Hafeez Contractor

Hafeez Contractor (born 1950) is an Indian architect. He has designed many skyscrapers in India, primarily in the city of Mumbai. As of 2019, he is the architect of the three tallest buildings in India – The 42 in Kolkata, and the twin towers of The Imperial in Mumbai. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in January 2016 by the Government of India.

 

Early life

Hafeez Contractor was born at Bombay (now Mumbai) on 19 June 1950 in a Parsi family. He studied at Boys’ Town Public School Nashik then later Academy of Architecture at the University of Mumbai in 1975 and won a scholarship to Columbia University, where he completed a master’s degree.

Career

Hafeez Contractor started working in 1968 as an apprentice with his uncle T. Khareghat while working toward his architecture degree. In 1977, he became an associate partner in the firm.

In 1991, Contractor was enlisted to add buildings to Infosys‘ Bangalore campus. He went on to design that firm’s first software-development park outside Pune, and its corporate educational facility near Mysore. His most famous project is Hiranandani Gardens, a township in Powai, a suburb of Mumbai. In 2005, Contractor designed the twin-tower residential skyscraper, The Imperial, whose 254 metre-tall Tower I became the tallest residential buildings in India (with Tower II slightly behind) upon completion in 2010 – a distinction it held until it was displaced by One Avighna Park (266 metre) in 2017. That building was, in turn, displaced by The 42 in Kolkata, which was also designed by Contractor and architecturally topped out at 260m. He also designed 23 Marina in Dubai, which was briefly the world’s tallest all-residential building, and is currently third behind the nearby Princess Tower and 432 Park Avenue in New York City.

Contractor’s other projects include the domestic terminal at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport and the DY Patil Stadium, which serves as the home stadium for both the Mumbai Indians cricket team and Mumbai City FC football team. He also designed the Turbhe railway station in Navi Mumbai and in 2018 offered to 19 railway stations for free. He was the architect for Chief Minister of Telangana’s official residence, Pragathi Bhavan completed in November 2016. He has been assigned to design the campus of Indian Institute of Petroleum & Energy, Visakhapatnam.

Architectural style

Contractor has referred to the standardized ratings used in Western countries for certifying green buildings as a “joke”. In his view, conditions in India require a rating system that takes into account the unique problems faced by that country, such as the loss of farmland.

In a New York Times profile he was described as Bollywood‘s “Starchitect“. The article described Contractor’s style as having “no signature, save a penchant for glitz.” Contractor said of his own work, “[Y]ou definitely like a woman with lipstick, rouge, eyelashes. So if you make your building more beautiful with some appliqués, there’s nothing wrong.”