Akshay Kaul - Connect with Nature

Tete-A-Tete with Experts Dated:  April 2, 2015
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Architect: Akshay Kaul

Landscape architect Akshay Kaul works intensely to create holistic spaces. In conversation with ZingyHomes he talks about his passion for environmental sensitive works, the unique design approach and the USP of his architectural firm.

The primary job of a landscape architect is to create balance between the needs of people and the needs of the environment. And for almost two decades, Delhi-based landscape architect Akshay Kaul has been trying hard to strive that fine balance by addressing environmental concerns, culture and aesthetics through ecological planning and landscape designing. His firm Akshay Kaul Associates was formed in 1995, and since then they have been working on a variety of projects, including, design of new towns, heritage sites, urban design, campus, resorts, parks, spiritual retreats and private gardens all over the country. They emphasise on a few basic things, like, maximising the use of native plants, bringing plants from Ayurveda into mainstream landscape architecture through liberal use of medicinal and aromatic plants, encouraging site to be non-toxic and pesticide-free with use of only green and organic manure, etc. "Basically, it's more than following a few basic rules as our work is very site intensive and research oriented," he retorts. "It's innovative and unique for each site because aesthetics alone can be derived from the place, architecture, people, natural and cultural processes and systems but we work intensely with creating spaces for people's holistic well-being in a deeper sense. So, imagery is a resultant and not a starting point for design. Also, we do extensive research on "planting palette" which of course, is a very laborious and rewarding process for us," he explains.

Civil Line Delhi - Residential Landscape

The firm's USP is to preserve that is unique, restore that is degraded and enhance the quality of landscape through adopting the natural processes and systems on site. Besides India, they have worked in Europe, Asia and North America for planning, landscape and architectural design. "When we develop a concept, the key is to meet the objectives of the client but at the same time protecting resources is our utmost priority," adds Kaul who owes his passion of landscaping to his growing up days spent in Kashmir Valley. "Definitely, like anyone else, I too draw inspiration from people and beauty but for me the most influential has been the culture of Kashmir, where I had spent most of my childhood days," he recalls.

Anuradha Nanda Farm

AKA landscape focuses on bringing back the bio-diversity of each region through their work. Their prime concern is to re-establish the water system on every site through ecological planning and implement unique rainwater harvesting system in landscape. "Usually when we start a project the site tells us what to do. We work with restoring the natural system that have been fragmented or need restoration. We work to reestablish natural systems by integrating them as our design strategy with least path of resistance. So, aesthetics is a derivative of the process and not an idea or image imposition," he says.

Over the years, Kaul has developed a unique design approach that distinguishes him from the rest. And nothing leaves him more joyous than the fact that his clients are satisfied by the end result. "In fact, most of our clients come back to us because of our environmental sensitive work. And that feeling, I believe, is priceless," he avers.

Nanda Farm, Pool Design

Though Kaul with his extensive experience has already achieved and received a lot of adulation for his work, still he aspires to do at least one landmark project in every state. "Actually, I personally believe landscape architecture is the battle of preserving excellence as culturally we have created very few systems that promote excellence. So, definitely it is a big challenge for us," he concludes.

Akshay Kaul Architects is presently working on many projects. A few of them include: South Asian University Delhi, River Fronts in UP and Bihar, Wellness Centres in different States, a unique housing project in mountain region, etc.

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