“The opportunity to attend the Taliesin Fellowship, which was created by the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright, gave an absolutely new dimension to my architectural thinking,” says Dikshu Kukreja. “His mantra of ‘Learning by Doing’ has helped me shape my personality.” Studying at Harvard for a Master in Urban Design, working in Paris, and then the US with the legendary architect Kevin Roche, taught him many aspects of how a globally successful architectural practice is run. Enriched and thrilled with these experiences, he returned to India to work with CP Kukreja Architects (CPKA) , the eponymous 49-year-old practice set up by his father in 1969.
The two initial projects which Kukreja handled at CPKA were the renovation of the prestigious Delhi Gymkhana Club and the restoration as well as addition to the iconic Oberoi Hotel property in Srinagar, which was taken over by the LaLit Hotel Group. “These two projects brought new learnings beyond just architecture, (learnings on how to) deal with clients, both private and government,” he reminisces. Kukreja has always felt that as an architect, one can play a powerful role in creating meaningful spaces. “It is our professional pursuit to foresee the future and analyse the needs of the citizens and create an environment which is conducive to metamorphosis of society. The firm’s practice has always evolved in its forward-thinking and future-seeking approach and understanding,” he elucidates, adding that an important aspect of the design process involves reading the silent gestures of forms and spaces, conversing with the natural environment and then translating those gestures into architectural ensembles.
Kukreja says the spaces that he create reflects ‘happiness’ as a state of mind. “I believe that spaces should be airy, well-lit, with adequate volume, flow into one another, thereby conversing with each other. As one experiences these spaces, there should be an emotion of celebration. I believe a responsible architect is one who designs what ‘can’ be built. I believe that my work is contextual and belongs to the time we live in, contextual to the requirement of the client and to the physical setting. It has to be timeless.”

Looking Back

The 500-acre Gautam Buddha University represents a significant turning point in the practice of the firm, not only because of its sheer scale but also for the ideology that was embodied in the design. It involved producing over 20,000 drawings and coordinating with 400 small and medium-sized construction companies.

Looking forward

The pilot Transit Oriented Development (TOD) project in the capital city is a major breakthrough in bringing new ideas to city planning. The TOD spolicy will interlink the different parts of the city, and also emphasise the need for high density growth…, thus reconciling the two sides of Delhi’s city-shaping.

 

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