British Architecture in India - Daily Current Affair Article

CONTEXT:

The Andhra Pradesh government is planning to engage with the architect of the Central Vista in New Delhi, Bimal Patel, for its tri-city spread of government offices and Assembly buildings, wherein the executive branch is planned to be settled in the port city of Visakhapatnam. Mr. Patel, a leading architect especially in the space of public buildings and projects, is the man behind the Central Vista project redrawing the Parliament building and much of office space of the Central ministries. He had designed the Ahmedabad riverfront project, and is currently involved in the redevelopment of Sabarmati Ashram, which was established by Mahatma Gandhi.

IMPORTANT POINTERS:

Central Vista Redevelopment Project:

  • It is an ambitious project of the Centre, which aims to redevelop a 3.2-km stretch called the Central Vista that lies at the heart of Lutyens Delhi built by the Britishers in the 1930s.
  • The project envisages the construction of a new parliament, prime minister and vice-president’s residences along with 10 building blocks that will accommodate all government ministries and departments at a total cost of Rs 20,000 crore.
  • The new Parliament Building Complex, which will be triangular in shape, will spread over 64,500 square metre
  • The new Parliament is much bigger in size than the earlier and can house upto 1224 members and equipped with latest digital technologies to step towards 'paperless offices'
  • The new Parliament building will have a grand Constitution Hall showcasing India's democratic heritage, with the original copy of the Constitution exhibited.
  • There will be a visitors’ gallery digitally displaying India's democratic heritage.
  • The project, which is estimated to be completed by 2024, is being executed by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • The current Parliament building is nearly 93 years old and poses a major reason for this new development i.e. structural safety concerns.
  • Under the Central Vista Project, the residence of the prime minister is likely to be shifted near the South Block that houses the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The vice-president's new house will be closer to the North Block.
  • North and South Blocks will be converted into museums.
  • The project has six objectives:
  • Modernising Parliament's facilities
  • The above pointers that deals with new developments are the manifesto of the modern development
  • Improving productivity and efficiency
  • The common central secretariat will include 10 office buildings and a central conference centre.
  • All offices will also be connected by a people mover to the Delhi Metro.
  • The secretariat will be served by highly energy-efficient and sustainable infrastructure.
  • Strengthening cultural and recreational facilities.
  • From museums to visitors gallery, discussed above, all comes under this
  • Providing modern and secure infrastructure
  • Providing residential facilities for the vice president and the prime minister.
  • Ensuring environmental sustainability, protecting heritage, expanding public space, and extending the central vista axis

LUTYEN'S DELHI

  • With the transfer of capital from Calcutta (now Kolkata) to Delhi in 1911, started a major project to build the capital city.
  • Sir Edward Lutyens was made responsible for the overall plan of Delhi.
  • He constructed India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhawan (Vice Regal Place)
  • Vice regal palace appeared with a huge dome on the lines of a Buddhist stupa,
  • Represent some elements of Hindu ornamentation & Islamic symmetry
  • Herbert Baker added South Block and North Block, which flank the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
  • Englishman Robert Tor Tussell built the Connaught Place.
  • The architects designed a monumental urban street complex that was essentially alien to Indian cities.
  • Their architectural style involved a fusion of classical European and Indian elements.
  • Lavish colonnades, open verandas, tall, slender windows, chhajjas (wide roof overhangs) and cornices jaalis (circular stone apertures) and chhatris (free-standing pavilions) were used at the same time as decorative elements from typical historic Indian architecture.

CHURCHES

  • Portuguese established impressive churches in Iberian style of architecture for ex. churches of Goa. Francis Church at Cochin( 1510) is believed to be the first church built by the Europeans in India. Portuguese used bricks as the main building material along with wooden roofs & stairs.

OTHER BUILDINGS

  • British followed various architectural styles viz. Gothic, Imperial, Christian, Palladian and Victorian being prominent. Britishers used Red sandstone & coarse limestone as the main building material.
  • Constantia, a building erected by General Martin (British) at Lucknow, is the best specimen of Palladian Style in India
  • Wittet designed the Gateway of India in Mumbai, borrowing several elements of Mughal style
  • Sardar Ram Singh, a master builder of Punjab, designed the Central Museum and the Senate House at Lahore (in Pakistan)
  • Designed by the British architect F. W. Stevens, Victoria Terminus Station is another example for the Gothic architecture.
  • Designed by William Emerson in late 19th century, Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata

Sources

  • The Hindu
  • The Indian Express
  • The Economic Times
  • Quartz India website
  • Times of India
General Studies Paper 1
  • History