Said Smart city project shall be within the context, characteristics and history of the city
Celebrated architect Padmashri Sunita Kohli feels the public buildings in the country belongs to the people and shall be restored like that. For smart city project she said the development shall be within the context, characteristics and history of the city.
Sunita is in the city for a talk organised by The Association of British Scholars (ABS), Baroda chapter on “EDWIN LUTYENS AND THE CREATION OF NEW DELHI, A PLANNED CITY”. There will also be a book release of “THE LUCKNOW COOKBOK’ based on cuisine of Lucknow she co authored with her mother. As a architect she restored public buildings in India and abroad in countries like Egypt and Bhutan. She said the restoration she done is based on the occupant of the building but the thing is it shall be according to the people and nation.
“I restored Rashtrapati Bhavan, South block, PM office and other buildings and I personally feel that the buildings belongs to the nation and shall be restored like that. The PM office remain unchanged for years and the credit goes to late former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as he asked me to restore like it as PM of India and secondly the executive chair is of the same height as of visitors,” said Kohli.
On the smart city project of the government she said the development shall be as per the city. “For such a project urban planning is necessary and little bit of research about the city. The development be within the context, characteristics and history of the city. In between all the things little respect for the architectural heritage with documentation and conservation of buildings is necessary,” said Kohli.
Sunita Kohli also has a interest of cooking and released a book on different every day dishes of Lucknow. Titled Lucknow Cooking the book carries the recepies of her mother and she pen down the introduction part of it.
“The book starts with our diverse family history and partition with a message about cultural and religious unity. My father is a Rajput mother from Quetta and we settled in Lucknow with others. The recipes are not purely Avadhi but the everyday food eaten in every house in Lucknow. Next I will be writing a book on India cookbook from the table of my friends and release in next five months time,” said Kohli.
Sunita Kohli studied literature and is a self-taught architect and interior designer. She was conferred the Padma Shri in 1992 for Design and Architectural Restoration and the first one to get in the discipline. She was the first Indian to be invited to give an illustrated lecture on design in 2003, at the prestigious National Building Museum in Washington DC.
The first woman to be appointed in 2014, as the Chairperson of a degree-conferring institute of higher learning – the School of Planning and Architecture in Bhopal, a National Institute of Excellence and the first person to be invited to launch the Culture Initiative of the Asia Scotland Institute, by delivering two illustrated lectures at the Glasgow School of Art and at the University of Edinburgh.
In New Delhi, Sunita Kohli has restored and decorated many British period buildings – designed by Sir Edward Lutyens, Sir Herbert Baker and Sir Robert Tor Russell – notably Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Prime Minister’ s Office and Secretariat in South Block and Hyderabad House. She has also restored No.3 and No.5 Racecourse Road (1984 & 2004) – the Official Residence of the Prime Minister, the bungalows of the ‘Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum, among several others in the Lutyens Bungalow Zone.
Sunita Kohli is the President of K2INDIA, a multi-disciplinary firm of architecture design and furniture manufacture. She is a research based interior designer, a reputed leader in historical interior architectural restoration and has been since 1971, a manufacturer of fine contemporary and classical furniture.
She has worked in several countries, notably Egypt where she has designed several resorts and luxury hotel boats on the Nile for the ‘Oberoi Group’. She has also restored, designed and furnished Naila Fort in Jaipur. Most recently, she has been working in Sri Lanka and Lahore.
Sunita Kohli specializes in the design of public buildings such as museums and libraries, hotels and resorts, luxury hotel boats, forts, palaces, heritage properties, aircrafts, corporate offices and private residences.
Sunita Kohli worked on the interior design of the British Council Building, the architect of which was the late Charles Correa. This is the largest of their eighty institutions worldwide and was inaugurated by the Prince of Wales in 1992. She has done the interior architecture and design of the DLF Corporate Office, on Parliament Street.
In 1989, Sunita Kohli designed the Parliament Building in Thimpu, Bhutan. In 2010, for the SAARC Summit held there, she and Kohelika Kohli, an architect and the CEO and Creative Director of K2India, jointly worked again on this National Assembly Building and the adjoining Banquet Hall.
Sunita Kohli was a Founder Trustee of the SATYAGYAN FOUNDATION in Varanasi which works with women’s literacy in 400 slum communities. She is Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of ‘SAVE-A-MOTHER’ an NGO that works for the reduction of female mortality rates in 1200 villages. In 2005, Sunita Kohli founded the ‘MUSEUM OF WOMEN IN THE ARTS, INDIA’.