“I was born in Pondicherry and raised in Chennai, but have my roots in the village of Koovam in Thiruvallur. From an early age, I embraced my roots, my identity, and the rich culture that flowed through my veins. It was a source of strength and identity, something I never hesitated to express openly. Little did I know that this unwavering connection to my heritage would shape my journey in ways I could never have imagined.
As I embarked on my architectural education, I was fortunate to have the unwavering support of my family, particularly my wise and forward-thinking grandmother. Her unwavering belief in doing things differently, boldly, and bravely fueled my own aspirations. With her guidance, I completed my architecture degree with a semester in the UK & went on to pursue a master’s degree in France.
My true journey as an entrepreneur and curator began in 2013 when I established my architectural practice. It was a modest start, but fueled by passion and determination, I started delving into the needs of my community.
I made it a point to base my work and practice on the voices of local practices, techniques and stories, to understand the unique spatial, and architectural requirements of the people around me. Through this process, I was able to understand and explore a treasure trove of construction techniques that I eagerly integrated into my practice as well. Driven by a desire to connect with and work with the community, I named my social platform ae ‘Nam Veedu Nam Oor Nam Kadhai’ (Our Home, Our Town, Our Story).
To my surprise and delight, my work started gaining recognition, thanks to the support of the community and the many magazines and papers that wrote about us.
Almost 90% of my team are women. It became my responsibility to encourage and motivate these talented individuals to excel in their chosen professions and to help them follow the dreams
I embraced this role wholeheartedly, promoting the idea that gender should never limit one’s aspirations.
Beyond my architectural endeavours, I found inspiration in every human being I encountered. From the dedicated watchman Anna to sanitisation workers and the everyday workers, their unwavering commitment during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic moved me deeply.
Over time, my efforts garnered recognition and I was able to create more impact in the community. That was the same time, I became the first woman secretary of the esteemed Madras Literate Society. And the following year my children’s book was also published by Pratham.
Looking back is important when there are miles to go and I am happy with where my work and practice have taken me. My journey began with a single article, published a decade ago in the Anna Nagar Times, but it was only in 2015 that I mustered the courage to share my photograph alongside my work in Aval Vikedan Magazine.
Today, I continue to learn, unlearn, evolve, grow, and contribute to the world around me. My architectural practice thrives, not solely because of my expertise but also due to the collective efforts and talents of a diverse and empowered team. Together, we build spaces that tell stories, embrace cultures, and foster a sense of belonging.”