Arjun Desai and Katherine Chia, founding principals of Desai Chia Architecture, believe that architecture can transform communities. Katherine tells POOL how they manage to do that across the United States and India.
What, in your opinion, makes architecture inspired and spirited?
KC: We take a very holistic approach in our work, and see architecture as a fusion of architecture, interior design, product design, landscape design, and even branding. It’s critical that design concepts and themes resonate from the large scale down to the small details. What makes architecture truly spirited and inspired are opportunities to reveal something unexpected or surprising in the way space, light, materials and form work together to support a community of people regardless of whether that community is a family or a large corporate organization. In the end, architecture is about enabling communities to work and live together in ways that promote collaboration and inspire creativity.
How do you tackle differences in technical execution when you work on projects in India?
KC: When doing projects that require us to get on a plane, we always collaborate with a local architect or developer who can be the local liaison for permitting, code requirements, construction administration, and even sourcing local consultants, products, and contractors. There are certainly challenges to working between the US and India, but we don’t find them to be huge obstacles.
Which architectural trends do you see emerging in the US and India?
KC: In both countries, there is a renewed appreciation of the craft of architecture and for the expression of the articulated detail. Sustainability has been gaining traction in the US to the point where sustainable strategies are instinctively included in every one of our projects. I do hope sustainability has become intuitively embedded in the architecture profession in India.