NIVASA is an architectural & engineering NGO working in Karnataka, India. Our Vision is a habitable home for every Indian. We use design based thinking to enable humane and dignified housing conditions for the urban and rural poor.

Contact us


Mr. Samit S Shetty

Samit  is one of the Founders/Promoters of Chaitanya and an Executive Director at Chaitanya. Samit has a MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and a BE in Mechanical Engineering from Bangalore University. Before Chaitanya, Samit has worked in Olam International Limited, a global leader in the supply chain management of agricultural products and food ingredients. Samit spent his initial five years in Africa and subsequently he setup Olam’s coffee operations in Brazil and led the business for four years as its country manager.  He has acquired significant experience in setting up systems and processes related to agricultural procurement, financing and trading.  He has been associated with Chaitanya since 2008 April.

Ms. Usha Shetty

Usha has done her schooling in Delhi and is a graduate in Sociology from Miranda House, Delhi University. She started working in the development sector after diverse stints in mass media for ten years. Since nearly ten years, she is involved in “Namma “Muthuru” a development intervention at Muthur village & its surrounding panchayat area in Chikballapur District of Karnataka, in memory of Sanjoy Das Gupta, IAS, who used to be associated with the village. The work is chiefly in the domains of health, sanitation, environment and education, with a host of activities being done for and through the two govt. schools in the village. She is the founder of Gramaantara Trust, a rural development organization currently functioning in the district of Chikballapur. 

Ms. Jayashree M M

Jayashree has done her MCM(Computer Management) from Pune University. Jayashree is the CTO at Zinnea, a firm into software consulting. She was a Committee member at Association for Mentally Challenged (AMC) in Bangalore for 9 years. 

About Our Team

Akhila Ramesh, NIVASA’s founder CEO, is trained as an Architect with a Masters in both Urban Design and Project Management from NUS, Singapore.

Dr. S Raghunath , is an expert in disaster resistant, earthquake resistant structures, renovation and conservation of old buildings. He has been a major source for all the structural innovations, inputs, knowledge and awareness, both within and outside our team. He is an integral part of Nivasa and is very generous in helping us with our projects in many ways.

Meenakshi.K, an Architect with 20 years experience, graduated from the prestigious CEPT (Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology) University, Ahmedabad. Apart from running her own practice, she teaches at Anna University, and heads NIVASA Chennai.

Sneha Gokhale is a project architect at Nivasa. Holding a keen interest in affordable housing, she has a Masters in Urban Management specialising in housing from IHS, Netherlands after her Bachelors from Academy of Architecture, Mumbai. Prior to joining Nivasa, Sneha worked as an architect at Biome Environmental Solutions, Bangalore. 

Anita Mahendra is a graduate in the field of architecture from USD, Mysore, following which she continued to pursue her career at The Design Firm, Bangalore. She has been a constant support as a project architect at Nivasa since 2016. She is known for effortlessly multi handling projects on and off site simultaneously. 

Priyanka Tamilselvan is an architect from C.A.R.E. School of Architecture. Before Nivasa, she interned with Qatar Design Consortium where she worked on the Renovation of Khalifa Stadium. Her constant hard work and excellent attitude make her an integral cog at Nivasa.

Sunitha K S, the administrative manager at Nivasa since 2014 is a crucial connect between the on-site planning and off-site execution for almost all projects till date. Her discipline and work ethics at management have been of immense help in making Nivasa what it is now. 


Advisory Board

Dr. K.S. Jagadish

Dr. Jagdish has a PhD from the famous IISc, Bangalore, and a postdoctoral degree from Karlsruhe University, Germany. Recipient of Amulya Reddy and Vimala Reddy lecture award for excellence in research from Indian Institute of Science, He is an expert at alternate building technology in rural development, masonry vaults & domes, prefabricated roofing systems and much more.

Mr. A.N. Venugopal

Mr. Venugopal has 35 years of experience in Real estate in Project development of Commercial, Residential, Hospitality and Mixed use projects in India. He has been instrumental in aggregating partnerships with business, government and philanthropic communities. Now a trustee at WeRise Foundation and the President of RMZ Foundation, Mr. Venugopal also spearheads Sustainability, Skill Development, Social Welfare, Urban Development and the Art initiatives at RMZ Foundation.

Mr. Manjunath Hebbar

Mr. Hebbar is a serial entrepreneur with over three decades of experience in global technology businesses and social enterprises. Currently, he is the founder & Chief Executive of Buoyanci– a strategy consulting and professional services firm that works with corporate boards and business leaders and helps them incubate, develop and expand new business & services. He also leads EntirelySo!– a social enterprise offering tech-enabled professional services in finance & GRC, CRM, and Digital Business Support Services. EntirelySo! trains and employs hitherto unemployed women from marginal families and helps them get closer to their self-reliance goals.

Ms. Nivedita Banerjee

Ms. Banerjee is the Director, Women’s Empowerment, Social Enterprise and Design and Founder member at Samaj Pragati Sahayog. SPS is one of India’s largest grass-roots initiatives for water and livelihood security, working with its partners on a million acres of land across 72 of India’s most backward districts, mainly in the central Indian Adivasi belt. Ms Nivedita is also the architect of all the buildings of SPS campuses, and is a member of the 12th Plan Working Group on Minor Irrigation and Watershed Management.

Mr. Umesh Malhotra

Mr. Malhotra is the co-founder of Hippocampus and currently the CEO at Hippocampus Learning Centres. A graduate of one of India’s leading engineering institutes, IIT Madras, he began his career in Infosys and went on to create and sell an IT company. A serial entrepreneur, his entrepreneurship experiences range from IT services to restaurants to social enterprises. Umesh Malhotra was elected an Ashoka Fellow in 2008.