Brinda Somaya is a distinguished Indian architect and urban conservationist known for her fiercely independent and profoundly realistic approach to architecture, urbanism, and disaster prevention. With over four decades of experience, she has left an indomitable mark on India’s architectural landscape.
In 1978, Brinda Somaya established her architectural practice in Mumbai, India, and founded Somaya and Kalappa Consultants (SNK). From humble beginnings in the back of her garden, SNK has grown into a renowned firm with over 175 completed projects across the country, employing some of India’s brightest architectural minds.
Mrs. Somaya’s innovative designs are deeply rooted in her understanding of vernacular architecture, shaped by her extensive travels through rural India. This knowledge shines through in projects like The Nalanda International School in Vadodara, where she skillfully incorporates locally available resources and techniques, embracing both tradition and sustainability.
Her diverse portfolio spans corporate, industrial, and institutional campuses, as well as public spaces transformed into vibrant pavements, parks, and plazas. Noteworthy projects include Tata Consultancy Services in Mumbai, Goa Institute of Management and Zensar Technologies in Pune. Her firm’s exceptional capabilities also secured them prestigious projects such as the restoration of the historic Louis Kahn Buildings of the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad and the design of new Academic Buildings for the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai.
Beyond her architectural achievements, Brinda Somaya is a passionate advocate for social causes. As a founder trustee for the HECAR Foundation, she has made significant contributions to conservation and social equity. Her leadership extends to the School of Planning and Architecture in Vijayawada, where she served as the Chairperson of the Board of Governors from 2016-2021. She is also currently the AD White Professor-at-large at Cornell University, USA and a Board Member of the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction.
Brinda Somaya’s impact has been recognized with numerous international and national awards. Her accolades include the Baburao Mhatre Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement by the Indian Institute of Architects, the Wienerberger Golden Architect Award, and an Honourable Mention from the UIA Sgoutas Prize for her Bhuj Village Project. Notably, she has won multiple UNESCO Asia Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservationincluding the Award of Distinction for Vikram Sarabhai Library, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
An influential speaker and presenter, Mrs. Somaya has shared her expertise and experiences at conferences and exhibitions in the USA, UK, Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Japan and India. She embodies the ‘Bridge Generation,’ bridging the architectural space between the Masters of Architecture and the current generation, shaping the evolution of Indian architecture.
Brinda Somaya’s architectural language resonates with the late Charles Correa’s love for traditional craftsmanship. Through collaborations with local artisans, she preserves traditional know-how and techniques, resulting in highly sustainable architecture. Her designs seamlessly integrate natural features, optimizing ventilation, lighting, and energy efficiency.
With each project, Brinda Somaya acts as a guardian of the built and un-built environment, deftly reconciling progress and history. Her lifelong dedication to architecture, coupled with her profound connection to her Indian heritage, has earned her unparalleled recognition and acclaim. Like Charles Correa, she stands as a master of her craft, deserving of the highest accolades.