Vigour and passion were the foundation stones on which Lalita Tharani and Mujib Ahmed built Collaborative Architecture in Mumbai, in 2002. They aspired to take the firm to greater heights by working on projects that they hoped would be recognised for design innovation. The practice evolved in the ensuing years with the duo bagging multiple national and international awards for their built design.
Considering their global ambitions, they have pursued perfection by choosing to compete with the best in the world, not only in terms of physical form but notably, in their contribution to the architecture narrative. Their work has been sculpted by trial and error, with the belief that one person’s mistakes can be another’s success, and architects have to tread their own path to discover what works for them. “For us, architecture falls at the intersection of informed decisions and speculative hypothesis,” they say, highlighting that their own designs are often not a result of a rational process, “but intuitive, often layered palimpsests of logical, irrational, bizarre, poetic, and impossible thoughts.
“We still have loads of scope to improve,” insist Tharani and Ahmed — alumni of Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai, and National Institute of Technology, Calicut, respectively. With technology evolving every day, their possibilities expand too. It’s a constant attempt to experiment with the new and to better the old. “Innovation is the key. And we try to fit this key into every lock we encounter!”

Looking Back

Starting with the Wrap series that came early on in their career, they consider each project to be a milestone. Stacked Tectonics, a primary school designed for an orphanage, calibrated their architectural response on a shoe-string budget. Inverted Topography and Reflected Topography proved their brilliance in lighting design.

Looking forward

House of Cantilevers is a unique response to a distinct site, with living pods cantilevered at a height of eight to 10 metres within a valley. This exciting new project, currently under construction, is located at the Israeli lounge in Kennedy Centre, Washington DC, and has been shortlisted for an international competition.

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