February 16, 2017
Archana (Arch) Tembulkar, Studio & Design Director/Sr. Project Manager in OTJ’s New York City office, is an Associate AIA member for the New York chapter and is also a member and volunteer for the NYC/NJ chapter of Asha for Education, which is a nonprofit dedicated to educating underprivileged children in India. Arch has a Master of Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture and is the recipient of an ASID NJ Gold Excellence Award for her design work for Beckman Coulter in NJ. She has also provided full-service design for some very prominent New York City clients, including the Empire State Building and Tiffany & Co. headquarters.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
I love running marathons in different cities to experience the urban fabric of its cityscapes. I’ve run one full marathon in DC and four half marathons in NYC, San Francisco, Miami and Philly.
What did you want to do when you were a kid?
I wanted to be an archaeologist, because I thought it would be fascinating to travel the world and go dig up some ancient human history. It probably came from my love of digging and collecting stones when I was little girl. It went hand-in-hand with wanting to be a drummer, on and off.
What do you like to do for fun? Any hobbies?
I am not sure if it qualifies as a hobby, but I love being in transit. At every opportunity I get, I will take off on a road trip with my family. I sometimes like to take myself on a really long drive with no destination in mind. It helps me rejuvenate and works as a stress buster!
What is your favorite building in NYC? And why?
That’s a tough one! Well, to me as an architect, planner and designer, the fabric of New York City with all of its high-rise buildings and cosmopolitan human density is what makes the city so dynamic. Each neighborhood is constantly changing with new construction, art installations and it offers a totally new experience when you revisit in a couple months. I like the unpredictability. It keeps me coming back for more and it gives me a reason to visit a certain area over and over again. So, it is hard for me to pick one building, but having said that, the Twin Towers will always be my favorite. It was a simple, modern building that introduced new innovative solutions to the high-rise design with its exterior load-bearing and wind-resisting steel columns, prefab construction of multi-story column beams and floor decks to expedite construction time and sky lobbies to stack elevators, just to mention a few. It was the identity of the city for me, and since we lost them, my favorite “un-building” now is the Twin Towers memorial at Ground Zero. The building that once stood tall, now flows deep down towards the core of the earth. To the point I was trying to make earlier, the neighborhood, the space and the footprint of the Twin Towers, now provide a totally different, and to a large extent, spiritual experience for me.
What is your favorite building in the world? And why?
My favorite building would be the Church of The Light. It’s a chapel in Japan designed by Tadao Ando who often uses Zen philosophies in his conceptual approach. It is a strong contrast between light and dark, transparent and opaque, fluid and solid, outside and inside, spiritual and secular. His use of reinforced concrete blocks and its juxtaposition to create the Cross in the main chapel through which the eastern sun beams through is almost silencing and is a testament to the phrase “less is more.”
Who inspires you? And why?
My dad, and architect Tadao Ando.
My dad is my hero and will always be my role model. He is the most calm, affectionate, kind-hearted, generous and positive person that I have ever known and who always has a solution for my problems. He never frowns if I fail at anything. In fact, he would remind that failure is the stepping stone to success.
Ando inspires me with his simplistic and minimalistic approach to design aesthetics. His use of naked concrete to exemplify his design with the purity of the material excites me to a different level where it’s stripped of all the cosmetics. His ability to create a spiritual experience within a space with clean lines, concrete and simple play of light and shadow is what makes him a great architect.
What made you decide you wanted to be an architect/designer?
My dad – he knew before he was even married that he was going to have a girl and his daughter was going to be an architect! ESP! He had bought a building and construction Legos set for me before I even existed. So when the time came, he helped me look at my talent and guided me that this was right for me.Back to Blog