Ar. Madhavi Desai: Professor, Writer, Speaker and a Committed Feminist| Ar. Mohsin Sheikh


Welcome back to the blog. Academically architecture is quite romanticized, contrasting to that practicing of architecture as a profession is quite different. Now as a young graduate you think you are not contributing to the optimum level to the society, which you thought you’ll do once you are an architect. Now this is not a common phenomenon it won’t happen to everyone, if you’re someone who’s affected by issues in society you will understand what I am trying to say.

Change in society is difficult to bring about. As an architect the positive here is that we can address nearly each and every issue.    Now This week’s architect is someone who has not just created an impact but also brought about a change through her writings. Madhavi Desai, renowned architect and a passionate writer. In this attempt to run through the milestones of her life and her contribution through the medium of Architecture.

Architecture is a tool where we can affect positively or negatively people’s life. And from history we learn from our mistakes and develop our Architectural sense. If not Documented properly history won’t be adding value to the future.

If you want to destroy a civilization, don’t destroy their money or people, just simply burn their books

Research and Documentation are the two main important aspects of History. And catalyst like Madhavi Desai play an important role in guiding us to our better future.

In the ‘often considered male dominated’ field of architecture, there are numerous women architects contributing commendably to the multifaceted profession that it is. Be it leading the frontiers of design, research, writing, teaching or allied fields, one always finds notable contributions of women. One such versatile architect and personality is Ar. Madhavi Desai. She is a principal architect at the joint studio Archicrafts for about 25 years since 1981, along with Ar. Miki Desai.

Ar. Madhavi Desai has an M. Arch. from the University of Texas at Austin, USA. She also received the senior research fellowship at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture in MIT, USA and Sarai, New Delhi and also from the Indian Council for Social Science Research, New Delhi.

Besides these she has received grants for various national and international assignments and has been an adjunct faculty at the Faculty of Architecture, CEPT University, Ahmedabad since 1986.

As a passionate writer, she has authored and co-authored some amazing pieces. Her book ‘Women Architects and Modernism in India’, is a fascinating account of era from 1940s, paralleling modernism and unconventional women architects and narratives of their work, life & experiences. This is a remarkable feat because of lack of any pre-existing archives on the matter.

Another very significant piece is the one that she has co-authored with Miki Desai and Jon Lang is, ‘Architecture and Independence: The Search for Identity, India -1880 to 1980’ (1997).This book traces the connection between architecture, independence, culture and aspirations of us as a nation.

It examines the effects of colonization and sheds light on ‘the iconography of the signs and symbols of a culture’ and ‘the role of architecture as a cultural phenomenon’.

Yet another interesting work is the book, ‘The Bungalow in Twentieth Century India: The Cultural Expression of Changing Ways of Life and Aspirations in the Domestic Architecture of Colonial and Post-Colonial Society’, a book that portrays various technological, political and social developments that shaped the bungalow as a building type and its evolution with respect to the same.

It offers a holistic analysis of the connection between architecture, culture and life and is a remarkably commentary on something as personal and intimate as a home. Further on these lines, she has authored the book titled ‘Traditional Bohra Dwellings of Gujarat: Architectural Response to Cultural Ethos’, which elaborates on the community centric dwelling style and eventual development of the same as a typology.

Ar. Madhavi Desai has also contributed to the Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World, published by Oxford, UK in 1997 and was the editor of Women Architect Forum’s Newsletter, Ahmedabad (Since 1993 to 2001).

As a professor, writer and speaker she has graced many conferences and has lectured at many universities in Europe and the USA. She has been an adjunct faculty at the Faculty of Architecture, CEPT University, Ahmedabad since 1986.

At CEPT, she has mentored students on various relevant and sensitive topics such as ‘Introduction to Society and Culture’ and ‘Gender and the City’ as well as ‘Gender and Space’.

Widening the realm of writing further, she has also published articles such as ‘Architectural Education in India: Women Students, Culture and Pedagogy’ and ‘Woman’s Eye, Woman’s Hand: Making Art and Architecture in Modern India’. Being a woman architect’s contribution itself, these articles highlight the contributions of many more so.

It is truly remarkable how intricately weaved and yet how bold and headstrong these works are. It has added on substantially to the pool of knowledge about the South Asian and particularly Indian architecture.

Not only for all the women working in (or wanting to work in) architecture, but Madhavi Desai is an inspiration for many working and aspiring architects.

If you are interested in reading books written by her, I have provided the links below. It takes a lot of effort for such a revolutionary initiative. So, don’t hesitate to tweet to Madhavi Desai and Thank her for the contribution to our society.




Also, a big shout-out to Madhura Kulkarni, our team Member for helping me with this blog. Show her some love in the comment section below. You guys have been really supportive till now and without you guys we wouldn’t have been where we are now. And without your support we wouldn’t have been a family of 700 followers whom I feel as my extended family. Now we need to spread it to a family of 1000 members. Show some love and Keep Supporting.

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Do you need a class to prepare for NATA?


Welcome back to the blog. This week we have crossed the mark of 600 followers on WordPress. Its all because of the support of you readers. Thanks each and every one of you who read, like and share the blog. Please keep your support intact.

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If you are a student who’s enthusiastic about joining architecture then this blog is for you.

Before reading this, you should check out my previous blog on how to get into architecture & things you need to know before joining Architecture which will help you more in taking a firm decision.

In this blog we’ll try to make you understand what to prepare for NATA & how should you go about it.

Do you need classes to prepare for NATA?

Do I need to study PCM for NATA?

Is it an Online/ offline exam?

What all things you need to prepare for NATA?

If you have any of these questions then read till the end of the blog and leave a LIKE if it helped you.

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Any ART can be developed over the period of time. Be it Sketching, 2D – composition or 3D – composition. The whole point here is how much you practice for NATA.

A weekly practice of the above three topics for a year can help you get more marks. A self-motivated student with a little bit of discipline can achieve with these blogs also.

So, stay tuned for the NATA series of blogs in which we will make you crack NATA exam for FREE.

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National Aptitude Test in Architecture is a 3-hour 15 minutes exam with a GRAND total of 200 marks & basically two parts.

Part A comprises of on-paper drawing exam for 125 marks.

We get a gap of 15 minutes between Part A & B. Part B comprises of Online exam for 75 marks.

In Part A, you have to draw on A4 size paper (each), as answer to 3 questions carrying 35 marks, 35 marks & 55 marks, respectively. You get 135 minutes or 2 hour 15 minutes for the paper-based exam.

Part B is an online exam consisting of two types of MCQ’s, 15 questions for 1.5 marks each Of PCM subject and General Aptitude & Logical Reasoning has 35 questions for 1.5 marks each.

The best part about this is that there is NO NEGATIVE MARKING.

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There are specific skills which the examiner will be looking for, when marking your ‘PART A’ paper-based exam.

Your sketch can be very attractive, but if it is not proportionate you will lose marks there. A basic understanding of scale and proportion is required.

A more detailed approach where you can see drawings in perspective, will be more appreciated.

In the further blogs we’ll discuss about one & two-point perspective and other aspects, tips and tricks of sketching which will help you gain more marks in NATA. 

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To give you an example of conceptualization and visualization of sketches, 2D composition and 3D composition is based on HOW you see things.

For example, if you are to make a sketch of a street then you need to fetch in details which you see in your day-to-day life like streetscape, urban scape and landscapes.


This part tests objects, texture related to Architecture and built environment, interpretation of pictorial compositions, visualizing 3D objects from 2D drawings, visualizing different sides of 3D objects, analytical reasoning, mental ability, general awareness of national/ international Architects and famous Architectural creations.

For preparation of Physics, Chemistry and Math MCQ’s you’ll have the same syllabus for which you’ll be preparing for your 12th standard board examination.

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Thereby, I would like to conclude that it depends entirely on the student to take the call if one should take coaching classes or not.

But if you’re focused and disciplined you can score good marks without going to classes. As per new rules PCM is included in NATA exam.

It is both an Online and Offline Exam, as you saw in Part A and B.

The whole point of this is to provide free education to students who aspire to become future Architects. Feel free to drop in any doubts about the exam or syllabus in the comments.

We will be covering each and every aspect of NATA architecture entrance exam. So, follow the blog and stay tuned.

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
Tweet us @moh0392
Want your space designed by us, mail at: