So powerful is their design statement that (I may not know their names but) they stand tall like lighthouses continuing to guide generations to come through their imperceptible communication, says Sharada Seshadri, Co-Founder and Design Head, Architecture Continuous.
Why did you choose to become an architect/designer?
“Helping one person may not change the world but it could change the world for one person”
My initial pull towards this stream was to help create eco-friendly and cost-effective design solutions. I also understood that sensible design is not only functional but can create the experience of wonder, delight, fulfilment of purpose for the user as well as for the designer. I believe that as a profession architecture is an opportunity to touch people’s lives in order to build a better future; on a personal note, it is an everlasting continuous quest to explore the unknown from the known, while doing so one can add value to our world. Who are some of the architects/designers who influence your work?
Who are some of the architects/designers who influence your work?
“Endaro mahanu bhavulu andariki vandanamulu”
Meaning ‘There are so many great souls and my salutations to all.”
This highly popular Thyagaraja Krithi sums up the answer to this question. I am enthused by many indigenous architects whose legacy we have inherited which continue to be a source of inspiration. Many designers/builders have planned our intriguing temples, massive forts, beautiful palaces, simple vernacular houses, marvelous bridges, dams and massive water bodies and more. It’s as though one is a disciple like Ekalavya learning from a seemingly lifeless material building form that has subtly encapsulated the thought processes of master architect/builder. So powerful is their design statement that (I may not know their names but) they stand tall like lighthouses continuing to guide generations to come through their imperceptible communication. I concede that our current practice is standing on the shoulders of many such giants.
What is your take on the utility of traditional vis-à-vis contemporary architecture in the current times?
“You will never find a rainbow if you are looking down”
The current understanding is that development is a linear cumulative process, gradually improving on existing skills and knowledge. As a consequence of this assumption, the term “Indian traditional” in this context may be wrongly misinterpreted as less advanced. But complex architectural designs of Ancient Bharat deeply rooted in science such as musical pillars of Vijayavittala temple, floating bricks in Ramappa temple, ornately carved sundial in Konark temple; Lothal, Dolavira and other well-planned cities of Sindhu-Saraswati civilization just to name a few tell a very different story. We were a highly advanced civilization with advanced knowledge systems many of which have been lost. As inheritors of such great legacy it’s pertinent that we research, document and revive such heritage and integrate the essence of our ancient cultural knowledge systems in the contemporary designs to the best possible extent.
Which project served as a stepping stone to your professional success? What are the learning’s during the practice?
“Jalabindu nipaaten kramshah puryate ghatah. Sahetu sarv-vidyanaam dharmasyah cha dhanasya cha”
Meaning ‘Accumulating the drops of water one by one, a pot is filled gradually. Similarly, one should acquire all the knowledge, dharma and wealth with continuous effort’ : Chanakaya Nithi
Every project where we got an opportunity to work on (both built and unbuilt) has helped us upgrade my skills pertaining to design, entrepreneurship, people management, professionalism and also develop empathy, patience, forgiveness, perseverance and very importantly humility. With my better half as the design partner, every project has been fun, exciting, sometimes arduous too (on a lighter note). Looking back and joining the dots I believe that becoming a mother on the way has made me a better architect as I have evolved tremendously on a personal level.