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Bregman+Hamann Architects set up Delhi shop

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No stranger to the international scene, Toronto’s Bregman + Hamann Architects now is exporting its services to India.
The Ansal corporate headquarters will be constructed in the town of Noida, east of Delhi.
The Ansal corporate headquarters will be constructed in the town of Noida, east of Delhi.

Architecture

No stranger to the international scene, Toronto’s Bregman+Hamann Architects now is exporting its services to India.

The firm, which already has overseas offices in Shanghai and the United Arab Emirates, is setting up shop in the city of Delhi. Senior associate Anil Rawat is relocating to oversee Indian operations.

B+H is thought to be one of the few North American architectural firms to open an office in that country.

“There are a few American, European and Japanese practices there,” said partner Paul Gogan. “But they tend to be commuters. We are establishing a full-time presence and making a commitment there.”

The 54-year-old firm gained its first exposure to that market four years ago, as part of a consortium pursuing airport projects.

“We didn’t get the commission,” Gogan said. “But the experience cracked the door open a bit for us. It gave us a sense of what was happening over there, what the opportunities were.”

At the moment, B+H is in the midst of master planning developments on 50-acre and 150-acre sites near the city of Haridwar, about 300 kilometres north of Delhi, for motorcycle manufacturer Hero Honda Group.

The larger site will accommodate 3,300 housing units, an 80-bed hospital, an 80 to 100-room hotel and shopping facilities. The smaller development, located near a Hero Honda plant, will provide for housing and a strip mall.

The master plans have been submitted to the local planning authorities for approval.

“Hero Honda has also asked us to do the detailed design of each component,” said Rawat, newly named director of the company’s operations in India.

While final costs have not been determined, the two developments will cost “in the millions of dollars,” he said. The sites are located about 17 km apart.

B+H also has been retained to design corporate headquarters for developer Ansal APL on a 10-acre site in the town of Noida east of Delhi. The project is part of a larger 2,500-acre development.

Also in the works is a high-tech office campus on a 17-acre site in the city of Gurgaon, south of Delhi. The Survam Knowledge Park will house call centres and major high-tech companies. The 700,000-square-foot first phase is scheduled for completion next March.

In Delhi, B+H is renovating the headquarters of the Hindustan Times and overseeing the interior fit-out of 63,000 square feet of space for the newspaper’s IT department. That is in a separate building.

“It’s been a very good beginning,” said the Delhi-educated Rawat, who is licensed to practice architecture in India. He joined B+H eight years ago, after a 16-year stint on projects in Saudi Arabia.

The firm, which landed its initial master-planning assignments in early March, has forged relationships with Indian architectural and engineering firms.

“For the early jobs, we’re going to be working in collaboration with local practices,” Gogan said.

The firm’s long-term plan is to have a fully functioning office in Delhi, “suited to the local design environment.”

Gogan said there is “a lot of support” in India for international design. There also is considerable “enthusiasm” on the part of the federal government for Canadian business ventures there.

by Patricia Williams

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