Preeti and Kabir are architects based in India with extensive experience on developing learning environments of schools and pre-schools in rural as well as urban areas. They both co-founded VINYÃS in 1996 – to undertake innovative, application oriented, interdisciplinary research and design, build capacity and provide policy support. They were listed as amongst the 32 ‘Great stories of change – Inventive Indians’ in 2009.
Since inception, VINYÃS has advised and provided consultancy to the Government of India, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDP, the World Bank, DFID, GTZ, Aga Khan Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, HUDCO, apart from several not-for-profits and private institutions on matters related to education, early childhood care, building design, conservation, tourism, training, construction, policy etc. VINYÃS conducts workshops and training programmes for administrators, architects, engineers, teachers and masons in participative design and construction practices. One of the key ideas developed by VINYÃS has been BaLA –‘Building as Learning Aid’, which is gradually transforming schools and Anganwadis across India now. Preeti and Kabir, with other like-minded professionals, founded VINYÃS SOCIETY- a not-forprofit in 2012 as an extension of VINYÃS, with a vision for ‘Enriching Habitat for All, Responsibly, Innovatively, Everywhere’.
Kabir was Advisor, Infrastructure for Universalization of Elementary Education [Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)] to the National Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India between 2010-13. He was recognized as Social Entrepreneur and was elected as Ashoka Fellow for lifetime in the year 2012 by Ashoka Innovators for the Public. He is also a ‘Well-being Ambassador’ since January 2017, after being in the first international cohort of 17 Social Entrepreneurs chosen from across the world under the Well-being Project in 2015.
Preeti has been teaching Architecture for the last 18 years besides conducting extensive research on ‘How to make BaLA inclusive?’. She has a PhD on ‘School Built Environment as Learning Resource for All Children’. Currently, she is the founding Head of the Department of Architecture and Planning, Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women, New Delhi where she has been able to give the course a distinct social orientation.
Preeti and Kabir have co-authored books and manuals on responsive, children-centered schools and early childhood facilities. Some of their work has been translated into major Indian languages like Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati. They have also lectured at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, the United Nations Headquarters, World Bank Headquarters, Ashoka Innovators for the Public Headquarters, the Centre for International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School for Governance, National University of Singapore, the Graduate School of Design and Education at Harvard University etc. Both participated in Globalizer Summit in London in 2016 to scale up BaLA globally.