A dormitory for a government hospital, a cafeteria in a university, a mud brick factory for home furnishings — Martand Khosla’s first few projects reflect just the kind of studio he wanted to set up. While growing up, he saw his dad Romi Khosla successfully run a large architectural practice (of about 60 professionals), but Martand had other aspirations. When he started Romi Khosla Design Studio (RKDS) in 2002, he was content with a considerably smaller studio where he could be more involved in the design development — a model he has maintained for the last 15 years now.
For this graduate from Architectural Association, London, the changes in project profiles since then has kept the work interesting and the studio “on its toes”. Eight odd years into the practice, Khosla was overseeing larger townships and industrial projects. Recently, they have been more involved in corporate and residential projects, and less in institutional ones. Through all this, their approach has remained constant. “RKDS has, by and large, been influenced by a modernist architectural approach. Our attempt (has been) to find a balance between the theoretical and the lived reality of where we practice. As such, the studio attempts to balance a modernist approach with regional materialism,” he explains.
Staying away from “formalist fads”, his focus has been on program and environment-driven architecture. This has eventually led him to broaden the studio’s portfolio with interior design work. “We like to design the interiors of our home projects as well as corporate offices, and a limited amount of hospitality work,” he shares. In the coming years, the studio would like to participate in more international competitions —which, in the past, have yielded favourable results for the studio. They are also actively looking for opportunities to design low-income housing projects in India.
Khosla’s experience has reinforced one crucial fact: mistakes are indeed the best teachers. “Only when you make your own mistake, do you evolve. The only bit of advice: try and not make them twice!” he quips.

Looking Back

With projects like the Castro Cafeteria (2007), Volvo-Eicher Corporate HQ (2015), and, more recently, the brick house (2018), the studio began exploring different typologies. Among them, a low-cost public building, a steel fabricated LEED platinum rate corporate office, and a modernist high-end private dwelling.

Looking forward

Khosla is particularly looking forward to the embassy that the firm is currently designing. “The opportunity to be able to design for two cultural identities (the host country as well as the represented country) is a design challenge that appeals to me,” explains the architect.

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