Conference 2 • The Lakshmi Mittal Institute and the South Asian family
“The Architecture of Transition: Emerging Practices in South Asia” will bring together young practices who have demonstrated a rigorous commitment to bringing architecture into the public realm and in response to the range of issues facing societies in acute transition. The second lesson includes Anand Sonecha and Varna Shashidhar from India, who will showcase their work virtually on Oct. 08, 9 a.m. EST (6:30 p.m. IST).
Anand Sonecha (b. 1986 in Mumbai) founded SEALAB in 2015, after working with Balkrishna Doshi and Rajeev Kathpalia in India and Alvaro Siza and Carlos Castanheira in Portugal. Projects at Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad marked the beginning of the practice of architecture with the renovation of dilapidated historic houses into volunteer houses and the construction of the Jai Jagat Theatre, as part of the centenary celebration of Sabarmati Ashram. Later works include the school for blind and visually impaired children, housing for a leprosy affected community in Vastral and the construction of a workshop at the Indubhai Parekh school of architecture in Rajkot. The works have been exhibited at the Romain Rolland Alliance Française Gallery in Delhi, Faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities, De Montfort University, UK, and recently at the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2021. The Jai Jagat Theater of the Ashram of Sabarmati was published in Casabella, Italy, with an essay, “The effect of proportional measurement” by Alvaro Siza Vieira.
In 2016, SEALAB launched “Forum” in Ahmedabad, with friends – an open platform to meet, share and discuss works, encouraging dialogues on architecture. Sonecha has been involved in academia since 2015. He is a visiting professor at CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India, and co-director of graduate thesis at Politecnico di Milano, Italy.
Varna Shashidhar is a landscape architect with regional landscape practice WITH which focuses on creating contextual landscapes. Varna earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from RVCE and earned a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. She taught at GSD’s career discovery program and worked with leading landscape practices MVVA Inc & WRT before establishing VSLA in Bengaluru in 2013. His interest lies in the intersection of the built and natural worlds, as well as the ecology and aesthetics of everyday South Asian landscapes. His projects have included degraded and ecologically sensitive environments. Recent projects include Bangalore International Center (IIA National Awards 2021), Neev Academy, Byg Brewski, Namma Park, a neighborhood park in Bangalore. She presented her work at the Kalaghoda Festival Mumbai in February 2020 and the Singapore Institute of Architects Annual Architecture Conference in October 2019.
Varna is the founder of Design United, a regional connection and collaboration platform for emerging designers and design students from South Asia, established during the March 2022 pandemic.
This series of conferences is initiated by The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute (LMSAI), Graduate School of Design (GSD), and supported by Architecture Foundation, India, and The South Asia GSD Student Group.