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Mumbai, 2001

Architecture | Interior | Urban Design

_Opolis is a multi-disciplinary design practice, started by Rahul Gore and Sonal Sancheti in January 2001, in Mumbai. The practice’s name is a portmanteau formed by -‘O’ which means a way of giving respect’ in Japanese and ‘Polis’ is a  Greek word for ‘ a city’. The firm is internationally and nationally acclaimed for The Bihar Museum, Patna – won as an international competition along with Maki and Associates, Tokyo. The North Wing Extension to the Bhau Daji Lad Museum at Byculla, Mumbai, with Steven Holl Architects.

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Page Author:

Gazal Nanwani





Sonal Sancheti 



B.Arch., CEPT, Ahmedabad.


She has co-authored the book- “ Scripting Destiny” and is currently pursuing a Post Graduate Diploma in Indian Aesthetics in Mumbai University.

Visiting Faculty at Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute Of Architecture, Mumbai.

“ As Long as your work is always evolving , it’s a Good Sign. Also, slowness is very important….Slow and Steady wins the race.”  _igenTop50.33


Rahul Gore 

Principal Architect.


B.Arch., CEPT, Ahmedabad.

Masters in Urban Design, University of California, Los Angeles. 

Visiting Faculty at Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute Of Architecture, Mumbai.

“Our work represents our no-nonsense approach to a project and the ‘ K-I-S-S’ Strategy: Keep It Simple , Stupid “ _igenTop50


Opolis believes that design should be timeless, which while fulfilling a client brief, go beyond it. A design should stand the test of time, style and trends. Each client is important and special to the firm, and deserves attention and time. To that end, _Opolis desires to work on only a few projects at a time to ensure complete focus and involvement in all parts of design and construction. The partners strive to make the office a second home for all those who work here, to evoke a sense of ownership and belonging, and create a happy, satisfying environment which enables each one to grow and evolve. 

The office does not believe in the separation or specialization of skills as  each architect in the office will work through different aspects of a project. There is firmness in the idea that artistic or ethical beliefs of the firm are not outweighed by financial factors as each work should reflect optimism and love. With keen attention to design time and clientele, this practice of two individuals, imbibes values of the discipline, vigor and evolution of drawing and detail that follows on in the collective. 

All information (text/ image) is sourced from the practice.


Residential | Institutional | Corporate | Retail | Healthcare


Apartment studio

The Studio is an apartment that was earlier Rahul Gore's father's office who was also an architect. The transition occurred over time. 

The studio holds model making at the center of its activities. Each and every nook and corner is utilized to store models that are made in abundance during the design process.

Equipped with the projector room, Meeting and gathering space, Plotter and Accounts space, the workstations, the studio has it all in the miniscule of an apartment !



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The Practice_Opolis architects
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Opolis dualities 1.PNG


Opolis is a practice of two individuals- Sonal Sancheti and Rahul Gore,  who work together as their ideologies are aligned and synched. Sonal and Rahul have had the same education (B.arch at CEPT and Masters at UCLA)  , travelled together and both trained at Maki and Associates, Japan- a large part of their earlier careers that they built together,  is to which they owe their successful coalition.

Their practice emerged in Mumbai in 2001 , with a keen focus on Interiors and architecture and has evolved to do urban design and masterplanning as well. They have a portfolio of over 98 completed projects in wide ranging sectors- institutional, hospitality, corporate, retail , residential or urban across the wide landscape of India. 

The core beliefs that they hold onto are the values they have for design time , commitment of delivery to clients in the decided time  and working as a ‘family’ of specialized generalists. They believe in the act of making and learning by doing rigorously. The firm is riveted to maintaining a certain cost and delivering appropriately that allows them to set high and work rigorously for that rather than negotiating for cost and giving less work proportionately. This helps them in levelling cost and reputation both. 


By Working on similar typologies , the office tends to evolve their decision making, ability to foresee problems and subsequently create a course of action. The drawings are meticulously checked by Rahul and Sonal after every stage before leaving the office, which is also a way in which they keep evolving the drawing standards. The hand plays a role and methods of working by the hand are ingrained in the process by the principals, reinforced in the very act of ‘Model making’ ( both for interior and architecture projects), which becomes a communal activity within the office, over which conversations occur, designs are modified, ideas are ceded, people are forced to interact and react. The inculcation of this ideal helps in communication, collaboration and helps keep everyone on the same line, while contributing to design.  


The office functions horizontally where within a team of 12 architects, all projects, interior and architecture are handled by everyone. Model making is often done by interns, except for which all  are involved at every step in the process. Every project involves both Rahul and Sonal along with the architects or the interior designer , where only after a certain point in the project, one of them releases the baton and the other supervises only for execution purposes. This results in holistic development of the architect’s skills on different aspects of design across projects. They have had architects who have learned and moved out from office to join larger offices or do practice whereas have some architects who have now been working for more than 15 years in the office.


In the interview with Rahul Gore, stark differences between practices of Interior and Architecture came up. Also, the pro bonos of doing both together were discussed that revealed interesting implications on monetary aspects ( that mainly only remain in knowledge of the principals and everyone is encouraged to work on everything with same passion) , design time and hence on the mindset of members working on interior verses those on architecture as division of work changes. Involvement in the interior design helped the firm to set up systems also. An interior project being intensive and demanding, can be handled singularly  by a senior architect whereas 2-3 architectural projects can be handled by the architect simultaneously. 


Rahul says that the collaboration with Maki and Associates on the ‘Bihar Museum’ was a game changer for the practice, that could happen only because they were ideologically aligned. That helped them improve their drawing standards as in the process, the drawings would go to various offices and deemed architects. Over time , they have been able to develop drawing standards , while they have no stringent details or standards when it comes to design. However, Rahul believes that details keep evolving over projects , reused, rethought, modified to capture the essence which is necessary because as one gets over detailing , there are chances of more explorations in the project on other aspects. Hence, Competition and collaborations are keystones in the development and growth of a practice!



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