Benny Kuriakose was born on 25 May 1962 in Kerala, India. He made a name for himself in architectural restoration and building design, drawing inspiration from South Indian traditional architecture. After an accidental meeting with the famous British-born Indian architect Laurie Baker, he stumbled into the world of architecture. He is well-known for constructing structures made of natural elements like wood, stone, and brick.  Kuriakose uses vernacular and traditional approaches to develop sustainable architecture. He believes that “Sustainability and cost-effectiveness is very much an integral part of all the designs we do. In fact, these two form the most important factors in arriving at the final design.”

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Here is a list of 15 projects by Benny Kuriakose that will take you closer to his architectural style. Hang in there!

1. Quiet By The River Resort

The confluence of the Malayattoor Forest, built on a small island in the Periyar River, forms a picturesque backdrop for the Quiet by the River resort. Stones and bricks helped develop local skills and created jobs in the area. An old tree from a centuries-old bungalow has been moved to the site for professional artisans to build houses and enjoy the beautiful river. The resort blends perfectly with the nature around the area.

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2. Anantya Resorts

Built in 2012, situated just 90 minutes from Kanyakumari, Anantya Resorts is nestled among tall rubber trees, overlooking the Chittar Dam, giving the visitors a sense of calm. The bricks and rubble masonry create a design that looks aesthetically pleasing to the surrounding environment. The vernacular elements of the designs like the thatched gazebo, lily pond, the sloped Mangalore roof, and many more add to the overall atmosphere of the place, creating a feeling of an oasis, a getaway from the busy city life.

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3. Kottappuram Market

One of the most important conservation projects by Benny Kuriakose is the Kottappuram marketplace, which has some Portuguese, Dutch, and traditional influences. This marketplace in Kerala has been modified through the years. The improvement that has taken place through the years has impacted the identity, social, cultural, and monetary power of the site people. With a unified approach, the revitalisation of the Kottappuram marketplace aimed toward operating with the area’s people to repair the misplaced social and cultural components of its past. Conservation of more than 150 buildings was carried out as part of the overall revival of this market as part of the Muziris Heritage Project. 

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4. School Of Engineering Design

Benny Kuriakose did his Ph.D. in Housing at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras ( 2003-2010), and in 2008, he designed the School of Engineering Design in IIT Madras. Jeevan V and Benny Kuriakose designed the building to allow good daylighting and cross ventilation into every room through the courtyards. Louvres on both sides of the structure offer an aesthetically appealing element while also reducing solar radiation. The cool breeze enters the structure through the huge courtyards connected to nature outside. The center courtyard acts as an attraction to the building, making it commonplace for students to rest, chat and enjoy the sun.

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5. Fingerpost House

This is a late 19th-century bungalow in Ooty. Except for the kitchen and toilets, all of the rooms featured timber floors, which had some Scottish design elements. The kitchen was separate from the rest of the house, as it was in most British bungalows in India. This was one of the hardest restoration projects for his firm, where they had to visit the site weekly.

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6. Huilekere House, Coorg

This residential project is located amid a coffee estate, in the Kodava clans. Raised on a stone plinth, the courtyards of this residence activate herbal mild and ventilation. The front verandah, courtyard, and the rectangular wood pillars that taper upwards reminisce the layout factors of Coorg Ainmanes deep-seated in centuries-antique traditions. This project was inspired by the Ainmanes, the ancestral homes of the people of Coorg.

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7. Wayanad House

Located withinside the picturesque panorama of the Wayanad district, Wayanad House follows the contours of the steep plot of land withinside the midst of an espresso estate. Designed for a customer who runs a wooden business, the indoors layout of this weekend domestic presentations enormous timberwork done via conventional artisans in Kerala. The house captures the scenic view from all three sides by adding timber and glass to the façade.

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8. Mythilyas

Mythilyas is a five-bedroom house built into the heart of Chennai city for a non-resident Indian couple. The floors have been designed with marble. Timber has been used for the layout of furniture, the staircase, the doorways, and the windows. Artisans from a long way and huge have come collectively and contributed to the making of this fairly specified residence with its marble inlay, wood joinery, wood carvings.

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9. Sigappi Illam Retirement Living

With the concept of ‘home away from home’ Sigappi Illam is a state-of-the-art retirement home for the elderly built by “Chettinad Paroupakaaram Foundation”. The six white blocks with maroon roofs, which contrast with the green foreground, contain amenities designed to encourage people to socialise and participate in community-oriented activities.

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10. Bharata Kalakshetram, Kalakshetra

The Bharata Kalakshetram, with its two-tiered exterior, is a theatre in the Kalakshetra complex, created by Shri Appukuttan Nair, who had remarkable knowledge of ancient Kerala architecture. The project, which was started in the wake of a scandal, was primarily intended to modernise the theatre. This sacred yet modern space for arts today is one of the most important performance spaces in India. It was built with timber with slatted walls and a tiled roof, making communication between the interior and exterior environment. 

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11. Dakshinachitra

Dakshinachitra means ‘a picture of the south ‘. This is a museum of art, architecture, craft, and performing arts of South India. Laurie Baker and Benny Kuriakose together designed this 10-acre project overlooking the Bay of Bengal, serving as a learning hub for people about the diversity in culture of South India. The entry to this place is just like entering a South Indian home. There were the characteristic pillars, thatched roofs, and finely carved doors that effectively blocked the view into the interiors, leaving us to our imaginations. The 18 transplanted buildings on display, as well as the exhibitions inside and live performances by artists in the surrounding area, provide the impression of travelling back in time.

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12. Casa Rojo

Casa Rojo, a beach home on the outskirts of Chennai, is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly structure set amid an old fruit orchard. The proposal was created with the existing orchard in mind, which led us throughout the process. The goal of the structure was to create an environment that embodied a sense of well-being and tranquillity. It’s a place where the user can relax, work and play while enjoying the essence of the space.

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13. Asikkad House

Asikkad House, located in a village near Mayavaram, shows the tradition of Chettinad architecture in rich configurations. The house incorporates several Chettinad architectural characteristics, with the majority of the columns being repurposed from old homes that the customer had already gathered. There are two bedrooms in the main house, as well as a wide courtyard. The servants’ quarters have been transformed into a spa, and the mansion is now being converted into a spa.

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14. Paliam Palace

According to architect Benny Kuriakose, Building a new house is simple; restoring an old one is more challenging, according to architect Benny Kuriakose. The Dutch erected the Paliam Kottaram, or Paliam Palace, in the 17th century as an expression of appreciation to the Paliath Achan for assisting them in conquering the Portuguese. The Palace, originally the home of the Paliath Achans, former Maharajas of the State of Kochi’s prime ministers, is now a three-story museum.

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15. Hotel Regenta Central Herald

Located in the historical town of Mysore, the indoor layout of Hotel Regenta Central Herald has predominantly executed the usage of local materials. Recycled wood from vintage constructing in Kerala has been used to make the carved railings and reception areas. The amalgam of modern and traditional interiors makes this hotel a delight to visit. 

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Online sources

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Archidust.com. (n.d.). Benny Kuriakose. [online] Available at: https://www.archidust.com/brand-details/Benny-Kuriakose-241 [Accessed 16 Jul. 2021].

ZingyHomes. (n.d.). Architect Benny Kuriakose and his Architectural Journey – Interview. [online] Available at: https://www.zingyhomes.com/expert-interview/architect-benny-kuriakose-interview/ [Accessed 16 Jul. 2021].

bennykuriakose. (n.d.). Builder of Dreams An Interview with Benny Kuriakose – The Hindu | Benny Kuriakose. [online] Available at: https://www.bennykuriakose.com/press-1/builder-of-dreams-an-interview-with-benny-kuriakose—the-hindu [Accessed 16 Jul. 2021].

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bennykuriakose. (n.d.). Conservation Consultants in India – Benny Kuriakose. [online] Available at: https://www.bennykuriakose.com/ [Accessed 16 Jul. 2021].

ZingyHomes. (n.d.). Asikkad House by Benny Kuriakose, Architect in Chennai,Tamil Nadu, India. [online] Available at: https://www.zingyhomes.com/project-detail/benny-kuriakose_23198/asikkad-house/ [Accessed 16 Jul. 2021].

Author

Currently, an undergraduate architecture student Khushi is a keen reader and an amateur video creator, making her way through life with creativity and her passion for learning new things. She believes that there is an artist in everyone, it is just a matter of exploring oneself.

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