“Ar. Manjula Somashekar: A Woman on a mission makes a difference and is building a legacy
“Ar. Manjula Somashekar: A Woman on a mission makes a difference and is building a legacy!” “The woman who chases no one , needs no validation and handles her business like a boss.” Her goal is not just to make profits but to make a long lasting impact! The Founder and the numero-uno-Architect Manjula Somashekar, with her very own company PRAGATHI ASSOCIATESS was awarded the The Top 10 most Inspiring architects of 2021, the Best and Innovative Architecture & Interior design firm of the year 2021 and Time to Leap Award for the most Sustainable project in residential category in the year 2019 to name a few.
A successful Architectural and Interior Design firm based in Bengaluru, India, Pragathi Associatess was brainstormed and founded by the eminent and chief Architect, Manjula Somashekar in the year 1994. She laid the foundation in an extended room of her small residence, as a home office to design for near and dear and the firm has now grown and expanded with an office in Dubai as well. The firm has completed more than 250 projects and their portfolio includes a diverse client base from residential to commercial spaces, corporate offices, health care, banking, civic and cultural institutions.
Deeply fixated in the belief that great designs are the qualitative product received only by asking the appropriate questions in addition to being a very patient listener, the firm is committed with utmost dedication to cater creative yet the most logical and well thought out quality solutions .They are also keenly responsive to the individuality and the uniqueness of their projects. The firm strongly reckons that engaging and letting the elements of nature to play their roles generously in their designs adds more value to the projects. They pull out equal inspirations from the blend of traditional and contemporary concepts and look at the designs as a whole, dissolving the distinct lines between the varied disciplines of architecture, interior design, landscape, furniture and lighting.
By 2003, projects flooded her small office and gradually the number of the employees grew larger than the room itself! Presently, their design studio and office is located in their very own 3 storeyed building in Ganga Nagar. While Manjula handles the Design side of the projects, the Finance & Execution on site is taken care by her younger brothers, Basanth Kumar (Director) and Murali Gurappa (CFO) who joined her in 2003. The firm has also ventured into turnkey design build & execution and movie making under the names Pragathi Concepts and Kannada Circle respectively, successfully completing more than 25 projects and 2 feature films (one of which is also a State Award Winner). Our boss lady hails from a very humble background and yet is a grounded individual despite all the grandeur that she jewels herself in. Manjula has genuinely made it all from scratch. While her primary education was based in various schools in Maharashtra before shifting to Bangalore, she completed her intermediate from National College, Basavanagudi and graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1990 from UVCE, Bangalore. “There are no shortcuts to success,” she says.
She strongly believes that success can be reached only by hard work, sincerity and dedication and puts forth that her pillar of strength is her parents and family. She says her father, who was a civil engineer is her first Guru and her brothers who are aiding her from time to time with their expertise gives her the strength to move forward. Her husband Mr. Somashekar is a structural engineer who retired as DGM from AIR INDIA and is now supporting her at Pragathi. She has a daughter who is also an architect and a son who has just graduated with a degree in Engineering in Electronics and Communication. She started practising architecture during her 8th semester in 1989 as part-time after college which led her to lay the foundation stone of her architectural journey. Looking back now she says she rarely realized how and when some supplemental practical knowledge gained during her Undergrad course would turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
With that, she stepped forward in her endeavors as an intern to Ar. Ashwin Balsawar who not only was her guiding light but also sharpened her innate skills of being keen-eyed to look deeper into the details of projects. She successfully continued her trail by working at Rathi Associates for a short duration where her interest in interior design sparked up! She also worked at Venkataramanan Associates as a senior architect for 10 years before blowing her whistle for her company Pragathi- full time. The company works on the very pith and substance of trust earned over the years by providing exceptional services to their clientele. Back in the day, the apartment design of MIMS Habitat was recognized as the best mid-size apartment and the villa project MIMS Crescenta received the best environmental building of the year award.
Manjula’s passion for architectural designs is a great driving force throughout her career. Her eternal level of curiosity and an inclination to always learn, has aided her climb and triumph over to the position she is at. She never has any preference for the project type or size, but the uniqueness of the project and how it will be incomparable to others is what always catches her eye. She is extremely grateful to her first client who entrusted her with his house to be designed. She is a staunch believer of the fact that opportunities are very important and when it comes our way, one must explore them to the fullest with all their heart.
Now one can be sure that Pragathi Associatess works solely on the quality and goodwill earned in so many years- years of toil and perseverance of Manjula, our boss lady and her team! For further details log on to www.pragathiassociatess.com -was first indexed by Google more than 10 years ago!