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Mahesh Neelakantan

PORTFOLIO 2000 - 2010

Table of Contents




Mahesh Neelakantan

EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION LEED Accredited Professional Associate member, American Institute of Architects Registered member of the Council of Architects, India 08:2003 – 05:2005 08:1995 – 06:2000

M ARCH, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas B ARCH, University of Kerala, India

EXPERIENCE 01:2009 – Present

Design Architect, GA Architects, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Lead designer handling projects ranging from mixed use devolopments, high rise residential and Commercial buildings. Responsible for concept design through design devolopment and co-ordinating construction documentation.

09:2008 – 12:2008

Architect, Atelier2 inc., Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Freelance architect handling projects ranging from Architecture, graphic design and LEED consultancy.

06:2007 – 09:2008

Architect, Hastings Architecture Associates, Nashville, USA

Design Architect responsible for the direction of three to four member project teams from concept through design devolopment under the overall supervision of an Associate. Preparation of construction documents, and participation in construction administration of large scale commercial and institutional facilities. Clients include Vanderbilt University, Franke inc, Pinnacle Finance.

06:2005 – 05:2007

Architect, Earl Swennson Assoc., Nashville, USA

Assisted in a diverse spectrum of firm operations including schematic design development, presentation drawings, design development and construction documents. Lead design contributor for projects including cafe at Cumberland university and Cumberland University Masterplan.

06:2001 – 06:2003

Architect, The Atelier Design Studio, Cochin, India Design Consultant, Kraftwork Solar Pvt Ltd, Cochin, India

Lead designer handling various residential projects from concept through construction Administration. Product design and graphic design services for Kraftwork Solar Pvt Ltd.

06:2000 – 06:2001

Layout Designer, Toonz Animation Pvt Ltd, Trivandrum, India

Graphic designer and Layout Artist in various animated productions like KingKong ( Animated TV series) Treasure Island etc..


Design : Revit, AutoCAD, MicroStation, 3D studio MAX, SketchUp, Photoshop, In Design Presentation : Free hand sketching, perspectives and rendering. Web Design : Dream Weaver, Flash. MS Office : MS Word, MS Excel, Power Point


Edward J. Romieniec, FAIA, Endowed Scholarships -2003-2004 for demonstrating academic excellence and professional distinction

Departmental scholarship- 2002-2003.-Texas A & M university, College of architecture, College station, Texas


Member, Committee on the Environment (COTE), AIA Middle Tennessee Member, United States Green Building Council Member of Indian Institute of Architects, Cochin chapter, India Secretary of the society of student architects, dept of architecture, TKM College of Engineering, India -1998-99


The following pages contain a selection of projects I have worked on from 2000 up to now. Thank you in advance for taking time to go through it. All of the projects I worked on were usually as a part of a team or a studio. The collaborative nature of the projects were essential to their success. I have always been a major contributor towards the design process and my design, sketching and graphic skills have helped me to do so. I have also been actively involved in all aspects of preparing the construction documents and construction administration. Below are the contacts of my references: Brent Elrod, Project Manager - Urban Housing Solutions

- ph: 615.636.9489

Wendell Brown, AIA, LEED AP - Earl Swensson Associates

- ph: 615.329.9445 Alan Stephenson, Principal, Hastings Architecture Associates

- ph: 615.227.6541

All projects that I have done as a part of my graduate studies, undergraduate studies and as an architect at Atelier design studio are exclusively my work. All the graphics, renderings and sketches in all the following projects have been generated by me unless otherwise noted.


Al Ain Ahlia - Dubai, UAE

Al Ahlia Commercial Tower - This project consists of 14 floors of office spaces and commercial spaces on the ground level. The building articulation is a blend of contemporary and Islamic styles. I was responsible for the project from concept through design development.


Al Dhaid Complex - Sharjah, UAE This project consists of three blocks above a single level podium. There are 80 residential apartments in two bocks and a hotel with 85 guest rooms in the third. The podium apart from having the entrance lobbies for the hotel & apartments has a shopping mall and a hotel management Institute that will function in tandem with the hotel. Parking is provided within the basement and is supplemented by additional surface parking. The roof of the podium is landscaped and has a skylight as a focal point that looks down into the mall atrium. The plans of the building were already pre approved by the client by the time I was involved in the project. I was responsible for developing the project from earlier approved plans, facade design, design development and coordinating the construction documents.


Centro Hotel - Abu Dhabi , UAE The centro Hotel project in Hamdan street, Abu Dhabi is a project currently under development. I am responsible for the design and programming. The exterior facade follows the trademark centro hotel style that has alreadt been established. The project is currently undergoing review by the local authorites for preliminary approval


Existing building

Cornerila House - Nashville , USA As an architect at Atelier2 Inc., I was in charge of design consultation services to Housing Solutions for the renovation of ‘Cornelia House’ as a mixed-use facility. Designed to house affordable apartments for the deaf and working artists, office space for the League for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (LDHH), space for a Cultural Center, retail spaces and a cafe. My contributions included recommendations for site improvements, design concepts for exterior facade renovations and interior refurbishment, participation in meetings and charettes and coordinating with other team members as the concepts are translated into working drawings. As a part of this process, we were engaged in a multidisciplinary team consisting of the Architect of Record, the Human Environment Specialist and the Housing Solutions staff.


Emirates Gate - Ajman , UAE Emirate Gate Residential Towers-Design consultation services provided to PROARC engineering consultants in Ajman. I was responsible for the architectural design of the of the tower developing the project from pre approved schematic plans. I was also responsible for the design graphics and renderings that were used for marketing purposes.


I provided design consultation services to Architects Jim Lowen Associates [www.] and provided the firm with 3D visualizations and renderings. The above renderings were generated using Sketch-Up and 3D Studio Max.


An organizational spine is employed as a means to generate a hierarchy of spaces as they relate to the timeline of manufacture, from product development at the front of the building, through product testing at the building’s midpoint and terminating with distribution at the warehouse.

Franke Corporate office - Nashville , USA I was the lead design contributor for the team. The design reflects Franke’s product line as well as a contemporary aesthetic. A metal panel system is employed, adhering to a strict module and rhythm. This is further reflected in the building curtainwall glazing and in the

There are five basic material/

wood volumes which are used as a

wall modules that have been

building punctuation and warming

used intermittently throughout

element. The material palette reflects the

the building; formulating a

simplicity, sophistication and modularity

homogeneous appearance,

that we have tried to incorporate as the

yet at the same time creating

design language.

a dynamic façade.


Franke Corporate office - Nashville , USA

The cafĂŠ opens to an outdoor patio which has a steel pergola that is a continuing translation of the lighting fixture and entry canopy.The wood clad wall breaks at the floor line, turning horizontal to become the wood deck that adjoins the patio. Four modern fixed tables reflect the square windows on the wood clad module. The depth and width of the patio is congruent with that of the building. The scoring on the concrete patio continues vertically to become the joint in the butt glazed window system, thereby giving it a continuous flow from the vertical through the horizontal.


Franke Corporate office - Nashville , USA The lobby. As the visitor enters, he/she is drawn towards the reception by the main focal point, the grand stair. The stair’s tread/riser form snakes around a freestanding concrete wall and terminates as the horizontal surface of the reception desk. Three red cube chandeliers are spatially extruded from one of the concrete wall modules. These cubes not only serve the necessary function of lighting the lobby, they also become an installation themselves; hinting on the three red squares in the company logo.










Franke Corporate office - Nashville , USA

Photo legend 1 : office building front elevation oblique 2: office building exterior detail 3: office building exterior ipe detail 4: office building exterior elevation 5: office building side courtyard 6: office building exterior connector 7: office building entry 8: office building exterior connector rear end

The company signage located at the entry has been designed to incorporate the same vocabulary in terms of proportions and material palette as the building.


1201 Demonbreun - Nashville , USA

1201 Demonbreun was a residential tower with a future office tower addition. My contribution to the team included spatial design concepts, design visualization and preparation of design devolopment documents. I also put together the package to get approval for the project by the MDHA, which sets certain guildelines for devolopment in Nashville.


Coffee County Elementary School- The design is based around a ‘pod’ system creating collaborative spaces for children to interact. The finger like layouts enable excellent day lighting and views from all classrooms. The Project is pursuing LEED silver. I was responsible for the initial concept design and developing the program in conjunction with client requirements.

Coffee County Elementary School was a project that I designed when I worked at Hastings Architecture Assoc. The design is based around a ‘pod’ system creating collaborative spaces for children to interact. The finger like layouts enable excellent day lighting and views from all classrooms. The Project is pursuing LEED silver.


Highwoods Mixed-use development - The development included over a 10,00,000 SqFt of office and 50,000 SqFt of retail. I worked as part of a multidisciplinary team that included Urban Planners and Civil engineers. My contribution included spatial design concepts and design visualization.


Pinnacle bank lobby interior design. I hand rendered the sketch (above) as a visual to communicate our layout concept with the client. The design was approved and the rendering was further used for their marketing purposes.

Frist Hall addition is a project I helped design at Hastings Architecture associates. The project called for an additional two floors above an existing brick building. My design envisioned a glass box that complemented the existing structure with details that harmoniously integrated construction from two different time periods.


The Student dining hall and visual Arts building designed as the second phase to the Cafe shown below at Cumberland university. These buildings were designed so as to bridge the architectural styles in the campus by being contemporary yet within the traditional framework of existing architectural language. The saw-toothed fenestration details apart from infusing a cutting edge detail was primarily as mechanism for climate control enabling daylighting through the day while minimizing solar gain from the western sun.


Cafe at Cumberland University- A building I designed at ESa. The design introduced a modern addition to the 150 year old campus that instilled new energy yet maintaining synergy with the existing buildings.The cafe was envisioned as a part of the short term masterplan shown the page below and was to kick start their 20 year construction drive. The two renderings below show two of the initial concepts. The selection was left to the student body which chose the more contemporary version on the right.


Long term Masterplan

Cumberland University Masterplan - A project I worked on at Earl Swensson Associates. The design process was started by having a three day design charrette at the university and talking to the student body, board and the academic council; identifying their perceptions and hopes for the university over the next twenty years. The master plan was designed in two phases- short term and long term to be completed over the next twenty years.


Drama Theater at Belmont University, the first project I worked on after graduate school at Earl Swensson Associates. I was responsible for all the design graphics and drawings from schematic design through Design Development. I also coordinated with the project architect on Construction documents to maintain design intent and was a part of the construction administration team. The project was the conversion of a church into a drama theater and an addition of an experimental black box theater. The entire shell of the historic church was retained while retrofitting it with a state of the art theater within.


Cultural Revival Center, designed as a part of my final Studio at Texas A&M. The building was an contemporary interpretation of the vernacular architecture of Kerala. The Project was envisioned for the revival of the dying traditional arts in kerala. The facilities included academic venues, live performance venues including theaters and amphitheaters, museums, and tourist facilities.


CO2 ( Cairo Office Tower), designed as a part of my Third Studio at Texas A&M. The building was an office building located in Cairo, Egypt. The design objective was to design a high performance building, designed to achieve LEED gold. Building energy performance analysis was conducted using ‘Enerwin’ energy simulation software and daylight analysis was done using ‘Radiance’ software. This was an performance based approach with data to substantiate the claims of sustainability and high performance.


Peckerwood, designed as a part of my Second Studio at Texas A&M. The project had a multidisciplinary approach with collaboration with landscape and construction management graduates. My project was chosen to be published in ‘Archone’ the Texas A&M architecture biannual publication.


My fist studio project at Texas A&M- The program is to develop a prototype branch for a bank, that has a drive through facility, located in a suburban American setting. The bank apart from providing financial services to its customers , will also accommodate several community programs for the general public. This bank is draped with a dynamic carpet of greenery and flowers, that change with the season. The bank in effect becomes a kaleidoscope of colors transforming itself with the nature around and thus offering an unmatched visual quality bridging the gap between nature and built-form.


A farm house was designed on a rubber plantation and while the budget was the primary constraint, the quality of space and design was very important. The design was compact and blended in harmoniously with the landscape. A small swimming pool was also built in an innovative way with the water for the pool taken from a well specifically dug for this purpose and later drained out into the stream that flows through the site, thereby using naturally sand filtered water and avoiding costly water treatment plants.


Residence in Munnar, India was designed around the pristine vegetation. Care was taken not to cut down a single tree. The building responds to the natural contours and climate and merges along with the surrounding landscape. The cantilevered wooden decks give a sense of drama and feeling of lightness to the structure. The house has solar heating systems and photo voltaic panel integrated in the roofing system.


The farm house was designed when I was an Architect at Atelier Design Studio. The program called for two separate houses , the first floor for the owners occasional use and the second floor to be rented out. The form of the building recalls the proportions of the traditional buildings in kerala while reinterpreting it in a purely modern and contemporary way.


Aquapolis, designed as a part of my undergraduate thesis in 2000. The building was designed to be a prototype energy independent, sustainable mixed use building, off the coast of Bombay to address the ever increasing urban densities and the realities of changing climate patterns. The structure was a 35 storied totally self sustaining building with solar energy systems, waste recycling plants and water desalination plants. The mixed use building is accessible through air, road and water. The bulding was designed as a technology demonstrator and symbol of the 21st century urban India.


Davidson Academy- Site Analysis. A project I worked on at Earl Swensson Associates. I was a part of a team working on the masterplan and was responsible for the site analysis, zoning and masterplan concepts. Davidson Academy was a K through 12 school and were relocating from their existing building to a new one proposed in the above shown site.

Concept sketches for the design of a villa - project at GA Architects


Thumbnail sketches done on Index cards as a part of design exploration and studies on various projects. These quick studies have enabled me to go through multiple concepts and have been a tool to better communicate design ideas among team members and to clients during design meetings.


Architectural sketches and studies that I did for McGill university Department of Architecture during the summer of 2004. These were a part of the series of sketches on Montreal and were featured as a part of an urban design article in

Architectural sketches and studies - These sketches have been done during the course of my travels and from books. These exersices help me in getting a better feel for the built structure and their underlying concepts. The above sketches have been done using graphite on paper.


While I was a graduate student at Texas A&M University, I had the oppurtunity to work as an editorial illustrator for the college newspaper ‘The Battalion’. The following are a few of the illustrations that I had produced during my year long stint with the newspaper.


architectural portfolio  

my design portfolio comprising of my academic and professional work from 2000 - 2010