Architects Brinda Somaya and Shimul Javeri Kadri have done much to develop and sustain diverse practices in both residential and institutional architecture, in ways that are aesthetic and environmentally sustainable. Kaiwan Mehta is an architect, urban researcher, and editor of the architecture journal, Domus India.
As our cities are ravaged by building lobbies, poor planning and an exploding population Brinda, Shimul and Kaiwan discussed how we can bring the art back into architecture while protecting our community spaces.
Brinda Somaya is an Indian architect and urban conservationist. Somaya completed her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Mumbai University and her Master of Arts from Smith College in Northampton, MA, USA. She started her practice Somaya & Kalappa in 1975 in Mumbai, India. Apart from the industrial, instituitional, residential work she has done, she has played a huge part in conservation in Mumbai. She is part of a heritage committee that helps formulate policies on protecting heritage buildings, like the Cathedral & John Connon School in Fort, Mumbai. In May 2012 she was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, Smith College. In 2014 she was awarded the Indian Institute of Architects – Baburao Mhatre Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement. She is the founder trustee of the Hecar Foundation, which seeks to educate the public about architectuyre and urban and heritage issues.
Shimul Javeri Kadri is an Indian architect who has her own architectural firm in Mumbai, 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. Shimul believes in cutting edge designs that incorporates sustainable architecture, natural materials, local skills and a people-centered approach to design.
Kaiwan Mehta is a theorist and critic in the fields of visual culture, architecture and city studies. He is completing his doctorate at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bengaluru, under the aegis of Manipal University. He authored ‘Alice in Bhuleshwar: Navigating a Mumbai Neighbourhood’ in 2009. Since 2012, he has been the managing editor of Domus India and is associated with Jnanapravaha (Mumbai) since 2007 where he set up the Art, Criticism and Theory, and teaches across various undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Mumbai.
He has been elected as the Jury Chairman for the international artists’ residency programme across 11 disciplines with Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuggart, Germany. Mehta recently co-curated with Rahul Mehtotra and Ranjit Hoskote the national exhibition on architecture ‘The State of Architecture’ at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai in 2016. He has recently authored the book ‘The Architecture of I M Kadri’ in 2016.