Women Architects of India.

Our country has taken great leaps ahead in technology, designs and different trends in Indian Architecture. With time, this tide of change and progress in Architecture profession has been hugely pushed not only by men but also by women architects of our country. Their number may have been less as compared to men architects but they had surely  created their strong positions to hold on in architecture as entrepreneur, conservationist, educators, innovators, etc in India as well as in all over the world.

This compilation is dedicated to our own Indian Women Architects from Pre Independence era to free India, who fought and struggled through all inequalities, discriminations and traditionally stereotypical societies to be an Architect.

These women created a niche not only for themselves but also built a ladder for all coming generations (female) to choose and rise in this male dominated profession. They are great source of inspirations to us, who stood with their dreams and aspirations even in those  socio-politically backward times with less resources. On the occasion of Women’s Day, a tribute to them……….      

Perin Jamshetjee Mistri (1913–1989) – She joined the Sir Jamsetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art, gaining an architecture diploma in 1936.First woman to qualify as an architect in India.She joined her father’s firm of architects in 1937, eventually becoming a partner.

Pravina Mehta (1923–1992 or 1925–1988) -She was a leading Indian architect, planner and also a political activist. She did her initial studies in Sir J. J. College of Architecture in 1940s. She was educated in the Illinois Institute of Design where she got her bachelor’s degree in architecture. She then obtained her master’s degree in architecture from the University of Chicago.

She was also actively involved in upliftment of people living in slums and in the rehabilitation of earthquake-affected people by developing low-cost housing, combined with environmental aspects and urban planning.

Urmila Eulie Chowdhury (1923 – 20 September 1995) –

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She earned a Cambridge School Certificate from Kobe, Japan, studied architecture at the University of Sydney, and at the Conservatory of Music of the Julian Ashborn School of Art, Sydney, and earned a degree in Ceramics in Englewood, New Jersey. She worked in the fields of general architecture, landscape architecture and design, and was also a teacher and writer. She was a pioneer woman architect working in India.

Shimul Javeri Kadri (born 1953) –

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Kadri earned a degree in architecture from Rachana Sansad, Mumbai. She did her Master’s in Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. Founded her architectural firm, SJK Architects. She has diversified her activities to cover industrial buildings, educational institutions, bungalows and interior design of large spaces. She won an award for her designs for converting a commercial factory complex into an office building.She received a jury mention of arcVision Prize 2014 for her design of the Nirvana office complex of an ad film production firm.

Revathi S. Kamath (born 1955) –

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She is a pioneer of mud architecture in India.She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture (1977) and completed a postgraduate programme in Urban and Regional Planning (1981) both from the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi. She is also credited with building the tallest stainless steel structure in India.

Sheila Sri Prakash(6 July 1955)-

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Urban designer. She founded Shilpa Architects in Chennai, India in 1979 and was the first woman in India to have started and operated her own architectural firm. She has designed over 1200 completed architectural projects during her career in the last 35 years.She is a “pioneer” in architecture and “thought leader” for her work in Reciprocity or Holistic Sustainability. She was the first Indian Architect to serve on the World Economic Forum’s 2011 Global Agenda Council on Design Innovation. She served on the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the role of arts in society, in recognition of her signature works of Visionary architecture that feature art, culture and heritage.

She is cited as a Starchitect for her iconic buildings and the canonical status of the architectural theories surrounding Reciprocity in Design.

Ranjini Kalappa – Kalappa received her Bachelor of Architecture from Bombay University and her Master of Architecture from the Pratt Institute. She lived and worked for a number of years in New York City before returning to Mumbai. She opened an architecture firm with her sister, Brinda Somaya.

Anupama Kundoo (born 1967)-

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In her scholastic studies in architecture, she started working at Auroville, starting in 1990, where she created several innovations in the projects she designed adopting “sustainable building technologies and infrastructural systems”.  Her architectural designs are aesthetic and region specific or “vernacular” that cater to the needs of modern living, blending with traditional building designs. She has a doctoral degree for her dissertation on the subject of “baked mud-in situ houses of India”.She was awarded the Vastu Shilpa Foundation Fellowship in 1996 for her thesis on “Urban Eco-Community: Design and Analysis for Sustainability”. She got her doctoral degree from Technical University of Berlin in 2008.

Sonali Bhagwati– 

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She is co-founder of Spazzio Design, which was recognized internationally as one of the leading Indian contemporary Design firms. She graduated from CEPT, Ahmedabad with honours in 1986, and during that period was a recipient of a Scholarship from L’Institut Francais D’Architecture to work in Paris for a year.

She has been felicitated with numerous awards like 11th IIID MK Awards in 2006, Architect of the Year Award in 2008 & 2012 by Zee Business & India Home Awards respectively. She is acknowledged amongst top twenty architects of India as published in Magazine ‘reflections’. She has also been extensively covered in numerous national and international books & magazines and also involved in various urban level activities. Her in depth knowledge about the city comes from her research on urban metamorphosis with Kashmere Gate project as a case study.

Samira Rathod

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An Architect, furniture designer, writer, and teacher based in Mumbai. A graduate from the Sir. J. J. College of Architecture, Mumbai in 1986 and soon after completed her Master in Architecture from the University of Illinois, Urbana – Champaign in 1988.

She has worked on various projects including some for the Hollywood actor and director. She has received a number of awards and honors over the course of her career. In 2015, she received an honorable mention for the arcVision Prize – Women and Architecture. The Karjat House designed by Samira Rathod Design Associates for Morarka Gannon has won “The Habitat Award for Single Residence Winner’s Trophy”.

Chitra Vishwanath

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She works on themes related to ecology and architecture. She is the Principal Architect and Managing Director of BIOME Environmental Solutions Private Limited. She has been involved in more than 500 projects encompassing construction of buildings of all sizes and water harvesting and sanitation structures with specific relevance to the ecology of the sites. With mud as a basic material input in construction she has designed and built many structures.

Brinda Somaya

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An Architect and urban conservationist. She started her practice in 1975 in Mumbai, India. From 1978 to 1981 she was joined by her sister Ranjini Kalappa, also an architect. Since 1981, she has run an independent practice on her own.

She has innumerable awards to her credit. She was awarded the Indian Institute of Architects – Baburao Mhatre Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement. She has merged  architecture, conservation and social equity in projects ranging from institutional campuses and rehabilitation of an earthquake-torn village to the restoration of an 18th-century Cathedral, showing that progress and history need not be at odds. Her philosophy: ‘the Architect’s role is that of guardian – he is the conscience of the built and unbuilt environment. This belief underlines her work that spans large corporate, industrial and institutional campuses and extends to public spaces, which she has rebuilt and sometimes reinvented as pavements, parks and plazas. Master-planning and building design of multiple corporate and educational campuses has become one of her areas of expertise. Some of these award-winning campuses include Tata Consultancy Services, Banyan Park, Mumbai; Nalanda International School, Vadodara; and Zensar Technologies, Pune.

Sonali Rastogi (born 2 Nov 1967) –

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She is the Founder Partner of Morphogenesis (Company), a globally renowned Indian Architectural practice. She is a fellow at Indian Institute of Architects (IIA), the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA), UK. She is one of India’s most prolific architects and has numerous awards to her credit, including the Singapore Institute of Architects SIA Getz Award (2014).

Hema Sankalia(1934-2015)-

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She was graduated from Sir J J School of Architecture in 1956-57 and had been practicing architecture since the early sixties. She is one of the earliest women who trained and practiced architecture in the country.She was appointed as a consultant architect for EPCO, taught at various well-known schools of architecture in Mumbai, and headed the Contemporary Arts and Crafts (CAC) as a corporate chairperson in the later years. Before starting her own practice, Architect Sankalia had first worked with eminent lady-architect, Pravina Mehta in Bombay (now Mumbai). From low-cost housing, to private residences, office buildings, institutions and public spaces, her architectural practice has been wide-ranging.

Minakshi Jain

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One of the most prominent conservation architects, finished her undergraduate education in architecture from CEPT- Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad in 1966 and pursued a masters’ from University of Pennsylvania studying under Louis I Kahn for two years before returning to India. Minakshi Jain, together with husband and conservation architect Kulbhushan Jain, has contributed to the community professionally with several award winning conservation projects, books and documentary films to their credit. Academically she has been involved as a faculty at CEPT since 1971.

She is known to be a stalwart in her field and has led many projects ranging from low-cost housing, earthquake relief building to conservation and architecture.

Pratima Joshi

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Pratima has worked intensively on projects ranging from actual implementation of housing and sanitation projects, to poverty mapping and related research projects. In 2009 Google Earth recognized her efforts under their ‘Google Earth Hero’ series and made a short film, which focused on her efforts in the use of Google Earth for a social cause.

Pratima has been featured in several national and international journals and magazines, and has also been invited to speak at several prestigious international forums.

Sujatha Shankar

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With 25 years of experience, Shankar’s architectural repertoire is varied—industrial, commercial, healthcare, corporate, residential and restoration. Recipient of the Indian Institute of Interior Designers award conducted by M K Switches for Excellence in Commercial Interiors,Shankar is also a campaigner for green buildings. The ingenuity of her creations, she says, springs from things around her—art, music, theatre, fashion, gadgets, Sunday supplements of a newspaper, even hoardings.  Her principle in practice has been,“The field of architecture is all encompassing, covering all facets of life—social, cultural and technological” .











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