sound temperament is also important with not only interacting with your clients but in your dealings with the contractors and various labor personnel on sites.

• How many projects can you expect to be working at once?
As not all projects begin at the same time their stages overlap. With that in mind I have been able to do 8-9 projects of different scales and different timelines simultaneously. However, when such an instance occurs that many are at the same stage it can become challenging.

• What style architecture do you love most?
I am not one to believe in following a style. More important than style is to ensure the project serves its purpose. The architects role is give a design solution for the project both technically and aesthetically and not stamp a “style” on it.

• Are you enjoying your profession? If yes then why?
Yes Alhamdulillah I am enjoying my professional life. I am running my own practice successfully for over 12 years now and with it I have been able to give time to not only my alma mater the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in various capacities but also to the institute of Architects Pakistan where I am currently serving as the Chairman of the Karachi Chapter.
My earlier commitment as the Architects Regional Council Asia (ARCASIA) Honorary Secretary 2017-18 gave me the opportunity to visit over 20 countries and interact with the fraternity their through various architectural programs. Travel is surely one of the best ways to learn.

• What’s the best thing about your life right now?
Alhamdulillah one should always be content with life.

• What is the one thing that you are proud of?
I am proud of my teams, starting from the office to the sites, my executive committee at the IAP-KC and all my students.

• What is your message for young Architect?
Welcome to the profession! You have put in the hard hours in school and here you are a new graduate. Don’t relinquish your dreams but be ready to pay your dues in the profession. There are no short cuts to success but hard work and determination definitely has its rewards, it may not come in the shape and size you wanted or expected but it’s wonderful. All the best!

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