'It's all about getting the basics right in design...'

'It's all about getting the basics right in design...'

'It's all about getting the basics right in design...'

Rahul Kadri is someone who fell in love with architecture in the first week of architecture school.

His father, I M Kadri, is a noted architect who set up his practice in the ’50s in Mumbai and earned many accolades along the way. So, it is little surprising that his flourishing passion and profession managed to make an impact on Rahul too. In fact, he found it easier to appreciate beauty and designs early on in life thanks to his father. Growing up in Nainital, the Kumaon foothills of the Himalayas, Rahul couldn’t help but be influenced by nature. The natural pristine surroundings ingrained in him a deep sense of love and respect for environment, something which gave birth to his design philosophy too.

After gaining a diploma in architecture from the Academy Of Architecture, Mumbai, Rahul pursued his Master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Soon, he took over his father’s architectural practice, IM Kadri Architects, in 1995, and has been decorating the landscape of the country with his designs ever since. Over the years, the firm has managed to make its mark in a diverse range of fields — be it residential spaces, schools, resorts, colleges, clubs, markets or hotels.

Rahul believes his design style is all about being in harmony with nature, and creating places where people and their activities thrive. “People thrive in natural conditions, so we try to maximise daylight, fresh air, natural fragrances of plants, low vibration spaces, soothing sounds.

People are inherently social, therefore our designs conspire to maximise interaction and friendships,” he says. One look at Rahul’s professional map and you will realise how diverse his design outputs are — townships for Tata, Reliance and Jindal; hotels and resorts for the Taj, Club Mahindra; college campuses for Symbiosis and even the Supreme Court of India. Having been influenced by the profound philosophy of architectural professor Christopher Alexander, Rahul states that every architect should listen to their clients first and work towards their highest aspirations.

In an exclusive chat with Deccan Herald, Rahul Kadri, partner and principal architect, Kadri Consultants, shares his thoughts on many things architecture. Excerpts:
What is the greatest challenge an architect faces while designing?

The greatest challenge we face is not getting the right amount of attention and focus from the client on the project. We are client focused and want to help our clients make decisions based on their highest priorities. We often find that clients do not put the right team in place and don’t have processes to work in a intensive project focused method. They are doing too many things, wasting too much time and making decisions arbitrarily.

Do you believe architecture should have a social purpose?

Architecture affects the core of our beings; it can help us thrive or struggle, design has the means to make life easy or harder. All architecture has the opportunity to make society better; sadly, we miss the opportunity all too often, by a simple lack of awareness.

Vertical growth seems to be the order of the day, given the shrinking spaces in the country today. There is no lack of space in India, but there is a lack of planning and lack of transport systems and transport-led development. India, contrary to popular opinion, is not a very dense country. We have thousands of acres of land that we don’t put to good use. France is denser than India; Paris manages with six storey buildings. We don’t have to have high-rises. But because it is the easier and lazier way to build and plan, we do it extensively.

On urban design…

Urban design is designing the space between buildings, between the buildings and the roads. A well designed footpath on a shopping street is urban design. Like designing a footpath wide enough, with trees, seats, dustbins, good level paving etc. Designing and making available any public space available is the purview of urban design. It is all about incorporating public plazas, gardens, incorporating natural features like a lake, or a riverfront into the city fabric, so that citizens can enjoy nature.

Can architecture be ‘green’?

The green movement in architecture is very deep rooted in India and in the last decade, it has become quite the buzzword. There are more green buildings being built is India than anywhere else in the world.

Given the rate of globalisation today, do you fear Indian architecture will be overshadowed by foreign designs and ideas?

New ideas that help us thrive are always welcome. Indians have always been open and take from the world whatever suits us to enrich our lives. But we have our core needs that are shaped by hundreds of years of culture; the dosa will and can coexist with the pizza.

What makes for an ‘architecturally beautiful and perfect’ home?

A beautiful home, according to me, is one that helps the family be more of a family, helps them interact and be close, keeps them calm, and soothes all their senses by a wonderful connection to nature. It lets everyone thrive, by being a facilitator. It should allow, not overpower, be inherently beautiful and not try to attract attention to itself. 

Trends this year…

It’s all about being back to basics, getting the fundamentals right.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox