Interview with Ar. Puran Kumar, Principal Architect of Puran Kumar Architects

Tete-A-Tete with Experts Dated:  July 14, 2015
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Ar. Puran Kumar

Architect Puran Kumar, an IIT Roorkee alumnus, has 25+ years of experience in Architecture and Interior Designing. His firm, Puran Kumar Architects, established in 1993, has worked on various exclusive corporate projects as well as high profile residential projects. The highly talented team bagged the prestigious IID Award in 2011.

In this interview, Ar.Puran Kumar talks about his work and life, his team, approach to projects, environmental sustainability and more. He also tells us a bit about his IID Award-winning PV 14 project.

CafeteriaCafeteria - Platinum Partners

Please tell us something about the man behind the architect?

The man behind the architect is a simple man with an aesthetic bend, and that reflects in the creative expression as well. While I am passionate about my work - travelling, art and music are some of the good things that I like to indulge in; and I love to observe people. Languages, sports and photography are some of my other interests.

I believe that we have only one life and you should give every moment your best. It doesn’t pay to reminisce about what you did not achieve and neither putting too much expectation on the future bear any fruit. To me every day is important and that is how Puran Kumar likes to be :)

When did you first start your practice and what kind of projects have you been doing?

The design studio was established in 1993. And our repertoire of interior-architecture projects is quite wide as we work on large corporate offices – both domestic and multinational, and residential projects that range from apartments to bungalows & villas.

How do you pick your team members?

You should have the right credentials, merit and work experience, of course. And a team is all about the ‘connect’. There are certain basic human values - the ethos of being a team member - and a straight forward and honest approach to life is important. When you connect on any of these, apart from the credentials, you get to be picked to be a part of team PKA.

TerraceTerrace View - The Terraced House

Tell us something about your approach to your projects?

It is about giving your best in terms of the different approaches to a project. Your creativity for space utilization and functionality of the space; for design  in terms of aesthetics, keeping it easy on the eye and simplistic; and commitment in terms of detail, to ensure that you are not leaving anything unattended. When all of these approaches to a project come together, the result is the kind of projects that we love to do. These hold good for any type of space to be designed.

Which kind of projects do you enjoy the most?

Projects that are minimalistic in terms of design and aesthetics, largely contemporary that have a certain timelessness and a certain classicism that you can associate with a style, are projects that I generally enjoy. Currently, I am enjoying working on architectural projects – particularly residences. I like to work with clients who trust my design aesthetics. Since I have been doing corporate spaces for a long time, there is a certain comfort level there. On the other hand, the private architectural projects that we are involved in now are very exciting because there is that much more scope to create something new.

Tell us something about your most favorite project?

I won’t call it the most favourite, but is definitely one of my favourites – The Mango House. It is my own house and hence is an expression of my creative sensibilities – simplicity in thought and expression through form, material and décor of the structure. It is a physical manifestation of a need to connect with the natural environment. The organic nature of the construction connects the outside with the inside and thus manages to convey a very earthy ‘village-feel’ through its free-flowing plan that finds a lovely blend of outstanding elements that are ‘azonic’ present very simply in the design. There is a lot of volume to the space and the suspended staircase is one of my favourite areas in the house.

StaircaseStaircase - The Mango House

Please share with us your experience while designing for your IIID award winning projects?

The only project we have won an IIID Award was for PV14. It was a creative process between the client and the architect that resulted into a space that inspires you to write and create films. It was a remarkable project given its constraints being a heritage property.

Who/what inspires you and your works?

I’m not one who gets influenced by other people’s works, though there are many inspiring architects. To name a few would be people like Charles Correa, IM Pei, Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier who I admire. But if you ask me about works then I relate more with the works of Geoffrey Bawa and Rahul Mehrotra.

How do you weave in environmental sustainability into your projects?

The simplest way is to stay as true to the organic form as possible. We try to minimise the electrical / mechanical load on the building to maintain the environmental balance. The use of local material is very important as we don’t believe in moving material from far off places. We keep the use of inorganic material to a minimum and use material like mud bricks, clay tiles, stone, wood, etc. and balance them with glass and steel. These simple practices bring sustainability in our projects.

Visitor's LoungeVisitor's Lounge - Russell Reynolds Associates

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

I’m yet to face a challenge at work.

What drives you?

Every morning. It brings enough potential to build, create anew and look forward to the next morning.

How would you like your work to be recognized?

As an extension of your personality – as a designer and a person. To me recognition is more a form of users/patrons enjoying the spaces designed by me – whether it is offices, private spaces, villas or apartments.  The recognition comes from the use and not from the display value of the project.

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