One to Watch

Showcasing the work and talents of architecture and design practice Studio Saar, founded in 2019 and working from its two main offices in Frome, UK and Udaipur, India

Words by Emily Martin


Studio Saar is an architecture and design practice split between its two off ices in Frome, UK and Udaipur, India, working across a range of sectors including industrial, cultural, education and private residential. Set up in 2019 by Ananya Singhal, managing partner, and Jonny Buckland, design and creative director, it was previously an internal division of Secure Meters for six years, before the duo took on external clients. They say: ‘Whether in Somerset or Rajasthan, our architecture is underpinned by the ambition to create sustainable solutions for society, achieved by cross-cultural sharing of emerging ideas, methodologies and technologies and we believe that spaces for work, living and congregation should empower the people experiencing them – lifting spirits, inspiring and building confidence.’


After first meeting in 2003 at the University of Bath, UK, where they studied architecture, Singhal and Buckland met up again in 2014 when collaborating on a home extension project in Hampshire. ‘From [2003], we worked together off and on, and then – almost 20 years later – decided to formalise our work as Studio Saar,’ they say. ‘Our lasting friendship and shared vision in crafting uplifting places and spaces underpins all that we do.’ The practice is currently designing a purpose-built stone and lime concrete building in India for its parent company which will also become its studio space in India.


1. Mayday Saxonvale: The studio has joined forces with social enterprise Mayday Saxonvale, which is taking on a major property developer to oppose a high-density housing masterplan for a brownfield site called Saxonvale in central Frome, UK. Working in collaboration with the Mayday team, the studio has produced an alternative urban masterplan that, it says, ‘places community at the heart’ and will be presented to the Mendip District Council Planning Board committee. ‘At Studio Saar, we believe in creating socially-centred designs for the community of people aff ected by a project. We aspire to create uplifting spaces for living, working and congregating and they should empower the people that experience them,’ the duo say.

Image Credit: ANKIT JAIN
Image Credit: ANKIT JAIN

2. Secure Sanand Factory: The studio has completed a purpose-built industrial facility for Indian multi-national electronics manufacturer Secure Meters in Sanand, a city in the Indian state of Gujarat famed for automobile manufacture. The scheme has been designed to create an uplifting work environment and promote staff well-being while supporting the local environment and reducing energy consumption. It features state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, light, ambient, open-plan workspaces, a canteen and recreational hub for employees, as well as a seasonal lake that fluctuates between one to three acres in size to allow for rainwater harvesting during the monsoon season.


3. Third Space: The Haveli of Curiosity – ‘We are currently on-site with a new learning and cultural centre in Udaipur, Rajasthan, for not-for-profit client Dharohar, which runs science-related workshops, programmes and projects in schools and public spaces,’ say Singhal and Buckland. The building will be a home for learning and exploration for all ages and will house leisure, cultural and educational programmes, providing facilities for formal and informal learning, socialising and performing arts. ‘The scheme is designed as a “third space” for young people; an environment without boundaries or hierarchy which will not be the “school” or the “home”, where they will be able to explore their interests and engage in diverse, hands-on activities to better understand more about the world and their place in it.’

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