Practice Strategy

A series of discussions by architects from India’s major metros, on how the practice is re-emerging from the 2020 Pandemic recess.
Curated by Varun Kumar

"Focus on virtual work and a new magazine" - Compartment S4

Equipping a virtual workflow and a new magazine – Compartment S4

As a young and large bunch of designers, Compartment S4 experienced a distancing of the studio members alongside the halting of projects and monetary flow. The team, however, found the hiatus as an opportunity to equip virtual methods of collaboration with their work, such as co-drawing digitally. Compartment S4 also came up with their exciting new initiative in the form of a Magazine, that is in cohesion with their talk series called “Friday Night Conversations”.

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Rethinking practice, teaching and new collaborative initiatives - Shikha Doogar, Shridhar Rao, r + d Studio

Rethinking practice, teaching and new collaborative initiatives – r+d studio

r+d studio is led by principal architects Shikha Doogar and Shridhar Rao. The studio is founded on their experiences comprising a stint at Gehry and Partners. r+d studio witnessed opportunities to rethink their practice procedures, involve in teaching virtually and start-up a new city collaborative initiative called Gurgaon Design Collective. The pandemic was handled by r+d studio with a positive outlook, safety and security of the team and nurturing new tech ideas through their new venture RD Labs.

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Persisting with tech for an ever-changing world - Sushant Verma, rat[LAB]

Persisting with tech for an ever-changing world – Sushant Verma, rat[LAB]

rat[LAB] was founded on the technological strength it possessed. The studio has already been functioning as a team of remotely working associates from different time zones, with cloud computing as one of their practice tools. The pandemic experience has shown the team that technology supports their practice to adapt to the surprises that the world can throw at us. Additionally, savings from previous projects has helped the team stay afloat, in any case of fears that they may have encountered.

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Towards increased flexibility in practice - BanduksmithStudio

Towards increased flexibility in practice – banduksmithstudio

banduksmithstudio, a closely-knit team, experienced the hindrances in their internal and on-site coordination as the significant challenges. Moving swiftly into the virtual space to coordinate and continue work as the lockdowns were enforced, aided in levelling up the studio’s flexibility. The studio believes they adapt to any forthcoming challenges too to flexibly stay in collaboration with fellow practitioners.

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"Glimpse into architecture's skilled workforce and allied industries in India during the pandemic" - AvDC

A glimpse into architecture and its allied industries in India during the pandemic – Suhasini Ayer – Guigan, AvDC

Architect Suhasini Ayer – Guigan , principal of Auroville Design Consultants, Auroville, shared insights on how the industries associated with Architecture practice were already facing a recessive market. The pandemic, hence, was not a fresh disaster to our practice, and perhaps possessed opportunities for youngsters to improve their interpersonal skills. Architect Suhasini also shares insights on how Indian manufacturing is deeply connected with global production cycles, thereby causing a chain of shutdowns to Indian work. Additionally, she also shares the significance of the shifting thought and behaviour patterns of the general Indian working population toward more efficient practices, from being disorganized and spontaneous.

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"Creating an institutional set up independent of individuals" - Arya Architects

Creating an institutional set up to collaborate with individuals – Arya Architects

Arya Architects have been actively involved in projects in the public realm. Besides the delay of projects and monetary flow, the studio felt that the absence of site work and shift to digital methods dialled down the usual joy of working together. However, the studio could foresee the lockdown’s impacts, particularly with challenges of high attrition and out of town staff. It helped them realise the importance of creating an institutional set up beyond the physical presence of individuals.

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"Evolving through past crises and pre-empting the pandemic impacts." - Nandini Sampat, Somaya and Kalappa Consultants

Evolving through past crises and pre-empting the pandemic impacts. – Nandini Somaya Sampat, SNK Somaya and Kalappa Consultants

SNK Somaya and Kalappa Consultants, Mumbai, has been practicing over the last 45 years and is witness to the influences that multiple national and global crises can impose to architectural practice. The office, with its conservative discipline and expertise in multiple areas of architecture, has been able to actively work around the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. With an unhampered salary flow to their team and cost cutting measures as highlights, Director-Architect Nandini Somaya Sampat shares some strategies by SNK to face the 2020 crisis.

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“Spirited with the basics” - ART AND ARCHITECTURE

Spirited with the basics – Art and Architecture

The team at Art and Architecture is focused on the core skills of architecture to keep the design process enlivened and simplified. The team kept themselves inspired and refreshed with enjoyable activities through the lockdown such as photo documentation of their favourite city parts, artwork, documenting personal and studio work and more. The lockdown was an opportunity to explore opportunities for other creative activities.

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"Learning from the digitized work efficiency during the pandemic" - Aanai Studio

Learning from the digitized work efficiency during the pandemic – Aanai Studio

Aanai Studio’s services are focused on furniture, interior design and architecture,  inspired by indigenous craftsmanship, sustainable materials, and design ingenuity for built interiors. The pandemic has provided an opportunity to rethink the studio’s research and development, separate personal and work life, both adding to their work fluency. This gives them time to pursue other personal interests too, much needed in today’s work-from-home scenario.

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P.K.Das and Samarth Das

Rebooting Work Routines and Stalled Public Contributions – PK Das and Associates

Within the studio at PK Das and Associates, digitized work methods and remote meetings have revealed a better organization of work items thanks to the methodical online framework that the studio developed. Subsequently, fresher routines have evolved from these changes. Contributions to the public realm in Mumbai has been an important facet of the practice for over 25 years, but the curtailing of MPLAD expenditure during the lockdown has stalled this progress too. 

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Nurturing a technological and Socially relevant practice through the pandemic - DesignAware

Nurturing a technological and Socially relevant practice through the pandemic – Takbir Fatima, DesignAware

DesignAware has been working with tech-based design methodologies since their founding year, thanks to the team’s background in technological awareness related to architectural design. The studio experienced a multiplied impact due to the floods in Hyderabad during the pandemic. The lockdown and the post-flood situation has spurred the team to rethink their practice strengths and equip more resiliency. This direction has also pushed the team to nurture their studio practice itself as a physical entity, in addition to their successful initiatives in educational and socially relevant projects.

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Financial prudence and savings to keep the salary flow active - Aakruti

Financial prudence and savings to keep the salary flow active – Aakruti Architects

Aakruti Architects had witnessed their inherently hands-on approach being hampered by the lockdown, along with the delay of work processes. The studio had planned cost-cutting measures personally and for their studio to ensure an unaffected salary flow amidst the waves of lay-offs and reduced income. Safety and stability of the studio’s team was the top priority for Aakruti.

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Safety and good health, both physical & mental, was a high priority during the pandemic. - Santhosh Shanmugam, Shanmugam Associates

Safety and good health, both physical and mental, was our priority during the pandemic. – Santhosh Shanmugam, Shanmugam Associates

Shanmugam Associates has been long-sustaining as a mainstream architectural service provider, with a focus on core design methodologies. The team found their contingency plans to lend a helping hand during a stoppage of work and life during the pandemic. The back-up for identifying renewed inspiration for the team and their workflow was given by the contingency plans.

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