ARCHI TIMES (AT): Before we begin talking about your engineering, it would be good to know your educational background?
Azfar Saleem (AS): I shall begin with thanks to ALMIGHTY ALLAH for giving me everything I have today. I completed my bachelors in engineering from Sir Syed University. After joining the world of business I felt a chasm between technicians and business folks so I got to fill that gap and embarked on getting an MBA from Iqra University. It really equipped me to empathize with the business operators and be the bridge between engineers and operators.
AT: Also, tell us about your professional career experience, it’s up and downs as you are working for so many years?
AS: I started my career about a decade ago as a trainee engineer. I joined ElekEn Associates right after completing my engineering degree. Mr. Asghar Hussain, the founder of ElekEn Associates and CEO/Principal Engineer, took me under his wings and taught me the lay of the land. I consider myself a go-getter so I wouldn’t let go of any opportunity that will educate me in any aspect of the trade. That’s one reason, I got to work from design to managing projects and client servicing. Within this decade in ElekEn I worked on separate positions and got the chance to build several new skills in me, including design management, project management, construction management, budgeting of projects, value engineering and also tried to develop my management skills, perhaps by managing a small staff. I have been really fortunate to have a mentor like Asghar Sb, who a source of inspiration throughout the journey and partners who have always been equally focused on pushing the envelope and produce nothing but amazing work.I owe a lot to my Mr. Asghar’s mentorship and support of my both partner (Mojiz Mehdi and Hammad Zaman) and guidance of Mansoor Ghanchi Sb of HFA, Ms. Mehboob Khan of Arcop and Amir Chaudary sb of E&C. They inspired and guided me to be where I am today. My parents always supported me to do
whatever I want and later my wife helped me to achieve my goals.
AT: Was there a specific experience or person that inspired you to explore engineering professionally? AS: I always intended to be a statistician. I loved math. I feel math is the backbone of science. I am fascinated by spotting patterns, putting together equations and solving problems by maths. Little did I know, my obsession for math wouldn’t just apply in statistics but to everything that is around us. My father pushed me to pursue engineering. After stumbling into this world I felt at home.
AT: What should be the role of the engineer in our society?
AS: Engineering is one of the key areas that shape our society. Engineers don’t just work with machines, designs, and electronics, but also provide innovation and inventions that shape our society and improve the way we live and work. This means that engineers have a responsibility and also a great opportunity to ensure that they have a positive influence on society. In very real and concrete ways, engineers save lives, prevent disease, reduce poverty, and protect our planet and if we talk specifically about my field, Electrical Engineers and engineering is one of the essentials, since, now no life or nation can sustain without electricity. Though it is in living terms or economic, it is the basis for nations to grow and flourish.
AT: The role of engineer you have mentioned, do you think engineers are playing their role today? AS: Honestly, we have so much potential to do more than what we are currently doing. I do believe Pakistan has so many Brilliant Engineers who are doing their job with determination and creating a positive impact in Pakistan but sadly the majority of others are doing donkey jobs due to the wrong implemented systems. I blame our institutes and engineering universities too because they do
not guide them properly. I am very hopeful that our young engineers will do more progressive work because they are energetic, talented and innovative and waiting for the right time and opportunities to prove their skills
AT: How important is architectural lighting for the spatial environment while designing any project and what considerations you keep in mind?
AS: Light is what exposes the design to the eye. Light is a tool that is used by architects to develop a visual connection with their users. For people to apprehend, feel and experience the architecture, lighting plays an important role. Lighting is the medium that allows us to perceive and appreciate the beauty in the building around us whether the buildings are naturally or artificially lit.
In order to produce a successful equilibrium between lighting and architecture, it’s essential to recall three vital aspects of architectural lighting i.e. aesthetic, utility, efficiency. The aesthetic is where architects and designers emphasis on the stirring influence the balance of lighting and architecture will have on occupants. It’s where designers define how they want people to feel when they walk around a space. Keeping all these in mind can help one manipulates the light to expose certain architecture aspects is the key to a successful design. One directs the user into and out of the building through lighting design. Without light darkness prevails.
AT: To what degree is as an electrical, mechanical and plumbing engineer input in the designing of the building?
AS: Constructing any building without MEP services can never be functional and it will be a delusion if you construct without taking input of an engineer at the stage of designing. It’s teamwork for getting a complete success. The two main designers of a building are the engineer and