Interview with Architect Chitra Viswanath, Bengaluru
Please tell us a bit about yourself as a person and what led to the idea of Biome.
I am a very nice person. “Biome” the name was my husband Vishwanath’s idea. Biome as an ecological practice started way back in 1990 in the name of “ChitraVishwanath” architects (for want of any creative idea to name the practice as such which on hindsight was a good thing- imagine being called CV Architects–very boring!). In 2000, Vishwanath started “Rainwater Club” which still exists as an NGO. Rainwater Club worked on water and sanitation issues and it did not mostly work on any architectural projects by Chitra Vishwanath Architects but on projects handled by other architects and developers.. In 2008, Rainwater Club and Chitra Vishwanath architects came together and formed Biome. By 2008 Chitra Vishwanath Architects had established a name on design of ecologically sensitive architecture which integrated building with earth as well as intelligent water and sanitation solutions. “Biome is defined as an – ecology of a place- and since we work on ecological designs we felt this was an apt name for the office.
Could you elaborate on the techniques used by your team in building design?
The technique used in building design is just like what any architect is taught and trained to do. Discuss with the client, note the site and design according to the climate while keeping the costs incurred frugal.
You are amongst a handful of architects in India today for whom ecologically sensitive architecture is the only way of life. Does the journey get lonely at times?
Not really, there are many Indian architects who are doing excellent works in this field. They are either media shy or have not been discovered by the popular media that is all. It is not lonely for me personally since I am lucky to have a team which fosters the same sensibility and challenges one another.