EP 292 . 01 May 24

Maximise to minimise

With Chitra Vishwanath

In the episode

  1. We often use “architect” as a word who guides, designs, and oversees. Etymologically as well, it’s derived from arkhi-, chief + tekton, builder – chief builder. Who according to you is an architect?
  2. What constitutes an ecological architecture? Could you talk about the 4 aspects of architecture from your TEDx talk, resourceful spaces, designing construction systems, water and waste management? Maybe by taking an example of one of the many schools you have built.
  3. What is Maximise to minimize? Good design is no design at all, right? How do you strive to create a positive impact while building structures? What are the key principles and values you live by?
  4. What should be / can be the index/metric of good ecological architecture? Why?
  5. What according to you is the biggest role of architects in India, given the current time?
  6. Over the last 31 years, you have grown to 31 member strong team. Seems a conscious choice to stay lean. Why?
  7. You have a lot of Junior architects on the team. What are their primary job responsibilities?
  8. For Biome, every project is a test bed for developing a collaborative multidisciplinary approach grounded in informed decisions. How does Biome onboard, execute, and deliver any project? Where and how are Junior architects involved? What do you expect from them?
  9. What according to you is a good measure of an ecologically sensitive outlook in a student or junior architect entering this field of architecture?
  10. What kind of architects do we need for India’s future? What tips/suggestions would you like to give young architects?

About Chitra Vishwanath

Laurie Baker once said, “I never build for classes of people, HIG [highincome group], MIG, LIG, tribals [tribal people], fishermen and so on. But I will build only for a Matthew, a Bhaskaran, a Muneer, or a Sankaran.” And if you visit the Biome website, you will see, the houses of “Rekha and Sanjay”, “Residences of Deepthi and Hemanth”.

Chitra is an Indian architect based in Bengaluru who works on themes related to ecology and architecture. She has been running her own architectural firm since 1991, working with other architects on many projects of all sizes. She is currently the Principal Architect and Managing Director of BIOME Environment Solutions.

She firmly believe that the true essence of a remarkable firm lies in the gradual fading of its founder’s individual prominence. The establishment of a firm is influenced not only by the founder’s drive but also by various contextual factors. Chitra cannot be solely identified as Chitra Vishwanath without acknowledging the integral role of Biome. Similarly, Biome’s existence in its current capacity is inseparable from the contributions of her colleagues.

BIOME has been involved in more than 700 projects encompassing construction of buildings of all sizes and water harvesting and sanitation structures with specific relevance to the ecology of the sites. With earth as a basic material input in construction BIOME has designed and built many structures. We’ll talking about ecological architecture in today’s episode.