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What’s Ayodhya Airport’s Chief Architect Doing in NZ?

Harsh Varshneya is the design brain behind the new Ayodhya airport. (Supplied Photo)

The brain behind the design of Ayodhya’s new airport is looking to tap into his creative best as he makes a foray into New Zealand.

The chief architect of Maharishi Valmiki International Airport in the northern Indian temple city, Harsh Varshneya was recently in Aotearoa to unwind after a whirlwind two years.

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“I was fully immersed in the building of the iconic airport, especially in the last few months,” Harsh told The Indian Weekender.  

The young entrepreneur’s trip wasn’t just all fun. With a steep requirement for new affordable housing pre-Covid, and a change in market sentiment after, he has looked deeply into the residential sector in New Zealand since 2020.

“I am actively working on setting one of the highest standards of residential development in the Tauranga region. Being one of the most distant places in the world also leverages it being one of the most beautiful places on the planet earth.”

Ayodhya airport in IndiaThe new Ayodhya airport is inspired by Nagara-style architecture. (Supplied photo)

Being a major player and stakeholder defining new standards in urban mobility, especially aviation and railways in India, Harsh has stepped up with new works around the world. Hustling around different continents each month, he finds New Zealand as one place which allows his creative mind to keep pace with the best around the world, recoup and rejuvenate while also contributing to the construction sector requirements New Zealand region.

“I am grateful to have found a place like this which allows me to dwell in our creative zones by learning from nature and nature guiding the best of the designs being done by us in different places around the world."

Harsh graduated as a triple gold medallist from the prestigious Sushant School of Art and Architecture in Gurugram, and later studied at University of Nottingham. 

His portfolio includes projects in the United Kingdom, Mauritius, New Zealand, and densely-populated urban areas in India, providing him with invaluable international experience and a global perspective

His revolutionary design inspired by Nagara-style architecture for the Ayodhya airport has set the bar high for designs that blend modern aesthetics with traditional heritgage. The airport building has a stepped ‘shikhar’, and it showcases intricate carvings and artworks, depicting Ayodhya’s rich heritage and glory. 

The terminal building serves as a canvas conveying profound messages. The mural, depicting a bow and arrow, symbolises courage in facing falsehood, while hexagonal light patterns represent truth's enduring triumph over hierarchy.

It is also ⁠one of the first airports to step towards carbon neutrality, a first-of-its-kind in aviation in Asia. 

Harsh serves as Director and Head of Design at Delhi-based architectural firm STHAPATI, and he specialises in sustainable urban design.

In 2018, Harsh started venturing out of India and, in a series of competitions, collaborated with a renowned architecture firm from Canberra in Australia for the Indian high commission chancery building in Canberra, and also the world’s highest altitude airport in Ladakh, India. 

With successful commissions in lands as far away as scenic Mauritius and Australia, Harsh stepped into New Zealand for the first time in 2019 and researched the housing market in the country. 

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