THE PERFECT DESIGN
“I always wanted to do something different and make a name for myself,” says Chandigarh-based eminent architect Namita Singh, 65, who has to her credit prestigious projects including Asia’s biggest naval academy in Ezhimala, Kerala. Singh, who started designing in 1970, a time when men dominated the field, says that she was “happily unaware” of their attitude towards her. “I was brought up by very progressive parents who always insisted that it was merit that mattered, not gender. So, even if men didn’t take me seriously, it didn’t matter to me,” she says. Insisting that even after so many years, every new project fascinates her, Singh, who has designed institutional, commercial and residential buildings adds, “It’s like delivering a baby. You just can’t imagine the satisfaction an architect derives when he/she has seen on ground what was conceived on paper. I fall in love with each of my projects and take every one of them as a challenge,” she says. Talking about her prestigious naval base project, first phase of which is near completion, Singh says, “It all started in way back in 1987 when our firm was selected after an all-India competition. More than 30 architects from across the country had submitted their bids. I would have been happy even if we got a small part of the project. We were a small firm operating out of a garage that time.” She says she doesn’t make monuments. “I make spaces for people. For me, the functionality of the design for the end user is very important,” she adds. The architect, who has been endowed with several awards including the Kalpana Chawla Excellence award in 2009, insists that she doesn’t submit her designs for award considerations anymore. “They have become a racket. It’s all about lobbying and networking now, and not merit.” The architect regularly works with Welham School in Dehradun and has designed the Dashmesh Academy in Anandpur Sahib.