After her graduation in architecture from The School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, Gita Balakrishnan trained under Dr. Volker Hartkopf at the Centre for Building Performance and Diagnostics of the Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, the education system of that time – as is often the case of the present as well – did not equip students to grow into the role of young professionals with ease. This was when she did a course on “Alternative Methods of Construction” conducted jointly by the KSCST and ASTRA at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. She responded to an advertisement for a creative educationist in slums from a voluntary organization – AVAS, (Association for Voluntary Action and Services), a Bangalore-based NGO. It turned out that they needed an architect to coordinate their shelter activities. That’s how, in 1991, she began her involvement with the urban poor – land and housing rights of the urban poor. She is now a trustee of AVAS.
In addition to being associated with different organizations and projects, she also designed a few buildings using eco-friendly systems, during the first ten years of her professional career.
Why Ethos?! – Gita started noticing and studying the wonderful efforts by various people in the field of construction and academics and also, having experienced the feeling of inadequacy when she graduated, she felt the need to reach out and equip young minds to be agents of change, to lead and not just follow and to contribute positively and actively towards making a difference. Hence, she started Ethos in 2002 on moving to Kolkata, the place of her birthwith the intention of making the architectural and civil engineering community alive to the changes happening globally and in our country in the field of architecture and construction. Ethos reaches out to over 20000 students of architecture and civil engineering from around 500 college s offering architecture and civil engineering across India through interesting events. The flagship events of Ethos are Archumen, a quiz on architecture and Bending Moment, a quiz on civil engineering. Ethos also organizes design competitions such as Transparence, SAVE AS YOU BUILD and IGBC Green Design Competition. Archumen was conducted in Sri Lanka in 2006 and an episode was hosted at Lahore during the students’ jamboree at the Asian Congress of Architect in 2010. Archumen has recently acquired and entry into the 2013 edition of the Limca Book of Records.
For more information on Ethos, log on www.ethosindia.in
Ethos’ main objective is to be the wind beneath the wings of all these young minds that are to shape Indian architecture in the years to come.