Venkatesh Ramaswamy

Principal Architect at Etendre (Interview PART-1)

Venkatesh Ramaswamy, an architecture expert, has had a fantastic journey. During an interview with the best creators, he was asked a series of questions. While exchanging ideas, he also shared some of his philosophy, challenges, and advice to vendors and turnkey contractors on how to progress in the field of architecture.

Venkatesh’s success story is truly fascinating and will inspire many inspiring architects. He began his career in the year 2000 and has always worked with well-known design studios. His career began early on with DBA (Dev Bildikar Architects), where, despite being an Intern, he was projected as an Architect and was involved in all aspects of a project’s process. He then joined CNT Architects, where he worked on notable projects such as NIFT-Chennai, TERI (The Energy & Resources Institute), RBI Note Mudran, and a few HNI residences.

During his break to prepare his portfolio for further studies, he was connected with Inform Architects, where he was involved in the Conceptual design for Nandan Nilekani’s residence (the co- founder of Infosys). He then moved to the Netherlands to study design and architecture at TUDelft (the top most institute in the world for Architecture). He then relocated to Singapore to work for DPA, where he primarily worked on large format projects in the Indian Subcontinent. He was involved in the design of several Software Technology Parks for RMZ, several malls across India (Select Citywalk Mall, Ambience Mall, and so on), and several mixed and multi-use developments such as Ambience Island in Gurgaon, Bombay Dyeing in Spring Mills, Planet Godrej etc. In 2005, he returned to India for a brief stint with MGA, where they designed a second-place winning entry for the Bhopal Gas tragedy memorial.

He then served as the Joint Managing Director of MCPL for 5 years before establishing his own design studio in 2011. He created many institutional and development projects for well-known Christian missionaries and the Rashtrothana Parishad while at MCPL. Aside from a few villa projects and apartment complexes, the projects here included schools, colleges, churches, chapels, orphanages, and nursing homes. He realised he had developed a strong interest in single homes and residences when he founded his own design studio, ETENDRE, in 2011.

Transparency equals trust and honesty

When asked about some of his philosophies that helped him become successful in this field, he stated that he believes in complete transparency in his approach to work from the beginning of his discussions with potential Clients. He stated that this translates into a foundation of trust and honesty, which is at the core of how we function and interact with our Clients, Contractors and Vendors.

We focus on ultra HNI homes

To increase the organization’s efficiency, Venkatesh focuses on Individual Ultra HNI homes. He stated that this is because these types of projects have an Emotional Quotient connection. This EQ excites us and connects us deeply to our projects, which fuels our passion and deep commitment to our projects and clients.

During our interactions, our clients begin to understand our motivation and align themselves with our thought processes, which strengthens our professional relationship and the trust factor.

The Architects and Designers in our studio eventually understand this sensibility and sensitivity that we feel needs to be imbibed to create what we could define as better projects.

Venkatesh's diverse professional experience has taught him the importance of educating clients.

Every story has a story to tell. This stems from our clients’ dreams for their homes and our intention to assist them in creating this utopia from the beginning. We have learned from experience that it is critical to educate our clients because many times they are unaware or are looking to build something based on what they have seen and want rather than what they need. We help filter these from our constant discussions in order to develop the best tailor-made project. As a result, our projects that began as ‘HOUSES’ have evolved into beautiful ‘HOMES.’

The most difficult challenge is educating clients on what they require versus what they desire.

As mentioned above, it is a mountainous challenge to get our clients to truly understand and educate them on what they need versus what they want. To succeed in this process, our design process with our clients can last up to a year.

The process is fairly straightforward during execution, as it is with any project, with constant supervision, frequent quality checks, and constant conversations with our clients on site to help them understand the spaces as they shape. This helps us improve our trust relationship with our clients while also ensuring that we achieve our goals. To be continued>>