“We believe that like any building, a stable foundation is a must for your practice.” – Meghana Kulkarni and Pooja Chaphalkar, M+P Architects

Interview conducted by Asmita Patnaik

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“We believe that like any building, a stable foundation is a must for your practice.”

Over the past few weeks we have broached and reviewed the several aspects that are involved in starting your own architectural practice and the ways to successfully run the same.

Today, on the subject we open the discourse with Meghana Kulkarni and Pooja Chaphalkar, principle architects and co- founders of M+P Architects, Pune. Having started a collaborative endeavor in 2013, M+P Architects have collectively as well as independently procured and materialized several design projects in a course of less than five years since their genesis.

“It may go without saying but what defines you is eventually your own work. Design Entrepreneurship ensues a new set of challenges that one has to adapt to. Initially there were several challenges from finding office space to investing in specter such as legal software and hardware” suggests Pooja “It takes about five years of seed funding”

Through this discussion it becomes imperative to understand why you are starting your practice. You are not creating business architecture for the business but for better ways to solve design and business problems. Starting your practice is a slow process which requires constant investment.

“Change is a continuous and slow process and we need to be a part of it. We need to toil for what we want, disregarding our inhibitions.” Meghana continues, “Although this may be the case, the only way to adapt and expand your enterprise is by learning.”

A lot of things can teach you if you are willing to learn, “You can learn from your personal experiences, from the people you work it, from your seniors as well as your juniors, from someone from a different field, we have to understand that as professionals we need to be in a constant process of evolving, expressing, documenting and sharing” she continues, “It is important to articulate a culture of sharing with fellow architects and mentors as it ensures that we don’t work in our silos and allow greater collaborations for better design.”

It is important to articulate a culture of sharing with fellow architects and mentors as it ensures that we don’t work in our silos and allow greater collaborations for better design.

Meghana believes architecture being a very pragmatic profession demands quality service.

“The best marketing strategy for running a design enterprise is your work, as clients personally recommend us to other clients in need of an architectural service. Although publishing our work on our website has allowed a greater diaspora of clients who were ranked outsiders and were unknown to us initially, I believe your work eventually has to speak for you despite the medium used to derive at the same.”

As in the case of a design, even your business plan requires to be well thought out. More often than not most young architects strive on starting a practice without understanding the necessary tools to achieve the same. One has to understand there has to be a constant growth of skills, expertise and personal development for successful enterprise. Understand the potential in yourself, your team and your context to become a wholesome designer, at the same time it is important to be concise about the challenges and ways of dealing with the same.

Though this may be the case the first step still remains to develop the courage and the confidence to branch out on your own; or as Pooja would like to say, “It’s an exhilarating experience… Just go for it!”

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