Late architect CP Kukreja’s works go live as a part of an exhibition for the first time
Renowned Delhi based design firm CP Kukreja Architects (CPKA) is presently showcasing their founder’s works live as a part of an exhibition for the first time. The late CP Kukreja was a legendary architect who made significant contributions to the field of architecture in the last five decades – not just in India, but also at the global level. What started as a modest two-man firm, has, today become one of India’s largest architectural practice with 200 professionals. The firm has also been recognised among the top 100 architecture firms in the world and as the ‘Top 5 Architects in Asia’.
The exhibition, titled ‘A Retrospective- Life and Works of Ar. CP Kukreja’, is currently on display at the JKC Gallery, Sushant School of Art and Architecture, Gurugram till May 30th, 2019. The show beautifully captures the essence of the sustainability and materiality which was so prevalent in Kukreja’s designs. The valuable contribution of the legendary architect to the changing facets of Indian architecture, through the span of 50 years, is a remarkable feat – one that can be experienced through the exhibits. The retrospective exhibition also successfully highlights the instrumental and pioneering contribution of Kukreja to ‘Green Architecture’, a concept which has found relevance in today’s architectural industry while also commemorating his contribution and sharing his love for the subject through his works.
Kukreja’s traumatic experiences due to post-Independence Partition during his childhood, motivated him to work towards contributing to his nation in a meaningful manner. Through his dedicated zeal, he received scholarships to attend the prestigious Melbourne University for his Town & Regional Planning degree and, subsequently, for his Master’s degree in Architecture from the University of Manitoba, Canada. The architect has penned down his philosophies for environmentally sensitive design in his book ‘Tropical Architecture’ (published in 1978 by Tata McGraw-Hill), a celebrated book on Environmental Architecture and also a popular reference book in the libraries of prestigious institutions like Harvard University and MIT.
The founder of CPKA brought about a revolution in Indian architecture post-Independence by prioritising concepts such as sustainability, energy-efficient design, renewal of natural resources, responding to the natural context and blending tradition with modernity – all of which also made his projects contextually relevant. The testimony of the same is held in some of his prestigious works like the Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi), IIM (Lucknow), Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Pathways World School (Gurugram), to name just a few.
Kukreja established the first Indian architectural magazine titled Architecture + Design (A+D) in 1984, followed by an interior design magazine, Indian Design & Interiors. To spread his message beyond his homeland, he delivered speeches and lectures abroad in various institutions such as Harvard, which he believed could make a serious impact on architectural thinking. He was the founding governing body member of the Sushant School of Art & Architecture.
Kukreja contributed immensely to the post-earthquake reconstruction work of Gujarat. He has also been the highest contributor, recognised by the Indian Institute of Architects, for his financial contribution to the Tsunami victims. His immense philanthropic efforts include active contributions to various disaster relief campaigns and organ donation drives. The ultimate feather in his cap is that he was felicitated by the former President of India, KR Narayanan for his lifetime contribution to Architecture and Environmental Awareness in India.