The Secretariat building is seen as the primary interface between the ministries and the bureaucracy. An important focal point between the two is the open space in-between which also engages with the public. The architectural interpretation of the building program creates in fact two buildings – the Ministry, supported in parallel by the Bureaucracy. In aligning both structures separately along the terrain, the proposed plan suggests the independence of both branches of government – and for effective functioning and subsequent dependence, the shared facilities in the centre.
The combined headquarters of five Delhi-based NGOs was won in a limited competition in 1994. The design separated the common facilities shared by the NGOs into a street, while the bulk of the building was divided into proportionate blocks, each with its own outdoor space hollowed out of the mass.
The history of Japan - specific to architecture, traditions and technology – clearly establishes the existence of two thriving strains. Traditional Japan is not just preserved as a relic but is part of a living and current tradition. Digital Japan – a reference to the country’s advanced forms of computer technology – also thrives at the very cutting edge of knowledge and information. The reflection of these two streams of Japanese urban life is expressed in the library as two sentinels, each containing, exhibiting and sharing its value to society. The focus of both buildings is the same: to encourage engagement with digital and print material, as well as to use intellectual activity to bring people together socially. Symbolically the two represent a diverse Japan at once, traditional, historic and old as well as digital, competitive and young.
A compact structure for learning, play and meeting, the site is formed out of an unusual and unnatural chasm that cuts diagonally across the terrain, a site used earlier as a brick yard. The architecture is formed out of a regulated geometry of studios, classrooms and student residences, that disintegrates in the chasm, making it a deliberate intrusion of the social and meeting requirements of the campus.
The architectural concept stems from a recognition of three particular necessities: First, the need to respond positively to the constraints of the site and of history. Second, the need to design closed spaces for a complex programme of functions. Third, the need to find its equivalent response in the landscape. The resulting design imagines the Central Vista as a ‘River of Culture’ and the buildings as temples on a shifting embankment.
At the forefront of design, the architecture of NID makes a complete statement on building, aspects of habitation and landscape appropriate to such a design institution in India. Moreover, like the objects conceived and venerated inside, the building too is made in the spirit of fine craftsmanship, detailed and offered symbolically as a product of pride, combining the finer aspects of the Indian tradition with those of ‘cutting edge’ contemporary ideas.
The war memorial made us examine the nature of memory itself. Since the permanence of a memorial too often contradicts the impermanence of memory itself, in order to reconcile these two extremes we saw the eventual dissolution of the physical memorial over time as a positive attribute – a way in which architecture slowly decays and destroys itself. In the long march of memory, the permanence of loss of a loved one requires a physical marker. Yet the changing nature of memory itself makes recall difficult, and over time, becomes an arena of remembering, and forgetting.
The design is conceived as a memorial garden, arranged in the form of a stone maze, each stone a depiction of the sayings and writings of Mahatma Gandhi. The visitor enters the maze under a deep shadow of low trees and is lost in the umbrella of leaf and words…