When we discuss masterminds of architecture, the ones who changed the way design is thought about, our minds usually conjure up images of Frank Lloyd wright, Tadao Ando, Geoffrey Bawa, Mies Van der Rohe, Norman Foster, or coming a little closer home, Le Corbusier, Charles Correa, B.V. Doshi and Bijoy Jain. Of course, women like Zaha Hadid and Kazuyo Sejima do wander into the limelight frequently enough, but that’s still a mighty less number in the large playfield of architecture that seems to be filled with men.Digging deeper, it becomes more obvious that in actuality 44% of architecture students are female, but only 12% make partners or shareholders Source: The Guardian, and today we discuss them. The women who did make it to the top in this apparently male dominated industry. Introducing, the top notch women to look out for in the architecture industry:Anupama Kundoo: The internationally acclaimed, award winning architect has built extensively in India and has had the experience of working, researching and teaching in a variety of cultural contexts across the world. Her work extend to urban design and planning projects, with her background in rapid urbanisation related development issues, about which she has written extensively as well. Sameera Rathod: A graduate from the J.J College of architecture, Rathod established her solo practice, SRDA, in 1995. Her passion for writing, theorizing and discussing architecture led her to be the editor and creator of SPADE and founder and director of SPADE INDIA RESEARCH CELL which candidly deliberates, investigates and researches the condition and impact of design in India. SRDA is a firm that investigates design with a passionate and critical eye grounded in modesty and a thirst for imaginative adventures.Shabhnam Gupta: Of the top interior and product designers in the country, Shabhnam Gupta, the founder of Orange Lane and Peacock life is also the recipient of multiple national awards. Creating ambiences that cast a spell, and designs that provide captivating visual narratives, The Orange Lane not only acts as a design consultant, it also provides complete turnkey design solutions.Shimul Javeri Kadri: Building naturally and lightly, and supporting equality through education, Shimul Javeri Kadri established SJK Architects towards its current avatar as a firm that values culture and climate and builds gently in the context. One of the most featured on international architecture website, Shimul’s work is commendable, to say the least.Sangeeta Merchent: One half of the team that runs SPASM, a small controlled practice with an intimate relationship with the team, the studio, the drawings and the design. The studio’s unquely human approach to creating non-fussy designs  is what draws a poetic element to their work and their purpose.Sonal Sacheti: A graduate of CEPT and Southern California Institute of Architecture, Sonal has worked  in Tokyo, Los Angeles and Netherland before returning to India. Her career saw her span across film set design, teaching, painting, photography, and of course architecture. Sonal set up OPOLIS, a multi disciplinary design practice with her partner Rahul Gore, in January 2001, a practice that has won several awards in the past years and have been published widely nationally and internationally.Chitra Vishwanath: The simple practice Chitra Vishwanath established, creates spaces that are ecological. Spaces that are responsive to the climate, and conserve and utilise resources thoughtfully. Known for being among the best sustainable practices in the country, Vishwanath buildings are usually built with earth, harvest rain, sun and wind.Pratima Joshi: Based in Pune, Pratima founded the Shelter Associates, a team that comprises of architects, social workers, geographic information systems (GIS) analysts and community workers. They work with slums and aim to see the day every citizen has access to basic infrastructure and secure tenure. A team that plays a major role in developing the country as a whole.Suhasini Ayer: Living in Auroville since 1985, Ayer is one of the co-founders of the Auroville Centre for Scientific Research; an organisation dedicated to research and experimentation in the field of appropriate building materials and technologies, water management, renewable energy and solar passive / climatic architecture and sustainable urban planning. Also the head of the Auroville Design Consultants, the Planning and Design wing of this organization, she has designed and implemented over 50+ projects in India in the last 25+ years. Trupti Doshi: A speaker at TEDx and covered by platforms like YourStory and The Better India, the architect & integrated sustainability engineer from Mumbai has gained recognition in ecological design, eco-friendly materials, appropriate building technologies, rainwater harvesting, waste management, energy efficiency, thermal comfort and use of renewables. With over 15years of experience she has lectured widely on a variety of subjects ranging from hidden geometry in nature, sustainability, smart cities, the role of technology, social development, Indian architecture and environmental entrepreneurship. Sonali Rastogi: Recently awarded Laureate of the SIA Getz Award for Emergent Architecture, Rastogi, an alumni of SPA, Delhi and The AA, London, is the co-founder of the Mumbai based design initiative Morphogenesis. Issues related to the environment and sustainability are at the core of Sonali’s design attitude and she has been responsible for a number of nationally and internationally acclaimed projects.Hameeda Sharma: Partnering with Amir Sharma, the duo deliver chic, refined interiors with luxurious finishes and occasional bursts of daring colour or modern geometrics. Their firm Aamir and Hameeda Interior Designers and Contractors (AANDH), Hyderabad, has in the past decade of practice won about 20 National and Regional Awards. She likes to deliver a project with a sense of the unexpected, but respecting her clients’ personalities. She masterminds smart yet subtly glamorous interiors.Without a doubt there are many many more women who deserve a segment in this list, but for now we’ll stop at this. Check out their work and do tell us whose work you were mesmerised by. Anyone else on your mind who you think should be on this list? Do let us know, we’ll definitely need to do a part II of the list. Keeping reading this space for more updates on that.

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