Architect Sheila Sri Prakash, Shilpa Architects Planners Designers
"I take my role as an architect seriously because my thoughts and actions are bound to have a lasting impact on people, society and the planet. What I'm striving to achieve is holistic sustainability through design. Space can make or mar the quality of life. My sensitivity to space comes from dance. In dance, a notional space and characters are created. In architecture, one creates the ambience and elements that give expression to the residents' dreams. Dance has influenced my thinking as an architect."Ar. Sheila Sri Prakash
Sheila Sri Prakash is a pioneering first woman Architect and Designer in India, who, in 1979, founded her own Architectural Design firm 'Shilpa Architects,' in Chennai which has now emerged as a forerunner in environmental-friendly design and sociologically sensitive planning.
Graduated from School of Architecture & Planning, Anna University, in 1977, and also having attended the 12 weeks executive education program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, Ar. Sheila had faced several obstacles to establish herself in a male-dominated profession. Her hard work and dedication towards architecture and design have paid her back and today she is internationally acclaimed for her trendsetting indo-centric designs, thought-leading contributions to environment-friendly design and is also renowned for developing world through socio-economically sensitive planning.
As a global leader in sustainable design that blends sensitivity for the environment with socio-economic progress for the underprivileged, she is also known for introducing vernacular and culturally relevant techniques into contemporary designs. She is regarded as the founding practitioner-researcher who identified and defined the field of Spaciology– the impact of space design and planning on society. Her work probes the powerful reciprocal impact linking the built environment to human behavior, through urban design, architecture, and sociology.
In a career spanning more than three decades, Sheila has designed over 1,000 completed architectural projects. She is one of a 16-member team of international experts on the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Design and Innovation and serves on the Role of Arts in Society, in recognition of her signature works of Visionary architecture that features art, culture and heritage. Besides, she was named among the Top 100 most influential architects in the world by Il Giornale dell' Architectura, an Italian Journal of Architecture. Her recommendations to the United Nations 2012 Rio+20 Summit in Brazil, have been adopted in the mandate for Sustainability presented to heads of nations. The sustainability matrix titled "Reciprocal Design Index" prescribes parameters and metrics surrounding sustainable design to factor the environment, sociology and economics. Based on her research, she has spearheaded the "Reciprocity Wave" movement, which uses art to create awareness about social and ecological issues that need immediate attention.
Sheila's award-winning international Architectural Design firm, Shilpa Architects Planners is acclaimed for pioneering work in environmentally and socioeconomically sustainable design. The firm's portfolio spans the entire range of the real estate industry which includes residential buildings, custom designed villas, mixed use townships; infrastructure facilities; leisure, health and hospitality projects; industrial assignments; retail, commercial and IT related buildings; educational campuses, stadiums and sports facilities amongst others. The firm worked with—and is working for—Developers, Foreign Direct Investment funds, Multi-Nationational Corporations, leading Indian Business Houses, Government, Private and Public sector companies, Co-operative societies and NGOs and has received several recognition for its design.
In 2009, Shilpa acquired SGBL Studio (Sri Prakash, Gullo, Brossa & Leenknegt), which is an Architecture and Urban Design firm. With offices in Chicago, New York and Seoul, this company has executed projects globally including the US, Belgium, Norway, China, Japan, Kuwait etc. Shilpa also executes high-end turnkey design-build solutions through a division called Stone Lotus. Being focused on green and sustainable architecture, the firm has been a steering member of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). With its own LEED Certified professional in house, Shilpa is in the advantageous position of designing and simultaneously facilitating the process for LEED Certification.
Truly a multifaceted personality, Ar. Sheila has not only received several accolades in the world of architecture but also has proficiency in Indian classical dance and music with training to the highest performance levels. She was fortunate to have been trained by masters like Guru Dhandayuthapani Pillai who taught her Bharathanatyam, a classical Indian dance form; and Kuchipudi, another classical dance form, from Guru Vempatti Chinna Sathyam. She has performed in over 700 Bharathanatyam and Kuchipudi recitals all over India at both solo performances as well as in dance dramas with school troupes. Besides this, she has danced with professional and renowned personalities like Ms. Kamala Laxman, Ms. Padma Subramaniam, Ms. Hema Malini & Ms. Lakshmi Viswanathan etc.
Moreover, also being a Veenai artist, she has the distinction of playing, composing and recording Radha Madhavam and Sivaleela Vilasam with the world-renowned Veenai musician – Chitti Babu.