Alok Kothari Architects is a young, Pune based architectural practice founded by Ar. Alok Kothari. Established in 2012, the firm strongly believes in creating spaces which are context driven using simple, minimalist, innovative and sustainable design ideas. With sharp focus on research experimentation and a keen eye for details, it specializes in designing interior, architecture, landscape and urban spaces.
Alok Kothari received his under-graduate (bachelor’s) degree in architecture from Pune University’s Marathwada Mitra Mandal’s College of Architecture in 2010. While pursuing his bachelor’s, he interned with Mozaic Design, Goa (Ar. Dean D’Cruz) for a period of six months. Alok has worked with a notable architectural practice – Design Edge, Pune – for a period of two years (2010 – 2012) before starting with his own architectural practice and simultaneously moving to the UK for his graduate (master’s) education. He received his Master of Arts degree in Housing & Urbanism from the Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA), London in 2013. Post-graduation, Alok has also devoted time to teaching at a renowned architectural college – PVPCOA, Pune – to highlight the importance of academic discourse & research within the larger framework of professional practice. He is extremely passionate about urbanism/architecture and is perpetual about his research on various issues/ aspects of Indian cities and urbanization in general.
koregaon park, pune | 2012 | completed
client: Mr. Deepak Parekh
The client owned a well-furnished penthouse in Pune for many years but its terrace was not in a good shape.
Mainly, because he had to shuffle between the United States and India, owing to his job and hence did not have enough time to utilize it effectively.
However, over the period things evolved, thereby giving him the liberty to think about putting the terrace to good use.
Highlight of the brief given by the client was to keep the design simple and easy - to - maintain. A 4’ tall metallic statue of Lord Buddha belonging to him had to be the focal point of the entire space and numerous water supply pipes running over the parapet walls were to be hidden without hampering their functionality.
The profile of the terrace along with the expectations/ guidelines put forth by Mr. Parekh was instrumental in materializing the core design theme. The central wall virtually dividing the terrace into two parts would host the Buddha statue and the two halves on either sides of it would be treated as a wet area and a dry area. In other words, the trajectory of the Buddha wall would act as a threshold anchoring one half to the other.
On the whole, the design tries to create a simple but dynamic space using straight and minimum number of lines. The colour scheme is modest and the number of colours is kept to the minimum; fluorescence of the upholstery and the display shelf enrich the entire experience.
sopanbaug, pune | 2015 | on-going
client: Mrs. & Mr. Oswal
recife, brazil | 2014 | competition
competition: urban revitalisation of Mass Housing, Competition by UN-Habitat | 2014
team: Mushit Fidelman, Neris Parlak, Alok Kothari
recognition: 1st prize at the national level in Brazil.
The question of housing is interwoven with the issues of urbanism; as housing pattern is influenced by social, economic and political conditions of a region.
Provision of housing is considered a part of government’s duties, as it is the regulator of housing stock.
But for many years, along with the provision, the governments also took over themselves the production of housing.
This tendency resulted in the design of large scale housing programmes often meant for the economically weak section of the society.
As these projects were primarily meant to provide welfare devoid of profits, their location was pushed to the periphery of cities owing to the high land prices and rates of construction in the city centre.
The Minha Casa Minha Vida (MCMV) programme, initiated by the national government of Brazil, is an apt example of this kind. Most of the projects implemented in its initial phases stand as isolated residential quarters as they lack the urbanity needed for a neighbourhood to flourish.
However, pertaining to the social and economic challenges that exist today, housing programmes, such as MCMV should do more. As the dominant factor that defines the urban fabric, housing has an important role to play in shaping everyday life and thus, should go beyond just satisfying the numbers. Hence, the needs of hour is to reconsider the conventional way of implementing MCMV programme and strategically use the tool of housing to create integrated urban development that combines private and public sectors, in order to address the social, political and economical shifts experienced in Brazil.
lower lea valley, london | 2013 | research
team: Diego, Zoreh, Lucia, Chao, Sankalp, Berk, Maneul, Priya, Ming, Alok
The transformation of Lower Lea Valley offers immense infrastructure that holds potential for spatial rethinking, in gaining a more fruitful role in the city.
By knitting East London’s industries back into the urban environment, the resulting mutual benefits could enable proactive relationships.
Although the complexities of mobility infrastructure present difficulty in envisioning these benefits, an understanding of infrastructure as urbanism could help shift an embellished landscape to be a production-oriented fabric.
Through leveraging mobility infrastructure as a mechanism embodying architectural and organizational qualities, industries could have a chance to forge new urban bonds.
The proposed strategy consists of precise moves that intensify the productivity of the area. By concentrating the sprawled industrial activities, their close vicinity enables the capability to cross-reference. The build-up of industrial services redefining infrastructure, could aid in controlling negative conditions. In addition, a layered transport and movement system would help optimize industry as well as foster the creation of new platforms for exchange.
Elements of mobility infrastructure, such as the concentrated railways points and linking motorways lines, provide the spatial opportunity to establish a multi-scalar interface. Ultimately, this interface would work towards the urban inclusion of the Lower Lea Valley as a more dynamic area, which challenges the conditions for production that it harbours.
kothrud, pune | 2016 | completed
client: Mrs. & Mr. Tambe
kothrud, pune | 2016 | completed
client: Mrs. and Mr. Chhajed
bibwewadi, pune | 2019 | completed
client: Mrs. and Mr. Kothari
Nestled in a quiet residential neighborhood, this 3,600 sq.ft. site hosted a 25-year-old single storey house. Unfortunately, we decided to bring down this structure as it was in a dilapidated state, its interiors were gloomy & also, it wasn’t a vaastushastra (traditional Hindu science of architecture) compliant house – which was the client’s main requirement. Study of the site surroundings & the existing structure showed that the main reasons for the existing house being dull & dark were the parking+3 storey bungalow on the east side of the site that was cutting off the morning sun & small opening sizes which didn’t allow enough light to penetrate into the house. In order to cater to this issue, we decided to anchor all the spaces in the new design to a central ‘sky light’ which would not only draw in light during the entire day but also act as a ‘brahmasthan’ (an important aspect related to vaastushastra) of the house. Also, having large windows to all the rooms was the logical way forward. Along with the norms of vaastushastra, the larger planning principle used was to divide the house into 2 functional zones – one for the private spaces & the other for the public spaces – along the north-south axis. The client’s demand of having all the daily necessity spaces – living, dining, kitchen, pooja room (area dedicated to worship to God), 2 bedrooms & toilets - on the ground floor was also catered to. The living & the kitchen were placed on either side of the central ‘sky light’, below which the magnet of the entire house was placed – the dining area. The positioning of an L-type, folded plate, ferrocrete staircase around the dining added a play to this central core. The living extends onto the outdoor seating area which hosts a traditional Indian swing that the client had bought from Rajasthan. The kitchen is connected to the utility space at the rear side (south side) of the house. Continuing the same grid, the first floor is composed of 2 bedrooms, toilets & a multi-purpose room. Carving out a block from the ground floor grid, provision was made for 2 car parks next to the entry porch. The client wanted a house that was simple but still makes a statement. We took this up as a challenge & started exploring different ways of architectural expression. Our research took us to the traditional residential typology of Pune – the wada – which was always as simple & elegant and was mostly constructed in exposed brick or basalt stone or both. We decided to use brick as it is a reasonable material from environment as well as cost perspective. Moreover, the warmth & the aesthetics provided by brick as a material is unmatched. Massing of the structure has been kept very subtle & focus has been put on highlighting the materiality of brick. To complement the red colour of the bricks, exposed concrete box windows & weather shades have been introduced. Also, the square grid of rough cement finish plaster on the compound wall accentuates the presence of bricks. In order to break the monotony of the brick façade & also to provide privacy, ‘jaali’ (perforated wall in brick) work has been used. While the material palette (brick & concrete) for the exteriors of the building is carefully chosen to give it a simple, natural & a playful look; the interiors also follow a similar approach. The material palette comprising of teakwood finish & light colours helps in providing a neat, clean & a spacious ambience. The main USP of the interior design is the use of ‘patterns’ in defining different spaces. The seed of this once again lies in our study of the traditional Indian architecture where the use of such patterns is evident in floorings, wall carvings, ceilings, etc. According to vaastushastra the use of such shapes & patterns boosts the energy flow & generates positive vibrations. These positive vibrations are what transform a house into ‘a home’ – an abode. We call this house THE BRICK ABODE
laxmi road, pune | 2019 | completed