In conversation with Anshul Chodha

We chat with architect Anshul Chodha about his career and the most challenging project he has worked on, so far

After working at Khosla Associates for six years, architect Anshul Chodha decided to set up Sanctuary in 2003 with just one project in hand—his own family home. The project became his greatest learning, the greatest challenge and a source of pride. He speaks to us at length about the Chodha residence and the kind of architecture he really loves working with.

When did you know you wanted to be an architect? 
I didn’t really know until I took an aptitude test in MIT Manipal over 30 years ago, and stumbled upon architecture. My parents wanted me to be a doctor but I felt it made more sense to do something that I was naturally good at.

After graduating, you worked with Sandeep Khosla at Khosla Associates. Tell us about your experience…
Well, I trained at Khosla Associates, when I was the only employee aside from a draftsman and the practice had one or two ongoing projects. During my six years there, Sandeep was definitely very encouraging and insightful to work with. He had international exposure, intellectual clarity and experience working with Charles Correa. He became a mentor during those early years.

What made you give that up and start Sanctuary?
I’d reached a plateau with Khosla Associates and wanted to take the plunge and challenge myself. I started out with my own family home, the Chodha Residence. Then came others—July Systems office project, Bounce salon and Aurora Residence—all of which really helped establish Sanctuary.

What are the kinds of projects you enjoy?
Anything that’s creative, challenging and stimulating. And I feel drawn to hospitality, entertainment and leisure projects.

The project you consider the turning point for your own venture?
The Chodha Residence—it was a huge learning experience since I was not just the architect but also the client. I began to really understand what a homeowner needs, requires and finds challenging. Also, one’s own parents can be the biggest critics, so it came with its surprises.

The most challenging project you worked on?
Definitely, the Chodha Residence. Although each project comes with its own unique challenges.

What are you inspired by?
The miracle of life, nature, people and by possibilities of how humans can go beyond boundaries. The human mind in itself is quite inspiring.

One structure you wish you'd designed…
Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudi.

Your pet peeve is... 
That several people choose to work with international designers, who aren’t as familiar with our culture and urban space, even when there’s so much local talent right here.

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