An introvert by personality, Rohit Palakkal remembers being a keen observer and an inquisitive learner as a kid, loving to immerse himself in all things creative. It was these “inborn instincts” that led him from his home state Kerala to Pillai’s College of Architecture, New Panvel. Along with the “excellent academic growth,” he got acquainted with different people, places and cultures. He found a role model in his professor Jinu Kurien (who inspired him to take up teaching), and was deeply influenced by Geoffrey Bawa (“his architecture advice always prompts me to stop and think”) and Deepak Guggari of Studio VDGA (“motivates me to try for better detailing and innovate more”). In Vinod Cyriac of Space Art Architects, he found a true mentor – having worked with him for a few years before setting up Nestcraft Architecture Mould in Calicut in 2012 with his guidance.
From Cyriac, he learnt how design can be sensitive not just to the client’s needs, but also the immediate environment. These learnings are now in practice along with his personal vision for Nestcraft. “The objective is to give utmost justification to the client’s requirements, innovate within the limitations and experiment on the architectural principles,” explains 32-year-old Palakkal, who also intentionally stays away from “builder clients who see architecture only as statistical calculations.”
One project that explains his drive to innovate and be sustainable is Minimum, a small home of 1500sq-ft on a dense site of 870sq-ft. “Rendering this vast space requisite on a small land made me conscious about space-saving and wasting building materials; being mindful of the client’s budget; and holistically sensitive to the environment.” Winning a special mention award in a publication’s Young Architects 2019 Awards assured him that he was on the right path with the right vision.
The idealist in him also ensures a good work-life balance is maintained simultaneously. “I do not practice or even suggest to work after 6pm.” Instead, he invests time in learning – be it spirituality, science, new inventions, art, music, politics and so on. He also believes that an architect should be socially approachable. “The common man should not feel like the service of an architect is a luxury. The modern architect should be accessible to the public and should extend his expertise not only to craft infrastructure in the private sector, but in public/Government sectors too.”