Studio KIA was established in 1981 by Rajiv Khanna, a graduate from the Chandigarh College of Architecture. Three years later, fellow collegian and wife, Sabeena, joined him on his professional journey. Design was a familiar concept for Sabeena, who was introduced to it at a young age thanks to an architect father. “We are lucky to have been able to get wide and varied projects of large magnitude early in the profession,” recalls Khanna, adding that they sought inspiration from anything and everything. “Rendering turnkey services to high-end airlines and prestigious banks, and designing large-scale residential developments for government authorities gave us parallel insights into the working of the corporate sector and government bodies. In the initial stages of the practice, we learnt the importance of quality management, matching timelines and adhering to project costs, things that have held us in good stead.”
Over the last 35 years, KIA has worked on a variety of scales and typologies. “While working with international designers on global assignments, the importance of interactive workshops and charrette sessions was a wonderful learning. Team KIA believes in delivering good projects through a collective, collaborative effort,” reveals Khanna. This inclusive approach creates spaces that are people-centric and developed from their perspective. “As architects, we design for people. Our creations have to be used and seen by people for years to come,” she declares.
Khanna attributes their success to a variety of principles they adhere to: aesthetically strong and functionally honest architecture which is well-detailed, sustainable and useful; and values of sensitivity, sensibility and meaningfulness.
While this definitely gives her a personal high, she is quick to point out that good architecture, at the end of the day, is the result of good teamwork. “Architects and designers must rise above personal egos to work in a collaborative process and deliver good architecture.
“Learning is an ongoing process, and one must continue to do so. Be open to it always and keep challenging yourself,” urges Khanna.

Looking Back

A project Khanna mentions as memorable, is the interior design of the Central Cottage Industries Emporium at Janpath, Delhi. A prestigious project won purely on design merit, it furthered the firm’s journey into the world of Indian arts, crafts and culture.

Looking forward

Studio KIA’s upcoming project, The Estate, in Kasauli, is a villa community comprising 20 villas for a select few, as well as a wellness resort. The hill development will be luxurious in its offerings, with each villa built to enable one to commune with nature.

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