Kunal Bhattacharya
Principal Healthcare Planning and Design, RJB Architects (Interview PART-1)

Getting real and getting an insider view on Healthcare Architectural Designs with Kunal Bhattacharya

When we talk about buildings and designs, we often get to hear that an architect has his or her signature style which defines their style of work. Kunal Bhattacharya debunks the theory of “signature style” in the field of architecture and shares his views on healthcare architecture which are indeed profound.

Kunal’s love for language and literature is evident in the thoughts shared by him. He always loved language, architecture, cultural activities and says that Architecture happened by chance, but glad that it happened, as he is one of the best Architects in Healthcare planning and design, debunking many theories blindly followed in the industry.

Kunal began his career working for other firms and today he feels that as a fresher he concentrated on the job given to him and never saw how the work fitted into the bigger picture, which generally happens with many employees, as the firms never share the bigger picture, nor give them the experience other than their routine job. His stint as Project Architect for hospitals made him more confident, though he was leading the project and was the youngest of all, he says he had so much to learn from everyone, not just those connected with construction industry but from healthcare industry too, like doctors, nurses, and from the housekeepers too. Everyone was co-operative towards him which made his experience more worth it. His stint with Fortis group of hospitals is what changed the course of his career and his life too. He was managing other renowned architectural firms and the learning on the job was immense. Design philosophy and complex understanding about projects developed only after he began his own firm, as design philosophy comes from within when you begin your own firm, His failures and his rich experience have helped him in adding tangible value to projects without taking unnecessary stress about other factors like contractors, vendors, etc. involved and helped focus more on design. 

Meaningful design policies

Since Kunal loved literature and language, design philosophies had to be his favourite topic. Kunal feels that many confuse philosophy with strategy and tactics. Philosophy in a profession is a set of rules that embody one’s theoretical understanding of all the practical experiences and implementation one has gone through. This helps in further informing and enriching all future work. It reflects in the way we behave, work; it is the embodiment of our understanding about the subject, and, over a period of time, through practice, it becomes our second nature and this theoretical realization then starts reflecting in our work which leads to successful implementation of projects.

Debunking the theory of signature styles

We often get to hear about an immediate reaction towards a design in terms of likes and dislikes, but design is a creative exercise and shouldn’t be linked to individual likes and dislikes. One of the greatest strengths of an architect is the ability to insulate the entire decision-making process in design from one’s own likes and dislikes. Therefore, he debunks the theory of “signature styles” in Architecture, where the creation is prejudiced by individualism, as every building is contextual and depends on many other factors.

Aesthetic sensibility

The interest of the project is supreme; the architect owns the project as much as the client until it is handed over. An architect values the project. Aesthetics is the intrinsic value of a design which can only be felt and not the one which is seen physically; it is in the core of a design philosophy. Aesthetic sensibility develops over time and starts reflecting in one’s work over time. His love for language and literature has also helped him in developing his aesthetic sensibility. It is not about the look of the project but it is about the feel of the project. To be continued. >>