Architect Seema Puri, Partner – Seema Puri & Zarir Mullan Architects & Interior Designers
Ar. Seema Puri started her own Architectural Practise which with partner and husband Zarir Mullan in 1998. Hailing from a family of Doctors, for long, she had decided to become a doctor. However seeing a friend struggling with the endless studies made her change her dmind and opt for Architecture, which though has very long laborious hours of work too , is not restricted to books only.
“A design should rise and mould itself from the urban fabric while yet etching itself onto it, architecture, landscape and interior design should blend perfectly so as to melt the barriers between inside and outside, says Seema Puri.
This is the philosophy that the husband and wife firm of Seema Puri and Zarir Mullan believe in, and which they have tried to successfully achieve in the past few years at their firm — Seema Puri & Zarir Mullan Architects (SEZA). Their practice has conceptualized, designed and executed a wide range of architectural and interior projects of diverse nature ranging from Corporate Buildings, Residential Schemes, Showrooms, Cafeterias and Private Bungalows.
Recipient of the Icons of Spaces Singapore Award for Best Unbuilt Project Design, Seema shares some insights with team ABT.
Who is your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspiration is my family, having super intelligent parents, a doctor and an Engineer, who have always shown us the only path to success is putting your nose to the grindstone and succeeding. All others too, like my ever encouraging husband my successful brother and the firm I worked for to begin my career, are all my daily inspirations and ideals that I try to live upto.
What was the one milestone in your life that makes you happy?
Receiving an award for one of the first projects that I established my practise with, which was from the IIA in 2003 for an Individual Bungalow. It was a great encouragement because this was also around the same time that I had my son and was struggling with getting back to work and being a good parent .
Do you recall any challenge that you faced as a women entrepreneur?
Women work hard outside and within their homes , no area can be ignored , sometimes we have to work twice as hard to prove ourselves in this society which is so male dominated . When a women asks for leave to take care of her children its regarded as being badly organised and as bad time management, while if a man ask for leave to take of his children he’s regarded as being very caring and benevolent.
While on site initially in my career the men contractors found it very difficult to take instructions from a lady architect, and would constantly ask for a male architect. If they had made mistakes, for them to accept it too was an impossibility; they would try and find fault with the drawing s or the site instructions given but refuse to admit their faults in front of a woman.
Luckily for me my husband is an architect and is extremely supportive, so he would accompany me to site or to a meeting and then suddenly, you would find the men being very supportive of my ideas and drawings. However it’s only fair to say that this scenario has changed a lot in the last few years , now with so many more women daring to go beyond the home and receiving laurels for their work , women professionals are being accepted in almost all walks of life .
What advice would you like to give to your younger self?
To a younger me or to my fellow professionals I would like to reach out to them and say, that as a women Entrepreneur, along with the intense desire to see our vision carried out, we also have a great ability to multi-task and are not fearful of the risks involved in being self-employed. Women are still facing many issues in the workforce, and being their own boss certainly is more appealing to reduce some of the everyday issues they face outside of entrepreneurship. Gender roles are still very much a part of their lives, but as female entrepreneurs, they will feel more in control of situations than otherwise.
Do you feel there are more opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs today?
The very fact that we dare to do what we do in such a male oriented society is proof to the fact that our efforts in creating successful women Entrepreneurs, paves the way for younger women to follow our paths . I believe we’ve faced the hardships and gone through our struggles, making it easier for the generations of women to come, to face lesser difficulties in their work environments.
What would you like to achieve in next 5 years?
I would like to be able to work on some really interesting projects in the forthcoming years, like maybe some institutional buildings a museum maybe so that it gives me the opportunity to work with different parameters. Set higher goal, achieve more in terms of design without any restrictions, no unnecessary rules to follow, just be able to create without any inhibitions.
Watch Ar.Seemapuri at the Icons of Spaces 2016 Conclave, Singapore.