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Two By Two

Tue, Oct 29, 2019    6:30pm

Two By Two is the narration of four projects by the architects Brinda Somaya and Nandini Somaya Sampat of SNK (Somaya & Kalappa Consultants), a multi-disciplinary Mumbai based Architecture and Design studio. It is demonstrative of the diverse typology of projects and the various challenges and complexities of working in the Indian subcontinent.

To build appropriately in a developing democratic nation while reinforcing the importance of an architectural vocabulary based on a traditional Indian building philosophy, is the underlying ethos of SNK. The design process at SNK is propelled by extensive research and cultural context in the Indian ground reality which allows for development of a distinct identity for each built form. The women led practice reveals their creative process and their symbiotic relationship supported by an innovative and dynamic team that enables the creation of path-breaking projects deeply rooted in a contemporary Indian Aesthetic.

Brinda Somaya is an architect and urban conservationist. Upon completion of her Bachelor of Architecture from Mumbai University and her Master of Arts from Smith College, she started her firm Somaya and Kalappa Consultants in 1978 in Mumbai, India. 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 and was also nominated for the arcVision Prize. She is the Chairperson of the Board of Governors, School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada – 2016, an Institute of National Importance. In 2017 she became a Member of the Council of Architecture Committee to Review the Profession and Education of Architecture in India and also joined the Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, Zurich, Switzerland. She is also the A.D. White Professor-at-large at Cornell University, U.S.A. Over four decades she has merged architecture, conservation and social equity in projects ranging from institutional campuses and rehabilitation of an earthquake-torn village to the restoration of an 18th century Cathedral, showing that progress and history need not be at odds.

Nandini Somaya Sampat upon completing her B.A. in Political Science from Smith College, USA, went to study law at the College of Law, London. On her return to India, she practised as a corporate lawyer. Later, moving back to London, she decided to pursue design and completed her PgDL in Architectural Interior Design from the Inchbald School of Design. In 2007, she joined Somaya & Kalappa Consultants (SNK) while simultaneously completing her Bachelor of Architecture from Rizvi College of Architecture, Mumbai. As a Director of SNK, Nandini is involved in all aspects of design, coordination and execution of projects that includes master planning and architectural design for institutional campuses and hotels to conservation works and museum exhibitions. Her expertise in research, concept design and architectural interiors provide the framework for original and innovative solutions. Nandini is the award recipient of the IGEN (Innovation Generation) 50 award in 2013, that felicitated the top 50 next generation architects and interior designers.

Brinda Somaya’s book is available at Avery Library to view in advance of the presentation: Works & Continuities: an Architectural Monograph.

Free and open to the public.

Organized as part of the Preservation Lecture Series, an initiative of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia GSAPP.

Historic Preservation Podcast #15: Brinda Somaya and Nandini Sampat

Andrew Dolkart, faculty in GSAPP’s Historic Preservation Program, speaks with Brinda Somaya and Nandini Sampat of SNK (Somaya & Kalappa Consultants) in advance of their Fall 2019 lecture at the school.

SNK is a multi-disciplinary Architecture and Design studio based in Mumbai. The firm’s design process is propelled by extensive research and cultural context, which allows for the development of a distinct identity for each built form. During the conversation, they discuss how the duo balances contemporary architectural language with traditional Indian building philosophy, and stress the importance of conservation training for any developing architect.