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Stop the Demolition of The Hall of Nations Complex and Nehru Pavilion?

March 31, 2015

Demolition of The Hall of Nations Complex and Nehru Pavilion?

Hall of Nations

Quoted from Arun Rewal’s plea (will update):

With deep anguish we have learnt of mindless efforts to demolish the Hall of Nations Complex and the Nehru Pavillion at Pragati Maidan, Delhi. We appeal to you to channel all authority vested in you to save the Hall of Nations and Nehru Pavilion.

A National Icon
The Hall of Nations and Industries Complex along with the Nehru Pavilion at Pragati Maidan are iconic structure’s in Delhi’s landscape. These landmarks were designed to commemorate and celebrate 25 years of India’s independence in 1972. Postage Stamps were also printed at that time in which the even represented by the image of these buildings.

Landmark and Cultural Icon
Like the Jantar Mantar and Humayun’s tomb, Purana Quila, the Hall of Nations and Industries as well as the Nehru Pavilion are part of the city’s memory. Carefully sited in relation to the central vista, the Purana Quila, Supreme Court, these buildings contribute as landmarks to the positive image of the city. The spatial organization of these buildings also provides opportunities to extend our cultural legacy within the city without destroying it.

Architectural Ingenuity and Engineering Marvel
The Hall of Nations, Hall of Industries and the Nehru Pavilion reflect structural ingenuity, richness and complexity in spatial and formal character as well a layering of space and architectural character. The Hall of Nations constitute the largest span public structures in Delhi have the potential to accommodate a variety of uses. At one time they were arena’s for congregation and exchange, where citizens of Delhi would gather to discover and be informed on innovations. The Nehru Pavilion designed was designed to house exhibits envisioned by Charles Eames. These structures designed by Raj Rewal were selected on the basis of an architectural competition.

Celebrated around the World: a symbol of modernity
The buildings, acknowledged all around the world as icons of modernity have found a place in the annals of architecture and Indian cultural history. A recent exhibition in the Pompidou Centre, Paris celebrates their architecture and cultural marvel. The buildings also chart out a path for Modernity in India. The buildings show how a deep understanding of our traditional structures can be reinvented as topological transformations accommodating the modern. The buildings accommodate the persistence in the memory of the city’s form and our shared cultural heritage, a value that all cities long for. In addition, these buildings are reminders of our country’s ability to innovate with limited resources and clever use of manpower. The architectural forms have a value beyond their building constructs. They manifest a shared Indian cultural legacy.

An Appeal to Save the Hall of Nations Complex and Nehru Pavilion
With a sense of shock we have learnt that are efforts being made to tear down these buildings. This is not the first time that mindless negativity threatens our country’s heritage. The Taj Mahal and other historic monuments as well as elements of the Central Vista have been threatened in the past. We are a country of limited resources where in the name of market forces and mindless planning, singular sources of authority have directed onslaughts to promote narrow interests. There are many places in the city or sensitive dispensations that can be utilized to accommodate the new or specific programme agendas without uprooting valuable elements, character of the city or its edifices.

We strongly condemn such efforts and actions to destroy our heritage and request you to initiate action to conserve the hall of Nations, Halls of Industry and the Nehru Pavilion. We support the petition to protect these buildings that mark our shared rich architectural and cultural heritage from any demolition. We also appeal to you to allow these buildings to be put to active public use.

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