Alumni Profile: Prasanna Lachagari
December 18, 2020
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Prasanna Lachagari grew up in Hyderabad, India. She moved to the United States to continue her education and graduated from the BAC with her Masters of Architecture in 2019. Lachagari is now the Design Director at SDI Architecture in Boston, MA and Co-Founder and Principal Architect of SDI's office in Hyderabad. She recently earned a spot as one of the Top 100 Leaders in Real Estate and Construction at the annual WRECONF (World Real Estate and Construction Forum).
What inspired you to become an architect?
My initial passion was primarily drawing and painting. This foundation in art gave me a deep understanding of space and form, which in turn gave me a leg up when I transitioned to the architectural field. Architecture was a natural next step from my artistic beginnings and desire to create physical elements. I am deeply interested in the connection between art and architecture and the ways they influence each other. Architecture gives me the opportunity to bring my art into the built form and makes it accessible to the public while developing special relationships with the spaces to be experienced by the user.
What brought you to the BAC?
After earning my Bachelors in Architecture in India and teaching architectural sketching simultaneously, I became a licensed architect and went on to move to the United States. I was particularly attracted to the BAC at the opportunity it afforded me to work while attending school. The exposure BAC gives its students to the architecture field is significant. While studying for my architecture degree in Hyderabad, I found that working while in school allowed me to bring what I learned in the office to school and vice versa.
As you think back to your BAC experience, what stands out as the most compelling aspect?
I have many fond memories of my time at BAC. Some that stand out the most include Studio 3 with Rashmi Ramaswamy. She helped me realize how architecture can be used in the healing process during this studio. This inspired me for my thesis, Healing Racism, Center for Actuality and Equity. I would also like to thank Ian Taberner and Hyacinth John for helping through the thesis process and introducing me to ideas, buildings and architects I was unaware of before.
You mentioned your thesis, which you received commends of excellence for. Can you tell me a little more about it?
The subject of my Masters of Architecture thesis was "Healing Racism, Center for Actuality and Equity," a topic that has always meant a lot to me on a personal level. In my thesis I was extremely interested in exploring the ways that architecture can heal racism through self reflection and facilitating discussion as well as positive interactions.
You currently work at SDI Architecture in both Boston and India. What's your favourite part about your current job role?
My favorite part of my current job is that it allows me to follow my passions, not only as an architect but also as a woman of color paving the way for others.
I believe that by showing up as a young, entrepreneurial woman of color to a male-dominated industry, I am making changes by showing other people like me how possible it is to follow your dreams and find success.
I am also overjoyed at the opportunity to do design projects in India and Boston simultaneously. The firm has given me the opportunity to connect the staff in both offices through inclusion to projects that are worked on by both groups, as well as developing team building moments across the world. It is also allowing me to work directly with clients from both offices which is deeply satisfying.
What does it mean for you to have earned a spot as one of the Top 100 Leaders in Real Estate and Construction?
It means the world to me to have been selected as one of the Top 100 Leaders in Real Estate and Construction. When I was entering this field, I would always hear that this field is dominated by males. I always wanted to achieve more than the status quo and I am proud to have accomplished this so early in my career. I hope to be a role model for any woman who has a dream that they are following.
What advice would you give to future female architects?
My advice for current and future female architects is to quiet the voice inside your head that gives you self-doubt. Others might doubt you, but you have to stand your ground and believe in yourself. Search and bring into your orbit both men and women who support you. Also, find a mentor! Having a mentor and someone to bounce ideas off and confirm your knowledge is invaluable.
Do you have any future plans or goals for yourself?
More than I can count, but the most immediate and the one I am most passionate about is to create a community design project in India that engages the community, students, & government.
December 18, 2020
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