Last updated: 17 Jun, 2022

Shama Dalvi

Graduating in Architecture in 1994 from Goa University, I have been living and working in Auroville – starting my small studio out of a garden shed in 1995. Working with various forms and building techniques, learning and experimenting along the way, I have had the opportunity to design projects in and out of Auroville. My studio remains small with a team of not more than five; we have designed residences, training centers, play spaces and also worked on residential & landscaping layouts. When a project requires a larger team, I collaborate with consultants from within Auroville. Design collaboration gives me the opportunity to have a palette of interesting work without having a large work force.

My interest lies in creating spaces that are user and environment friendly. Water conservation and resource management is of major concern to me; all my work has rainwater harvesting features, uses recycled materials and reduces construction site wastage by careful construction coordination. I have felt that between the design and actual implementation, most projects lack proper construction management which leads to wasted material, time & money. This has prompted me to take up construction management and the studio, though small, is able to streamline construction times, quality and finances through proper tracking, site management and work force coordination.

Creating sustainable landscapes is another area that interests me deeply and I love creating green spaces that require minimal resource inputs, are in balance with the climate and cost efficient. I consider my work incomplete without the outer spaces being in sync with interior spaces and the users within. My early years in Auroville were spent exploring and understanding different materials and techniques. Having come to Auroville soon after graduating, the early exposure to people from different backgrounds and nationalities in Auroville helped in developing and honing the skills required in correctly interpreting peoples’ requirements and converting them into reality. One of the most fun things of being an architect in Auroville is the continuous learning opportunities that open up which has me adding layers of skills I probably wouldn’t have managed to do as easily in any other place. Auroville gives a kind of license to ‘do good’ in terms of the environment so when doing work in other places, it is easier to put forth and implement ideas of energy efficiency, rain water harvesting, waste water recycling etc.