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Punjabis love to build big houses and most of times, it is too late when they realize that their big house has become a debt trap for the family. Due to student visa exodus in rural Punjab, the number of ‘empty nest’ houses is increasing but at the same time the size of such empty nests is also growing abnormally. Interestingly, Punjab govt also reflects this social attitude perfectly in designing and building its public buildings like schools, colleges, hospitals, offices, Sewa Kenders etc. These are big, empty, underutilized and unrepaired. Parthenium grass is the proud occupant of most public buildings in Punjab and some unused corners act like open bins.

Thank god that Punjabis are not paan chewing people, to a large extent. Bigness does not translate in to comfort for the stakeholders. Big budget brings little relief, be it private houses or public buildings.


In this scenario, young architects like Pamaljeet Singh take up the challenge to clear Augean stable, a mess created by big budget-bad building philosophy. Pamaljeet is a Mohali/Ajitgarh based architect and designer who runs a design lab with Srishti. Design lab’s motto is: Less, but better.

This is direct antidote to the building thought that builds for sight, not for life. Pamaljeet possesses the rare combination of a graduate degree in architecture from MNIT Jaipur and masters degree in Furniture design from National Institute of Design, Ahmadabad. This training has given him in depth understanding of impact of furniture and buildings on human life. His learning at Italy and Ideasquare, CERN, Switzerland further broadened his mental horizon to think and work about making such living space that actually makes all people’s lives easy, be it young or old.

He earned his M.Sc. in Innovative Design at University of Ferrara, Italy. Not availing job offer at Switzerland, he chose Punjab as his Karambhumi. Srishti, a designer from NID Ahmadabad, shared his vision and they founded TUBB, a Mohali based design lab for human-centric products, services, systems and spaces. They have contributed in the design of Pregnant Women Transit System in Civil Hospital, Ahmadabad in 2019. How do the blind people handle their tableware while dining? It should be designed to suit their needs. This was the question that compelled them to take up the project for designing

Inclusive tableware for Blind People Association of Ahmadabad. Currently they are working upon Body Conscious Living Systems for National Design Business Incubator.


Pamaljeet believes in the democratization of design. It is stakeholder, not Neufert books, who have to decide the height and size of a kitchen shelf. Elbow size of Punjabi ladies does not go well with the prescriptions made by Neufert and working in kitchen causes life time damage to spine and kitchen becomes an unpleasant place. This is the same place where old Punjabi matriarchs used to rule when their space was not built according to the wisdom of so called trained architect.

Pamaljeet sees a lot of problem with the trend of copy pasting a city dwelling design for rural housing requirement. He believes that house should be designed according to the needs of stakeholder. Do not build your house the way your uncles and aunts want, do not build your house for the future wives of your unborn grandchildren, keep them simple, make with less but make it better.

About the author:
Dr. Amanpreet Singh Gill

Dr. Amanpreet Singh Gill The writer, Dr. Amanpreet Singh Gill teaches Political Science at SGTB Khalsa College, North Campus, Delhi University. He’s also a Convener, of a course committee on social sciences, in Central board of secondary education (CBSE). Apart from short stories, he writes on Punjab politics and Sikh history. He has authored six books in Punjabi and English. Non-Congress Politics in Punjab (2015), 1708 Dasam Guru di Dakhan Feri (2017) and Kes History of Sikhs and other Essays (2020) are some of his better known works. He can be reached at:[email protected] He can be reached at: [email protected]

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