Founded in 1991, Matharoo Associates caters to distinct architecture, interiors, products, and structural designs. Gurjit Singh Matharoo, with his experience in the field over 30 years, heads this renowned, eccentric interdisciplinary Indian practice. Soon after its inception, the firm won national and international critical acclaim owing to its pillars of approach. The functionality of a design program and its efficiency have been the firm’s pillars, paving the way to explore various artistic endeavours. With a well-recognized, comprehensive, and experimental approach, their work has persistently been active in redefining boundaries to produce a combined efficient design/space entity.  

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Gurjit Singh Matharoo©cept.ac.in

The Background

Born in Ajmer, Rajasthan, the firm’s Principal Architect, Gurjit Singh Matharoo, obtained a diploma from CEPT, Ahmedabad, in 1989. After briefly working with Michele Arnaboldi and Giorgio Guschetti in Switzerland for a year, he set up his firm and is known to bring his earlier experiences in Bhutan, Dubai, and Locarno as influences in his design perspective. With the inception of Matharoo Associates, he simultaneously began teaching at CEPT from 1991 to 2018. Credited with the unique ability to transmit his enthusiasm for built structures and a known passion for automobile design, Matharoo has been conferred an international fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, only the third Indian after the renowned Charles Correa and Professor B.V.Doshi. 

Today, with a strength of about 18 members, his practice is fully equipped to render the highest quality design services with its evergreen, research-oriented signature approach.

Their Principles

The Principal Architect believes, in an interdisciplinary nature of design practice, enabling them to design holistically. This perspective fundamentally involves prioritizing and harnessing natural light, creating layers of intrigue and interest in unfolding a space within a structure. With diversity as a hallmark of his practice, this studio of ‘romantics,’ as they call themselves, is predominantly governed by emotion over calculation and is moved by beauty more than gain. No matter how distinct their trajectories are, they are always followed up with solid reason and research, assures Matharoo. 

“The essence of Gurujit’s personality is to cross boundaries. His haunting is to break conventions that touch the heart. Concrete needs to be functionally defined. 

Gurujit delimits confinement,” says B.V.Doshi, himself.   

Going by the thought that buildings are not sterile but playful to be in, the practice has contributed to revitalizing Indian architecture and design development with a broad spectrum of inventive, innovative, and soulful projects across all building domains. “When in doubt, reduce; when not in doubt, surely reduce” is an internal working philosophy of extreme restraint, followed by practice, streamlining their outlook to create a healthy and humane environment.

Structural design plays a vital role in presenting their work and is often designed to become the building envelope itself. Optimizing this has not only proven to add aesthetic value but also significantly reduces the overall building cost, says Matharoo. 

The Office: and their Notable Works

The Prathama Blood Centre in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India’s largest blood centre, designed in 2001, is one of their earliest recognized works depicting a rational step-by-step intervention in the plan, defining fundamental design lines. The iconic Indian Pavilion, an ‘Urban Tapestry,’ instead, is a harmonic amalgamation of structure and design, elevating one another to translate and convey the concept of an existence dependent on the strength of their standing together as a single entity.

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Prathama Blood Centre©matharooassociates.com
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Indian Pavilion©www.ebuild.in

Another groundbreaking project is the House with Wall of light, which defies the idea of bulk elements relating to what it stands for and is designed seamlessly to integrate light, ventilation, and its surrounding landscapes. The project: Man-made God, Prem Prakash Ashram – Temple and Pilgrim Guest House, is yet another one in this list of iconic architectural works. Subtly encapsulating the essence of various religions, the temple and guest house design is a true expression of different gestures of serenity. 

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House with Wall of light©matharooassociates.com
Man-Made God©matharooassociates.com

The Matharoo Associates Headquarters in Ahmedabad is a case study in itself for a brilliant workspace. The building’s playful nature directly reflects its harmonious blend of the balanced work and leisure culture, producing revolutionary outcomes. 

Accolades and Recognitions

Right from being named a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2014, Matharoo Associates has won several other esteemed international awards apart from it. A few of them include the Emerging Architecture Award in 2009 for the project House with a Wall of Light, the AR 2010 House Awards celebrating the House with Balls as the annual winner, and the Editor’s Choice in 2003 for the Ashwinikumar Crematorium project. 

Gurjit Matharoo was nominated for the BSI Swiss Architectural Awards in 2012 and invited to present his work in various prestigious biennales, such as the 2017 Bienal de Chile and the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2016 and 2018. 

‘Matharoo Associates: Architectural Practice in India,’ a book by Philip Jodidio, published in 2020, outlining various prominent projects by the firm.  

Citations:

matharooassociates.com. (n.d.). Matharoo Associates. [online] Available at: http://matharooassociates.com/ [Accessed 17 Nov. 2022].

‌www.forbesindia.com. (n.d.). Matharoo Associates. [online] Available at: https://www.forbesindia.com/video/the-bold-club/matharoo-associates/165/1 [Accessed 17 Nov. 2022].

‌designspeaks.com.au. (n.d.). Gurjit Singh Matharoo – Speakers – Design Speaks. An Architecture Media Program. [online] Available at: https://designspeaks.com.au/speakers/gurjit-singh-matharoo [Accessed 17 Nov. 2022].

Indian-Architects. (n.d.). Matharoo Associates – Ahmedabad, India – Architects -. [online] Available at: https://www.indian-architects.com/matharoo-associates-ahmedabad [Accessed 17 Nov. 2022].

Author

Lakshmi Sundaram is an architect, muralist and graphic designer with an atypical and interdisciplinary outlook. Design being her finest channel of expression, strong narratives direct her work across all domains. Precisely, an aspiring little drop in a mighty ocean of design revolutions.

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