Hafeez Contractor: Redefining Architecture in India

Published On: May 1, 2023

“An architect who can do various kinds of work, in varied styles, materials, and ways is a real architect”.

Architect Hafeez Contractor

Hafeez Contractor is a Stararchitect of India, whose flamboyant architectural style and iconic structures have become landmarks in several Indian cities. His design approach rooted an emphasis on functionality and aesthetics with an acute understanding of the local context, which has made him such a popular choice for builders (also known as Builder's Architect). This blog delves into the life and professional journey of Hafeez Contractor, his significant projects, criticisms, and accomplishments.

Early Life

Born in India, into a Parsi family, the young Haffeez excelled in his graduate degree and earned a scholarship to complete his master’s from Columbia University. He soon returned to India and completed his apprenticeship with his uncle Khareghat, later acquiring the partnership in his firm in 1977. He is regarded as the illustrious architect of Modern India, with people either praising or critiquing his work. 

With more than 2,500 clients, his designs have graced over 100 Indian cities and five countries, from the tallest skyscraper in the subcontinent, such as the Imperial Towers in Mumbai, to bungalows, hotels, residential developments, corporate offices, institutions, airport terminals, and malls. His projects are a testament to his ability to create cohesive spaces with the end-user in mind balancing practicality and beauty, making him a celebrated architect. 

Hafeez Contractor Architectural Style

'True architecture is something that satisfies a client’s needs. It’s about finding out a requirement, a cause, a purpose, and solving it. As an architect, your job is to translate the requirements of a client in an honest way.'

Unlike his peers, for Hafeez, the design is characterised according to current needs with truthfulness, serving the requirements of the clients and striving to make it exceptional. In one of the incidents when he was starting out, Contractor was presented with an unexpected challenge- on the day of the bhumi pooja for the Vastu building in Worli, Mumbai, the builder informed the architect that the triangular structure he had designed is undesirable according to Vaastu principles. He quickly drew up a circular design and asked if it was adequate. 

Later on, Vastu Apartments was the boldest project of that time in the form of a capsule overlooking the sea. It may have won him many clients, however, it took a toll on his originality, and there is no significant architectural style in his work. 

Also Read: Le Corbusier A Swiss-French Architect Legacy

Hafeez Contractor Projects

DLF Ericsson- DLF Cyber City

Source: Pinterest

One of the Contractor’s masterpieces is the DLF Cyber City boasting a range of towering buildings providing luxurious office spaces, retail outlets, and restaurants, all framed by energy-efficient features such as double-glazed windows and low-emissivity glass. The cutting-edge development of Cyber City is the innovative vision of architect Hafeez, making it an architectural marvel.  

Ericson Forum is a technologically advanced telecom company that wanted to craft a new facility in the Delhi NCR region with a design that reflects its global image. Located in Cyber City with an astounding area of 170,000 sq. ft, the structure follows local building codes and international specifications. The building complex designed by Hafeez Contractor is distinctive, with its external facade alluring the dynamic appeal and world-class features exacting demands of an exclusive workplace. 

Location: Dlf Cyber City, Sector-25A, Gurgaon

Infosys Pune Campus

Source: Pinterest

Located in Hinjewadi, a suburb of Pune, lies the Hafeez Contractor’s remarkable project, the Infosys campus. Spanning over 116 acres and housing several buildings, the campus features a contemporary architectural style that promotes defining functionalism and unique aesthetics. But what catches the eye when you enter the building are the two software blocks designed in an eccentric style. Some might call an elliptical shape, egg-shaped, or spaceship.

The elliptical-shaped buildings are built on the concept of evolution while becoming a symbol of pride and architectural excellence. The outer facade is tilted such that one end appears to be embedded in the ground and the other raised, with the main entrance to the building being through the raised area. It is layered with steel frame, glass, and aluminium cladding that aids in solar passivation and energy conservation. The one-of-a-kind structure has been created using modern-day materials and hi-tech technology, enhancing energy efficiency and sustainability.

Location:  Hinjewadi, Pune. 

DY Patil Stadium

Source: Pinterest

All the Cricket fans know about this multi-purpose stadium that hosts several IPL tournaments and other matches. DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai is one of the largest stadiums in India, with an immersive seating capacity of 55,000 people. The sprawling stadium stands tall with its retractable roof in tensile membrane and has become a landmark feature in the city’s skyline. Hafeez Contractor design is simple and effective, with a cantilever span of about 12 metres providing shade to the spectators while allowing ample natural light to flood the stadium. In addition, it features restaurants, bars, and hospitality suites, providing visitors with a pleasant experience. 

Location: Sector 7, Nerul, Navi Mumbai.

Hafeez Contractor Residential Projects

The renowned architect made the maximum contribution to his home city, Mumbai by introducing modern high-rise residential apartments and striking architectural concepts.  He executed a wide range of projects with the most notable being the Imperial Towers, Vastu Apartments, Hiranandani Gardens, Minerva Towers, Orbit Terrace, and many more. 

Also Read: Frank Lloyd Wright: The Greatest American Architect

The Imperial Towers

Source: Pinterest

One of the tallest buildings in India, rising in the heart of Tardeo, South Mumbai, the Imperial II tower complex stands high amongst the skyline, a beacon of hope in modern urban redevelopment. Regarded as the most noteworthy Hafeez Contractor project till date, the building is an impressive feat of architecture, built on land that was once a slum. The project was the first successful implementation of urban renewal, in which the firm provided areas of land and rehabilitation to slum dwellers trading for development rights. 

Location: Tardeo, South Mumbai.

Hiranandani Gardens

Source: Pinterest

His most famous work is Hiranandani Gardens, a 250-acre mixed-use development in Powai, Mumbai. Its triangular design towering over the sky resembles Greek temples that maximise the light and airiness, giving a sense of awe and wonder. While the structure’s green roof facilitates the reduction of the heat island effect and fosters biodiversity. 

The township is designed with energy-efficient features such as solar panels and rainwater harvesting systems, exemplifying a space of vibrancy, beauty and innovation. 

The project achieved an immense amount of fame when it served as a backdrop for an Oscar Winning 2008 film 'Slumdog Millionaire'.

Location: High St Road, Powai, Mumbai

International Buildings Designed By Hafeez Contractor

Architect Hafeez Contractor was known for his glorification and magnificent designs, adapting new trends characterised by the purpose of the building and the user needs. 

23 Marina Dubai

Source: Pinterest

In the city of skyscrapers comes one of the tallest buildings resembling a silver bullet. The awe-inspiring with a height of 392 metres, 23 Marina Towers is clad in reflective glass and stainless steel. The building’s striking and innovative design took six years (2006 to 2012) to complete and boasts panoramic views of the city’s skyline. 

Inside, there are 289 residential units featuring one, two, and three bedrooms, and duplexes, while offering the residents exquisite amenities, including the swimming pool, gym, spa, and concierge services. In addition to its grandeur is the helipad on the roof that provides a luxurious way to travel around the city. 

Location: Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai Media City, Dubai

A Famed Architect

Hafeez Contractor is a pioneering figure in the Indian architectural industry known for his functional, high-end, and aesthetically pleasing designs that have been admired by many redefining the boundaries of modern contemporary Indian architecture. He is regarded as one of the most controversial architects with his statements and works receiving much criticism. Nevertheless, the architect has managed to build a successful career bringing novel ideas to the table, understanding clients’ interests, marketing skills and the latest technological advances that must be utilised for the betterment of the nation.


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    What is Hafeez Contractor's design philosophy?

    Architect Hafeez Contractor’s design approach is driven by an emphasis on practicality, striving to meet the needs of the occupants, reflecting its uniqueness and an appreciation of the local environment.

    What are some of Hafeez Contractor's most notable works?

    Some of Hafeez Contractor’s buildings which made him an iconic architect includes, The Imperial towers, Hiranandani Gardens, Infosys Offices, The Lodha Bellissimo, DLF CyberHub and The MCA Club.

    What awards has Hafeez Contractor received for his work?

    The architect has received 75 awards and accolades for his work, including the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian honours.