What is The Curry Stone Design Collaborative?

What is The Curry Stone Design Collaborative?

  • What is The
  • Curry Stone
  • Design
  • Collaborative?

Curry Stone
Design Collaborative

The Curry Stone Design Collaborative (CSDC) is a design studio created to equip underserved and marginalised communities with methods to design, develop and improve their own built environments.

The Curry Stone Design Collaborative (CSDC) is design studio created to equip underserved and marginalised communities with methods to design, develop and improve their own built environments. Launched in India in 2016, CDSC operates as a true collective of social design practices, architects, civic planners working collaboratively with communities in need. It unites design practitioners and community in a common cause: addressing inequalities using design and technical tools. At CSDC’s core is a community driven design process. It starts by spending significant time with residents to gain a thorough understanding of the complexities of their living conditions. It is only after the community is comfortable and familiar with the CSDC team that the work of collaborating on the design of life-improving solutions begins. The ultimate goal is for the community to be full participants in the initial process, and to be empowered to continue the work on their own for years to come This community-first approach is born out of the direct experience of CSDC Managing Director Sandhya Naidu and the Curry Stone Foundation’s decade of researching and awarding a prize to global social design practitioners. It is their joint observation that traditional development metrics such as “scalability” and “replicability” are not necessarily applicable—or desirable, in community-based work. Design solutions tailored to a community’s unique needs have tremendous impact and can significantly improve quality of life. CSDC is intentionally lean and nimble. While it plans to expand its work both within and beyond India, it will replicate its “community-driven” philosophy, rather than simply duplicating previous interventions. Instead of growing its permanent staff, it will invite local professionals and agencies to collaborate in each new community. Moreover, the Curry Stone Foundation has built a network of social impact design practices around the globe. Where appropriate, these will be invited to join CSDC’s work. CSDC is primarily a design studio, but it is also an incubator for “patient development,” a riff off of what is called “patient capital” in the impact investment sphere. The Curry Stone Foundation is not looking for quick-fix solutions with purely quantitative success metrics, e.g. number of people housed or how many villages can use the same design verbatim. It is willing to wait for long term, qualitative metrics, even if they are arguably intangible such as human flourishing and quality of life. Further, it is open to changing its strategies as needed to remain relevant to the communities it serves.

See the CSDC in action in our video

Sandhya Naidu Janardhan
Sandhya Naidu Janardhan is the Managing Director of Curry Stone Design Collaborative, a Mumbai-based design studio established in 2016 by the Curry Stone Foundation. Sandhya is currently working with a diverse group of communities across India using simple design interventions helping create dignified places to live, learn, play and work. Prior to moving to Mumbai, Sandhya spent 3-years in Singapore working as an Associate at Tierra Design, an award-winning, boutique landscape architecture firm. She had the opportunity to work on integrative design projects across East and Southeast Asia and was part of the senior management team in charge of business development and operations at the firm. This period was critical to Sandhya’s growth as an architect and designer, giving her better insights into commercial design practices and real-estate development. This experience eventually led her back to work in service to communities that are most in need, but equipped with a more balanced view of ‘mainstream architecture’ and ‘social architecture’. Sandhya’s first main venture into the professional practice of architecture was at Architecture of Humanity. During her time there, Sandhya held various positions managing design projects, programme development, operations, and lean innovation interventions with a focus on community-led design. Sandhya worked in multiple countries with a particular focus on education and healthcare, including Haiti where she addressed post-disaster reconstruction work after the 2010 earthquake. At Achitecture for Humanity Sandhya learned the incredible role that design and planning can play in changing, improving and mitigating inequities in the built environment. Sandhya is a graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in New York City; and the architecture programme at RV College of Engineering in Bangalore, India. She is a TED Fellow, has been nominated for the Yale World Fellows Program, and served on the jury for the Nathaniel A. Owings Award.