When Govinda was a 7-year-old boy living in his native country of Brazil, he took an elective called the Appreciation of Architecture at the boarding school he went to. Although he was quite young, he now feels the class awakened in him an appreciation for architecture, which has stayed with him his whole life. The next year, his parents brought him on an exciting trip to India. There, he became mesmerized by the ancient, sacred temples, which created an incredible and phenomenal experience he has never forgotten.
Govinda DeCastro recently received his masters of architecture degree at University of California at Berkeley after completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Florida. He is interested in issues of consciousness, nature and society, culture and language, surface and performance, and the synthesis of the pragmatic world and sacred traditions. In his final year, Govinda’s thesis was title Sacred Matters: A Place for Contemplation. In it, he designed a mediation space for the UC Berkeley campus that would serve as a sanctuary for the students, teachers, and visitors alike.
Within the field of architecture, Govinda is interested in a broad-scoped area that could be called “conscientious design.” Conscientious design is an approach to architecture that asks why to pursue a certain solution to a given situation and what the outcome of that solution would be on its inhabitants and the environment. Theory, urban design, and sustainable design are all within this scope of architecture that tries to find solutions on how to minimize a negative impact on the local community and the physical sphere. Govinda also likes to connect the architectural dots that exist within various cultures and communities he has been exposed to. Being fluent in three languages, Portuguese, Spanish and English, and being well traveled throughout the world, he feels these abilities aid him in broadening his knowledge of architecture. In the spring of 2010, he traveled to Vicenza, Italy to study architecture, as well as the Italian language and culture for four months. While there, he increased his understanding of architectural design while immersing himself in the European architectural cultural influences. As architecture now functions on a global scale, and having the ability to speak various languages and understanding life through various cultural lenses, Govinda feels this allows him to better function in the global community we now all live in.
A second parallel track of design Govinda is now pursuing is community-based design. Knowing how to design a religious structure, for example, according to a particular culture, given their norms and traditions of what a sacred space may be, is something he aspires to further understand through study and practice. His childhood trip to India gave him an appreciation for sacred structures. While there, he visited the Temple of the Sun in Konark (1278 CE) and saw how great architecture can affect the lives of local residents, pilgrims and visitors alike. This gave him the realization that sacred architecture is extremely valuable and can be something revolutionary that enriches the lives of those who come in contact with it.
Goring&Straja Architects, Berkeley, CA, US, Intern Architect
University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, US, MArch, College of Environmental Design
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, US, BArch, Collge of Design, Construction & Planning