Ranju Singhi – At The Forefront of India’s ‘Integrated Development’
Sustainable solutions are the efforts to limit the humanity’s impact on the environment. With the rising metropolis’ we have paved the way for the concrete jungles. However, the new conscious way of living is emerging and we are incorporating eco-friendly and sustainable choices in our lifestyles. There is a new wave where we see many architects and architecture firms adopting technologies having minimal interference with the nature. One such powerful woman is Ranju Singhi, Managing Partner and Principal Architect, BASICS Architects. She is leading the way in sustainable integrated development with her ideas in India and across the globe. Offdhook speaks to Ranju Singhi on sustainable living practices and the new forms of designs in the post COVID-19 era.
India is witnessing a conscious way of living as people are more aware of the destructive footprint that we are leaving on the planet. Eco-friendly and sustainable living is the new mantra. How do you as an architect contribute towards this new and greener India?
Being eco-friendly and sustainable needs to have a holistic approach. It is more than just implementation of energy efficient strategies and preservation of natural resources. It is about creating nature integrated developments, combined with sustainable practices so that we can progress towards the vision of Greener India. As architects our purpose is two-fold, one is to integrate these strategies into our projects or developments but also create awareness among the general masses about the benefits of being sustainable.
With your green initiatives you work in conjunction with nature. Tell us the innovative ways that are practiced at BASICS?
We at Basics believe that we need to take Sustainability to a next level. Other than focussing on Energy and Resources, we need to also look at integrating nature & greens fully into our developments. This will offer us much more direct benefits. Our developments will be much more humane rather than the concrete jungles we have created in the last century.
We have tried to incorporate nature in each of our projects either directly or indirectly. Our projects generally have abundance of natural light, ventilation and fresh air. We also have a vigorous process of selection of materials and patterns that are natural or mimic nature. Landscaping plays an important role in integrating nature into our developments.
What is the way forward that you see in the sustainable ecosystem? Kindly throw some light with your experience.
We firmly believe in nature integrated developments as the future of sustainability. This integrated approach needs to be applied from a micro to a macro level primarily from singular dwelling home to a large development to the city level. Once the government and the community work in conjunction to incorporate nature from “Home to Locality to City” level then we’ll be able to create a sustainable ecosystem.
You have focussed on promoting health and well – being with your creative and eco-friendly solutions. How COVID-19 and the whole Pandemic situation has added to that vision?
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted people globally and has also managed to bring ample amount of consciousness/awareness on personal health and wellbeing. Since we have been spending majority of our time indoors, our built environments have played a key role in maintaining and promoting our health.
At BASICS we have always been committed to promoting the health and wellbeing of our clients. Post covid it has become easier for us to convince our clients as their aspirations are now aligned with our vision.
How will the design of offices and schools change, post the COVID-19 pandemic?
Schools and offices are one of the most crowded spaces with high density of people sharing closed indoor areas. The major concern in such areas is Indoor Air Quality. Post the pandemic the importance of the indoor air quality has further been highlighted in our built environments.
Modern Air-conditioning systems with the provision of fresh air intake should be used in classrooms and workspaces. These systems also need to be properly designed to allow adequate air change as per the standards to maintain satisfactory Indoor Air quality levels. Monitoring systems should be installed in indoor areas to keep in check the quality of air and also generate awareness amongst people. Naturally ventilated spaces are the best possible solution to maintain the indoor air quality in any type of built environment.
How challenging your journey has been as a woman?
In a male dominated environment and culture, it takes a little extra effort to succeed as an Indian woman. It is also challenging to balance traditional social expectations of me as a woman, with my ambitions and goals. Also, I believe, women cannot expect anyone else to fight for them – I will work, travel, miss family events – you will have to stand your ground. Although, I do have to face the glass ceiling at times but I always have the confidence to get past these hurdles and carve my own niche. The support of my family along with my persistence helped me overcome most of these challenges.
What will you #Choosetochallenge ?
Be Brave and change the perception of this biased society.
What is the true meaning of Women’s Day for you? Any message for our women readers on this day?
I don’t think Women’s Day needs to be specifically celebrated in this modern era, where everyone is updated with issues and knowledge. Instead of focusing on women only on a particular day, we can celebrate every day as Women’s Day by our actions, by seeing the current problems persistent in women and bringing a solution to it.
My only advice to my fellow women is, be prepared to put in the extra effort to break the glass ceiling! Everybody is capable, it’s the confidence that decides the path ahead.
Richa Sharma Puri