Ar. Neelam Manjunath, a Bangalore based architect, distinguishably known for the use of low energy material and technologies with a special emphasis on bamboo in her numerous reputed projects in India and abroad. Her buildings are an epitome of simple and direct solutions to problems concerning the general function of the building, accompanying sympathy towards the immediate environment in terms of climate, statement of the building forms, local and green building materials, etc.
With the qualifications of an architect, scientist, planner, activist and theoretician, Ar. Neelam Manjunath has a much wider education along with training in several skills related to media architecture, sustainable architecture and Charrette Training from Graduate School of Design, Harvard University. She has two graduate degrees, in Science from REI Degree College, Dayalbagh, Agra and in Architecture, from Govt.
College of Architecture, Lucknow as well as a PG Diploma in Theology from Dayalbagh University, Agra. She has been a practicing architect since 1991.
Some of her famous works include Meta SLUM, Cocoon for Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Bamboo Symphony, Two Bed Room Bamboo House at IPIRTI, Bangalore, State Level Energy Park, Bangalore, Police Bhavan for KSRP, Prefabricated Bamboo House, Italy, etc. They have used bamboo in several residential projects from a single bedroom to a large 10,000 sq.ft. upmarket house such as House of 5 Elements, Tejpunj Apartments and Aditigreenscapes E5 and many mass housings projects.
The name of her firm is Manasaram Architects, with 30 years of experience in the field of sustainable development, they are committed to fighting back climate change by promoting the use of naturally abundant, low energy, easily renewable local materials. They consider the building as a living entity that responds and grows like any other living being. They design to cater to all the three faculties of Man – Physical, Psychological and Spiritual; using the 5 elements i.e, Sun, Soil, Air, Water and Space, and materials that are within reach are the determining factors in their designs. The built structure becomes a thread in the web of all life one with nature, nature itself.
Her expertise includes the creation of exclusive bamboo buildings, designing sustainable structures of interiors, institutions, landscapes, leisure spaces, and urban designs. With her passion and plans, she has brought a difference to create a sustainable society, by promoting and exemplifying in her projects the use of bamboo as one of the most versatile naturally available material, which consumes less energy, epitomizes sustainability and is a better alternative to the use of conventional material concrete which acts as a catalyst to escalate the impact of global warming. Bamboo also acts as a substitute for the scare availability of wood due to depleting forests, with its three times faster maturity rate and renowned strength that is comparable to steel. She believes in the use of bamboo as one of the most viable options for building construction material that is widely available in India rather than seeking solutions from the West.
Bamboo has fascinated her since her days at college of architecture, Lucknow, and it was her core material all through her projects and she has used it distinctively in her every project. She faced several challenges in her 14 years journey of promoting bamboo, but she stood strong and believed in contributing towards a sustainable environment by use of naturally available material, and thus rural architecture became her forte.
Her innovative use of bamboo in construction and its significant contribution to environmental, socio-economic, durability and safety aspects brought her recognition in the field of architecture.
She has prototyped a variety of building typologies with Bamboo ranging from something as small as a low-cost bamboo toilet to an urban proposal for a Metro Station, serving a wide spectrum of needs for all the population.
Ar. Neelam’s holistic approach to raising awareness about the material is not only limited through her projects, but she also imparts knowledge through lectures in educational institutions and various courses to people at a different level of the construction workforce. She aims to run the course in over 200 centers across the country and set a benchmark in architecture through her journey of spreading the news of bamboo.
“An architect is a catalyst of change in society, setting the stage for all human activities on earth. As architects we challenge ourselves to achieve a balance between Responsible Creativity and Creative Responsibility in all our projects to arrive at holistic solutions.”
-Ar. Neelam Manjunath