Twenty-five years of practice puts you on solid ground, especially when it’s a successful practice like Gayathri & Namith Architects (GNA). In this context, any professional advice from the principals, Gayathri Shetty and Namith Varma (architecture graduates from BMS College of Engineering, Bengaluru; & MIT, Manipal, respectively) is worth heeding. “Avoid getting into a repetitive and mundane way of doing things. Rather, be innovative, push the boundaries for designing, make creative mistakes which aid and improve your work as a designer,” urge the duo. A similar drive enabled them to take their Bengaluru-based practice — established in 1993, in a neighbour’s garage — to great heights.
From the start, GNA has experimented with sustainable architecture, the Sanskrit Patshala being one of their notable early projects. Located in a thickly forested hill, the structure had to co-exist with the local ecology. “Sensitivity to environment and surroundings, and using locally available materials contributed significantly in adding (native) character to the building,” add the architects. “Our designs almost always have nature wrapped around the built spaces with no clear boundaries, where one flows into the other. Interior spaces converse with nature and are drenched in natural light. Our aesthetic approach and design sensibilities are deeply rooted in ‘Indianness’.”
As the practice evolved, the need for experimentation — and constant pursuit of pushing the envelope in terms of design — enabled GNA to create diverse, award-winning residential, commercial, institutional, hospitality and industrial spaces. “We started out using a lot of nature to bring the outdoors in. That still remains — but over the years, we have evolved into a more Indian contemporary style. We are deep-rooted in India, but not completely traditional,” maintain Shetty and Varma.
The coming years are going to see GNA take up a more participatory role in Bengaluru’s urban design. “India is on the brink of an interesting and exciting phase of development, and the firm is excited about performing its role in responsible architecture as part of the country’s dynamic growth. Innovation in project typology and creativity for multi-functional spaces seem to be the journey ahead,” say the architects, who are involved in giving back to the city through projects such as the revitalisation of MG Road Boulevard as well as a few state housing projects.

Looking Back

The Global HQ for Jaquar at Manesar was a big leap, and challenged GNA to deliver a unique design. Thus was born an iconic structure that represented Jaquar’s brand value. “We wanted to redefine a corporate space that is intimate in feeling and iconic in its presence,” explain the architects.

Looking forward

Designing the Divya Rasa school for autistic children, Thiruvannamalai, needs special care and attention, making it a definite project to watch out for from GNA. “Being sensitive to user needs while creating a beautiful spatial and emotional experience for them,” are some of the parameters they are addressing here.

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