Architect MAHESH RADHAKRISHNAN, who recently created the iconic Book Building for Tara Books, talks to HEMA VIJAY about his projects and vision
Old cities, urban life, and other disciplines of art and design, and not necessarily in that order.
What is your favourite project, and why?
All are favorites, as each project is unique in the opportunity that it offers for exploration and learning, but if I had to choose one, it would be the Book Building for Tara Books, as it is our first mixed use project in Chennai that allowed us to work with culture.
What new-age materials excite you?
Our approach to work has been to use materials that define a particular nature of space that we intend to create for a given context and client. While we do this, we prefer to express the authentic nature of materials. Hence, materials that we use are mostly natural, local, and ones that age gracefully. This method of thinking about space does not allow us to use materials based on a trend or newness. However, some materials that we have used earlier, like polycarbonate sheets or industrial meshes, will always excite us for the lightness and translucency that they offer.
How would you like to see the city’s architecture evolve?
In our observation, architecture in the city has been driven purely by commercial agenda; hence what follows is a convenient eclecticism. What we would like to see is a new form of architecture that is both culturally rooted and has a world view. Most importantly, we would like to see spaces, particularly public in nature, that are great environments to be in.
Some of your current projects…
Shop in a Park, a retail experience designed as a public park in Akkarai; 6 Kasthuri Estate, a multi-dwelling residential project that works with open and closed spaces at multiple levels within a unit, and a challenging, wall-to-wall family house in dense Mylapore…