SAVE HALL OF NATIONS, HALLS OF INDUSTRIES AND NEHRU PAVILION at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi India from demolition and allow these buildings to be put to active public use
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Honorable Prime Minister Modi,
With deep anguish we have learnt of mindless efforts to demolish the Halls of Nations, Halls of Industries 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, Halls of Industries and Nehru Pavilion.
A National Icon
The Hall of Nations and Industries Complex along with the Nehru Pavilion at Pragati Maidan are iconic structures 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 depicting modernity and progress of the country with images of these buildings. These symbols of a progressive India have received international recognition world over. They are significant snapshots of India contribution to international modern architecture annals.
Landmark and Cultural Icon
Like the Jantar Mantar Humayun's tomb and the 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 and the Supreme Court, these buildings contribute as landmarks to the positive image of the city. For many around the world, Delhi is represented by their iconic image. They also are acclaimed as images of Progress, Modernity in India and Indian Architecture.
The spatial organization of these buildings also provides opportunities to extend our cultural legacy within the city without destroying it. There is sufficient space within and around these buildings to accommodate new programmes and adaptive reuses.
Architectural Ingenuity and Engineering Marvel
The Hall of Nations, Hall of Industries and the Nehru Pavilion reflect structural ingenuity, richness as well as complexity in spatial and formal character. In addition they provide layering of space and an architectural character that is derived from our collective traditions and reinterpreted in a modern manner. The Halls of Nation and Industries constitute the largest span public structures in Delhi. They 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. All these structures designed by Raj Rewal were selected on the basis of an architectural competition. The iconic Structures were designed and built between 1969 -1972. The design and contributions of the Architect – Raj Rewal, the Structural Engineer Mr Mahendra Raj and the Project Site Engineer Mr. Dorai Raj have been internationally acclaimed.
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 and shows 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. Integration of these historic structures is key to any smart development.
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. There is also sufficient space in close proximity that can be utilized to accommodate new development needs. There are opportunities to extend Rajpath. Our city requires integrated redevelopment.
These structures occupy less than 2 Percent of Pragati Maidan. They can be integrated in any redevelopment effort. These structures can easily be refurbished and provided with modern services like air conditioning at economical costs to accommodate new functions.
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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