Shimul Javeri Kadri

Founder, SJK Architects

Shimul Javeri Kadri is a woman of our time. As an architect she has achieved many accolades and much success, however, it is her ethos and ethics, those things that she measures architecture and life by, that marks her as singular.

Her practice, SJK Architects, is one of the most renowned in India and, as its Founder, she has led a 40-strong team for more than 30 years, building an exemplary client portfolio and creating projects that impact the social and cultural fabric of her country.

Shimul first studied at the Academy of Architecture in Mumbai, India, then travelled to the US to complete a Masters degree at the University of Michigan. It was here that she set a new direction for her work and moved her focus from architecture to urban planning. She stayed in the US and worked for a year then returned to Mumbai in 1989.

For Shimul, architecture is about the big picture not the vignette. Urban planning allowed her to think large-scale and it is this idea that has been a driving force throughout her years of practice. Living and studying abroad also afforded her room to move, to study possibilities and explore ideas.

From the beginning Shimul set out to design architecture that was worthy of a ‘big picture dream’ and these were primarily institutional and commercial projects. As her client base grew so did the commissions, one project and client led to another and she began to work, not only in her hometown of Mumbai, but across the Indian continent.

Over the years she has learnt many things and one in particular is the ability to say ‘no’. At the very beginning of her career, it would have been the easier route to design residential projects from family and friends, instead she waited and said yes to commissions that would enable her to create the architecture she envisaged when studying in the US. She decided the direction of the practice and hasn’t wavered since.

It is this steely will and determined mindset that has propelled SJK Architects to do what it does best and concurrently pave the way for women to practice. Shimul is a great mentor and supporter of women, understanding the challenges faced by female practitioners. She has carved her pathway in the profession and today there is a road for others to follow. Shimul just doesn’t talk the talk, she implements her ideas as her practice comprises a majority of women with three partners as of 2022, and five Team Leads – all women.

In 2024 SJK Architects is defining the role of architecture and that of women practitioners in India through a variety of projects that include masterplans, workplace, hospitality, retail, cultural and institutional, education, industrial, residential and adaptive reuse projects across architecture and interior design.

Shimul Javeri Kadri is an inspiration to us all. She has forged her way in a patriarchal country and world and has reached the zenith of her career. That’s not to say she is now relaxing. With three female partners who explore their talent and showcase the practice, along with an inspired workforce, SJK Architects is stronger than ever.

As your buildings are a testament to your foresight and architecture Shimul Javeri Kadri, so too are your thoughts and actions that impact your home country of India but also resonate across our region and the globe.

The full article can be read in Indesign issue 91. Words by Jan Henderson.


Photography: Synergy, Rajesh Vora


SJK Architects