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  • Venessa Thomas

Construction & Architecture Update: Coffee Table Book

Professor Christopher Benninger has been recognized as one of the '25 Inspired & Renowned Architects/Interior Designers' by Construction and Architecture Update Magazine. The interview takes an in-depth look into our work, design philosophy and vision for the future of our nation.

Q. How would you define CCBA Designs?


CCBA Designs is a world-renowned, award-winning, multi-disciplinary design firm that provides comprehensive architecture, urban design and master planning services. The firm is mentored by Harvard and MIT-educated master Architect and Planner Prof. Christopher Benninger; one of India’s great modernists. Our portfolio contains an immense body of experience spanning over half a century of designs, from master planning of international cities and new towns to housing developments, hotels, resorts, educational and institutional campuses, corporate headquarters and healthcare, both pan India and abroad. 

As an intellectual ‘design house’, we seek to bring out the poetry in the place, the lyricism in the built forms, and the vibrancy in the inhabitants’ lives. We endeavour to create environments, ambiences, and milieus that enrich the lives of the inhabitants and create timeless architecture which combined, deliver a successful project to our clients.

Mahindra United World College, Mulshi, India | Picture credits: Ramprasad Akkisetti

Q. What is your opinion about the future of Indian contemporary architecture? How do you interlink modernity with traditions in a country like India?


The future of Indian contemporary architecture is filled with promises and exciting possibilities and is intrinsically linked to the vibrant future of the new India. India is on the path to becoming a global superpower. Its vision of becoming a trillion-dollar economy will need to be supported by new industries, better educational institutions and more quality housing. We at CCBA Designs have been fortunate, thanks to our wonderful clients, to be able to design some of the most prestigious educational institutions like IIM and IIT, residential developments like Lodha Belmondo and industrial campuses like Krohne Marshall etc. We continue to remain focussed on these three sectors of Education, Industry and Housing as the building blocks of the new India. 


Cultural identity and contextual design remain a focal point of the design process. We believe in the importance of harmonizing modern architectural concepts with India's rich heritage. We aim to create spaces that resonate with the spirit of our culture while remaining adaptable to the evolving times. Through this philosophy, we seek to contribute to the vision of our nation by providing functional and culturally resonant designs for generations to come.

Lodha Belmondo, Pune, India | Picture credits: Ashish Bhonde & Ramprasad Akkisetti

Q. What is the design process like when designing a new project for a client?


Our design process is a collaborative journey with the client, from initial concept to final realization. It typically begins with an in-depth consultation with the client to understand their needs, preferences and vision for the project. We delve into the user profile and their lifestyle, functionality requirements, aesthetic preferences, and any specific challenges or constraints. We conduct site visits to analyze the opportunities and limitations that the site provides. 


We then move into the conceptual design phase, where we brainstorm ideas and develop initial sketches and models to explore different design directions. After all comments have been incorporated and the concept finalised, we then begin the detail design phase where the design is detailed to be executed. At no point in the design are the clients or the stakeholders kept away from the process. All comments and revisions are discussed, debated and incorporated as long as they contribute to a better design. After all, the secret to any successful project is great collaboration; collaboration between a demanding but open-minded client, a knowledgeable consultant team and contractors who work together to create a great project. 

Bajaj Institute of Technology, Wardha, India | Picture credits: Ashish Bhonde & Ramprasad Akkisetti

Q. What are the long-term implications of prioritizing good architecture for the future development and livability of Indian cities and towns?


Any great civilization is measured by the quality of its architecture. Our heritage boasts of architectural marvels such as palaces, temples and even city planning. It is not just important but critical that good architecture be prioritised as we march into the future. Good architecture and good design not only make economic and financial sense for its promoters but also act as a catalyst for creating a vibrant society, a rich heritage and are more sustainable than creating buildings and infrastructure for the short term. As architects who have the power to shape the built environment, we need to understand that the buildings we make are our lien on eternity. 


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