Mr. Dikshu C. Kukreja, CEO, CP Kukreja Architects
Mr. Dikshu C. Kukreja, CEO, CP Kukreja Architects

CPKA, a Delhi based multi-disciplinary architecture & engineering firm with a highly qualified and professional team of Architects, Planners, Structural Engineers, and Surveyors in India. Started as an Architectural firm in 1969, they have more than 40 years of experience. Mr. Dikshu C. Kukreja, CEO, CP Kukreja Architects talks about his design philosophy, environmental concerns and his expectations from the young designers

Team Estrade: What is your design philosophy?

Dikshu Kukreja: The core design philosophy with which we work is to “read” and “respond” to the built and un-built contexts of the urbanscape.  The most important exercise in any design process is to read the silent gesture of forms and spaces, to converse with the natural environment and then translate those gestures   into architectural ensembles – we refer to it as “Responsive Architecture”  – a philosophy which advocates ‘architecture’  as a response to the various existing forces and systems like nature, climate, society, technology, economy and culture – Architecture should be a collective of all these blended seamlessly as a physical manifestation with the existing geographical setting  and at the same time containing within itself a strong potential to live upto the future developments and urban standards.

Team Estrade: How has the new technologies affected an Architect’s thinking process?  Have they impacted procedural architecture?

Dikshu Kukreja: While the true soul of the discipline remains unchanged, the procedures and working methods have been drastically revolutionized with the advancement of digital technology – drawings today have migrated from the drawing boards to computers where at each and every step in design get tested, analysed, structured through statistical data simulations.  Software’s in contemporary times have elevated design standard to a whole new dimension where it not only gets visually conceived but also structured in performance, environmental responsiveness and socio-economic cohesiveness.  Architecture, which above all depends on successful “prediction”  of a designed environment have advanced remarkably in predicting the social, economic, physical and environmental after-effects of any design on the built-scape.

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Team Estrade: Are you concerned about environmental and social sustainability in your Buildings? If so, what role does a green building play into your work?

Dikshu Kukreja: One of the very central principles of each of our designs is the environmental sustainability, and in this case “environment” does not only refer to the “natural” environment but to a system that contains a desired balance of the ‘built’ and ‘unbuilt’ elements to foster a healthy human habitat in the concerned setting.  I believe that awareness about environment sustainability is on the rise not only in the Architectural and Construction Fraternity, but in our common society – people are beginning to understand the value of conservation of resources and its significance in the development of our cities.  As architects, planners and designers I think, it is our responsibility to redefine our working methodologies and design philosophies as not only an exercise of conceiving enclosures and buildings but as a process of imagining habitats through smart utilizations of resources – “sustainability” is yet to be translated into a core concept in the very practice of development in our country which needs to be made a design approach in both Architectural (micro) and Urban (macro)   scales.  “Green Building” concept is a much encouraging introduction in our practice and I feel it marks the dawn of translating “sustainability” through “legal formulations” which is much needed in developing urban context like those of Indian cities. But then again, it is very vital to impact the very mindset of people in order to conceive better development.  In our cities, the pressure of real estate markets, economic expectations from urban development, and above all, impatience in urbanization process is very high which completes architects and designers to compromise with sustainable practices and “green-buildings parameters” only end up being a report-card” with grades for “pass” or “fail” that is often harnessed as just another power-pill to catch more popularity in business.  It is hence, crucial to check the “honesty” in “sustainable practices”, most importantly, where “sustainability” does not become another glorious project-setting incentive but an honest consideration for deleting non-renewable resources for a better future for our cities and society.

“Environment” does not only refer to the “natural” environment but to a system that contains a desired balance of the ‘built’ and ‘unbuilt’ elements to foster a healthy human habitat in the concerned setting

Team Estrade: Can you tell us about any projects you are currently working on that you are especially excited about?

Dikshu Kukreja: I am currently very exited about working in some of our projects which are related to “net-zero”  development – it is very interesting to understand how design of any architectural ensemble is as much nurtured and nourished by an urban context which contains it, as much it gives back to the context in return in course of its existence.  In this whole process what becomes important is how a design communicates with its context through environmental, social, economic and resource flaws; and in such a connection if a building is able to give back the resources which it utilizes for development, through its performance, then the net development results in minimum disturbance and distortion of the contextual setting.  In order to achieve such a synergy between the design and its setting, it is important to understand the design both as a process and a product being which it responds to a diverse set of systems and through these interactions it defines its performance – we call it “collective urbanism” which harnesses study and implications of multidisciplinary studies holistically and its relevance to any project and this very principle of design makes the architecture as much as special as the context on which it sits – no design should be seen as a singular intervention but a collective dialogue with the context.

Team Estrade: What has been your defining moment so far?

Dikshu Kukreja: I think I am yet to embark on it.  Everyday is as much a challenge, as much hope and I believe both keeps us alive every moment we live and we create.

Team Estrade: What is your ultimate goal when it come to yours work? What do you want to be remembered for?

Dikshu Kukreja: Architecture has been the reflection of my conscience and feeling for our society and environment – my dreams, dialogues and contribution to the society has always been through my designs and ‘Architecture’ has long been the language in which I have conversed to my city as well as the places where I have travelled.  Being an Architect has been a blessing for me as it has given me the opportunity to “create” as well as contribute to the notion, culture and religion of “creating” enclosures as well as “imagining” lives within them.  I want to promise my discipline as well as the built environment I inhabit with better spaces, better experiences, better infrastructure, and better technology and above all, better lives.  If there is any medium through which I wish to give back to my society in my life-time it will be through my architecture.

Team Estrade: What advice would you give to young designers starting out today?

Dikshu Kukreja: The youngsters represent our future society and will be the ones who will build our future habitats – they are the ones whose minds hold the ideas and images of our future cities.  We must pass our knowledge and our thoughts on our environment to them before late and nurture their minds to question, criticize, analyze and discuss the notions of “development” and its significance in our generation will be more dynamic and energetic as I can already see its signs in today’s youth who not only innovates design through practice but through discussion, research and arguments.  The social media has already started planning a crucial role in rousing “awareness among the mass” which is compelling young designers today not only to build “change” but believe in “change”.  Sooner or later, I dream that the day will arrive where design will not be propped in architecture studios and conferences but walk out into the mundane discussion of every common man in every corner of the streets of our cities.

Being an Architect has been a blessing: Dikshu Kukreja