Series –Warmth  
Art Work : Ashirwad The Blessing

Sketching my life long quest …. Ar. Rahul Ajeet Kadam

An Alumnus of BKPS College of Architecture, Pune, India, Ar. Rahul Kadam did his Masters from South Bank, London, and was a student member at AA ,London, UK . He  travelled extensively before beginning work with leading architects like Ar. Bimal Patel, Ar. Hasmukh Patel, Kamal Malik and Ar. Karan Grover. He has been a Director & Regional Head at Edifice Consultants Pvt . Ltd for over 15 years. Since the last 3 years he has his own design firm The NGK Studio in Partnership with his wife Architect Nandini RG Kadam. The ‘NGK Studio’, focus on a sensitive design approach and is working with prominent clients. 

Picture10Recently Rahul Kadam initiated the art programme, “Art to Heal” in the memory of his father late Flight Lt Ajeet B Kadam, who was an Ace, Fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force. The Objective of this programme is to donate 20% proceed from the sale of the art, he has created to the children of Indian Soldiers who have either died in war or have been injured protecting our great country. The proceeds could be directed for their education.

The images below were developed as a part of the art program, by NGK Studio called “Art to Heal”.

Here is a short biography of Rahul’s journey so far and what led to the initiative Art to Heal.

The Beginnings : Sketching has always interested and fascinated me since childhood. There could be a genetic lineage attached to this, as my mother painted landscape canvases and my father and grandfather both had a good steady hand at free hand sketching.

During my early school days, I got addicted to drawing caricatures of Asterix, Obelix and portraits of cricketers. Besides this, my background of hailing from a family in the Air Force made me passionate about drawing static Aircrafts and those in motion. Slowly in secondary school this translated into drawing portraits and engines. As I look back I wonder if this inclined me towards my professional study.

Joining Architecture School : While studying architecture at The BKPS college of Architecture, Pune (Abhinav, as it is commonly called), we were blessed to have teachers and fellow students who could sketch like pros – in correct proportions to express and represent an idea. I recall around the third year, our principal Prof. V Sardesai and Prof. Sule would discuss our design solutions in the studio through sketches.

Sketch tries to explore the rhythmic navigational quality of light in the  legendary drawing style of  Paul Rudolph
Sketch tries to explore the rhythmic navigational quality of light in the legendary drawing style of Paul Rudolph

This was further sharpened by Architect Ravi Gadre, who introduced us to Communication and Visualisation through perspective drawings. He used to show his drawings that were influenced from the legendary American Architect Paul Rudolph. We would view his drawings and sketches in awe, for hours at the college library.

Influences as a Professional Apprentice : I was fortunate to work as a trainee apprentice in my 4th year at the HCP studio in Ahmedabad, for 6 months on 2-3 significant projects, directly under Architect Hasmukh C. Patel and Bimal H. Patel. This then  exposed me to proportionate sketching in Pencil and Charcoal, as the studio had a strong emphasis on modernism and particularly the ideology of Louis Kahn. Around the same time study trips to buildings in Ahmedabad and IIM-A in particular were a great inspiration, too.

Architect Bimal Patel’s Sketch for The Gujarat High Court
Architect Bimal Patel’s Sketch for The Gujarat High Court

Thesis the Catalyst of Change: The training at  HCP Studio, motivated me a lot and in my final year my B-Arch Thesis on ‘’Educational Facilities for Children with Cerebral Palsy’’, helped me explore new ideas through sketches, where material, light, textures, landscape and art were used to create spaces. All the sketches were monochromatic to study the purity of the space created. The whole thesis submission was like a story narrated by monochromatic sketches. I am happy that the thesis was recognised as the top thesis project that year.

Study of the Romance between light and Shadow at IIM –Ahmedabad
Study of the Romance between light and Shadow at IIM –Ahmedabad
Concept sheet showing the evolution of Form,  inspired from the  relationship of open and built spaces  as seen in Traditional Vernacular Architecture.
Concept sheet showing the evolution of Form, inspired from the relationship of open and built spaces as seen in Traditional Vernacular Architecture.
Spatial studies from Thesis drawings  exploring effects of natural light, material , texture, landscape and art in creating Biophilic  spaces
Spatial studies from Thesis drawings  exploring effects of natural light, material , texture, landscape and art in creating Biophilic  spaces

The Best Sabbatical ever : Following my B. Arch course, I I had my best sabbatical ever.  This was a  15 month long stint at the studio of Karan Grover and Associates (KGA), in Baroda and my masters education in London. At KGA, I did a lot of work on competition projects and learnt a lot on how diagrammatic exploration can be used to design large master plans. In a way it was a good refresher to a masters programme overseas, that was to follow.

After, the action filled stint at KGA, I went on for a Master course at the South Bank University, London, UK and had the parallel student membership at the Architectural Association in London. While in London, I had the opportunity to travel extensively in UK and Europe, to study the work of Master Architects and several historic buildings. Armed with a Camera and a Sketch Book, it turned out to be a virtual lesson on History of Architecture. This honed my skills towards sensitivity and  good design thinking.

Understanding the making of High-Tech buildings by M Hopkins and Norman Foster
Understanding the making of High-Tech buildings by M Hopkins and Norman Foster

Entering the professional world : After 7 years of formal education in Architecture, I started my career in Mumbai with Kamal Mallik, Architect and was exposed to large and complex service intensive projects like Hotels, Hospitals and R&D centres. Mr. Kamal Mallik  was extremely particular on propionate sketching in 2-D and 3-D and  Detailing. So, the entire team developed a sharp eye for proportions and details. The best part was that as a project architect one got to work on presentations and the entire development process of projects one worked on till execution. It was a great three years in Mumbai.

Corporate practise : Having been in the profession for over 23 years, I spent almost 15 years as a Regional Director and Management member of one of India’s largest and respected Architectural firms- Edifice Consultants, Pvt Ltd. I developed the ability to use sketching as a means to explain and communicate ideas to clients, especially- corporate clients. Whenever timelines are tight, quick sketches help express what we are thinking. So sketches became a powerful tool to communicate why we are doing what we are doing!

Sketches studying the work of Frank lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn and Mies Van Der Rohe
Sketches studying the work of Frank lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn and Mies Van Der Rohe

Establishing a Boutique practise : Three years ago, I decided to plunge into an independent journey of being an Entrepreneur. In doing so I set up my own practise with my wife, Architect Nandini Kadam, called the NGK studio (NGK-Natures Green Kinaesthetics). Our focus has been to create Sensitive design that is a Catalyst of positive change. In doing so a lot of time is spent in ideating projects through sketches, models, diagrams. Also, the passion to build a respected design brand motivates me to explore and identify spatial themes created as a part of my hobbies (Sketching to Music and Photography). I must also admit that in conditioning myself, travel has played an important role, as inspiration from visiting good works, I believe definitely inspires, for new ideas and sensitive thinking.

Sketch of a Spatial Theme and Built Space inspired by the same
Sketch of a Spatial Theme and Built Space inspired by the same

To conclude I would say that sketching is vital Vitamin for me as a design professional and also a hobby that gives me a lot of mental relaxation and avenues to new ideas that I explore as an architect. The artistic side of me is communicated by sketching for projects I design. Further it also keeps me connected with sensitive thinking.

Series –Nature and Life:  Art Work: Walking in the Woods
Series –Nature and Life: Art Work: Walking in the Wood