PRAXIS | 01: PLAYGROUP STUDIO


At Playgroup Studio, we believe that every project has a potential for design. We have yet to come across a brief which would suggest otherwise. That is the most marvellous thing about architecture. It deals with such a large set of variables that there is always need for innovation and creation. Each building type, site, scale, or client comes with a new set of parameters and the game board changes. The rules, strategies and expressions need to be reinvented. This is what provides us with the life force. There is so much variance, flexibility, and scope for contribution that no two games are played alike.

Each project asks a new question and these questions stay with us through all our works. For instance, while working on challenging projects with very low costs and low tech one is forced to come up with innovative solutions. These learnings inevitably inform other distinct programs where similar concerns may not have been the primary agenda. This cross fertilisation of design solutions can only happen through a critical engagement of an architect who has practised over an extended period. At Playgroup Studio, we nurture this knowledge and establish a consistent vocabulary through all our works. We therefore seek projects with varying dynamics, projects that have more complexity than others, projects that can raise questions which will help address a larger spectrum of the work we do. These projects challenge our skill set and help us grow as architects and as citizens.

Working on fast paced and low budget public and institutional projects happened more by chance than choice in our case. However, we have come to realize that such projects are more valuable to the team than designing aspirational weekend homes which usually entail indulging in unique aesthetic expressions.

The approach to design in our studio is predominantly to resolve issues which are broader than the immediate requirement of that particular building. We are more inclined to employ ideas which are simple and clear such that they can be adapted as a prototypical solution, across a wider spectrum of projects. We are convinced that they can only have larger implications if these ideas are easy to execute within the framework of local materials, skills, and technologies. We have therefore considered this as a mandate in all our design solutions.

We also define these ideas as open-ended strategies so that they can accommodate and manifest in multiple ways depending upon the available materials, climate, client’s aspirations, topography, and other circumstantial factors, without diluting the core design intent. 

We have learnt that it is integral that design ideas are appreciated and internalised by all the stakeholders and construction team members. Our role is essentially that of a mediator between the various stakeholders, contractors and consultants who come into play, rather than being at the head of the pyramid. This position has allowed Playgroup Studio to learn immensely from the other players on the same game board.  In short, our studio is always trying to play the best game possible with the hand that has been dealt to us, aiming for design solutions that have a higher proportion of collateral benefits!