SAMIRA RATHOD: SPACES, IMPRINTS & VIBES | WOMEN ARCHITECT IN INDIA | AR. MOHSIN SHEIKH.

Hello everyone!!!!

Welcome back to the blog. Today we have someone so diverse in her practice that her caliber of spectrum of works is unparalleled. She has shaped architecture design to reach new level through her practice.

Let me take you through a journey of a revolutionary architect, whose work is not just restricted to design but also writings, research, films and education. She’s a perfect inspiration if you are someone who’s an architect trying to blend research and design.

Ar. Samira Rathod
Ar. Samira Rathod

SETTING FOOT IN ARCHI-anarchy-TECTURE…

Samira Rathod is a Mumbai-based architect, writer & teacher, who completed her Bachelors in architecture from Sir JJ School of Architecture in 1986, and went on to achieve a master’s degree in 1988, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

While in the states she worked for the firm of Don Wald and Associates, California on various projects, in India she worked for Ar. Ratan Batliboi.

SETTING SAILS & THE JOURNEY AHEAD…

Ventures of her own started with RLC, a firm she opened in partnership in 1995, followed by her 1996 solo furniture exhibition called ‘Liasons de Formes’, which brought her to the forefront. In 2000, she started Samira Rathod Design Atelier (SRDA).

What followed, is a plethora of projects, experiments and numerous awards and acclaim. SRDA in rooted firmly in the philosophy of the architecture of BLIRS – beautiful, local, indigenous, recycle and reuse, and small.

She believes that the context of buildings is a starting point to design. Architecture should rely heavily on its context, including the materials available, local craft etc. She goes further to say that the firm’s designers strongly believe in objects as characters that speak to you.

In the same way, architecture influences and speaks to the person inhabiting that space. The architect says that the firm, rather than merely prioritizing functional space planning, devotes a large part of its work to “creating experiences, using space to interpret – rather than reiterating the definitive,” using light and texture.

Poetry draws the distinction between a piece of architecture and a mere building. She compares architecture to poetry in the sense that poetry is the “unraveling of layers of meaning, whereas architecture is unraveling of experiences; surprise, serendipity, comfort, relief, romance.” However, Rathod explains that “esoteric” sources of inspiration such “stories, books, conversations” may be brought into designs but subliminally. “not necessarily as physical manifestations.”

Until 2003, she was also involved in furniture design under Transforme Designs. In the role of an editor and a writer, she created SPADE – a biannual journal deliberating design and architecture in India. Spade aims to invoke introspection and provoke thought, explore ideas and inspire aspirations towards a fine architecture, especially at a time when we must shoulder the huge responsibility of nation building.

The articles, essays, projects are all of academic significance and will then remain as key markers for ideas to follow, question or denounce by fellow designers. Spade may be a great source for reading and understanding for students and the upcoming generations of designers in the country and is one forum that will discuss openly and unabashedly.

SHADOWS, DANCING ARCHES & MUCH MORE…

While there are numerous amazing completed and ongoing projects and initiatives to the credit of SRDA, here are some remarkable ones.

The School of Dancing Arches.

This school in Bhadran, Gujarat, seems like straight out of a child’s drawing book, with its asymmetric arches. The form weaves experiences and fascination, as a child explores it encountering trees and play elements on the way. The material used is local terracotta bricks for walls, floors and roof (including a layer of concrete), and is beautifully crafted to precision by the local labour.

The shadow house:

It’s a house where the light and shadows, play and contemplation are intrinsic. Its idea began from the site context, scorching heat and two lonely trees! This two-storey house, along with a courtyard and a swimming pool, exhibits various intonations of light, hence there is always a room to explore with every turn. While the exterior does not give away much, unraveling its layers on the inside.

Maze, Tree house, a wall as room are some installations that present a new premise to perception of spaces.This is just the tip of the huge iceberg that is SRDA.

SPADE & THE BIG PIANO…

SPADE is a periodic journal on architecture – a platform for thoughts, that may not essentially be conclusive, narrative or argumentative in nature, but are thought provoking. As its motto rightly justifies, it is about ‘taking a harder look at ourselves’.

Under its subset of SIRCLE, Spade also undertakes research projects, some of which include Project boject, A Dark Rhapsody, Visions and Divisions- The Banganga Experiments and more.

The Big Piano is a product and furniture design initiative that perceives them as pieces of art and craft, while simultaneously blending functionality. The materials range from old recycled woods, to metals and more.

SPREADING THE KNOWLEDGE…

Samira Rathod is an adjunct faculty member at the Kamla Raheja Institute of Architecture in Mumbai and has been invited to be a part of juries and panels all over the country and abroad. She has also given several talks and presentations on architecture at various events.

SRDA have a YouTube channel, wherein excerpts from various talks (such as The Architect’s Retreat, a SPADE India initiative), Anarchytecture – a film by SRDA, In the mood for Love (an experiential retreat) and more. The way architecture and its dimensions are presented in the designs, videos, documentations of SRDA is unconventionally interesting.

WHAT WE LEARN FROM HER…

Architecture has both tangible and intangible components. It is thereby important to widen our perspectives and understandings in different realms like research, writing, competition. Also, drawings should be our primary mode of communication, hence its very crucial how we represent things in them. Architecture should be viewed as both the process and the product.


We write blogs on Architecture and everything around it, so if you are interested get in touch through these mediums:

Don’t forget to Like, comment, follow and share it with your friends
Say Hi on INSTAGRAM
Tweet us @moh0392
Want your space designed by us, mail at: armohsinsheikh@outlook.com
UNTIL THEN, STAY TUNED & STAY SAFE.

Things you can gift an Architect | Ar. Mohsin Sheikh

Picking up gifts for architects can be difficult and if you choose perfectly, you can surely win their hearts. People always get stuck as to what gift should one give to friends who are studying architecture, and as architects we tend to   have different requirements than other professionals.

The amount of craziness for stuff if I can explain, is by saying that architects can go crazy after looking at a particular type of a pencil, or a book or maybe just a Building.

Also, we have requirements ranging from pencils to technology and anywhere in between, because the course of Architecture is itself so diverse.

So, choosing between these can be a bit of a task, and hence here I am with my list of products which range from gifts for an Architecture Student to a Veteran Architect.

Here’s a list of 8 items which you can gift your architect friend by which he/she will be blown away.

XP-PEN ARTIST 13.3 PRO DRAWING TABLET.

In college most of us develop our design by sketching. I use to be that person who develops his design based on some sketch. I personally still enjoy sketching. But as technology took up fast, I am restricted to some software’s which I use for my personal and professional work.

I recently came to know about this device where we can sketch directly on screen. This device is compatible with almost all the software’s including 3DS max & Maya.

STAEDTLER MARS LUMOGRAPH DRAWING PENCIL FOR DESIGN & DRAFTING

Ever since I have joined architecture, I have been a fan of Staedtler company and love their products, almost everything. And without exaggeration these are the best in-line products compared to other companies. As I have mentioned before my love for sketching, so while recommending this has to come on the 2nd position.

ROTRING 800+ MECHANICAL PENCIL AND TOUCHSCREEN STYLUS, 0.5 MM.

How many pencils are enough? I don’t think there will be a precise answer for this. From the stationary which I have right now, even when I have been away from college for more than 4 years, I still use different pencils on a daily basis.

These are like investments for architects, once you buy them, they are with you for years. The best part about this pencil specifically is that it acts as a touchscreen stylus as well. Nowadays everyone has a touchscreen phone and laptops, hence this can be used in so many different ways.

3D SPACE MOUSE COMPACT.

This is a new concept for me as well. While researching for this blog I found out this amazing product. We use Google Sketchup, 3DS MAX, Revit on daily basis and our work would get much easier by this product.

If your friend is someone who works more on 3D projects and is a Tech-savvy person, this is the perfect gift for him/her.

METAL LED DESK LAMP

No matter how much you work in a day but it never gets finished. This will be something you’ll gift yourself. For all the sleepless nights this will be your companion. It is made with Aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. It has 18 adjustable light choices, 6 brightness levels and 3 lightning modes to choose from and non-flickering lightning ideal for work & study. There’s an input for USB port, you can charge you devices from that as well.

FLASH FORGE FINDER FDM 3D PRINTER

There are a lot of benefits of 3D-printers. A compatible 3D printer like this can change your design perspective and exemplify your personal and professional growth. Link for the detailed blog on 3D printing has been provided below, and to know more, you can read there.

DERWENT BATTERY OPERATED ERASER

If you’re not willing to spend more than Rs. 500/- and want to give something unique I have something for you as well. This battery-operated Eraser by Derwent is just something from the future. It is suitable for graphite, colored a pastel pencil. This is ideal for small areas and detail work without damaging the paper.

AREAWARE DMPR PRISM MAGNIFIER

This magnifier was designed by Daniel Martinez. 2% of the proceeds of prism magnifier sales are donated to the Wikimedia Foundation. This magnifier is made by K5 crystal glass and is something you can keep on your table as small sculpture which can be used as a magnifier.

This was my list of gifts you can give your Architect friends. If you have some interesting gift options, you can comment down below and I’ll feature that in the next blog (just make sure it is available on Amazon). If you’re bored of making birthday videos for them in quarantine, you can gift something valuable which would be of use to them for years.


We write blogs on Architecture and everything around it, so if you are interested get in touch through these mediums:

Don’t forget to Like, comment, follow and share it with your friends
Say Hi on INSTAGRAM
Tweet us @moh0392
Want your space designed by us, mail at: armohsinsheikh@outlook.com
UNTIL THEN, STAY TUNED & STAY SAFE.