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‘Whether it’s white or blue collar, treat all staff equally,’ advises woman entrepreneur

Architect and Urban Planner, Srishtti Anthwall, discusses how business, financial and team management skills are crucial to run a firm

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The field of architecture is surely larger than life. In the words of Srishtti Anthwall, “It is a way of creating and doing something for nature and its people.” The gifted professional successfully runs her venture, Srishtti Anthwall Architects and Planners, situated in the heart of Noida city. In an interview, she recalls how her creative mind led her to pick the field of architecture and what the discipline has taught her over the years. Read on edited excerpts of the interview:  

Please tell us about your educational background.

I started schooling in Delhi but later moved to Apeejay School, Noida. I entered the school as a regular teenager but the institution educated me about the most crucial moral values necessary for my all-round development. Apeejay’s Late Founder-Chairman, Dr Stya Paul, was a prominent personality, known for his contribution across fields of education, philosophy, arts and philanthropy. His ideology that was taught to us in school, ‘Soaring High is my Nature’ has helped me in my professional life too.

At Apeejay, my inclination towards creative arts found a great platform. And eventually, I took up architecture, a field that can combine research and engineering both.

After completing schooling in 2010, I enrolled at Apeejay School of Architecture and Planning, Greater Noida (AIT-SAP) for a course in Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arch.), Building Engineering and Construction Management till 2015.

Could you detail out your professional journey?

Once my graduation was completed, I worked at Rajiv Goel Associates in Noida. Mr. Goel works on international-based, multi-disciplinary and urban-scale projects. His sensibility is commendable and has earned him a name across the world. In the company, I got a chance to do some great projects such as luxury properties in the United Arab Emirates. For a fresh graduate like me, the exposure was immense and I learnt about international quality, designs, construction and architecture.

After my stint there, I switched to Sikka Associates, a firm based in Delhi, and worked there for a few months. Shortly, I decided to pursue a Master’s degree from CEPT University, Ahmedabad, one of the most prestigious architecture-based institutions in India. In college, I met experts, professors, researchers and learners from across the country and learnt a lot.

However, around the same time, I got a chance to pursue a M.Sc. course in Urban Planning at Newcastle University, United Kingdom. So, I left India on a scholarship for a year-long course. After its successful completion, I joined Adderstone Group, Newcastle under a leading architect.

Then, close to the beginning of Covid-19, I returned to India. I was fortunate to receive as many work opportunities from friends of friends and relatives. So, I decided to start my venture in 2020.

How have you grown your business since 2020?

I believe that when one starts a new journey with good intent, purpose, talent and spirit, eventually people come together to collaborate. And that’s exactly what happened to me. A few months down the line, several architects, engineers, planners, graphic designers, artists, and vendors joined hands. Now every day, I am learning more and more about business finance and client management.

As an entrepreneur, I have realised that one has to do it all, right from photocopying documents to managing finances and purchasing. I am also a first-generation architect from my family, and all short-comings that I have encountered in my journey have been crucial for my growth.

What have been the ups and downs in your entrepreneurial journey?

Getting work consistently has been a challenge. Sometimes, about four projects are running parallely and one doesn’t have the time for anything else. But at other times, the pace of work can be very slow. So, I use my free time to research and brush up my skills. I am keen to learn new software and know about the new developments in architecture. Several new developments such as artificial intelligence, data-integrated software have come up which can be really helpful to our field.  

What could be some trends in the field of architecture for India?

In the coming years, several of our buildings may reach a semi-dilapidated or completely dilapidated stage. And these would require a lot of refurbishing. Therefore, rehabilitation is going to be a very important trend.

When it comes to growing cities such as Noida and Gurugram, many new constructions are on the way. So, new technologies and sustainable practices must be put in place. This trend will help fasten the pace of these projects.

Also, smart cities are the need of the hour and the government is also making massive policy-level decisions to meet these goals. By 2030, we can improve a lot in our resources, urban governance, capacity-building programmes, etc.

Your current projects?

In the last 3-4 months, I have worked on the India International Convention and Expo Centre, Dwarka project. In that, I contributed to some of the interior drawings. To be working as a sub-consultant in such a big project is helping me to acquire new architectural insights. I am also doing some luxury interior residences in Noida and a couple of Hospitality-related projects are in the pipeline.

How has your experience been with Apeejay?

At AIT-SAP, we had several guest lecture sessions with chief architects, Delhi Development Authority officials and senior members. Those have been very helpful for me. The college taught us to work hard and stay hands-on. 

Mrini Devnani is a Senior Correspondent and Marketing Coordinator at Newsroom. She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]

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