Mrs. Chitra Satish
Principal Architect at Archids, Bangalore
Could you please tell us about your professional background and academic achievements?
I finished my Bachelors in Architecture from B.M.S. college of engineering, Bangalore in 1990. Academically, I was a state rank holder in public examination at school level, stood third in college and first in landscape architecture at university level. I started gaining experience by taking up part time assignments while I was in college. Probably, this helped me boost my confidence and also gain an edge over others.
Why the name ‘Archids’ and what ignited you to start your own practice?
Well, there is a story behind it. My first job before completing graduation was for a landscape company, after which I got to work with very well known landscape architects for the next few years. While I was in the fifth year of college, I was approached by many people for designing purposes. That is when I felt the need to have a company. Also, my husband was in the same college, and he had finished his graduation while I was in the final year. So, we thought of teaming up and starting a company when he came up with this name “Archids” – wherein ARC stands for architecture, H for horticulture, and IDS for interior design. When we put that together, it sounded good so we went ahead with it.
What are the different kinds of projects you have undertaken in your 20+ years experience?
During my experience all these years, I have worked on a number of projects from residence to corporates ranging from small scale to large scale.
However, small projects have always been interesting for me because it challenges you to apply your creativity to make effective use of the spaces. Also, I believe that no architect is an expert at all types of buildings.
One of the most prestigious projects I have done till date is the factory for Manjushree Technopack spread over 15 acres of land. It is a LEED Gold Certified building. They already had a premise spread over two and a half acres which was designed by us; however, they wanted an expansion so we were hired once again.
I thoroughly enjoyed working on this project though it was challenging and had to apply all the knowledge and experience gained over the years.
“At ARCHIDS, we believe in designing the inside with the outside of the building.” What made you come up with this idea?
From my experience, I can say that landscape is important and I see that a lot of people neglect to consider that the outside view of their homes is equally important. A building isn’t complete if we don’t take care of the immediate environment.
So, while we are designing, we always integrate the interior layout with the landscape outside that particular area.
What lies outside can change the mood for the day. It brings a different emotion so we create a balance between the inside and the outside by giving them equal priorities.
There is a story on how I met Dr. Rao. There was a client of mine who was into packaging. They approached me through a source and told me that they wanted to build a 10,000 square feet building. So, I went to their site where they introduced me to Dr. Rao, who happened to be their Vaastu consultant.
He was like a God figure to them because whatever changes they make used to go through him first. When they suffered through heavy losses in their business, Dr. Rao had suggested some changes in the factory which turned things around for them.
I have seen a lot of my clients bring in their own Vaastu consultants; however, I hadn’t seen someone as good as Dr. Rao before. Probably he knew the client well, but he also knew the process of the factory. There are consultants who make Vaastu look rigid and so scary, but it is not actually like that. Dr. Rao talked about the placements of few things and made them understand why and how it would benefit them. He must have done something really good for them, due to which they treated him with so much respect.
What role has Vaastu played for you?
Vaastu emerges from traditional Hindu Shastra and it is called the science of architecture, so I have applied Vaastu in my homes scientifically. When I enter the project site, I try to feel if I am getting positive vibrations from my surrounding. As an architect, I would say that Vaastu does play a major role in constructing the lives of the people.
Should Vaastu be made a final year subject for architecture students?
It should be. Some of the colleges have already started doing it. Vaastu emerges from our shastra, so why not? Also, I don’t think Vaastu has any religion, so everyone should follow it. During my career, I have seen Muslims, Christians and even some big companies in Dubai follow it.
How does one design offices/homes based on the personality of an individual? Does it have any Vaastu connect?
The building is a manifestation of the individual who is going to live in it.
I don’t believe in enforcing my ideas on my clients; rather, I prefer to sit with them and understand their requirements. After all, it is a dream of everyone to have a home that reflects one’s personality. Some want it flamboyant, some want it restrained. I am not sure if it has a Vaastu connect; however, at the end of the day, if the home matches their personality, everyone’s happy.