Takbir Fatima is an architect with a highly developed social conscience, a trait that reflects in the kind of work she tends to gravitate to.
After working for a couple of years in established architecture firms, Takbir decided to start her own firm with the aim of creating awareness through livable, wearable, usable, accessible and responsible design. That’s how DesignAware was born, an experimental architecture and interdisciplinary design studio.
One of their first projects was a charity school that had been run by a non-profit educational trust and had been functioning out of a large shed and required a building:
“The children reside in and around the Golconda Fort, and were accustomed to learning outdoors. We wanted to preserve this informal atmosphere and preserve the large playground they had access to, so that they would enjoy attending school and learning. The entire project was conceived, designed and constructed in a phase-wise manner over three years.”
While working on the school project, DesignAware became very invested in the students and the social impact of the school. In order to inculcate the habit of reading in these children, they started the social media campaign #MakeProgressPossible to invite people to donate used children’s books for the school library.
In 2011 they introduced the Fractals Workshop, – a generative design workshop combining logic, geometry, natural systems and structure:
“This workshop is an adaptation of the teaching methods practiced at the Design Research Lab at the AA School of Architecture in London. A hands-on workshop, Fractals builds upon the design research carried out in previous iterations. Participants work in teams to aggregate readily available, recyclable material based on algorithms they develop themselves.”
Takbir believes that responsible design is thinking about future use:
“We can design spaces with a set of requirements given by a client, but architects and designers need to see beyond the brief to predict future requirements, evolving needs and the future life of the building. We shouldn’t just be problem-solvers for the present. The true test of good design is after it is used or inhabited.”
Read this story in POOL 90.