Brinda Somaya

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Brinda Somaya is an Indian architect and urban conservationist.[1] Somaya completed her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Mumbai University and her Master of Arts from Smith College in Northampton, MA, USA.[citation needed] She started her practice in 1975[citation needed] in Mumbai, India. From 1978 to 1981 she was joined by her sister Ranjini Kalappa,[citation needed] also an architect. Since 1981, she has run an independent practice on her own.[citation needed] In May 2012 she was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, Smith College.[2] In 2014 she was awarded the Indian Institute of Architects – Baburao Mhatre Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement.[3]


For more than three decades, Brinda Somaya has merged architecture, conservation and social equity in projects ranging from institutional campuses and rehabilitation of an earthquake-torn village to the restoration of an 18th-century Cathedral, showing that progress and history need not be at odds.[4] Her philosophy: 'the Architect's role is that of guardian – his is the conscience of the built and un-built environment.'[5] This belief underlines her work that spans large corporate, industrial and institutional campuses and extends to public spaces, which she has rebuilt and sometimes reinvented as pavements, parks and plazas.[6] Master-planning and building design of multiple corporate and educational campuses has become one of her areas of expertise. Some of these award-winning campuses include Tata Consultancy Services, Banyan Park, Mumbai; Nalanda International School, Vadodara; and Zensar Technologies, Pune.[7] Her firm has recently won the competition for the `Restoration and Upgradation of the historic Louis Kahn Buildings of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A)[8][9] as well as the new Academic Buildings of the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IIT-B).[10] She is currently the Chairperson of Board of Governors for School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada, a premier architecture institute in the country.[citation needed]


Brinda is a Member of the National Advisory Board of NCSHS (National Centre for Safety of Heritage Structures) 2014 Under the Aegis of the Ministry of Human Resources Development (Government of India) IIT-Madras and also the Member of the Editorial Board for MARG Architectural Books.[11] As a member of the Committee of `Environmental Impact Assessment of New Construction Projects for `Ministry of Environment & Forests' Government of India, the Mumbai Urban Heritage Conservation Committee, and Mumbai's Initiative for the Protection and Improvement of Streets and Public Spaces, Brinda Somaya has been actively involved in participating in her country's and city's development. She was also on the IAWA board of Advisors (International Archives of Women in Architecture), U.S.A.[12] and Founder Trustee of the HECAR Foundation which has brought out several publications on Heritage and Architecture. She chaired a conference & organized a seminal exhibition on the Work of Women Architects with a focus on South Asia in Mumbai. In addition `The Hecar Foundation has brought out several books / documents such as `An Emancipated Place': Women in Architecture 2000+,[13] `Silent Sentinels' Traditional Architecture of Coorg,[14] `The Cathedral Schools Portfolio' and `The Mumbai Esplanade Project'.[15][16] The most recent publication is the `Vanishing Homes of India' which documents one Photographer's T.S.N. Nagarajan's memorable journey across the country in his quest for century-old homes and fading lifestyles.[17]


Over the years, she has won numerous international and national awards. In 2004 Brinda Somaya won the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage award for the restoration of the St.Thomas' Cathedral in Mumbai.[5] She is also a Leading European Architects Forum award winner for the new Nalanda Schools Campus in Baroda in 2006.[18][19] She was the first woman to have won the Wienerberger Golden Architect Award for lifetime achievement – a peer award, in 2007.[19] In 2008 a mention was awarded to Brinda Somaya by the UIA (International Union of Architects) Sgoutas Prize for alleviation of poverty for her Bhuj Village Project.[1][20] Two of her projects were also nominated for the Aga Khan award. In 2013 she was chosen as one of the 100 GLOBAL PUBLIC INTEREST DESIGN persons working at the intersection of design and service globally.[19] Brinda has delivered analytical and critical talks as well as presented papers in India and abroad on her work – and other connected subjects.[citation needed] She has given lectures in the U.S.A, U.K.,[citation needed] Australia,[citation needed] Pakistan,[citation needed] Sri Lanka[citation needed] & India[citation needed] and her work has been exhibited in the USA, UK & Japan.[21][22] She has served as an Examiner & Jury Member in India & Abroad.[citation needed]

Notable works[edit]

  • Nalanda International School, Vadodara [7]
  • Goa Institute of Management, Goa[23]
  • Birla Institute Of Technology and Sciences, Pilani[24]
  • Zensar Technology Limited, Pune[25]
  • TCS House, Mumbai[26][27]
  • St. Thomas Cathedral, Mumbai[28]
  • Rehabilitation of Bhadli Village along with its School and community Center, Bhuj[27][29]
  • Restoration of the Indian Institute of Management –Ahmedabad (IIM-A) Louis Kahn Campus[8][9]


  1. ^ a b Brinda, Somaya. "Ar. Brinda Chinnappa Somaya, Somaya and Kalappa Consultants". Modern Green Structures and Architecture. NBM Media. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  2. ^ Brinda, Somaya. "Brinda Somaya". Inside Outside. Inside Outside. Retrieved 13 July 2015. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Somaya, Brinda. "Lifetime achievement award for architect Brinda Somaya". timesofindia. times of india. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  4. ^ Brinda, Somaya. "Beyond the creamy layer". economictimes. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Brinda, Somaya. "Restored pride". thehindubusinessline. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  6. ^ Brinda, Somaya. "Building Storeys An Architect’s journey through the Indian landscape". Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Brinda, Somaya. "Three Campuses and Brinda". inside outside. inside outside. Archived from the original on 13 July 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Brinda, Somaya. "IIMA appoints consultant to restore historic Louis Kahn". Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Brinda, Somaya. "IIM-A appoints master architects to restore heritage campus". business-standard. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  10. ^ Brinda, Somaya. "Empanelment for architects for comprehensive architectural consultancy for upcoming Academic and Residential projects for IIT-B" (PDF). Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  11. ^ Brinda, Somaya. "Sensitising Youth about Heritage". newindianexpress. indianexpress. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  12. ^ Somaya, Brinda. "IAWA Board of Advisors 15th Annual Meeting". Virginia Tech. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  13. ^ An emancipated place : the proceedings of the conference and exhibition held in Mumbai, February 2000 : women in architecture, 2000 plus : a conference on the work of women architects : focus South Asia. Mumbai: Hecar Foundation. 2000. ISBN 9788175251946. OCLC 48041242. 
  14. ^ Brinda Somaya; Poonam Verma Mascarenhas; Kuppanda Ganapathy Premnath; N. N. Dyan Belliappa; Hecar Foundation (2005). Silent sentinels: traditional architecture of Coorg. Hecar Foundation. ISBN 978-81-7525-679-8. 
  15. ^ Brinda, Somaya. "Somaya & Kalappa – Mumbai – Architects". indian-architects. indian-architects. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  16. ^ Somaya, Brinda. "Housing Innovation Challenge". saint-gobain. saint-gobain. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  17. ^ T. S. Nagarajan (2013). T.S. Nagarajan: Vanishing Homes of India. HECAR Foundation. ISBN 978-81-928190-0-6. 
  18. ^ Brinda, Somaya. "" Nalanda International School" as Prestigious "LEaf AWARDS 2006 WINNER":". nalandaschool. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  19. ^ a b c Brinda, Somaya. "Somaya & Kalappa – Mumbai – Architects". Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  20. ^ Brinda, Somaya. "2008 Vassilis Sgoutas Prize – Mention". Retrieved 13 July 2015.  External link in |website=, |publisher= (help)
  21. ^ Brinda, Somaya (12 October 2001). "IAWA advisor to lecture" (PDF). VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE AND STATE UNIVERSITY (24). Retrieved 13 July 2015.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  22. ^ Somaya, Brinda. "Informal Lecture: Brinda Somaya". chicago architectural club. chicago architectural club. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  23. ^ Somaya, Brinda. "GOA INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT". Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  24. ^ Somaya, Brinda. "BSBE #2 AN INDIAN ARCHITECT AND AN INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECT — ARUN BABY M WILSON, B090639AR". Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  25. ^ Somaya, Brinda. "Zensar Technologies Limited". Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  26. ^ Somaya, Brinda. "TCS signs MoU for restoration of Rajabhai Clock Tower and Library at Mumbai University". Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  27. ^ a b Somaya, Brinda. "Indian architect is an example of working in many worldsl". Cornell University. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  28. ^ Namrata Joshi (2005). "She's Got Other Ideas". Entrepreneurs. Outlook India. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  29. ^ Somaya, Brinda. "ARCHITECTURE AS RESOURCE" (PDF). holcimfoundation. Retrieved 14 July 2015.