NAWIC Chapter: Richmond, Va.
Company: Mansara Architects and Developers
Job Title: Owner, Architect and Developer
Aparna Patil, AIA, has worked as an architect in the United States for 16 years. She is the owner-principal of Mansara Architecture, a SWaM-certified company engaged in commercial and residential projects. Patil has a Bachelor’s degree in architecture and a Master’s degree in housing and urban planning. She is also an expert in the ancient Vedic methods of design called Vaastushastra and uses it for the in-house development projects and upon request by private clients. In Vaastushastra, the fenestrations and function within a building are arranged according to directions, making the spaces green.
The Springfield Road Residences are two single-family homes, which are approximately 3,100 square feet with five bedrooms and four full bathrooms. Both are constructed ac-cording to the principles of Vaastushastra. Each of the homes is cardinally oriented on the site with the main door facing north and a side door facing east. Windows are placed to al-low the maximum amount of daylight in the home, including numerous windows on the East side to bring in morning sun-light. The placement and layout of the rooms are according to Vaastushastra. Patil is the lead designer and general contractor on this project.
Why will NAWIC members be interested in this project and your
role in it?
“The part that will interest the NAWIC members most is my role as an architect and developer on this project. We know that having a general contractor on board early on from preliminary design phase saves considerably on resources in the long run. Being architect and a general contractor also means that there is no compromise in quality or aesthetics. For starters the drawing sets need not be too elaborate. During construction the need for RFI’s or change orders is eliminated because the decision making entity is one and the same. A lot of unnecessary paper trail, meetings etc. become redundant. The concept of a single entity doing the work of a designer and a contractor is worth embracing.”
What do you like best about being a part of this project?
“I am an architect by training and experience and am wear-ing the hat of a general contractor for the first time. I am in a sweet spot, where I have the flexibility of implementing my de-sign without compromise on the quality of the materials or the space or the aesthetics, all the while remaining within budget.”
What challenges do you face as a woman in construction, either on this specific project or generally?
“Generally, I witness an element of surprise from most sub-contractors, suppliers and vendors when they see a small Asian woman who is an architect and acting as a general con-tractor on the job. But once we begin to work together there develops a good working professional relationship. My biggest challenge yet has been trying to get on state projects despite
Aparna Patil, AIA is the owner-principal of Mansara Architecture. She is currently serving as the architect, developer and general contractor on two single-family homes. Photos courtesy of Aparna Patil, AIA.being SWaM certified.
What will you be working on next?
“I plan to continue working and expanding my role of architect as developer. The next project may most likely be a commercial development using the ancient Vedic principals of Vaastushastra.”
The Springfield Road Residences are two single-family homes, which are approximately 3,100 square feet with five bedrooms and four full bathrooms. Both are constructed according to the principles of Vaastushastra