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Meghana Dutta, Studio Decode, Bangalore
Meghana Dutta is a founding partner of Studio Decode, an award winning architecture and urban design firm with green and technology centric initiatives, seeking sustainable transformations through architecture. She leads the firm’s initiatives in research and implementation for their sustainable efforts. She is also engaged in holding conversations and panel discussions with government officials on ‘Reimagining our Urban Space to ensure Sustainable Urban Development and Equity’.
Do you think architecture has the power to build better communities? How?
Holistic urban development that addresses inequality and improve the quality of living, has the power to build resilience in communities. In particular, architecture of social engagement, be it design of public spaces, libraries, parks or social housing can create robust communities. Through responsible design of buildings, environmental justice and social justice can be addressed. An excellent example is the transformation of Bogota, Columbia. In 1990’s Bogota had the reputation of being the most unsafe city of Latin America. Through design of urban spaces that was accessible to all, Enrique Penalosa, the mayor of Bogota, transformed a city that was sinking in corruption, drugs, murder and violence to a city filled with hope .
How has interactions with artists, architects and designers in WADE developed your perspective towards art and architecture?
Dan Rice, the Philanthropy Architect has said, “there are three forms of visual art: Painting is art to look at, Sculpture is art you can walk around, and Architecture is art you can walk through”. Architecture has always been influenced by art, be it baroque or renaissance. Rather than collaborating with artists as an add on, collaboration with them from the start can help us architects visualise design solutions with a new perspective. WADE has provided the platform for us to meet artists from across the country and engage with them in meaningful conversations.
WADE has successfully year after year provided this opportunity to meet architects from across the country with different strengths and varying backgrounds.
“WADE Asia has grown leaps and bounds in a very short span of time. The idea of Water Warriors as the theme for WADE 2019 is the need of the hour. As Dr Vandana Shiva has rightly said, responsibility of water has always been in the purview of women. If as women we do not find solutions, we will see millions of women already affected in the rural areas, soon become water refugees.”
As a WADE Woman & WADE Winner, how would you contribute towards other fellow professionals?
There are millions of talented girls in the underprivileged sector, who can and are more apt in solving simple but critical urban issues through design. Design of garbage push carts, vendors cart, innovative use of waste etc. could be looked at from a different perspective through their eyes. With WADE’s support, my firm could evolve our simple efforts for the last 10 years with these talented children, to a more professional collaboration with them, by providing design education that will serve a larger social cause.
What is your biggest takeaway from WADE ASIA?
Professional networking at WADE for me personally, has helped me widen the sphere of my professional connections, and has helped me create new strong relationships with like-minded people. WADE, the only platform dedicated to Women in Art, Architecture and Engineering has strengthened the bonding within this fraternity immensely.
Note: This article was originally published on Surfaces Reporter December 2019 Issue.