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TFOD Profile of the Week: Trupti Doshi, Architect and Integrated Sustainability Engineer

Posted by
on April 03, 2017 at 03:11 PM

Trupti Doshi's phenomemal achievements help us end the month's celebration of women, with a bang!

The architect's unperturbed and impactful foray into the very core of sustainable building practices across a panoramic Indian landscape, personifies whatever TFOD stands for as a bright, intelligent, sensitive, hopeful, dependable and successful vision for the future of the design field. Young, gentle and dynamic Trupti was fortunate to have found her calling early on as a student when she felt strongly propelled towards the narrative of alternative building practices and realized  that those practices should soon cease to be ‘alternatives’ and required mainstreaming urgently. Her practice, based in Auroville (Puducheri) and Mumbai, has seen an evidently successful commitment to this alternative narrative, with her leading the international programme of Sri Aurobindo Society as Chief Co-Architect and a building she designed being recognised by the United Nations Environment Programme as a model for sustainable architecture in India. 

© Courtesy of www.truptidoshi.com

Further more than an architect, Trupti Doshi is a qualified Integrated Sustainability Engineer working with a focus on ecological design, earth technology, water and waste management, biodiversity, energy efficiency, thermal comfort and renewables. This entire range of resource efficient sustainable practices get integrated into her business of building through innovative applications which are often sourced from old, indigenous construction techniques. Her choice of building technology sees her project typologies concentrated in semi urban sustainable campuses and bespoke urban residences.

A childhood spent in a sea-facing house in the bustling city of Bombay invoked in Trupti the sensitivity to contrasts in space and the fascination of creating meaningful, active spaces out of ocean-like voids led her towards a career in architecture. Her encounters during her early working years with eminent personalities are credited with shaping her professional instincts and strengths; like UNESCO structural engineer Satprem Maine who instilled in her the desire to be thorough in the knowledge of the working of each part of a building’s structural design, or the solar energy guru Mr. Deepak Gadhia who sowed the idea of appropriate building technology based on local resources resulting in a holistic ecological solution firmly in her mind. 

She credits Padmashree Dr.Govindappa Venkataswamy, founder of the Arvind Eye Foundation in Madurai, as being her core mentor for inspiring and guiding her in scaling up the task of training a crew of 400 villagers in sustainable innovative construction techniques as part of the Centre for Rural Development project that could be replicated countrywide. 

This campus, Sharanam, for the Centre for Rural Transformation sitting on a 5 acre plot on Puducheri’s outskirts came to be the epoch of her career thus far in terms of realising successful sustainability goals. Built of unfired earth sourced from the same site, by the her along with her co-architect assisted by trained local villagers instead of skilled contractual workers, and built to a highly engineered precision at all levels, Sharanam embodies the success of the quest for the perfect ecologically, technologically, culturally and economically sustainable building design solution, which led to the United Nations Environment Program naming it as a widely replicable model for sustainable construction in India. 

For Trupti, ‘sustainable’ goes beyond mere resources, materials and technologies to encompass the cultural and social aspects as well. Human beings’ sense of belonging to the earth, of being but a part of it, dependent on it, thriving in it and the immediate surrounding ecosystem and thereby bound by a promise to always strive to balance and complete it is a mandate well-articulated in her designs. To put in Trupti’s own words, what the world needs today is “not just the ‘green’ eyewash” of introducing external technologies to make buildings smart but inherently intelligent buildings. Sharanam has floor, walls and vaulted roof made of unfired bricks which, among other virtues, respond to sound so sensitively that perfect audibility of sound can be ensured at every corner of the main hall, totally doing away with the use of a microphone. When the violinist and orchestrator, Paul Peabody of Titanic fame, heard about this building on his India trip, he journeyed down from Varanasi to experience the acoustics by personally playing his violin there, after which he is said to have remarked that he could feel the earth surround him from top to bottom and hear him play. Could one really ask for a greater endorsement of one’s creation?

Nonetheless, Trupti Doshi’s work has received outstanding testimonials from professionals, eminent personalities and experts from the building industry, students and users of her buildings alike. Her contribution to sustainable building practices is widely recognised and her expertise solicited through consultations, workshops and talks at a variety of venues. Her work, as amply expressed in the Auroma French Villaments’ design on display in her TFOD profile, is as much about superiorly nuanced and finished aesthetics as it is about energy efficiency, resource optimisation and sustainability. Being one of philosophical vision and poetic expression, Trupti views the building as an act of unifying earth and sky, matter and spirit. As Prof. Surendra Shah (Pan Asia Engg) puts it, “her creations have an aura of spirituality while being literally down to earth”. 

That’s quite a lofty and sublime state of professional accomplishment for anyone as young as Trupti Doshi to achieve. Wishing her still loftier accomplishments in her design career ahead, we congratulate her as the TFOD Profile of the Week

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