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FLO Workshop on Reciprocal Design Thinking with Sheila Sri Prakash

The FICCI Ladies Organization organized a Workshop on Reciprocal Design Thinking with Sheila Sri Prakash, the legend in Indian architecture here in city at Hotel Gand Kakatiya today.

The workshop was attended by well over 70 FICCI FLO Members, Architect Professionals and Students.

Welcoming gathering and speaking on the occasion, Padma Rajgopal, Chairperson of FLO Hyderabad said introducing speakers of the stature of Sheila Sri Prakash is a pride and great honour. She has designed over 1200 completed architectural projects during her career spanning over the last 35 years.

She is a "pioneer" in architecture and "thought leader" for her work in Reciprocity or Holistic Sustainability. She was the first Indian Architect to serve on the World Economic Forum's 2011 Global Agenda Council on Design Innovation, a 16-member team of international experts in Design and Innovation, to formulate ways that improve the state of the world.

She excelled in her profession. She founded an architecture firm of her own well over three decades ago, which no women ever had imagined in those days She lead efforts to enhance sustainability in the 2012 London Olympics.

Addressing the gathering on “Reciprocal Design Thinking”, Sheila Sri Prakash, the First woman in India to have started and operated her own architectural firm, Shilpa Architects in Cheannai in 1979, she said Mayors have transformed cities world over. We need professional Mayors and not Political Mayors to develop cities.

Sheila who was named top 100 architects in the world by Italian Journal of Architecture said Suryadevara Ramachandra Rao, a Gujarat cadre IAS officer who was the municipal commissioner of Surat transformed Surath city. Ada Colau Ballano Mayor of Barcelona transformed the city. People without knowledge of city planning are becoming Mayors, which is sad, she said.

Speaking about Smart Cities, Sheila said enough importance and time is not given to Design Thinking in the Smart Cities projects. We are heavily dependent on imported technology for these cities. Technology alone cannot make a place smart.

We need such cities which have great efficiency in moving its people and housing them. We need design thinkers she said.

Design Thinking is very importance. Korea is one country in the world which has given lot of importance to Design Thinking. Dubai has Design District which is a purpose-built community dedicated to promoting and nurturing emerging local talent and providing a creative home to established international design, luxury and fashion brands informed Sheila Sri Prakash.

We need designs not just in big construction projects, but in construction of houses for lower income groups. Event huts needs to be designed well to take care of their inmates, she said.

Mall culture is not for India.

Malls are not sustainable. They are covered up areas which do not go well on long run. Many Mall are also getting closed she said.

Speaking about sustainable cities Sheila said what Singapore has done Sewage water converting into drinking water is an eye opener. Water has been a national priority for Singapore. This Island nation has been aggressively pushing a solution to the water scarcity by way of recycling water to drink.

From toilets to tap, Singaporeans get tap water from Sewage. Singapore though has many hats doesn’t have enough water for its own people . It imports water from Malaysia.

That led the government to launch a project called “NEWater” back in 2003. It involves recycling wastewater to highly purified water, providing a more cost-efficient and eco-friendly solution. Today Singapore successfully converted sewage into perfect drinking water and that is what the people there drink today, she said.
Buildings have to be sustainable, if not they fail to serve the people they are built for.

Several IT Buildings and Parks in Hyderabad have to be retrofit to meet the changing needs now. By retrofitting IT Buildings, Government is doing a very good job she said.

Speaking about many architectural marvels and heritage structures in India, Sheila suggested to go for adaptive reuse, so that iconic monuments not only will last long but continue to serve people. ITC is doing a great job on this front by converting heritage structures into hotels, she informed.

Architecture is a very noble profession. It has to be responsible profession towards sustainable projects, she observed. Architects need to create ambience for humanity, Sheila stated.

We should do away with strict school curriculum and give importance to Arts. That is what makes human beings, Sheila said.
Sustainability is coming from West but, it is known and practiced in India for centuries. The five elements of life in other words Panch Booths are known to us, respected and revered in India. Balance Your Life with the Five Elements --Fire, Sky, Water, Air, and Earth she said.

Architecture is a noble profession. It has lot of importance in these days. Our idea behind bringing in Sheila Sri Prakash is to give young professionals an opportunity to learn and interact with such acclaimed professional, Padma Rajgopal said in her concluding remarks at the day long workshop.
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