Neelam Manjunath: Winner of WADe India Sustainability Champion Award at WADE 2017

The profession of architecture needed a platform like WADe to encourage women architects to pursue their profession in their own right and not as a supportive professional to the male fraternity.

Neelam Manjunath is an architect, planner, scientist, activist & theoretician with degrees both in Science and Architecture from REI Degree college Dayalbagh, and Government College of Architecture Lucknow respectively. Her name was also added in the list of WADe Asia awardees. She won WADe India Sustainability Champion Award at WADE 2017. Neelam Manjunath during an interview with Surfaces Reporter said about WADE Asia, “The profession of architecture needed a platform like WADe to encourage women architects to pursue their profession in their own right and not as a supportive professional to the male fraternity.”

If you want to connect with people who are leading by example and making an impact in the community and all over the world, save the date to join WADe ASIA 2018. It will be a two-day event on 31st August and 1st September 2018 at Pullman, Aerocity in New Delhi.

Neelam Manjunath established her firm in 1991 at Bangalore and had been advocating usage of sustainable materials and technologies since. Her conviction for using Bamboo as a sustainable material is seen in all her projects. The material’s qualities and features are exploited to its adaptation on several residential and institutional buildings across the country and abroad.

Her commendable works have earned her several national and international awards including IIA Dharamastha Manjunatheshwara Award, World Architecture community award, Aga Khan Award for architecture nominee, Arcasia gold medal for sustainable project, amongst others. She has done Media Architecture and charrette training from Harvard design school and a PG diploma in Theology from Dayalbagh university.

Her strive and passion for Bamboo to bringing it into the main stream with so many followers will bring a revolution on Sustainable Architecture development.

Here are the excerpts of her conversation with Surfaces Reporter...

Neelam Manjunath is an architect

When & How did your inclination towards bamboo start?

Materials play a big role in Sustainable Architecture. In 1999, we got a project to design a services block for the Glass House at the Governor’s House in Bangalore. The building had to be done with bamboo and bamboo composites. That was my first project using bamboo. The versatility of the material with the ease of execution made me fall in love with bamboo. The rest as they say is history.

What has been your most challenging yet successful outcome so far in terms of your work towards Bamboo & other sustainable materials research and awareness?

The biggest challenge in using bamboo as a building material has been to convince the clients for its usage in mainstream buildings. The same is true for other natural materials and services as well. We work a lot with mud, stone and waste. It has taken us close to two decades for awareness building about the materials especially bamboo. But I do see a turn around and we are seeing more and more clients who want sustainable buildings with these materials.

What is your one advice to young & aspiring ones.

Be like Bamboo- flexible, resilient, light, simple and humble!

Tell us about your upcoming activities related to Bamboo and what is your ultimate vision. In what ways, do you see the material grow and evolve for maximum benefit?

My ultimate vision for Bamboo is to mainstream it as a material of choice for all types of buildings and not for only niche buildings like cottages, temporary and ancilliary structures.

For this we need human resource at all levels, so I am developing various types of courses for different levels along with several institutions etc.

We still need a lot of research to establish a comprehensive database, as there is severe dearth of data about the material and its applications. We have been documenting all our projects, collecting data from all over the world and are soon coming up with publications in collaboration with various organisations to fill this gap. These are some of the initiatives we are involved with, which I feel will establish bamboo as a desirable material in the building sector.

We also bagged some prestigious projects involving the use of bamboo and mud, and we will keep you updated.


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