Chennai-based woman architect at the helm of Telangana Secretariat design
Three years ago, the Telangana government invited designs from architects across the country. After careful scrutiny, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao chose Ponni’s architectural firm’s design and invited Ponni to design the new Secretariat.
CHENNAI: Ponni M Concessao, a Chennai-based architect, has made history by becoming the first woman architect in India to design a State Secretariat. The New Telangana State Secretariat, which overlooks the Hussain Sagar Lake in Telangana, is a 10-lakh square feet building that houses modern facilities combined with architectural marvels and absolutely stunning interiors.
Three years ago, the Telangana government invited designs from architects across the country. After careful scrutiny, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao chose Ponni’s architectural firm’s design and invited Ponni to design the new Secretariat. Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Ponni and her husband Oscar G Concessao, who also has more than 30 years of experience in the industry, completed the project in just two years.
The couple’s extensive experience in designing architectural marvels proved advantageous in this project. “The Chief Minister needed a design that reflected the grandeur of Telangana and the aspirations of the people of Telangana which was reflected in our design. We aimed for an architectural heritage design that blends the best of the East and the West, which is a Hyderabadi tradition. The Secretariat is Green Gold rated by IGBC. We procured all the materials locally except the sandstone from Rajasthan and have used cutting-edge materials for this project,” explains Ponni.
As a woman architect, Ponni credits her success to her education at the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchy, and in the USA. “Undoubtedly, we face numerous challenges in our workspaces. However, instead of lamenting, we need to be proactive and give it our best. It is the only way to achieve success,” she explains.
She believes in following contextual architecture, which means taking the architecture of the land, of the local culture, and creating a building that the local population can connect mentally with. Ponni also commends Chief Minister K Chandrasekar Rao for his expertise in understanding the engineering, architectural, and social intricacies of the complex, describing him as a true visionary leader of the 21st century. “Without his support and the freedom he gave us, we wouldn’t have been able to create this magnificent building,” she acknowledges.
In conclusion, Ponni’s design for the Telangana State Secretariat is a testament to her skill and expertise in architecture. It is also a significant milestone for women in the industry and a symbol of how contextual architecture can create a building that is a true expression of democracy and an enduring edifice that reflects the culture and heritage of the people.
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