KOCHI: S Gopakumar, founder and architect at Kochi-based Kumar Group Total Designers, became the first architect from Kerala to be awarded the Baburao Mhatre Gold Medal for the year 2020. The award is from Indian Institute of Architects (IIA), the national body of Indian architects. The award acknowledges his contributions to Indian architecture.“It is a privilege to receive this award from IIA and to be in the same list as some of the most elite names in the field. This motivates me to further work towards putting India on the global map of modern architecture,” he said.
The award was given on July 12 at the IIA National Convention by Divya Kush, the organisation’s national president. Former winners of the award include architects like Padma shri Achyut Kanvinde, Padma Visbushan Charles Correa, Padma Shri B V Doshi, and Padma Shri Laurie Baker.
S Gopakumar graduated in architecture from College of Engineering, Trivandrum, with a gold medal in 1976. Later, he joined architect Padma Vibhushan Charles Correa and became his associate. In 1976, Gopakumar started Kumar Group Total Designers, now one of the leading architectural firms in India. The company has designed major landmarks like Kerala History Museum Kochi, KSRTC bus station Trivandrum, Taj Residency Calicut, Gandhi Park Trivandrum, Shanthi Kavadam crematorium Trivandrum, and DH ground Kochi.
Gopakumar has been actively involved in the activities of the IIA since 1996. During his long association with IIA, he has served the institute as chairman of Cochin Centre and later as chairman of Kerala chapter. During his tenures, he was instrumental in organising several state and national level events. His initiatives in socially relevant projects include temporary accommodation for Gujarat earthquake victims.