Ever since my first visit in 1987 as a trainee and later when I joined in 1990, Auroville has been and is my “play field” which allows me to constantly formulate and re-evaluate my ideas and ideals. It has supported my growth as an individual in multifarious activities which are synergistic with architecture.
Studying architecture at the Centre for Environment and Planning (CEPT), Ahmadabad (1984-90), and having obtained a masters degree in Appropriate Technology from Flensburg University, Germany (1992-94), I have an independent set-up in Auroville since 1995.
With a vibrant, constantly changing team of trainees, young architects and designers at STUDIO NAQSHBANDI, I experiment and explore the many facets of architecture, interior designs and landscapes. Our work has been labeled as “appropriate”, “ sustainable”, “green”, “organic”, “modern”, “sensorial”, “rustic”, ”finely crafted”, etc, at various times offering differing viewpoints of the perceiver, sometimes as per the fashion of the time. However for me architecture is a passion and a way of life and the outer manifestation reflects the palimpsest of inner reality.
The inside-outside relationship does form an important part of my practice since I like to see the built form with its surroundings rather than in isolation. Another key guiding principle in my work is the creation of buildings which are healthy (Building Biology, sick building syndrome), taking into account factors like electromagnetic fields, use of natural materials and earth energies.
Being in a non-commercial set-up as in Auroville, has given me the freedom to explore and experiment in different ways. I strongly believe that the consciousness one puts into the design and building process is bound to show in the end product.
As part of “Dreamcatchers” an open source planning forum started in 2005, evolving an inclusive and creative process for Auroville’s growth at all levels, I have come to believe that it is possible to find the Highest Common Denominator in a collective process rather than the Lowest Common Factor.
The recent 2 year term ( 2010-2012) at L’Avenir d’ Auroville ( Auroville’s official Planning and Development body) has allowed me to become aware of the difficulty of planning a city that is constantly in a flux. Auroville’s planning presents one of the greatest challenges and privileges to live in and evolve a society that is based on nothing less than an evolution of consciousness to the next human species.
My current field of exploration also includes teaching (at various architecture schools and through hands-on workshops, writing ( Monographs on Auroville Architects series, and research ( Energy Efficiency in Buildings under the joint Indo-US research program : http://cberd.org/ )
An article on Studio Naqshbandi published in Buildotech Magazine May 2014 issue.