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Yatin Pandya

Yatin Pandya is the founder and executive director of Footprints E.A.R.T.H. (Environment, Architecture, Research, Technology, Housing), an Indian professional services organization focused on research, design and promotion of more sustainable urban futures. Their work runs the gamut from architecture to campus planning to education, and each project becomes an educational tool in a campaign to help India think differently about its built environment.

Footprints E.A.R.T.H. is invested in recycling and up-cycling. India produces 24.7 meganewtons of urban waste per day. This waste stream could represent an unlimited supply of new building materials, provided recyclables can be thoughtfully reused.

An example of how this philosophy works in practice is the design of the Manav Sadhna Activity Centre and Creche, in Ahmedabad, India. Walls were constructed of fly ash instead of clay, which does not require firing, is less polluting, and cheaper than clay. Wooden crates, glass bottles, oil drums, rags, clay bowls and even electronic waste (keyboards) were used as filler in several different applications. The project itself acts as a material palette that can be studied by locals and serve as inspiration for future projects.

In his own words, Yatin’s philosophy of holistic design, “…is experientially engaging, environmentally sustaining, socio­–culturally responsive and most importantly contextually appropriate….We are lucky to find a repository of traditional wisdom through the deep, long passage of time. We endeavor to create contextually relevant contemporary resolutions that inspire from the rich Indian traditions and yet aspire for its future dreams.”

We had a chance to interview Yatin on our podcast, Social Design Insights, where he shared with us the nuts and bolts of his approach. Listen to Episode 37 | Finding Holistic Design Through History here.