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RAJA AEDERI – The LEGEND of Steel Construction

Indian Steel Construction Council along with Steel Structures and Metal Buildings Magazine, after thorough deliberation with the SCS Expert Committee 2022 brought a novel idea to the table. The idea was to felicitate the heroes who have contributed or have been forerunners in making the steel construction industry a prime construction industry with their magnificent projects wherein the steel is the important material of construction rightly known as LEGENDS OF STEEL CONSTRUCTION AWARDS.

At STEEL DAY 2022 three legends who have done great steel projects over many years have given the country some wonderful structures that stand tall today.


Raja Aederi, after his privileged tenure of studies and apprenticeship under Mr. Frank Lloyd Wright, worked in U.S.A. and Britain on some of the prominent buildings for Warner Brothers and the Hilton chain of Hotels. He has many firsts to his credit in India.

Some of the projects which state his mind-boggling contribution to the steel industry are ICICI Mumbai, Taj Wellington Mews, Mumbai, IFCI New Delhi, Luxury Apartment South Mumbai, Logitech Tower, Le Meridien, New Delhi, Capital Court, Mumbai, etc… In a conversation with SSMB Magazine…Raja Aederi shared his thoughts on receiving the LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD.

Q. Having such colossal experience in the steel construction industry, how has been your journey?

A. After my colossal experience as you say, my journey has been very pleasant because I have been traveling First Class. Jokes aside, my journey has been to convince the clients that whatever solution an architect comes out with is always the most economical and most beneficial solution for that particular site. I can give you 2 examples where I convinced my client to use steel construction. One is Sunshine Tower, where the client wanted to build a commercial building on the small plot adjoining railway lines which remained after building rehab buildings. The formula Railways use to grant the height of the building is L x 2 (where L is the distance from the railway lines (Max. 50 meters). Hence the plot left for building the tower was small to consume the full built-up area. In a way, it was far easier to convince the client to use a hollow steel column that was imported from Japan. These columns are 500 X 500mm in size from the Ground floor to the top floor with office space having a clear span of 16 X 16 meters without any columns in between with minimum loss of FSI consumed by columns while if they were concrete columns, they would have been minimum 1.50 x 1.50 meter in size wasting almost 20 per cent of the FSI. The only thing that changed with columns was the thickness of the plate which reduces after every 7 floors. Also, steel beams were imported from Japan over which rolla deck slabs were cast. Of course, the company later was taken over by Tatas (Corus Steel). That’s how I could achieve to construct a 600 ft high structure with the help of Mr. Kamal Hadker (Structural Engineer). The second example is ICICI headquarters. After winning the competition, we found that almost 30 per cent of the plot was affected by the CRZ line. The construction work in a couple of plots nearby couldn’t be started because of similar restrictions. However, I convinced the Chairman, Mr. Vaghul saying that MMRDA has given you the permission to construct FSI 2 & occupy it for the next 80 years only after which it will go back to MMRDA. Therefore, it is quite evident how can they sell the permission to construct when the very basis on which to construct is hindered by CRZ Line. I mentioned that obviously the State Government will get the things changed & we should go ahead with the construction and do it as fast as possible. Therefore, we imported H sections from Trade Arbet, Luxembourg as they were not made here in India. The milling of the sections was done in India as the cost was 50 per cent cheaper than milling done in Europe. For this project, we collaborated with Mr. Kamal Hadker.


Q. How does it feel after receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award for your valuable contribution to the steel construction industry?

A. I would be happier to give the award than receive the award as the Bible says ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.


Q. Where do you see the steel construction industry in the next 5 years?

As I mentioned earlier, I have already spent 50 years of my practice convincing the client about solutions provided by architects. Of course, Many clients have felt that Marble gives them better returns than a steel structure. Besides the steel construction contractors are of different categories due to which Builders do not prefer ‘Maal ke sath Kam karane wala contractors’. So, I hope the next five years will be easier than the earlier 50 years.


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