Kuldip Singh died on November 10 from complications due to Covid-19. He was a master architect, city planner, and builder, with some of Delhi’s most important and innovative modernist structures to his credit. He was an artist in the use of architectural concrete, though he preferred not to refer to himself as a Brutalist; the term, he said, served only to constrict one’s creativity.

A quiet, soft-spoken man, Singh enjoyed Urdu poetry. In his retirement years he devoted himself to collecting South Indian art. Yet his most successful buildings were composed of hulking, massive geometrical forms which, to many eyes, at least, would appear to be both unpoetic and inartistic.

Kuldip Singh’s genius laid in his experimentation with form and materials, desire to be true to a building’s purpose and context, and willingness to provoke a reaction. His work consistently asked what should constitute an Indian modernism – how should modern architecture balance the legacies of the past with the needs of an ambitious, yet poor, post-colonial nation? Singh’s buildings were poetic in just this way. He understood the quiet pragmatism and patience needed to create large-scale, public-facing structures in India, but he never lost sight of his artistic and social vision...

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