The first woman in India to own and operate her own architectural firm, the Chennai-based Shilpa Architects. Her designs comprised more than 1000 completed projects.
She attended the Anna University School of Architecture and Planning and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She developed a passion early on for sustainable design.
She addressed the need for low-cost housing as an urban planner and obtained two patents for low-cost building products.
She was born in Bhopal, the capitol of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Her parents were interested in training her artistic instincts early on, and she began studying classical Indian dance, music, and other fine arts at a young age.
She and Maya Ying Lin both became prominent female architects.