How I met Didi Contractor by Vertica Dvivedi?

Loving tribute to the self-taught architect, sustainability champion and recipient of WADE ASIA Lifetime Achievement Award

In 2017, WADE ASIA was just a year old, and we were researching women architects and designers for the following WADE ASIA speakers and top nominations. Suggestions of names and profiles were flowing in from across the nation and neighboring countries. Our day would start reading about various works by women and end with that too. Even in my dreams, I used to see designers presenting their projects! Ahh..., a fantastic yet crazy time indeed!

Just about a month was left. Project entries for WADE AWARDS were closed, so all the top nominations, except for one - The WADE ASIA Lifetime Achievement Award. None of the entries seemed to fit the criteria for this position.

Then came the name of Didi Contractor, spotted by a WADE ASIA top researcher. Information was very little on the internet, so I had asked to search, spot, connect and arrange for a video call with the person. Didi communicated back.

First time I met Didi Contractor over a Skype call. She spoke about her work and was curious to know how we managed to reach her. She was happy to learn about WADE ASIA's work for women in design, art, architecture, and engineering.

After a good discussion for a prolonged time, I expressed my sheer amazement at interacting with such an active 88-yearyoung architect. She was quick to give back. Didi said, "I am equally amazed at seeing someone young like you leading a national forum for women in design."

It was finally in October 2017 when I met Didi Contractor in person as our guest at WADE ASIA in Gurgaon. Her speech was out-of-the-world and left a lot of question marks in the minds of the audience. People encircled Didi Contractor to get a glimpse of her. There was a standing ovation by the audience when she received her 1st award at the age of 88 by WADE ASIA. Didi was the top celebrity of WADE in 2017 along with actress Bhagyashree of 'Maine Pyar Kiya' fame and singer Hema Sardesai of 'Chak de India' fame'. Every scene about her is etched in my memory like a beautiful reel.

I am sharing the two videos created in memory of Didi Contractor with collection of her photos and another, a selection of her quotes.


Collection of Photos of Didi Contractor

Rare collection of Quotes by Didi Contractor

A true homage to Didi Contractor would be to follow her path and enable progress in the work that she started. Losing architect Revati Kamat and then Didi Contractor is too much to come to terms with, in sustainable architecture led by women. I sincerely look forward to some names I deeply admire, like Chitra Vishwanath, Neelam Manjunath and few more passionate architects, to take Didi's legacy forward.

Rest in Peace, Didi Contractor,

May your tribe grow!


Editor-in-Chief, Surfaces Reporter | Founder, WADE ASIA

Co-Chair, WEC, PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry




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