Parul Zaveri is a graduate of MIT in Cambridge, USA, with a focus on Urban Settlement Design in Developing Countries. As a sustainable architect, she focuses on Settlement Design, Institutional Complexes, Conservation, and Adaptive Re-use of Historic Buildings, as well as innovative interior design, to maximize the use of natural materials and traditional arts & crafts and handmade textiles & furniture, products & accessories. Through her work, she ensures the use of traditional decision-making processes, materials, and technology, with an emphasis on the restoration of dying arts and crafts, to optimize employment generation for artisans.
What is your favourite word?
"Om". The word just gives me peace and I feel a sense of connection to it. I am a very spiritual person and I believe by just chanting "OM" in different variations gives you a very different feeling. It has a vibration to it that is felt throughout your whole body. Whenever I begin to write something, it starts with OM, further I write. I practice this even for the small notes for myself.
What was the moment in your life that made you Blossom into the person you are today?
Several factors contributed to who I am today. One of the first things has to be my attitude. I was always a "bindas" person. I used to love exploring. Everyone in Palitana would travel to the main temple. As a child, I liked to wander around and visit temples where no one was present.
I always used to do what I wanted to do, but the convent education kind of made me close my expression away from the world. When I joined Shreyas, I began opening again. That also contributed to my desire to be expressive about who I am.
The architect part came out fully when I moved abroad after studying at CEPT. All the traveling and exposure to cultures across the world made one thing clearer to us - we don't want to work towards western architecture. So, we began experimenting with our concepts, erecting a mud house & constructing a school with many entrances - through doors, slides, and other unique means.
One of our friends contacted me and Nimesh one day to ask if they should buy a "Haveli" by a lake or land. We told them they had to have the "haveli." That is when our conservation relationship started. We realized there were skills that we needed while working on that haveli for our friends.
What would you want the young boys & girls to learn from your journey?
Throw away all your mobile phones, all your computers, tablets, TVs and go out to explore. Go into the wilderness, go to the villages, and learn with the people there. Learn to farm with them. You must learn hands-on, you know? All of what we are taught in an air-conditioned classroom isn't going to teach us anything. Are you using your hands to do something? Are you employing physical activities?