Global players go glocal

Global players go glocal

Of late, Bangalore is seeing an increased influence of international architects who lend an international touch to the residential sector.Prashanth G N analyses the trend.

International architects are well-settled in the top-end segment of Bangalore’s residential and commercial landscape. They bring global ideas, blend the same with local-ethnic ideas to finally evolve a hybrid product, in line with the Indian taste. Since the construction industry has been growing at a rapid pace in the light of consistent demand for residential and office space by the IT sector, architects have had a fairly good time these last two decades. Now they are set to enhance their footprint in Bangalore’s real estate scene with high-end properties doing fairly well in the city in recent times.

Cause for concern

Architects in Bangalore do acknowledge the presence of international players but are not unduly worried about it. Naresh V Narasimhan, a well-known architect, tells Deccan Herald that international architects work mostly where large property development is involved. “International architects form about 20 per cent of the total architects’ scene in Bangalore, while the rest 80 per cent are Indian architects. International players come in typically on large projects.”

While the global-local ratio is heavily skewed, it is mildly surprising that international architects have taken Bangalore seriously because the city is not really an architect’s delight compared to cities like New York or Houston or Boston which have grown vertically. New cities aren’t growing horizontally, as has been the case in Latin America and Asia-Pacific.

Some of the top international architects with operations in the City include the Singapore-based RSP Group, the American-based HOK and Architectural Creations International which has world-wide operations based out of California. These players can offer a good mix of designs which combine San Francisco, Tokyo, Seoul, New York, Dubai and many European states.

Farooq Mahmood of Silverline Realty says that all these designs would be placed before the builder to get an approval. “Typically, entire designs may not be replicated here. Builders make suggestions on local requirements and feel, and after modifying the design, the resultant product will be a global one.”

Architects are generally paid highly with a range from one per cent to ten per cent of the total cost of construction of the project. It may run from Rs 1 lakh to a few crores, depending on the location, size, space, materials that the builder would want to include, and any special requirements. Mahmood says, in the luxury residential space, Indian firms will have to compete with foreign players who have a good presence in the sector. Their presence is why you have properties like Napa Valley, California Calling, Royal Orchid, and Brooke Fields in the eastern and south eastern parts of the city.

“These names are taken up because the identification will be with international brands. Most of the middle-class families whose children study abroad and move in fairly elite circles will be aware of the names. They make an instant connection with the brand as they would have seen and experienced the same first-hand. There is a need to bring back cultural memories of the West. The great drive that we have seen in the 90s and in the early part of the decade after 2000 is now turning into a circle — with a lot of families wanting to come back to India, particularly to Bangalore. They want to lead the lifestyle that they have had in the West,” says Mahmood.

Foreign influence

Upon return, they find Bangalore has villas of the Italian and San Francisco type, row houses like in England, independent houses within a gated community like in Albany in New York or Bellevue in Seattle. And these are places with a solid presence of Indians. It is the replication of these conditions in the US and Europe that international architects bring to Bangalore. In the overall real estate scene, luxury residences are doing fairly well and the demand has been relatively high, which is why builders are able to ask for architects with high operating margins.

In Bangalore, Sarjapur, Kanakapura, Whitefield, Marathahalli and parts of North Bangalore like Hebbal and Devanahalli are seeing extensive properties with international design trends. This is clearly targeted at the younger generation which has migrated to the West and not so much at the old middle-class of Bangalore, majority of whom prefer to stay in old houses. In some cases, children of old parents buy apartments with all international facilities so that their parents can have a comfortable stay.

International architects too have assessed the Indian market and players like HOK and RSP are pretty confident that the market is big enough to accommodate many players. If and when Greater Bangalore takes off, beyond the immediate City limits, the players will have a headstart. One of the global symbols of Bangalore is the World Trade Centre (WTC) which has come up at Yeshwantpur market and the newly built UB Tower on Vittal Mallya Road, which signals that Bangalore is ready to take the leap forward in vertical growth.

Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi? Who will win the battle royale of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019


Get real-time news updates, views and analysis on Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on Deccanherald.com/news/lok-sabha-elections-2019 


Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram with #DHPoliticalTheatre for live updates on the Indian general elections 2019.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry