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Abha Narain Lambah: 5 things you didn’t know

DEC 18, 2015 | By Tasneem Merchant

The soft spoken Mumbai based conservation architect, who specialises in restoration of heritage buildings and monuments found her calling in the forts and palaces of Srinagar and Mehrauli while travelling there with her grandparents. However, it became the obvious choice after her first job interview with Joseph Allen Stein, a great American architect.
She holds a Masters in Architectural Conservation from New Delhi’s School of Planning and Architecture and has been awarded the UNESCO Asia Pacific Award five times, the Sanskriti Award, Eisenhower Fellowship, the Attingham Trust Fellowship and Charles Wallace Fellowship. In 1998, she started her own practice ANL Associates. Since then, she hasn’t looked back and has gone on to restore several monuments such as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahlaya (formerly Prince of Wales Museum), Ajanta Caves, Chandramauleshwar Temple and even the Charminar in Hyderabad among many others.
Leaving an imprint on historical monuments, without disturbing the sands of time is a skill she has mastered. We get the creative talking about things close to her, other than the beautiful monuments she has given a second life to:1. She wishes she could work to restore a Tughlaq dynasty monument. “Both my undergraduate and postgraduate thesis had to do with 14th century Tughlaq monuments. I have worked on Jehangir era Mughal structures, Victorian monuments, ancient Ajanta caves and Mahabodhi temples but I have always missed medieval sultanate buildings and that is what I am still waiting for one day,” she says.2. Ayn Rand is her favourite author. “As a young architecture student you grow up reading Fountainhead; so that becomes your bible and gives you amazing visions of glory of how an architect is just not an architect. They mould a vision or thought and a way of thinking,” she explains. 3. Her pet peeve is people who do not respect other’s time and cannot meet deadlines. Excuses are something she can’t deal with. 4. Hindustani classical and jazz music are her jam. She likes listening to songs from the ‘40s and ‘60s. 5. Travelling and reading are her downtime activities. If not working at any site, she will likely be indulging in these two.