(CET 1982 Arch.)
Padma Shri Prof. G. Shankar is the pioneer of a people’s housing movement based on cost effective and sustainable building technologies in India. He did his architecture studies from College of Engineering Trivandrum (1982 batch) and later did M.S. from Birmingham School of Architecture, UK and Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism. His concept of green architecture has brought about a much-required qualitative change to the shelter sector in Kerala, India.
He draws inspiration from the architect Laurie Baker and has taken up the mission to involve the people in every step of the building process. His sensitivity to the needs of the common man, the marginalized, the fisher folk, the slum dwellers and the tribals earned him the title of 'People's Architect'. Shankar finds contentment not in building opulent structures but in constructing cost effective homes for all strata of the society.
Since 1987 he is UN Consultant for disaster mitigation (Srilanka & Maldives). He is also the chairman of the national committee constituted by the Government of India to formulate guidelines on disaster resistant building technologies. Commitment, enthusiasm, passion, and an eye for beauty - these are the elements that add a special touch to Shankar's architecture. He has won many awards for his endeavours par excellence; he is also a member of a number of national level bodies, both official and non-governmental.
He is the founder and chief architect of Habitat Technology Group, an NGO working in the shelter sector in south Asia with responding centers in India and in other developing countries like Bangladesh, Srilanka and Nigeria. Presently it is a group of 400 professionals with a support base of 30000 trained habitat workers.
Some notable projects:
- Largest earth building in the world - 6,00,000 sq. ft. in Dhaka, Bangladesh
- Rehabilitation housing colonies for Tribals, Dalits and fishermen in Kerala, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.
- Attapady tribal hamlet, Kerala
- Padma Shri from Government of India for his outstanding contributions
- National award for slum rehabilitation works instituted by the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation Government of India in 2004
- First Laurie Baker award constituted by Government of Kerala for outstanding contribution to low cost housing technologies
- Best tsunami initiative in India – UNDP (India)
- Person of the Year award by India Vision news channel for the year 2005.
- Outstanding Young Person of India, National award Indian Jaycees 1996
- 1st Laurie Baker Award Designer Magazine for the best architect in Kerala
- Akshaya Puraskaram for contribution to Green Architecture, Akshaya Samiti, Kerala
- Prakrithi Puraskaram, 1999 Prakrithi Samrakshana Samiti, Kerala
- Best cost effective house of Kerala, Indian Institute of Architects, Kerala
- Sthapatheeyam award for life time achievement in sustainable architecture/Designer Magazine, Kerala
- Karmashree, contribution to sustainable housing, Kalakshetra, Kerala
- Parpidam award for architectural excellence – Malayala Manorama - 2006
- Rotary International award for vocational excellence - 2008
- Kerala Ratna - 2008 – Keraleeyam International