Belagavi based Architect Ms. Prajakta Mukund Deshpande, Probably the only youngest Indian Architect who gets selected for the fully sponsored US/ICOMOS International Exchange Program at the Arts & History Museum, Maitland Florida.
Speaking to AAB’s Features editor Kiran Nippanikar on her journey to success Prajakta Deshpande said – ICOMOS i.e. International Council On Monuments and Sites is a non-governmental organization that was institutionalized in 1965 is dedicated to the conservation of cultural heritage through advocating research, theory, scientific techniques, and proper methodologies for conserving our heritage. ICOMOS has its chapters in 151 countries including India.
The International Exchange program or the IEP is hosted by the US/ICOMOS since 1984 (https://usicomos.org/internship/) and is aimed at, as the name suggests, the exchange of conservation knowledge and expertise between various regions.
I was selected for the 2020 IEP which unfortunately got canceled due to COVID-19 and was planned for 2021. I got selected by the Arts & History Museum, Maitland, Florida to assist them in their ongoing efforts of conserving their 20th century Art Deco-Mayan Revival campus which was designed by artist and architect Jules Andre Smith. The internship began on the 20th of September and I will be for the next 10 weeks. Other interns selected for the program hail from US, Iran, Canada, Spain, and Thailand and will be working for other heritage organizations in the US and abroad.
Prajakta did her architecture undergraduate degree from KLS GIT and worked for more than 2 years with Conservation Architect Vikas Dilawari based out of Mumbai. To gain more insights into the field of heritage conservation, she went on to pursue her master’s at the University of York on a fully-funded scholarship by the Charles Wallace India Trust. Returning back from the UK, she has stationed herself in Belagavi and run an architecture practice here.
She adds, My aim is to encourage more homeowners to retain their old houses, repurpose them to be used for different purposes for monetary support and to create awareness around the heritage of Belgaum. I like to help homeowners of old houses repair their old houses with minimum resources, right techniques and enhance the lives of these beautiful structures which are otherwise disappearing at a rapid rate.
I, along with my four friends also run an Instagram and Facebook page called Heritage of Belgaum which is aimed at gathering archives and stories around Belagavi’s rich cultural heritage and bring people together for a common cause of protecting our historical assets.
We wish you Good Luck with your bright future.