Sheila Sri Prakash, Indian architect – Founder of Shilpa Architects

Sheila Sri Prakash, Indian architect - Founder of Shilpa Architects
Sheila Sri Prakash, Indian architect - Founder of Shilpa Architects

Sheila Sri Prakash was born on 6 July 1955 in Bhopal, India to S. Thangamma and Lt. Col. G.K.S. Pathy, an officer in the Indian Army. Sheila is the first Indian woman to have started her own architectural practice. She is an architect and urban designer of Indian origin.

Sheila attended the Rosary Matriculation School in Chennai. She trained in music, classical Indian dance, and the arts. She started learning Bharatanatyam and gave her first on-stage Arangetram performance when she was four years old.

Sheila demonstrated talent as a Kuchipudi dancer and Bharatanatyam and also played the Veenai musical instrument. Sheila Sri Prakash was a student of Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam.

To give her greater opportunities in the classical arts, her family moved to Chennai to be trained in Bharatanatyam by Sri Dandayudha Pani Pillai. She practiced Veenai, Classical Indian music, Bharatanatyam, sculpting, Kuchipudi, and painting. As a Veenai artist, she played Sivaleela Vilasam and Radha Madhavam with the Veenai musician Chitti Babu.

She attained a pre-university degree from Stella Maris College, Chennai. She obtained her degree of Bachelors in Architecture in 1973 from the Anna University School of Architecture and Planning. She also attended the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Executive Education Program.

Sheila designed and completed over 1200 architectural projects. She is considered as India’s leading architects. Many of her architectural projects are known for the use of local arts, heritage, and culture as inspiration for her designs. Today, Sheila Sri Prakash is counted among the most influential female architects in the world.

Her work ranges from the low-cost Reciprocal House to energy-efficient commercial buildings, integrated townships, custom bungalows, art museums, sports stadiums, residential communities, industrial facilities, public infrastructure, luxury hotels and centers of education.

Sheila Sri Prakash was a founding member of the Indian Green Building Council. Many of her architectural designs can be seen at the Madras Art House, Cholamandal Artists’ Village, Mahindra World City, New Chennai, the Paranur railway station, and Kuchipudi Art Academy in Chennai.

She designed home in Chennai with pioneered a system and with recycled materials for rainwater harvesting in 1993. Tamil Nadu State government made compulsory this systemin 2003.

Shilpa Architects have been working recently on several projects, including HITEX exhibition center in Hyderabad, Mahindra World City, South City Township by Larsen & Toubro, office building for HDFC Bank, Taj 5-star beach resort near Pondicherry, a LEED Platinum rated office building for Cethar Vessels.

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Her portfolio of current architectural projects includes Industrial architecture. Currently, she is designing a factory for Flextronics, the industry-leading technology hardware manufacturer.