Ranging from temperate to arid and humid-tropical, India is as diverse in the terrains and climatic zones that it encompasses as it is in the various forms of vernacular architecture that were developed to adapt perfectly to their respective settings. When you add the complex fabric of culture to this existing diversity, the number of styles and variations between regions that have resulted is truly remarkable. “Identifying each project’s unique setting and reinterpreting the vernacular with a sensitivity towards nature has always been a source of inspiration for us,” says the team at GNA.
The firm, Gayathri and Namith Architects (GNA) was founded in 1993 by Founding Partners and architects Gayathri Shetty and Namith Varma. The journey of the duo has provided GNA with the opportunity to design and support the execution of a variety of projects across India, ranging from designer private residences, to apartments, industrial facilities, corporate offices, malls, technology parks, institutions, health-care facilities, leisure-and-hospitality resorts, hotels, and interior fit-outs. “Over the years, our practice has been the recipient of 50+ prestigious awards,” shares Gayathri.
GNA’s architectural erudition is evident in the segments of:
- Heritage and Conversation
- Documentation and Research
With dedicated teams consisting of seasoned seniors and budding professionals in each of the above spheres, GNA has always encouraged collaboration between the disciplines to bring together uniquely sensitive solutions to any set of given requisites.
Depending on the context, GNA’s solutions have drawn inspiration from a spectrum of subjects, ranging from traditions deeply rooted in history, as showcased in the Vedic Pathshala at Sringeri, to the latest advancements in technology, as seen in the Global Headquarters of Jaquar at Manesar.
Through its avant-garde designs, GNA has always aimed to curate the perfect blend of the past’s grounded richness and the future’s ambitious sense of utility. The structure of the organization and its dedication to this approach to design, in itself, is the quality that sets the practice apart from many of its contemporaries.
The team at GNA believes in context-driven solutions. According to them, any design should resonate with its given setting, whether it is through the physical and tangible or the intangible. Each design by GNA is tailored for its unique setting since the team envisages a harmonious amalgamation of built and unbuilt, of the man-made and nature.
The team doesn’t believe in forcing signatures on its designs. Instead, mindful eyes and ears let the site and its context dictate the strokes of brushes and pens. All designs are naturally unique because of inevitable variations between any two given sites. GNA takes great pride in this approach, which it has nurtured and imparted since its formative years, and the wide range of unique projects that have resulted from it.
At the Helm of ‘Innovation’
Over the years, GNA’s method of design and mode of presentation have made use of several innovative tools which were developed to avail new practices in design and improve the efficiency and quality of work.
The organization has used Revit and Rhino with Grasshopper to create more detailed models and achieve abstract forms derived from para-metrics. “We have used 3D printers to keep up with multiple reiterations while experimenting with the physical forms of our buildings,” explains Gayathri. “Our 3D walk-throughs are rendered on Lumion to give our clients a lively and more realistic sense of our designs’ spatial experiences,” Namith adds further.
GNA has used technology to promote eco-friendly models. In projects of larger scales and greater complexity, their designs have incorporated innovative technologies to improve the building’s efficiency and, in turn, reduce its footprint. This is most evident in Jaquar’s ‘Net-Zero’ Global Headquarters in Manesar, where technologies such as radiant cooling, photovoltaic roofing, ‘Optimum E-Value semi-unitized glazing’ and several other components were used to optimize the building’s performance.
Even in their more modest designs, passive, economical methods to maintain comfort while reducing the building’s impact on its surroundings are used starting from the initial concept itself. Calculated use of the building’s orientation, opening positions, choice of materials, use of passive cooling techniques such as mutual shading and texture, waste-water recycling and other methods are encouraged at the practice. In projects such as The Vedic Pathshala in Sringeri, the building was made to weave its way between trees to preserve all existing vegetation.
Industry Dynamics & GNA
“Advancement in our industry continues to increase at challenging rates because of its multifaceted nature,” informs Namith. Globalization has resulted in a greater exchange of, not only material knowledge and technology, but also the imbibing of lifestyles and ideas.
GNA believes that, as a practice, it is their responsibility to keep up with the pace and provide the best solutions available for an ever-changing set of requirements. The company continues to inculcate its younger members with foresight so that they design for tomorrow’s requirements today and create timeless designs that can be enjoyed for years to come.
With dwindling resources and the stability of ecosystems being threatened, mindful design and responsible construction principles have become essential. Equipped with the mantra “reduce, recycle, retrofit, and reuse,” the people at GNA see their unique position as an opportunity to contribute to, and ensure sustainability in this day and age.
The future lies in studying the fast-evolving lifestyles involving inbuilt and ready-to-build spaces while proposing the most responsible and sustainable solutions to the clients. “We are constantly working on new architectural solutions to challenges that we foresee,” concludes the team of GNA.