Shreya Krishnan: An Architect-Artist Dedicated to Preserving and Promoting Indigenous Designs & Supporting Livelihoods | CEOInsights Vendor
Shreya Krishnan: An Architect-Artist Dedicated to Preserving and Promoting Indigenous Designs & Supporting Livelihoods

Shreya Krishnan: An Architect-Artist Dedicated to Preserving and Promoting Indigenous Designs & Supporting Livelihoods

 Shreya Krishnan ,    Principal Architect

Shreya Krishnan

Principal Architect

The majority of property developers, both in the public and private sectors, are moving toward a more ecologically sustainable style of architecture. Particularly given that the consequences of climate change are already being seen on a global scale. Sustainability is critical for a plethora of reasons, including improved human and environmental well-being. To have flourishing and healthy neighborhoods, we need clean water and air, mineral wealth, and a non-toxic atmosphere, and the construction sector can pave the way toward more sustainable projects. Shreya Krishnan, the founder of Shreya Krishnan Design Office (SKDO), is one such architect who places an emphasis on sustainability practices and social responsibility in particular.

A professional architect and social researcher, Shreya has more than a decade of experience in a wide range of practices and organizations in India and abroad. She has also been a part of the project team of award winning urban design initiatives in India. The urban design projects she has worked on have been recognized by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs of the Government of India, have been included in the C40 Cities Global Street Design Guide, and have been accepted as the national model for best practices by the Government of India as part of its Smart Cities initiative.

Shreya has worked with the UNDP and Asha Impact, a Mumbai-based impact fund, to find ways to improve delivery of affordable housing in cities. For her research and advocacy work, she is interested in affordable housing policy and low-cost building, community mapping and public art, social cohesion in relation to public transportation infrastructure and education, among other things.

An excerpt of Shreya’s interview with the team of CEO Insights is mentioned below.

What inspired you to venture into the architecture industry and what keeps you motivated?
I started my professional career in the United States, where I gained real experience of the difficulties encountered during construction and development by working with architecture and real estate firms. I returned to India in 2013 and began working in the planning and policy sector. I worked on affordable housing typologies for transitoriented development in East Delhi (a low-carbon development strategy that aims to better integrate public transportation and housing in urban Indian settings), and on urban design and strategic planning in Bangalore, Odisha, and Rajasthan. Additionally, I was engaged in the creation of a spatial template for community centers for a well-known microfinance organization that would be extended across India.

I was also involved in the construction of two MFI pilot projects and was a member of India's first pedestrian oriented street design pilot. Besides that, I
conducted research for the United Nations Development Program on low cost housing typologies, drafted policy notes to address gaps in expeditingthe distribution of affordable housing for an impact fund, and created a master plan for a privately constructed 100-acre mixed use, walk able neighborhood in Bangalore. My area of expertise has covered the fields of social impact, policy making and human centered design. As a result, I pursued a Master's degree in Sustainable Urban Development at the University of Oxford and soon after established SKDO.

In my opinion, having an impact at any scale is achievable as long as our design approach is thorough and we can incorporate the product successfully according to the requirements

Tell us about SKDO and its position in the market? What are the specializations of the firm? What sets your firm apart from other architects in the industry?
We are a boutique architecture & design firm that works directly with end-users to actualize the places in which they live, work, and play. Our customers come from a variety of locations, but they are all drawn to the values we as a company bring to the table through our creative approach and understanding. And many of our customers have lived overseas and returned to India, while some are senior business leaders. Even though we have only just opened our second office in Delhi, our brand and reputation in the field of sustainable architecture are well established in Chennai. We are also actively expanding into other cities.

Additionally, the majority of our customers approach us because they share our architectural sensibility and believe in our commitment to sustainability, selection of materials, and the way we incorporate light and nature into the space. Our practice focuses on sustainable architecture and building systems design, as well as interior design and landscape architecture. We have a high rate of recurring customers, and most of our work comes through referrals. Moreover, what differentiates us from other companies is that we are a mission-driven organization that values excellent design and customer satisfaction while also having a beneficial influence on the environment and society, and we strive to accomplish all of these goals in all of our projects.

What is your design philosophy? How do your designs sustain the vision of maintaining environmental and social sustainability?
In my opinion, having an impact at any scale is achievable as long as our design approach is thorough and we can incorporate the product successfully according to the requirements. We want to influence the conversation regarding the potential for design, and specifically architecture, to have a beneficial effect on the ecological, social, intellectual, aesthetic, and psychological levels with our work. Although we are a new organization, we feel that as we expand and grow, we will unravel further opportunities to exhibit our strengths and potential.

At SKDO, we develop climate-resilient, handcrafted, and collaborative structures. And to deal with a changing climate, we think about how to make buildings that are resource efficient, low-carbon, scalable, and long term. We also think about how to be sensitive to the local ecosphere. That means we will be looking at water resilience as
an intrinsic aspect of any kind of environmental design in Chennai, and we will be aiming at greening, bio diversity, and the use of effective passive energy approaches to mitigate temperature extremes in Delhi.

We prioritize handmade buildings not just for their minimal carbon footprint, but also for the positive social impact associated with promoting local crafts and traditions and supporting livelihoods. And we believe that co-creation is all about approaching design as a deliberative, iterative process in which the best results can be achieved by joining forces with the client and paying much attention to their needs, hopes, aspirations, and desires through a step-by-step process where in the design evolves and is fine tuned at every step.

How do you define success? What according to you is the success mantra that helps you to deliver positive outcomes at every level?
A well-performed job, and also solid interpersonal connections, are the hall marks of my definition of success. It would be going the extra mile, and it's all about that referral or repeat project from a delighted customer. Also, having a motivated, self-actualized workforce and team members who are determined to go above and beyond for our customers is also an important consideration.

My success mantra for achieving great results is to establish systems and procedures that enable me to recruit and retain talent, as well as assist them in reaching their full potential. SKDO is a creative economy organization, and our greatest attribute is our people; as such, my primary objective is to empower my team to shine.

As a successful entrepreneur, where do you plan to see yourself in the next five years? What is the roadmap that you have planned for Shreya Krishnan Design Office?
I would want to extend our projects' reach into new locations and sectors over the next five years. I'm passionate about history and eco tourism and would want to create concepts for customers in the hotel and real estate industries that are exploring new forms of leisure, work, and life. Additionally, I am interested in directing self-funded small scale urban pilot projects that may illustrate some of my ideas for sustainable urban development in a manner that prioritizes communities and livable cities.

Project Achievements:
•Best of Houzz 2020 and 2021 and 2022 (3 years in a row).
•Most Innovativeand Promising Architecture and Interior Design Firm of the Year 2022 at the National Architecture and Interior Design Excellence Awards and Conference, 2022.
•40under 40 Best and Trendsetter Architect and Designer of India 2022 at the National Architecture and InteriorDesign Excellence Awards and Conference, 2022.
•2020-Winner of EnteKochi Urban Design Competition organized by GiZ.
•2018-‘Commendable Initiative’ Award from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for the best non-motorized transport project for the BBMP Tender S.UR.E. pilot project at the Urban Mobility India Conference to Jana Urban Space Foundation (member of the project team).
•2018-HUDCO award to Tender SURE Phase 01 for best practices to improve the living environment (member of the design team).
•2016-Indian Green Building Council Accredited Professional.
•2011-Special Honors for Plan II Under graduate Thesis.
•2011-Nominee for the Architype Review Travel Prize on the basis of design excellence.
•2006-Five-year recipient of the Renee Wolfe Zelman and Norman Zelman Endowed Scholarship

Trending Stories