Interview with Architect Rajeev Aggarwal
What is your design philosophy?
It took me close to 10 years to unlearn the design process as gathered in architecture school. The design process is actually closer to the one experienced by an artist while creating a work of art. Of course, the site, context, materials and use do play a role in defining the actual design moves but to my mind these are incidental. These get absorbed and internalized to aid the design process unselfconsciously. Architecture is an embodiment of a way of life and the values that determine its path. A successful work of architectural design has SIMPLICITY & CLARITY with crystallization of design thought and moves to a degree that the design is simple, almost austere. The construction techniques and materials are used to explore all their intrinsic qualities like strength, density, and texture in their bare HONESTY form. They should explore all facets of the material to do JUSTICE to it. A constantly changing experience jogs the mind constantly and it continues to absorb and react to the built environment making it PLAYFUL. Constant play between two contrasts like changing views, light and shadow, change in axis, smooth and rough texture, hard and soft landscape. Each one enhances the opposite by contrast in close proximity. There is always a duality at play with two opposite materials, two colours, two spaces, two geometries and two textures. Eventually the built environment consists of SPACES, which are sensed through a play of LIGHT. These are both, the tools as well as the end products in architecture.
How would you define your signature style?
Apart from various external forces that help in shaping architecture; like climate, site, socio-cultural milieu and historical references, there is an internal quest to encode the design with some element of ‘universal language’. This may take the form of a mathematical rhythm of numbers, or some other defining proportion.
Which has been your toughest project so far?
Why? Every project, however large or small, reaches a certain point in its process which may be termed as ‘tough’. In some cases it could be at the breakthrough of appropriate design solution, which in others it could be in the construction material, and others, the site management.
Tell us something about your Vedic Village projects?
We have been working on the Vedic Village Project for almost 15 years now, hence very special. It started with master planning for 40 acres and eventually grew organically to 250 acres most of which is built, sold and occupied. The one singular facet that I feel unique in the project is; the collaborative way in which the client and architects have worked on the project. Often, a design or material thought is discussed in abstract and then the program revolves around it.