Ar. Pranav Iyer, Ground 11 Architects
"It is time to use the act of design as a means to redefine what we do as architects and to objectively assess our relevance within the creative realm. Every design needs to achieve outcomes that assert its genesis, explain its growth and direct itself towards new possibilities, and it is the architect's responsibility to recognize these very possibilities and to take the narrative forward."
Pranav Iyer, Design Principal at Ground 11 Architects and cofounder and design director of VIDA Design Inc, Los Angeles and G11 Addis, graduated from the Institute of Environmental Design, Gujarat, in 1998, and started a design practice in Pune, followed by VIDA in Los Angeles and G11 Addis in Ethiopia.
Ground 11 is a full-service architecture and urban design resource that concentrates on the built narrative -architecture, urban design, and landscape - to make vital, exciting destinations out of clients' tangible and intangible requirements. It is a scaleable, modular company, combining the strength of its own office with a highly talented and experienced network of consulting architects, designers, engineers and other specialists. In particular, Ground 11 revels in projects that pose unique challenges and require unexpected, innovative, and highly creative solutions. Pranav Iyer and his team's skills lie in effective conceptualization, design and delivery of signature projects in several different countries and cultures, providing global design solutions in keeping with local technology and processes. They have worked and continue to work in over 15 countries around the world, and still find exciting newness in it all, every day. From low-cost housing for sixty thousand families in Kenya, Yemen and Ethiopia, to residences in Upstate New York and Bristol, England, G11 has forged relationships with people and places that allow the architecture to be a medium for the meeting of minds.
Some of the most challenging projects designed by Pranav include a war memorial and public square in Hargeisa, Somaliland, where there was no budget and the people's relationship with the memorial was part anguish and part relief. Another project with an extremely complex programme was a mixed-use development in Tirana, Albania, where archeological, historical, political, and economic constraints resulted in a design that was a First World project that learns from Third World methods. Pranav has had the incredible fortune of working with some truly gifted people, in India and abroad. These years of collaboration have educated and shaped his approach to architectural design.
The pivotal moments in his professional journey have been the commissioning of the Weikfield IT Citi Infopark in Pune in 2004 with Ar. Vijayram, and the winning of an international design competition for Chrome City in Chennai in 2011, with Drone Iyangar as design Lead, over some of the biggest firms in the world.
For Pranav, success is entirely relative, and is a function of satisfaction above anything else. Constant attention to detail, and a passion for meaningful design is an imperative. It is also extremely important to communicate effectively within the design ecosystem, which includes the design team within Ground 11, consultants, clients, and the local team at site. Pranav has connected different clients to assist each other with complementary skill-sets to empower and drive projects forward.
A large amount of work done by Pranav and his team is research driven, where the design grows around an idea, or is a stream of thought that allows re-interpretation and re-evaluation of commonly assumed paradoxes. This keeps him questioning the established, and establishing his questions. Needless to say, every project concludes with more questions than answers - for himself - while the client gets better solutions. Pranav actively involves himself in activities including feasibility studies and financial modeling for projects, necessitating an often steep learning curve while working on projects in other countries.
In addition to architecture, Pranav has worked with friends to develop apps including one for women's safety, and is a science fiction aficionado and model train and aircraft collector.