Shimul Javeri Kadri is the founder of and partner at SJK Architects along with Vaishali Mangalvedhekar, Sarika Shetty and Roshni Kshirsagar. Founded in 1990, SJK Architects is a Mumbai-based collective of 30+ built environment professionals, working with clients and collaborators all across the country. They design spaces that are meticulously crafted from a study of climate, culture, history, and technology – each unique to the place and its people. Shimul’s need for clarity drives her approach to design.
Research, analysis and multiple approaches that can resolve a client’s aspirations (which she defines as the patron and society at large) are the starting point. Her ultimate goal is to transcend these through innovative thought and rigorous detailing. She studied urban planning in order to help her understand the dismal state of housing in Mumbai. This proved to be an exploration of the global politics of race, class and gender. Her focus on an equitable society still informs her work and choices, as is evident in her affiliation to causes related to education and women.
Shimul has built the practice over 32 years with careful consideration of the values she holds dear. She chose to steer the practice towards meaningful architectural projects by creating a loyal base of delighted clients that returns with growing aspirations and projects until today. She believes strongly in the potential of every human to thrive in the right ecosystem. This has led to a highly interactive atmosphere in the studio and a collaborative approach to projects. The studio became a partnership firm in April 2022 and hopes to continue the journey by providing young talent with the opportunity to have a voice and a stake in the firm. In 2014, for her contribution to architecture, Shimul was one of three finalists and received a special mention at the prestigious ArcVision Prize – Women and Architecture (Italy), also referred to the “Pritzker for women” Beyond her architectural practice, Shimul is on the Advisory Board of Vipla Foundation.
This Mumbai-based non-governmental organisation works towards education and development for vulnerable children. The Foundation has worked on over 65 projects running across 18 states of India, where they were able to reach a total of 10.37 lakh children in 2020. Additionally, Shimul is on the Advisory Committee for Gender at the MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai), leading to the incorporation of the first chapter on gender in the Development Control Rules of Mumbai 2034. She is also on the Board of Trustees for Akshara, an NGO that works to empower women and girls. Shimul’s engagement with women’s issues began with feminist theatre through her college years and into teaching Women’s Studies at University in the USA. Her alignment with the work and values at Akshara has led to a 20-year-long engagement in their strategies and goals. They have had much success with creating cultural change with youth through Yuvati melas (youth fairs) and with combating violence through police helplines.