“It’s a man’s world after all.”
Even in this ‘millennial’ era, the age-old stereotype takes the front seat. Throughout the years we have seen men conquer almost every field, while the contributions of women were rarely acknowledged. The architecture community is no exception to being guilty of gender inequality. There have been instances where this ‘world of men’ has been challenged by names like Zaha Hadid or Kazuyo Sejima for example, who have popped up as worthy and equal rivals.
Here we look at the Indian female architects who, despite the outdated mindset of society, have broken down walls restricting them, proving they are not to be dismissed as #2.
1. Abha Narain Lambah
Nominated by Arc Vision as among the Top 20 Women Architects globally in 2016, she spearheads one of the leading architectural firms in India, Abha Narain Lambah Associates. She works diligently towards her belief, which is to restore the history of India by caring for its monuments. She has worked on the conservation and restoration of some remarkable projects around the country, the Royal Opera House in Mumbai for example.
2. Annkur Khosla
She is the principal architect and co-founder of Annkur Khosla Design whose philosophy is to create soulful and meaningful spaces. She says, “The aim is to always ‘sculpt humanistic spaces’ that transform the experience of the individual to sublime joy.” She believes in creating spaces that connect to the emotions of the user.
3. Anupama Kundoo
Her focus on experimentations with materials that have a low environmental impact, to make her designs sustainable, has earned her a world-renowned name. Her designs stand out amongst the crowd for their use of locally available materials and communities, and eco-conscious designs.
4. Brinda Somaya
She founded the firm Somaya and Kalappa Consultants with her sister. An emotional connection with the design is what she believes to be the strength of architecture. She is an epitome of knowledge in the vernacular style of architecture due to her travels in the rural parts of India, which has earned her the Baburao Mhatre Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement.
5. Chitra Vishwanath
She is the perfect example of the metaphor, ‘practice what you preach’. The principal architect is the co-founder of Biome Environmental Solutions, whose approach to design emphasizes the use of indigenous resources. To promote her philosophy of vernacular style, she built her own mud house which is aesthetic as well as sustainable.
6. Masooma Rizvi
She describes herself with the statement, “Call it karma or destiny, I believe I was born to beautify spaces.” The creative head of Belita Design Solutions, she is known for her ability to shape a space that is elegant while retaining its history and essence. She is a ‘self-made’ interior designer who has tackled projects like the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
7. Pavitra Rajaram
Anybody with an interest in interior design can look to Pavitra Rajaram for inspiration. Her home in Mumbai is the perfect example of her exemplary skills giving the house a modern yet cozy look. She founded an award-winning interior design firm, Pavitra Rajaram Designs. She also advises India’s leading paints company Asian Paints on their décor strategy.
8. Phirosa Neterwala and Sunu Aibara
This passionate duo has worked together over three decades at Neterwala and Aibara to become one of the leading names in contemporary styles. With their ever-changing style of design and a keen eye for details, they create elegant and comfortable dream homes, all the while keeping the personalities of their clients in mind.
9. Pravina Mehta
Inspired by the freedom fighter Sarojini Naidu, Pravina Mehta thought it was best to put her architecture degree on pause and fight in India’s struggle for independence. Upon finishing her degree, she returned to her hometown of Bombay where she worked with Charles Correa as an urban planner for the township of Navi Mumbai. She was also actively involved in the upliftment of people living in slums.
10. Revathi Kamath
She is a pioneer in mud architecture, but her stainless steel skyscrapers will leave you in awe. Her experiences with the tribal communities in the early years of her career left her inspired by nature and people. Her approach to design with earth architecture and techniques have nominated several of her projects for the prestigious Aga Khan Award.
11. Sheila Sri Prakash
She is the perfect example of a femme force and is a powerful force to be reckoned with. She is the very first woman in India to start her architectural practice in the male-dominated industry in 1970. She is also renowned as an urban designer and sustainability expert having worked on more than 1200 projects.
12. Shimul Javeri Khadri
SJK Architects, the firm she founded, is considered as one of the most influential architecture and interior design companies in India. Nature, culture, and lightness are the philosophies that inspire their innovative designs. After 27 years of successful work, her firm has gained a reputation for its energy approach to design.
13. Sunita Kohli
Apart from being the founder of K2INDIA, she has had the distinction of being the first interior designer to be granted the Padma Shri in 1992. She is globally recognized for her restoration work of prominent heritage buildings. What makes her designs pop out, is her rich knowledge of Indian culture that influences her design process.
14. Sonali Rastogi
Coming from a family of architects, her childhood was spent by her marveling at buildings and models. A founding member of the firm Morphogenesis, she has traveled extensively around the globe giving lectures. She has been recognized by several architecture journals as one of the top leading women in the field of sustainable architecture.
15. Sussanne Khan | Interior Designer
Colour tends to excite the mind and make a person feel a variety of emotions. Such is her belief too. Luxury is about emotion and design is her tool. The Charcoal Project is her brainchild that showcases chic high-end interior designs, with a homely touch. She has changed the image of modern interiors in India since the inception of her firm.
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