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REAL ESTATE - INTERVIEW

Interview with Architect Alva Roy, Founder of Alva Roy Architects from Toronto

In fact, although architects design the houses for their clients, they are also designers of structures that appeal to all those who live around it. They design a part of the neighbourhood, not just a house. I talked to Alva Roy, who was one of the architects who shaped our living spaces, about his career and projects.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Alva Roy

Alva Roy

REAL ESTATE - INTERVIEW

by Meryem Aksoy

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The value of a house is not only determined by the size of the house, the quality of the materials used and the design. Perhaps the most important point is its location and the quality of the houses around it. Perhaps architects add value to each other's works by the quality of the new houses they design, and in this way, they create more livable areas in a collective way. In 2003, Alva Roy established its own practice and worked in the Middle East and Europe. After coming to Canada in 2010, he combined his expertise in residential construction with his experiences, he offered his clients both exterior and interior design services. Since 2015, he has been developing projects with the label of Alva Roy Architects, the new name of his company. I talked with Alva Roy about his career and the details of his architectural projects.

Alva, before talking about architecture, I would like to learn more about you. Could you tell us about yourself? Who is Alva Roy?

I am a Canadain architect who lives in Toronto and a single dad with a twelve years old boy. I love mountain climbing, playing tennis and chess, socializing and drinking wine. I love to travel all across the world and making myself educated with different cultures across the world. I am so curious about almost everything and love to find a solution for every question or concern.

Alva Roy Architects

Alva Roy Architects

How did your interest in architecture has begun? What inspired you to pursue a career in architecture?

I was born in an artistic family and one of my uncle “Jazeh Tabatabaie” was famous sculptor that his sculptures shown in Metropolitan, Louver and other museums and galleries across the world with more than 18 international prizes. I, as a kid, remembered how he assembled the old machinery and cars parts into creative figures and metal sculptures, in the other words I learned and inspired of how he turned cold junk metals into a sculpture with silence spirit. I unconsciously learned how to play with small wooden cubes and eagerly enjoyed making my own sculptures, that is my story and has not been coming to the end yet!

Could you tell us about your educational background and your professional career?

I came to Canada in 2010 where I achieved my professional architecture licence and has been recognized as a Canadian design practice. I received my professional Master Degree in architecture from AZAD University of Tehran. I interned in Sharestan on numerous award-winning institutional and high rise residential projects before founding AX Architects in 2003, a Tehran/Dubai based practice supporting clients in the Middle East and Europe.

Alva Roy Architects

Alva Roy Architects

After working in notable architectural firms, why did you decide to establish your own firm?

Although owning my own architecture business takes a lot of hard (non-design) work to be successful but it lives up to such a romantic notion to pursue my dream of how I affect our community as an architect. The idea of having the freedom to seek out the projects I most want to do and the creative freedom to make the final decision on a design sounds like the ideal way to work as an architect.

Could you tell us about Alva Roy Architects and your team?

Alva Roy Architect’s design team works on both large-scale architectural projects as well as independent commissions. Our interior team works with our clients to articulate brand identify and to create an experience for the customer. The team provides design services to a wide range of clients including commercial, residential and hospitality.

Alva Roy Architects

Alva Roy Architects

What type of projects does Alva Roy Architects specialize in? What kind of services do you offer your customers?

We offer the full range of professional architectural services for all type of buildings such as single family housed, town and row houses, middle and high rises, commercial building such as plazas and shopping malls, assembly buildings like museums, performance art centres and community centres, industrial building and manufactures, office buildings from programming and feasibility study to construction and tender drawings and construction administration. We provide contracting services for single family and townhouses likewise.

Alva Roy Architects also provide full service of interior design and exhibition design upon the client's request with a team of talented interior designers and architects.

How could you define your architectural approach?

I always try to interpret our client’s requirements into the architectural realm. Into a special physical relationship with life. I never approached primarily to the architecture as either a message or a symbol, but as an envelope and background for life which goes on in and around it, a sensitive container for the rhythm of footsteps on the floor, for the concentration of work, for the silence of sleep.

Alva Roy Architects

Alva Roy Architects

How has exposure to different Architectural cultures of Europe and the Middle East affected your architectural vision?

When I think about architecture, images come into my mind. Many of these images are connected with my training and work as an architect in different places in Europe and the Middle East. They contain professional knowledge about architecture that I have gathered over the years. Some of the other images have to do with my childhood when I experienced architecture without thinking about it and some relating to now. Memories like these contain the deepest architectural experience that I know. They are the reservoirs of the architectural atmosphere and images that I explore in my work as an architect. When I design a building, I find myself sinking into old -half-forgotten memories, and then I try to recollect what the remembered architectural situation was really like, what it had meant to me at the time and I try to think about how it could help me to revive that vibrant atmosphere pervaded by the simple presence of things, in which everything had its own specific place and form.

Alva Roy Architects

Alva Roy Architects

What are the advantages of being an award-winning architect? Could you tell us about the awards that you won?

Honesty we can’t take any advantages of being an award-winning architect in the whole process of design but we only have one privilege compare to the other architects and that one is we often meet more sophisticated clients than normal and our chance of working on challenging projects is higher. We won the international architectural competition for HOMA II for designing Iran Airline an exhibition building. We awarded between more than 100 competitors cross the world, also an architectural competition for designing BMW, and NATUZZI showrooms and designing and constructing booth for TOTAL Oil and Gas in Tehran, and Dubai.

Besides your awards, a lot of your projects have been featured in notable publications. What do you feel when you see your works in magazine pages?

With no doubt, definitely, it is a very pleasurable feeling that we see our projects publish in architectural magazines all across the world from the Far East to Europe and North and South America. It enhances our energy and makes us spend more time on our projects and bring more responsibility to our work life as architects.

Alva Roy Architects

Alva Roy Architects

What is the importance of communication between the architect and the client in the process of developing an architectural project? How do you manage this process?

From the very beginning stage of a project, communication between all involved parties is crucial. Communication between architect-client, client - project manager, architect- other consultants and architect-project manager and the contractor is the most important factor to make a project successful at the highest level and help the project to achieve its goals. The role of architects as champions for the project vision, the importance of listening and understanding client needs, actively engaging and generating connections with clients, providing technically outstanding work, and always striving to learn and improve on existing skills.

What are the main steps of residential projects? How do you work?

The main steps for designing and constructing such a low rise residential projects is understanding the client’s needs and find the faster way to getting closer to his/her set of project’s pictures as much as possible in order to have a more vivid overview of entire project process where we interpret the client’s requirements into an architectural space while the client’s expectations of the project in both function and form will maintain.

We design single family and multiple family low rise residential houses and most of the time we act as a contractor or project manager for these type of projects.

Alva Roy Architects

Alva Roy Architects

What are the most important factors that affect project cost?

There are several factors which affect the project cost such as short project delivery, client-specific requirements, high-quality material and specific jobs which need very high profile skillful workmen but the most important factor is the place of the project. Usually, projects located at impracticable places need higher project budget.

What should your clients decide before contacting you? What is your first question in your first meeting with a new client?

I always ask two questions at the instruction meeting from my clients, “what is the defined fee for design” and how much is the “construction budget”. With defining these two at the beginning stage of the project, I, as a project architect, will have a vivid view of the whole designing process.

Alva Roy Architects

Alva Roy Architects

You have lots of completed and in-progress projects. Which one is your favorite?

I love most of my projects but “Garden Void House”, “Tower of Love”, In and Between the Shadows” and “Blanche Chapel House” are more specific to me.

In your opinion, what is the relation between Low Budget - Short Project Time - High Quality? Is it possible to combine all in one project?

Always connection and maintain a balance between these three elements play a crucial role in the design and conduct any type of building from the very beginning stage of design to the delivery to the client. This balance is mandatory for making any project successful. In general, all clients always ask architects to keep projects at a very low cost with higher quality and in a very short time but this is a role of architects to educate their clients of how they need to compromise one element in lieu of achieving the others. For example, fast track and high quality need a higher budget and vise-versa.

Alva Roy Architects

Alva Roy Architects

What is the best advice you have received, and what advice would you give to young architects?

The best advice that I received within the years of my practice from different sources are NEVER given up on my courage, and there are always solutions in response to our ARCHITECTURAL projects.

My advice is the same and in addition, pay more attention to details, how materials meet at the buildings.

How can our readers follow Alva Roy Architects?

We have Instagram account “@alvaroyarchitects”, facebook account “alva roy” & “alva roy architects”, and our website “www.alvaroy.ca”

What is coming up next for you?

We are expecting to start architectural design and prepare construction drawings for our highrise project “Tower of Love” in Ontario, Canada at 2021.

Thank you Alva for your time.

For more information, please click here to visit the website of Alva Roy Architects





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