Almost 15 years ago, in 2003, Rahul Kadri found himself spearheading his first project at IM Kadri Architects, a practice famous for designing landmarks in Mumbai and Muscat since its inception in 1960. When he joined his father IM Kadri’s practice in the late ‘80s, Kadri was focused on creating projects that lifted the soul — “places where people would be at home and in touch with their better self.” The design community and the people who visit Club Mahindra resort in Coorg and the university campus of Symbiosis — his few first projects — will attest to the fruition of these noble aspirations.
For this alumnus of Academy of Architecture, Mumbai, who also holds a Master’s in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan (USA), experiences drawn from these early projects engendered in him a humble and collaborative view of the profession. “The entire team should be aligned with the same goals, and should share the vision and participate in the process together. Do not rely on an architect as a heroic leader,” says the architect, who describes his work as “focused on the client’s highest needs, sustainability, and a social focus that is deeply embedded in consciousness.”
Over the years, Kadri’s philosophy has been rooted in a non-pretentious approach (to projects), in which form follows the client’s highest aspiration — “making real the highest potential for the emerging future.” As the practice continued to evolve, he began to recognise the power of a team; good design, he says, relies on the intelligence and ownership of everyone involved. “We have processes, and we work with our clients very closely to develop intelligent design briefs. Our philosophy has remained constant. We now have more effective processes to fulfill them,” shares Kadri.
Through their shared vision, Kadri and his team successfully demonstrate that sustainable design can encompass a variety of programs, ranging from urban planning, universities, resorts, commercial, cultural projects and even community development, among others. He is a firm believer in their design processes, maintaining that, if they are used more, “the country’s priorities will be addressed and the design environment will blossom.” Kadri wishes to work more closely with the government and a close circle of clients who deeply desire meaningful architecture.
His advice to fellow architects and designers? “Search for meaning, not just form.”

Looking Back

For Club Mahindra (Coorg) and Symbiosis International University (Lavale), Kadri tested many of the studio’s set processes and broke away from their past design language. The IMK team was far more experimental and learnt to rely on innovating as the project progressed.

Looking forward

Kadri is working on AURIC, a greenfield smart city in Aurangabad, which, he says, will prove that the government can build high-quality buildings. A skill centre at Symbiosis and the Symbiosis School of Banking and Finance that incorporates rammed earth, are other projects he is enthused about.

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