CnT Architects (Chandavarkar & Thacker) is a legacy practice that enjoys the distinction of being Bengaluru’s first architecture firm. Established by the late Narayan Chandavarkar in 1947, it was reorganised as Chandavarkar & Thacker by Tara Chandavarkar and the late Pesi Thacker. When the current leadership — Prem Chandavarkar (managing partner), Mehul Patel (principal) and Vikram Desai (principal) — took over the reins of the firm, they decided “to extend this legacy to create a practice that did not revolve around dominant personalities, but drew its energy from a spirit of collaborative and creative inquiry that involved all members of the firm, as well as clients and other collaborators.” This is why the design and project leadership of the six associates — Amit Rastogi, Chaitanya BK, Manickvel GK, Prashant Kulkarni, Sreenath Vinaykumar, and Vamsi Verma — and their Hyderabad representative (A Pratyusha) is equally recognised and feted.
From close to two-thirds of the practice being devoted to the design of industrial buildings and campuses for the first few decades, emerged a value system that discouraged “form for form’s sake” — strengthening the founding philosophy of eschewing an “architect’s architecture” or architecture for visual impact. From the ‘90s, the tilt towards industrial design decreased with the inclusion of multi-family residences, institutional buildings and campuses, corporate offices and interiors, and commercial architecture.
The practice, which is as old as independent India, would like to urge the design fraternity to discard the four beliefs that dominate the profession: the meaning of an architectural work springs from the intentions or philosophy of the architect; the best way to validate your work is through peer review; theory is foundational to practice, and, finally, the creative cutting-edge of architectural practice is the result of individual genius.
Moving forward, team CnT Architects would like to improve its abilities in sustainable design; offer a model of design practice that is not personality-driven; and focus on imagining cities and thinking about how individual projects affect the shaping of our cities. And the joy, they say, lies in the journey rather than chasing pre-defined goals.

Looking Back

Instead of choosing a project, the firm would like to single out a project type: single family homes. Being a firm whose economics depend on designing larger projects, private residences are not profitable undertakings. However, they continue to do at least one home per year to retain sensitivity to people and stay grounded.

Looking forward

They are in the midst of many exciting projects and would prefer to focus on the journey and not on a single project. But the team is excited about the recent opportunity to break out into some new areas of work: mainly, urban design and healthcare projects.

 

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