Giving back as an Architect
On this episode, you will get to listen to the fascinating story of Naresh V Narasimhan, who is a the principal & CEO of Venkataramanan Associates . He shares his journey in Architecture from studying in Manipal in the 80s to joining his father in the VA group, his tryst with drafting and CAD, his views on smart cities, building information modelling and why giving back as an Architect is paramount in this day and age.
The VA group (Venkataramanan Associates)
Venkataramanan Associates, founded in 1969, is one of the country’s leading architecture and urban design firms, based in Bengaluru and Pune. Over the forty-nine years since its founding, the firm has built a vast knowledge base in architectural design.
VA has grown from a small office that gained reputation early on for its work in real estate and scientific institutions, to a 180-person firm currently servicing reputed clients from several of India’s largest corporates and Fortune 500 companies like GE, GM, Volkswagen, Bosch, Infosys, Wipro, Reliance, HPCL, Cummins and some of the biggest real estate conglomerates in the country like Prestige, Brigade, Puravankara etc.
The firm now has a diverse portfolio spanning multiple sectors and geographies ranging from complex research and development facilities, manufacturing units and IT parks, to public institutions and real estate, creating some of the benchmarks for their typologies in India. The firm employs a highly eclectic work style of knowledge building in allied fields, a workforce with core strengths in varied sectors and extensive client research and fieldwork. Therein, its strengths lie in its ability to leverage the clients’ position with design knowledge.
VA understands the transformative nature of architecture and all its work is based on this understanding. The firm’s award-winning projects have been widely published in India and are part of a rapidly growing portfolio of radical work.
Naresh’s introduction to Architecture
“When the singularity comes, it’s all mathematics. All other forms of science converge to Maths. It’s all Maths in the end.”
- Natural affinity towards Architecture
“Architecture is an unusual combination of lots of things. You have to be a jack of all trades, and master of some.”
Studying in Manipal & the extraordinary Library
Getting into Product Design & Delhi
“Architects think their job is to build buildings. Your job is to make a better place for society. You never have one client in Architecture, you also have the society as a hidden client.”
Joining his dad in 1985
Initial years in Venkatraman Associates
“Architecture is not a hobby, it’s not a profession, it’s just a calling”
Scaling up with Autocad in the 80s!!
“I was probably the first guy in India to buy Autocad”
Release 10 of Autocad
The Embassy in Ali Askar Road
“The software right now is ahead of the industry instead of the other way around”
How did VA group land the bigger projects?
Building the first software park in India – “Infosys”
“To see the trend before it happens. Your brand is your building”
Clients have the same issue as Architects “How to find you?”
“There are not many good architects in India. And by good, I don’t mean subjectively good. I mean objectively capable of building a good building”
“People coming out of colleges now, they need almost a year of unlearning before they’re any use to us”
Goals & Visions for the VA group
Sectors that VA group work on – Science & Technology, Real Estate, Industry, Hospitality, Pro-bono Urban Design Projects.
“Church street is the only street in Bangalore where you can walk from one end to the other with your head looking up”
“Every Architect should devote 5% of their revenue and try to do one project for the City every year. This city has given us everything. Don’t you think we need to give back to the city”
Opinion on Smart Cities