Ishrat Nowshehri:The First Female Architect Of Kashmir Remains An Inspiration

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“It’s possible if you really want to do it,” says Ar. Ishrat Nowshehri.

With 23 years of experience, she has made a name for herself in this sector and is the first female registered architect in Kashmir.

When she was young, Ishrat knew that she wanted to be an architect. Her father is a civil engineer and was worried about her going into the same field, but he supported her dream, knowing that it was in architecture that her heart lay.

As she worked towards her degree in architecture at Kashmir University, she faced many difficulties. Ishrat was often the only woman in classes that were dominated by men, who were “sometimes not very welcoming.” She didn’t let this stop her from pursuing her dream with the support of her family, she completed her degree and became the first female architect of the Valley.

Ishrat had got a couple of partnership offers in architectural firms in Dubai, UAE way back in the year 2008 but she had opted to stay back in Kashmir.

She has taken on projects ranging from landscaping to interiors, commercial buildings to residential homes. She has worked across India in cities like New Delhi and Mumbai and won awards from the Jammu and Kashmir government for her architecture design for the famous handicraft market, Kashmir Haat.

She has worked with numerous renowned architects as an intern and a trainee. She has worked on several projects in Srinagar city. Her interest in contemporary Islamic architecture led her to design buildings for Mosques and Shrines in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Regarding the traditional artisanship of Kashmir, she says that the locals know the weather conditions and the house styles of the valley, enabling them to create structures that promote local artistry rather than relying on foreign imports.

She also was the winner of the award “The Real SuperWoman 2020 Award”, granted to women entrepreneurs at New Delhi.

 She always tells aspiring architects not to be forced into architecture. Get in if you have patience, a good imagination and are willing to learn. You must have the ability to do hard work and dedication and commitment toward your work.

Written by Rithanya Sekar

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