Early on, Anuradha Guglani developed a love for sketching and sculpting, coupled with her fascination with spaces. A B.Arch degree from MSU Baroda seemed just right. Her desire to work with hands and to use clay were not limited to sculptures alone; clay as a building material intrigued her as well. No better place to unearth this new interest than at the Centre for Scientific Research, Auroville, where in the year 1997 she learnt to build walls, arches and domes with stabilised compressed mud blocks. “This experience initiated my interest in alternate building techniques back then,” she states.
From receiving her foundation in Gujarat, finding her passion in Auroville, to setting base in Goa, Guglani’s journey as an architect is unconventional as it continued to evolve and find inspiration along the way. “I moved to Goa in 1998. I discovered driftwood on beaches during my nature walks and got into wood sculpting. I also started furniture designing, using found objects. I held a few exhibitions of my works comprising sculptures and furniture,” shares Guglani.
Living in Goa also gave her the opportunity to specialise in renovating, restoring, refurbishing, revitalising old structures. “In all the old and the new structures I design, I follow just one principle – the building at every stage should look beautiful even after weathering, year after year,” believes the architect. This design philosophy is made practical by designing in response to the local climate and “using materials true to their nature”.
Be it interior or architecture projects, Guglani says one principle remains constant — connect with nature. At this point in her profession, it has become her signature. “By bringing in natural light and cross ventilation, I design buildings which are low on running cost. Emphasis is given on making internal and external spaces interactive. This promotes interaction within family and with neighbours (humans, birds and plants, all included) which I believe is key to retaining our humanness,” she explains.
This remarkable passion she has towards a humane architecture has drawn her to teaching. For over a decade now, she has been visiting Goa College of Architecture, conducting Visual Art sessions and Design Studios for formative years and elective workshops in sculpting and furniture designing. When not shaping young minds or busy sculpting, she hopes to devote her time to exploring old and new sustainable materials, and developing building techniques that are specific to Goa’s climate. “A solution to the changing climate, which is sustainable… can be built by anyone,” she jots down about her future endeavour.

Looking Back

Twelve years ago, she bought an old dilapidated traditional house in Goa. Its renovation job became the pivotal moment in her practice, defining all future works. Local building technique, traditional architectural elements, spaces and how they respond to the local climate, became her area of interest.

Looking forward

In the coming year, she looks forward to designing and building another home for her and her family, where she will implement all the learnings from the past experiences, and also experiment with newer ideas. With this house, she hopes to explore another new technique of building for Goa’s specific climate.

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