A Rationalist Architect

Kuldip Singh (1934-2020)

A huge void is left in the architectural fraternity as renowned architect, town planner and art collector, Kuldip Singh passed away recently. Singh was known for his structurally complex modern designs and use of concrete, which was an experimental material when he started working with it. He completed his graduation in Bachelor of Architecture from the School of Planning and Architecture in Delhi (then part of Delhi Polytechnic) in 1957. He was a highly regarded figure who was an important part of the modern architecture movement during the decolonization period in India, even though his work was not well documented. Kuldip was a very rationalist architect and chose the building material in a sensitive manner.

His projects in Delhi stood the test of time and depicted the highly-creative use of raw concrete in a beautiful manner. Two of the most iconic government buildings in Delhi are the National Cooperative Development Corporation building (1980) and Palika Kendra (1983). His other work, the Marine Drive development project in Kochi, has also been quite well-received.

He built buildings that had extremely complex structural and volumetric forms but
were also graphic. Singh admired Urdu poetry and later grew passionate towards building an exquisite collection of Thanjavur paintings. He accidentally started the collection by bringing two of such paintings from Chennai to Delhi for a friend who later decided not to keep them. Singh eventually owned some 350 of the South Indian–style paintings