Exclusive Interview with Sneha Gurjar, Director, CEM Engineers

Vinod Shah Posted on: 2023-05-04 07:15:00 Viewer: 3,481 Comments: 0 Country: India City: New Delhi

Exclusive Interview with Sneha Gurjar, Director, CEM Engineers

With over 15 years of extensive experience of designing and leading institutional, industrial, residential and prestigious infrastructural projects across the country, Sneha Gurjar is an architect of excellent professional aptitude. As a director at CEM Engineers, one of India’s leading comprehensive consultancy for master planning, architectural design, engineering and project management services, she has been instrumental in steering the growth trajectory of the firm over the past decade.

A firm believer in simplifying complex design and engineering problems, Sneha brings an inside out approach to a project. Over the years, she has spearheaded the development of several projects including mission critical facilities, radiochemical laboratories, nuclear safety structures, nuclear waste management facilities, communication infrastructure and blast resistant facilities. Being associated with such complex and momentous projects illustrate the length and breadth of Sneha's experience and the proficiency of her professional knowledge. The complexity of design and understanding required in developing these projects is a challenging process involving innovation at both the design side and the project delivery end. The multi-disciplinary engagement, the long term impact and hope that these large-scale developments foster drive her work.

Sneha graduated from the TVB School of Habitat Studies in 2007 and, since then, has honed the perseverance and patience required for delivering large-scale developments. She is also an accomplished track and field athlete, an interest that contributes to her disciplined approach to professional life.

Please tell us about your professional journey in brief. Who inspired you to choose this (design & architecture) field?

My journey in the industry has been quite humbling and simultaneously broadening. It has taught me new ways of introspecting my work and actively working on myself. I firmly believe in simplifying complex designs and engineering problems with compatible design solutions and prefer to adopt an inside-out approach to a project. My vision is to work and contribute towards developing our societal and economic growth as a Nation-building activity.

Growing up in an architectural environment and hearing about the structural design perspective while accompanying my father for site visits from the early age of 4 are some of my earliest memories. It goes without saying that early exposure must have piqued my interest in architecture and design. I believe Architecture was a natural choice for me.

How did the pandemic affect or change your own thinking about planning and urban design?

The pause and panic created by the pandemic have compelled us to introspect on the need-necessity-apt-ness of various aspects of urban design that affect our daily life. Creating a balance between social interaction and social distancing is of utmost priority. We must focus on the enhancement of urban resiliency in housing, public spaces, and cities that could lead to an effective disaster management framework to combat pandemic-like situations. The sudden adaptation to a situation like the pandemic has taught us that post-pandemic urban resilient planning related to disaster management and climate change has become necessary for today’s urban fabric.

What are your thoughts on the importance of Digital technology after the new normal?

With the efficacy demonstrated through government-backed applications like Arogya Setu, etc, during the trans-pandemic phase, the importance of digital technology is irrefutable. Innovative interventions through the use of technology are likely a game changer in the near future.

How did digitalisation make major changes in the design and construction industry?

The construction industry has traditionally been lethargic in adopting newer technologies. Disruptive technologies are shaping the future and solving longstanding problems through a different lens. Emerging technologies can be utilised to cater to the specific challenges faced in the construction industry. This also allows for more creativity and innovation in architecture.

Why is urban planning so important in designing better cities?

The idea of urban design goes hand in hand with the technological advancements in each phase of development. The pandemic put a strain on developed global cities, especially those with high population densities and high levels of connectivity. Many cities after that experienced a moment of global rethinking. In a few years, we have gone from an idea of extreme density that has led to the gentrification of megacities with ever smaller living spaces to completely antithetical proposals, such as the idea of " the 15-minute city" where all services can be reached with a minimum travel time.

Have you ever experienced discrimination in your career as a woman architect?

I have not experienced any discrimination as a female architect.

Is establishing a career more difficult for women architects?

Architecture being a creative field, is equally difficult for both men and women as a profession. However, establishing a career for women is relatively more difficult, predominantly due to us being a modern-traditional society. On the bright side, over the last 3-4 decades, women have transitioned from the traditional role of caretaker to the breadwinner.

Would you like to share your message for aspiring women in the design & architecture domain?

Design and architecture are extremely fulfilling professions. Every new project is equally demanding and requires one to work relentlessly. It is not the best return on investment regarding the time spent, but one of the most fulfilling choices.

What are your thoughts/feedback on our website and magazine contents?

The information provided by the magazine is extremely useful for professionals in the AEC industry, like me, as it provides comprehensive information on all things related to urban transportation infrastructure and its challenges while discussing all the relevant solutions towards these challenges.

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