A few comments by professionals on CPKA

CP Kukreja Architects is the most sophisticated and a highly organized architectural design firm in India, whose expertise also include urban design, structural engineering, mechanical engineering, and sustainability to name a few.

Their managing principal Dikshu C Kukreja and I studied several international manners of architecture and also struggled with the conflict between international rationalism and traditional local values at Harvard Graduate School of Design, USA. I often reminisce those beautiful days with subtle nostalgia. The works of CPKA displays a harmonized agreement between modernity and the traditional culture. With projects such as Gautam Buddha University and Central University Kashmir, they have been able to exhibit the contextual design approach to make the principles of modern architecture localized with the climate and culture of India, and to demonstrate the potentials of well- designed spaces. Their projects also show strong sustainability approach and the ideas of absorbing the best practices from the world like their recently acquired Indian-arm of a US-based practice which specializes in sustainability. This approach is indispensable as it allows them to meditate between the recent rapid growing speed of Indian society and environmental problems that are emanating. Looking at their urban scale projects, they exude a design language which showcases bold patterns in which nature and community coexist in harmony. Over the years, their portfolio exhibits a diversity and breadth of works with different typologies. All of their works is the embodiment of a clear and progressive spirit to create behaviours of new architecture against society which should build the strong and prosperous country for the future.” – Akira Okaji is the principal architect of A+T Okaji Architects, Japan

 

My association with CP Kukreja Architects extends for almost 50 years. There are so many memories and experiences that I can think of which have happened over these years, so to limit it to a few words is extremely difficult. However, it would suffice to say that I have had the most wonderful moments dealing with this firm. I have been friends with Mr CP Kukreja since we began our careers. We ended up doing various iconic projects together such as the Amba Deep Tower, the Ansal Bhawan to name a few. It gives me such pleasure to see that the same camaraderie and professional relationship has continued between the two organisations and particularly now between my son Pranav Ansal and Dikshu Kukreja. I find that the firm CPKA has continued, even today, to be involved in cutting-edge design and breakthrough innovation just the way I saw them do many decades back. I feel that they have left an indelible mark in Indian architecture and I know with Dikshu’s involvement in the firm today, this indelible mark is expanding its footprint not only across India but even in international locations. I wish them all the best for future projects as well.”- Sushil Ansal is the founder chairman of the Ansal properties and infrastructure

 

CP Kukreja is a legendary architect, who made significant contributions to the field of architecture during the last five decades. The founder of the architectural firm C P Kukreja Architects which started operations with just two employees has now become one of the largest architectural firms in India with more than 200 professionals and has been recognised amongst the top 100 architectural firms in the world. Ar CP Kukreja, as an architect, raised the bar of the profession by the passion with which he served the profession. Some of the notable projects undertaken by the Ar CP Kukreja include American High Commission, New Delhi; Apollo Hospital, New Delhi; Canadian High Commission, New Delhi; Bharat Seats Ltd Maruti Complex, Gurgaon; Comptroller Auditor General of India, Finnish Embassy; Gyan Bharti School, Saket.

Ar Kukreja’s book ‘Tropical Architecture’, published in 1978, is a much-celebrated book on environmental architecture and is a popular reference book in the libraries of prestigious institutions like Harvard University and MIT. One of the pioneering efforts of Ar CP Kukreja is to start the first Indian architectural magazine called ‘Architecture + Design’ (A+D) in 1984 followed by an interior design magazine titled, ‘Indian Design & Interiors’. Ar Kukreja also contributed immensely in the post-earthquake reconstruction work of Gujarat. He has also been the highest contributor, recognized by the Indian Institute of Architects, for his financial contribution to the tsunami victims. His immense philanthropic efforts include active contribution in various disaster relief campaigns and organ donation drives. Some of the significant achievements of Ar Kukreja include:

  • Building Industry Leadership Award 2009-Conferred with the title Titanic Award 2009.
  • Society Interiors Honors – Lifetime Dedication Honor- Foundation for Architectural & Environmental Awareness for his lifetime contribution in promoting Architectural Academics & Journalism-Best Personalities of India Award – Icons & Reflections of Architecture by Hettich-Life Time Achievement Award for contribution to Architecture of India awarded by Union Urban Development Minister Mr Kamal Nath in 2011
  •  The Baburao Mhatre Gold Medal awarded by the Indian Institute of Architects in December 2012.
  • Ar. CP Kukreja, with sheer dedication and hard work is regarded as one of the top architects in India by a UK-based institution ‘World Architecture’
  • His firm has also been selected as the Best Architects in India on three occasions by GIREM, IDE and Economic Times in the year 2012.

     

    Regarded as one of the famous architects in India, undertaking consultancy in master planning, architecture urban design, structural and civil engineering, electrical, plumbing and sanitary engineering, air-conditioning and FDV System, fire fighting system, quantity surveying and estimating and project management. Ar Kukreja was committed to communication and design for the people and environment. He attracted great design minds, which love to thrive in a professionally charged environment, focusing on every detail and exploring new design methodology for every project. Being one of the top architects in India, he treated every undertaking with a unique approach. He believed in sustainable design that contained exclusiveness and appropriate balance. There are no two opinions about it that Late Ar CP Kukreja used innovative approaches to reach this height. By any measure, there is a remarkably consistent effort of Ar CP Kukreja that today the firm is at very architectural profession.

    Ar CP Kukreja was a pioneer in architectural design and shall always be remembered as the main torchbearer in the profession for others to follow his path. He is no more with us but the path he showed has been remarkably consistent making him profession. Ar CP Kukreja is the inspiration for all the young and upcoming professionals and Guru to many working in this field. My sincere tributes to him…The legacy of Ar CP Kukreja is being carried forward by Ar Dikshu C Kukreja by injecting the positive efforts. Ar Dikshu C Kukreja has not only raised the bar of the firm but also has changed the dynamics of the architecture in India. It is heartening to note that he has innovative ideas to meet the daunting challenges on new efficient buildings and structures that have the ease of communication befitting the iconic status of Ar CP Kukreja.”- Vijay Garg is practising architect and President of Council of Architecture, New Delhi

     

    Many years ago, I was fortunate enough to win a competition in India for a hotel in Goa. The idea I could discover a culture and a whole lot more intrigued me. My client offered me to team up with his architect. The wicked smile of CP and his bonhomie made my stays in Delhi more than a business trip. Not only he could teach me a lot about doing buildings in his country, but he also made it a journey. During that time, he asked me if he could send a young intern to my Paris office. It was Dikshu, his son. Without hesitation, I accepted hopeful that this young man could glean some European training to complete his American experience. I got more than I bargained for. This person humbly got seated in a small office downstairs in my building. His work was exceptional as I might expect, but I also learned he had the charm of his father and soon he became one of us. I was amazed by his thirst for learning. He was eager to listen and to understand, which is a rare talent. We enjoyed many fascinating discussions. Eventually he went back to India to finish his studies, and take over the company from his beloved father. He succeeded in taking this large firm to increased capabilities and performance and his ability to bring around him new talents. The understanding that the quality of a job is the only important thing and that it takes a lot of humility and fortitude to nurse a large project to fruition. The worldwide experience he gathered will always accompany him and lead him to bigger and better things. To this day I feel blessed I met Dikshu and CP, they helped me try to understand India to the benefit of my own personal growth.”- Olivier Vidal is the founder architect of Olivier Vidal & associates which has been operating around the world since 1969

     

    I was associated for a substantial time with CP Kukreja and Associates at the start of my career in the nineties. It was by then a very large firm with a reputation of working on big infrastructure projects– multidisciplinary hospitals, transport hubs, airports, townships, university campuses and more. The firm had an environment for collaborative work with various specialists working alongside the core team of architects. Meeting the architect’s inspiration with the engineer’s technical skill was the hallmark of many of the projects of this office. Our discussions about outward aesthetic aspects of project quite often ignore the underlying skin: what makes the building work. The integration of structure with architecture to work out the geometries and the intensive collaboration that went into the production of some important projects from CPKA are now grist to the mill for students of architecture and construction.

    Those were nascent years for the landscape profession in India. I was initially excited to work on these larger projects at CPK though I did have some reservations to shift to their large set up: The number of people for each task was many
    and one needed a lot of communication and collaboration with everyone on the team. Moreover, the office had no previous culture of working with a landscape architect in their midst and most team members considered my suggestions as somewhat marginal to the ‘more complex’ issues in the design; the architecture as such. CP sir however thought differently. While the core strength of his office lay in pure architecture and structure design, the teams often faced challenges while working on larger sites. He was quick to observe that I was not enjoying the initial interactions with his team and set up the landscape team in a separate area so we had our own space in the office and by extension a more comfortable say in the design decisions. By insisting that I be a part of every site planning related discussion which was presided over by sir himself, his team eventually warmed up to the idea of working with the landscape team! While I had the freedom to select the plants that I wanted in the designs, he was however very particular about the materials we used for the finishings. In the IIM campus at Lucknow for instance, he insisted on using only locally sourced materials such as bricks, sandstone or the rougher textures of grit washed floorings, rejecting granite and other expensive materials. I remember one particular intense discussion with him over the merits of a concrete pergola vis-à-vis a metals structure. “Concrete has solidity, an ability to age and has more character than a metal structure,” was his sound logic. One also does recall his enormous wit. Economical with his words, his pithy comments remain with me all these years and I have to confess that I do borrow them from time to time. There is a huge human component in our profession. Anyone, at any level could approach CP Sir by walking into his room regarding a project. It could be a minor detail you needed help with or about a site contractor who was creating trouble at site; you would have an audience with him and a decision would be given. That quality of being able to respond to the concerns of the people who worked for him and the projects of the office helped him pull together a very large diverse team to handle some very complex projects. The firm has of course grown into an even larger set up under his son Dikshu Kukreja’s able leadership with several prestigious awards and international projects under their belt.”- Jasleen Kaur is the founder architect of Jasleen Waraich Landscape Architecture (JWLA) with an experience of 27 years in the field of landscape.

     

    We first met Mr CP. Kukreja over 30 years ago, when we were commissioned for our first major landscape project, the Unitech Club in Gurgaon. He was one of the icons of the Indian architectural fraternity, working all over the country and abroad. For a young start-up like ours, meeting him was indeed an important and extremely anxious moment. As we discussed the landscape concept, we soon realised that our visions were very different. Yet it was the greatness of the man that seeing our passion, he not only agreed to go along with our idea, but stood by our side and supported us right through. That project was indeed a turning point in our career. It gave us the confidence and belief in ourselves, and this we greatly owe to the encouragement we received from Mr Kukreja. It was also the beginning of a wonderful association. He would involve us with most of his projects, and we were fortunate to be able to engage in long conversations in his office, where he would generously share his experience, learnings and anecdotes. Somewhere we made a deeper connect with him which went beyond a working relationship. He had risen to being one of the top architects of the country through sheer talent manifested in winning design competitions like JNU. He respected such engagements and was sympathetic and to a large extent protective about people with simple backgrounds. He took a keen interest in our career, and we would time and again go to him for his sound and invaluable advice both professionally and personally. He was truly a great mentor.”-Savita Punde is the co-founder of Design Cell and is the principal designer for landscape design and site planning projects with an experience of more than 30 years

     

    “It is hard to write a short article on CPK. One must go back to the 1970s, a prolific decade for architecture as the nation turned 25. When leading architects were toying with a bespoke genre symbolizing the idea of being Indian, CPK arrived with élan, winning the design competition for the JNU campus. That would become the putative Indian Modern. All at once, the concerns for climate, culture and context found expression in the exuberance of red brick counterpoised with the gravitasof buff sandstone in a collection of buildings, quite tectonically diverse but well-adjusted.

    CPK did write a book about these experiments, Tropical Architectural, in 1978. However, it is the portfolio of projects that were to follow from his studio, CPKA, that make for a more fascinating reading. Covering the widest possible range in terms of functions, typology, situations, materiality and technology, so many of them are textbook cases of ‘How Sensible Architecture Is Done’. For an architectural design teacher, they are blessing and with no disguise. In a pre-dominantly horizontal city of Delhi, CPK shone with his innovative vertical compositions. The library tower, popping out of the trees at JNU, was a surprising new take on a traditional building type. Two of my favourites which broke the box are Amba Deep, the office tower and the hotel now called The Lalit. Here, one sees monumentality intertwined with spatial intimacy, in a richness of traditional patterns, colours and textures. As the practice turns 50, it would be inspiring to see them carry on with the same spirit of innovation and productive collaboration.”

    .”- Prof. Manoj Mathur is presently Head of Dept. of Urban Design, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi