Rapid Fire Interview with Prof. Ar. Rajini Itham Mahajan, Senior Architect at VBT Consortium

Rapid Fire with Design Professionals Dated:  Sept. 8, 2015
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Prof. Ar. Rajini Itham Mahajan

Prof. Ar. Rajini Itham Mahajan is a senior architect with M/s. VBT Consortium, one of the oldest architectural practices in Bengaluru. She has a bachelor's degree in Architecture from School of Architecture and Planning, Anna University, Chennai and a Master's specialization in Landscape Architecture from C.E.P.T., Ahmadabad. She is also currently positioned as Professor & Head of Department at Aakar Academy of Architecture, Bengaluru. As a  features writer for leading national dailies and magazines, her vast practical exposure to large scale architectural projects and experience as a design educator enables her to actively promote Industry – Academia interface. A member of various Professional and Academic bodies, she is focused towards an interdisciplinary approach to Architecture and design. Sketching, Reading and Traveling are her hobbies, which she tries to pursue avidly.

Who was your first role model?

Le Corbusier, one of the Great Masters of Architecture.

What was your first job?

A beach house for a friend

Who was your first boss?

Architect Vergis Oommen, a very renowned architect in Chennai.

What was your first disappointment?

An interior project with a difficult client.

What was your biggest achievement?

I would say, working in parallel fields of architectural practice, teaching and writing, my people connect is very strong. Balancing all three streams helps me grow from strength to strength.

What was your biggest failure?
I wouldn't call it failure, but a disappointment. One of the projects we had worked on with a lot of dedication got shelved due to lack of funds. It does affect your design interests and a lot of self motivation is needed to bounce back.

What is the biggest regret of your life?

I wish I had completed my PhD immediately after my masters.

A piece of advice to upcoming architects.

Passion towards your work is all you need.

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

Spearheading an Architectural networking platform focusing on Industry- Academic interface.

How would you describe yourself in one word?

Dynamic

What is the one thing that you would like to change about yourself?

Maybe gain more tact. It comes with practice, I guess.

Which was the most challenging Project?

Mythreyi Ameyavana, a residential high rise with very challenging site features.

Which was your Favorite Project?

One of my first projects – a residence in Koramangala with split level planning.

What is the one thing that you like about your field?

The freedom and flexibility it offers.

What is the one thing that you hate about your field?

It can be very speculative. Especially, for fresh graduates, it is easy to get disillusioned sometimes.

How would you rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 as an architect? (10 being the highest )

7 is a good number, I think.

If given the chance, What is the one thing that you would like to change about architecture field in India?

The process could be a lot more streamlined.

Who is your favorite architect?

Different architects- Rem Koolhaas for his intensive conceptual thinking, Libeskind for his unorthodox approach, Zaha Hadid for her futuristic thinking, of course apart from tipping the gender scales in the architectural profession.

Which is your favorite architectural structure in India?

The Bahai Temple, definitely.

Tell us briefly about one iconic building in the world which can be truly termed as an 'architectural masterpiece'.

It is difficult to name one, with all the awe inspiring work of contemporary architects today. But with all due respect to some of the iconic buildings redefining global skylines, my favorite remains The Sydney Opera House. This master piece by Jorn Utzon is not just an icon in architectural parlance, it is representative of Australia. When Architecture redefines not just the context, but is chosen to symbolize a city and sometimes an entire nation inclusive of its art, literature, culture and ethnicity, it becomes truly an icon. The design of The Sydney Opera House is a study in architecture, be it in conceptualization, layout planning, visual composition or technical expertise. The soaring concrete shell roofs, an amalgamation of  Jorn Utzon's Architecture and Peter Rice's engineering is a construction marvel, that too in the pre - CAD era.

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