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Parul Zaveri along with her partner Nimish Patel established Abhikram (Sanskrit word for Initiation), a Planning, Architecture, Conservation and Interiors consultancy firm.

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Architect

I-Me-Myself

December 22, Ahmedabad
Diploma in Architecture
Ar. Kamal Mangaldas - Summer Job, 1969; Ar. B.V. Doshi - Summer Job, 1970 & Internship, 1973; Paolo Soleri, U.S.A, 1976; Frank Mbanefo & Assoc., Enugu, Nigeria, 1977 - 78
Abhikram, 1979 to date; Panika, 2001 to date; Panika Crafts & Technologies 2000 to date; Virasat Foundation 1998 to date; Kanineeka Foundation 1998 to date; Kanika Organic Farm 2003 to date
Ahmedabad
Gujarat
India

Parul Zaveri along with her partner Nimish Patel established Abhikram (Sanskrit word for 'Initiation'), a Planning, Architecture, Conservation and Interiors consultancy firm in 1979, with a view to explore design directions and processes, which make Built Environment, functionally, psychologically, environmentally and spiritually, more balanced, contextual and comfortable for the end-user.

After 23 years of efforts in initiating these directions, Abhikram has made room, for Panika and Panika Crafts & Technologies (PCT), The Duo are committed to conservation of our cultural heritage, revival and continuation of the use of the traditional materials, technologies and the skills, generation of work & livelihood for traditional craft persons, and reducing the energy consumption for human comforts, through passive means.

She, with Nimish Patel headed the conservation team of INTACH-Jaipur chapter, in the Rajasthan Urban Infrastructure Development Project (RUIDP) at Jaipur, Rajasthan, for its Rs.50 Crore Heritage Component, from 2001 to 2004. They were instrumental in initiating the Heritage Conservation Movement in Udaipur, Jaipur and Amber.

They have also won internationally prestigious UNESCO'S Asia Pacific Heritage Award for Culture, Heritage Conservation in 2000.

Through Virasat Foundation, Ahmedabad they initiated the 'Unknown Crafts Persons' Trophy (UCP Trophy), at the Annual National Association of Students of Architecture (NASA) Convention with the intent for students to expose, analyse, investigate and understand themselves the vast range of Crafts which exists in India.

She has been actively serving as Jury member at National Level Award Ceremonies. They are the first Indian Architects, shortlisted for the prestigious 2016 Ashden International Awards, better known as the "Green Oscars".

They are now diversifying into an advisory role to all stakeholders involved in Conservation, Architecture and Interior Design Practices - on how to make a building & its interiors sustainable, cooling the spaces through passive techniques; using local material, arts & crafts.

Awards

Th e Oberoi Udaivilas
2007

Udaipur has been Voted the World’s Best Hotel twice, by Travel + Leisure, World’s Best Hospitality Awards, 2015 & 2007 & has been in the top 10 categories of the world’s Best hotels from the year of its operations, 2002. In addition it has won more than 90 Hospitality awards till date.

Aces Of Space Award
2010

in the Architecture, Hospitality and Leisure category, for Th e Tree Of Life Resort & Spa near Jaipur, India

A+D-Spectrum Award
2003

in the Public Building Category & Indian Architect & Builder Award in the Designing for Corporate Culture in Social Responsibilities, for Torrent Research Center at Ahmedabad, India

UNESCO Asia-Pacifi c Heritage Conservation Award
2000

for Chanwar Palkhiwalon-ki Haveli at Amber,Jaipur, India

IAA-Snowcem Award
1998

for excellence in Urban Architecture in the Residential Buildings category for Aam Niwas - A Residence near Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

I'm deeply inspired by

Several collective influences besides my Parents - Shri Swami Vivekanand, Shri Subhash Chandra Bose, Shri Markand Dave, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, Shri Nirubhai Desai & Smt. Nimuben Desai (freedom fighters), Dr. Virbala Zaveri, Prof. B. V. Doshi, Prof. Horacio Caminos, Ar. Paolo Soleri, Mr. John & Ms. Faith Singh, Shri Arvind Singh Mewar, Mr. P.R.S. Oberoi just to name a few.

Architects/ Designers I admire

  • Indian: Ar. Laurie Baker, Shri Vidyadhar Bhattacharya (Designer of Jaipur City), and Traditional Craftspersons
  • International: Ar. Christopher Alexander, Ar. Paolo Soleri, Ar. Geoffrey Bawa, Ar. Hassan Fathy

I dream...

That we move towards an environmentally sustainable healthy peaceful and harmonious world, free of planned obsolescence, and GDP, as the measure of growth. Where the knowledge and wisdom that evolved over centuries which survived till recent past is integrated into our daily lives and becomes the fountain that feeds the new growth.

If i were to live again, i would do...

  • Have hands on experience by traveling and working in different parts of India with all our traditional technologies and crafts, thus learning from our artisans and craftspersons.
  • Learn Sanskrit to gain firsthand knowledge of our field from our scriptures, starting from Atharv Veda.
  • Help in empowering our villages, and create a movement of profitable self employment to curb migration to cities.

Message to upcoming architects

Architecture being a service oriented profession, our responsibility as an Architect is first to make all designs functionally, climatically, psychologically & spiritually more comfortable for its end users, to the society, to the nation and to the universe. Those who wish to see it as an art primarily, should invest their own money in making it rather then Clients', as all artists do. We must also do away with the practice of blindly aping the west and strive to create and define our own Indian identity, and start making judicious decisions in the interest of the nation and the society at large.

Today even in international environment summits it is accepted that our design profession and its related progressive and modern material building industry & buildings contribute 45% to 50% of Co2 emissions in the world, which is one of the three gases responsible for global warming. This is a major warning bell & we need to do course correction from now for us and our future generations.

It is important to make ourselves aware that in the present scenario, there are multiple options to choose from, but the choices that we make, must contribute to greater sustainability in life & society, as making a judicious choice is no longer an option for us but it is our responsibility to leave a more sustainable earth for the future generations.

Opinion about WADe India

Almost 25 years ago few of us women architects based in Ahmedabad and Mumbai had started a group with the same objectives as that of WADe. This platform helped voice their problems, find solutions & empowered many women architects, who developed the confidence to create their own space in the male dominated architecture & interior profession.

An organization like WADe is required at this stage to revive that spark and take it to the national level. This is a good initiative since their attention is not diverted into the profession they can focus on women architects' development.

Top 5 projects

  • The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur , completed in 2002
  • The Torrent Research Centre, Ahmedabad , Phase 1 competed in 1996 and Phase 2 in 2000
  • Digantar Rural School, Todi, Ramzanpura near Jaipur, completed in 1994
  • Chanwar Palkiwalon ki Haveli (Anokhi Haveli),Amber, Jaipur completed in 1994
  • Various buildings at The City Palace Complex of Udaipur, (Shambhu Niwas Palace, Shiv Niwas Palace, Fateh Prakash Palace, Badi Pal etc.), Renovation, Restoration, Adaptive re-use, Re-furbishing and Interiors from 1987 to 2002

Other Recognition

  • In 2016, the Government of Gujarat awarded 'The Spirit of Sabarmati' award to Parul Zaveri & Nimish Patel in pursuit of responsible Architecture in the Indian Context, with strong focus on energy conservation through passive Human Comfort Systems and to re-establish the relevance of traditional; decision making processes in contemporary contexts.
  • Recipient of the 'Fellowship of Chicago Cultural Centre' in 1995, to pursue interest in the Frank Lloyd Wright's designed buildings in Chicago and the State of Illinois; and to give a series of lectures at various universities. She also interacted with various Architectural practices and Women Architects and Women Professionals/ Organizations.