RAJ REWAL

1934 - Present Indian Architect , Design Consultant , Urban Planner

This page intentionally left blank Previous page, top: interior of the Rewal House Middle: Shadow play in the interiors of the Parliament Library. Below: Parliament Library - Colored marble floor pattern in the form of a yantra, an ancient Indian graphic that aids meditation.

His architecture
Raj Rewal is known, primarily, for his humanist approach to architecture. His work is built keeping in mind the pluralist Indian society, responding to demands of urbanisation, cultural tradition and gives utmost importance to the craft of building. He expertly combines sophisticated technology with a deep rooted sense of history and context – creating building that strike a chord within us. Harmonic Combinations: His architecture reflects two value systems, which to the layman, seem highly opposed. He melds the traditional system of hot, dry India – one of pattern and ornament – with the Western Modernist system of abstract expression, with the least possible discord.

While he incorporates structural innovation in big buildings, he excels equally in creating softly nurturing spaces for everyday living.

Influence on work:
Ar. Rewal‘s works has its own range and grammar. His work (by his own admission) has been greatly influenced by contemporaries, such as Le Corbusier, Achyut Kanvinde and Balkrishna Doshi. But unlike these architects, he has built largely in one place and climate - Delhi, and hot dry regions of North India. Influences of traditional housing patterns in Jaisalmer and {{{{_{{{, which he has extensively studied and written about, figure largely in his mass housing schemes. Broken-up forms, open courtyards and sociable living/ working environments are integral approaches of his design.

He. London Post schooling. then. NEW DELHI 1962 : Set up practice in New Delhi 1963 – 1972 : Taught at the Delhi School of Architecture Other Career Milestones … 1972 : Became curator of the exhibition ‗Traditional Architecture in India‘ for the ‗Festival of India‘ in Paris.Timeline 1939 – 1951 : Childhood spent in Delhi and Simla 1951 – 1954 : Attended the Delhi School of Architecture LONDON 1955 – 1961 : Completed formal training at the Brixton School of Building. became an associate of the Royal Institute of British Architect (RIBA) and went on to work in Michel Ecochards‘ office in Paris. he worked as assistant manager in avant garde theatre production. 1985 : Founded the Architecture Research Cell Top: A view of the Rewal home .

. “The distinction that fine art has no practical use. Rasa and Rationalism: He propagates a theory of rasa as his building strategy. Rewal lays stress on artisan crafts which contribute to beautiful design that is intrinsically ‗Indian‘. infusing emotion in building can help solve the problem of building in a pluralistic society. Ar. where he states that functional design should be inspired with ‗a particular flavour‘ or mood. Right: The geometrically inspired decorative scheme of the Ismaili Centre at Lisbon. Also. decorative art no symbolic meaning and utilitarian object no pretensions to beauty has been the root cause of much of the banal architecture of the last 50 years” Inset: The decorative scheme on the underside of the domes of the Parliament Library.Architectural Ideology According to Raj Rewal. such as India‘s. according to him.

New Delhi Characteristic elements 1. 2. 6. Narrow streets. Textures and Materials . Cluster housing. Gateways. 4. 7.Response to visual imagery. Interlocking courtyards. 3. 5. Roof terraces.Above: Interior of the Permanent Exhibit Complex.

Rewal‘s mass housing systems are arrived at by creating a catalogue of dwelling types and combining them in different ways .CLUSTER HOUSING Ar. roof terraces. Right: The Asian games housing complex in New Delhi Below: The geometrical façade scheme for the Ismaili Centre at Lisbon Left: Asian Games housing scheme: Spaces for pedestrian and vehicular movement (indicated in grey) . cantilevered rooms. He has been greatly responsible for the revolution in geometric design systems. creating subtle distinctions in house types. open courtyards. VISUAL IMAGERY Creation of geometric systems and responses to visual imagery are apparent in Raj Rewal‘s architectural works. They are then interlocked by means of overhanging balconies. etc.

Above: Sketch of the Olympic Housing Complex IN France “The interlocking courtyards at Fatehpur Sikri.” . with their varying scales to accommodate different functions. embody principles of design which have important lessons for contemporary public buildings. Padmanabhapuram and Khiva. where people congregate.

narrow. to keep nights warm.COURTYARDS Effects of lighting and cool breezes were created in the Asian Games Village. a direct result of Ar. . Thus the ‗cluster‘ is consciously broken up into small units that incorporate pauses. Rewal‘s mass housing schemes (eg: the Asian Games Village and Sheikh Sarai Housing. The benefits of roof terraces include •providing outdoor spaces on hot summer nights •Acting as an extension to upper level living areas •Absorbing heat during sunny winter days.” Inset: Shaded internal streets connecting various cluster courtyards. through central courtyards. shaded streets link up a variety of residential clusters. Rewal‘s studies in Jaisalmer. Top: One of the courtyards in the Indian Parliament Library Left: “Traditional housing in hot dry climates is based on the roof terrace as an essential feature of design. rest stops and vistas. ROOF TERRACES These remain integral to his housing solutions. New Delhi). STREETS In Ar.

Inset: Gateways formed by joining cantilevered rooms overhead “Each gateway is like the opening of a new chapter in a book.” .

Rewal‘s gateways are formed by linking overhead functional roof terraces or joining cantilevered rooms in adjoining apartments. Above: Gateways in the Asian Games Village. THE fabric OF DESIGN Ar. They were traditionally built as sentinel posts and designed to keep intruders out. And evoking the Mughal greats. denoting territory. are formed by linking functional overhead terraces. . gain him points contributing immensely to the ‗Indian‘ness in his buildings. over the ages. They serve to accommodate change while retaining continuity or act as punctuation marks that open up a new series of spatial experiences. Left: Massing accentuated by deep shadows and contrast between grit finish walls and rubble masonry . have denoted various housing zones.GATEWAYS Ar. such as ochre and rose sandstone. Rewal‘s use of local and time-tested materials for hot dry climates. Ar. Rewal‘s gateways have been inspired from the gateways of Jaisalmer which.

Indian Parliament Library Engineer’s India House The Rewal Home Sheikh Sarai Housing World Bank – Delhi Chapter Embassy Staff Housing Permanent Exhibit Complex Ismaili Centre National Institute of Immunology Nehru Pavilion rasa in design .

top: Glass block in the Parliament library Second: National Institute of Brain Research. Lisbon .This page intentionally left blank Previous page. Third: View of the Engineer‘s India House Below: Entry to the Ismaili Centre.

Right: Parliament Library . Accordingly. at the entrance to the library – natural light reduces the need for electrical lighting. for the first time.“ TYPOLOGY : PUBLIC BUILDING Ar. his design responds thoughtfully . and civilization. New Delhi was designed to let Indians "see. and placed in Lutyens‘ Delhi.Interior . Above: In the atrium. though modern.PARLIAMENT LIBRARY In the words of Lord Stamfordham. private secretary to British King George V in the early 20th century. art.responding to its monumental context. while ingenious in originality. its inspiration is pre -colonial. the power of Western science. Ironically. It displays high technology with a regional expression. Rewal was asked to build the Indian Parliament Library. keeping in mind its colonial setting amongst buildings designed to show the ‗power of Western civilisation‘.

the Library can accommodate three million volumes on its two basement floors. Beyond this central core are the courtyards. •The Adinatha temple (1439 AD) at Ranakpur: Adinatha is square in plan. formed at the point of intersection of the two axes. and. the research and archival storage. a committee room.” To give the Library an identity of its own while respecting the Parliament building (beside which it is set). In addition to being an icon of Indian architecture. multimedia. and a banquet hall. Located on a 10-acre (4-hectare) site. A guru acknowledges the power of the king — neither confronting nor submitting — and retains the strength of his integrity as a sage. separate entrance lobbies occur for MPs.INSPIRATION •The mandala: The mandala has deep meaning and said to exist in temple architecture to achieve a spiritual experience of one's connection to the cosmos. and satellite links. leaving open-to-sky courtyards in the leftover spaces. houses the reading room for Members of Parliament. It has hi-tech networks and facilities for microfilm. Ar. further beyond. and the public. the courtyard plans admit daylight and have social and climatic advantages.Rewal says he drew on Indian history and likened the relationship between the buildings to the relationship between guru and king. . with cardinal axes meeting at the center. It thus serves the library‘s objective of quiet thought and introspection. The Guru and the King … “In a library that needs neither defense nor ceremony. The full-height central core of the building. scholars. such forms (interior open air spaces) seem to symbolize an introversion characteristic of the ancient Indian guru.

imitates its historic precedents. Otherwise. symbolizing freedom of expression. the Northwestern corner of the plan remains incomplete. As is traditional. the plan with its courtyards and axes. Each courtyard symbolizes one aspect of the Indian constitution. •One is an amphitheater. representing social justice. 55. the axes and the sides of the square form corridors and outline the courtyards. The corners of the incomplete square and nodes formed at the ends of axes specify function.000 square meters Inspired by pre-colonial Indian architecture. Due to site conditions and trees. •Another courtyard has a pool of water symbolizing equality.PLAN •Area: approx. . the building has been designed with a square base and symmetrical composition. Above: Courtyard serving as an amphitheatre Top: Glass block in the floor illuminates two basements below. •A tree forms the focal point of the third courtyard.

constructed of lightweight fibre cement. The slabs are coffered to support long spans. bright steel lattice. tensile cables.The domes are perhaps the building's most significant feature. Other structural elements of the building are of reinforced concrete. THE MAIN DOME: It spans 25 meters. Below: Dome profile The dome is formed at the point of intersection between the building‘s two major axes. specially developed reflective glass efficiently reduces glare and heat build-up. sometimes with inset glass panels. The point of intersection projects up in the dome in the form of two bands formed by the structural frame for the glass panels. The diaphragm walls and the foundation slab of the underground structure resist inward and upward pressure from the water table through anchors into the surrounding soil and the rocky substrate. Thus. Above: Main dome serving as an apical reminder that we are at the intersection between the two main axes. and the seasonal monsoon clouds. and is made entirely of glass. several domes of different sizes and types make up the roof. the sun minus its heat and glare. The remainder of the dome consists of a lattice of structural frames held together by a network of steel cables converging at key tension nodes. A bonus from Ar. In spite of Delhi‘s soaring temperatures. structural glass and glass bricks. Ar. Rewal‘s experiments in earlier buildings. letting in magical views of the blue sky. Other domes are of various sizes. They are built of thin fiber-reinforced concrete shells. . Rewal insisted on glass to let in light.

thereby reducing temperatures. and public relations offices. Characterised by geometric systems. design and financial services. These purely functional spaces have been effectively housed in a 14 storey building. YEAR: 1983 Located in the Bhikaiji Cama area in New Delhi. minimum running expenses. support an average office floor of 54m x 24.ENGINEER’S INDIA HOUSE TYPOLOGY : OFFICES. the very form of the building has been derived with the aim of saving energy. It also needed to incorporate administrative.6m. Top: View of the Engineer‘s India House Left: Façade treatment on the building Extreme Left: View . This placement leaves a large hall in the middle for flexible office planning. the structural cores. Thus. along with stepped floors act as a large sun breaker. Design is based on four cores. The four cores act as major structural elements and. They are designed to cut down harsh glare from the south west. thus. The stepped floors between cores and extended floors to the east and west create a zone of surface under shade. the objective was to create an air-conditioned office space with the least possible outlay and. along with four central shear walls. staircases and services. containing lifts.

the other for his parents.THE REWAL HOUSE TYPOLOGY: RESIDENCE. YEAR: 1975 Two independent houses. painted white internally. were designed to be interrelated while providing the required privacy. . textured by wooden formwork during construction. MATERIALS: Top: Living Spaces on multi-levels Below: Living space at higher level – cantilevered exposed concrete steps Extreme right: Double-height living space and entry Use of materials has been limited to exposed brick. one for the architect and his family. Ceilings and cantilevered stairs are of exposed concrete. Separate entrances and front lawns are provided across an extremely narrow frontage of 5m.

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Keeping in mind the viability of interaction in these spaces. help create shaded streets. he has provided interlinked squares of varying scales for community activities. courtyards and split level platforms. It has clearly demarcated areas for pedestrian and vehicular traffic. YEAR: 1982 It was planned as a low-rise.SHEIKH SARAI HOUSING. All unites have been provided with courtyards or roof top terraces. where possible. These subtle variations in a basic housing unit. Above: Housing units in the Sheikh Sarai housing scheme Below: Demarcated areas for vehicular and pedestrian traffic (indicated in grey) Far right: Layout view of the entire housing complex . NEW DELHI TYPOLOGY: MASS HOUSING SCHEME. high density housing scheme for the Delhi Development Authority.

below)that allows natural light and ventilation to all rooms. All office rooms. including workstations. YEAR: 1994 Ar. NEW DELHI OFFICE TYPOLOGY: OFFICES. where the building‘s classic symmetry envelopes a sunken garden. below: Interior multifunctional courtyard . with potential for interaction. Not the vertical lines in façade treatment Right. either have exterior views or look into the courtyard. top: Balconies wrapping the workspaces.WORLD BANK. It also functions as an open spillout for the lobby and exhibition spaces. It acts as an open area with a controlled microclimate. Rewal attempted to harmonize the new structure to its surroundings and exploit its sensitive location for a modern functional office. Left: View of the roof terrace Right. and is frequently utilised as a multipurpose arena. The scale of the court creates a zone of building under shade . The design is based on a central courtyard (seen right. thereby reducing air conditioning loads. It thus provides carefully diffused light with maximum ventilation. The design of the World Bank Office echoes the Lodhi buildings of yore.

meters and occupying an area of 5500 sq. meters (the remaining occupied by green spaces). It contains two jamat khanas. Located in a site of 18.000 sq. a community hall. . a National Council chamber. and a Char Bagh – a direct influence of ancient Persian gardens. the complex is composed of three areas: institutional. LISBON TYPOLOGY: PUBLIC BUILDING (MULTIPURPOSE) The building was designed in cooperation with the Portuguese architect Frederico Valsassina. the Fatehpur Sikri and the Alhambra. community and religious.THE ISMAILI CENTRE. an amphitheatre. It assimilates architectural styles from Lisbon's Mosterio dos Jeronimos.

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF IMMUNOLOGY TYPOLOGY: HOUSING COMPLEX Ar. Though unique. and an animal housing facility. the buildings are unified externally by façade treatment with sandstone grit. “The design solution for the Institute reflects the potential for developing apartments.” Design essentially consist of individual buildings/clusters arranged around courtyards as discrete units that can be interrelated. Above: Front elevation Below: The housing complex . Rewal‘s National Institute of Immunology Housing Complex comprises an institute block. Though the basic unit is somewhat rigid. junior staff housing. parapet piercing. that can be linked to form clusters. deep set windows and stone flanking walls for the courtyard. and differing assemblage of rooms. proportion of doors. the individual units are distinct through varying requirements of apartment size. senior staff housing. Clusters at the Institute are linked together by pathways across enclosures with constantly shifting axes offering changing views into the distance. lower staff housing. a lecture hall complex.

Framed gateways with pedestrian passages connecting the street to individual garages clearly demarcate the central enclosure. the buildings had load bearing walls supported on concrete slabs and detailed in timber.EMBASSY STAFF HOUSING TYPOLOGY: MASS HOUSING. The two storey units were arranged around a square. Arranged in clusters of eight. with a circular pathway accessing all units. from right: •Units grouped around a central open space •Entry to the Upper floor units •Ground floor plan Each two storey unit contains five residences. Each dwelling unit has a private enclosed garden and an outdoor living room at the rear. three on the lower and two on the upper floor. Anticlockwise. . YEAR: 1994 It was constructed to provide housing for the service personnel of the French Embassy. reflecting the traditional British ‗terrace‘. interconnect the different open spaces. both shaded and active. The narrow streets running throughout the housing complex.

The Hall of Nations. which act as a jali to filter in natural sunlight. The external structure consisted of a sequence of solids and voids . enclosed an outdoor exhibition area. Clockwise. consisted of a single space frame spanning a total of 256 feet. currently known as the Hall of Nations and the Hall of Industries. however.PERMANENT EXHIBIT COMPLEX. NEW DELHI TYPOLOGY: PUBLIC STRUCTURE The structure consisted of two halls. from top: •Concrete Façade. in turn. with a total span of 144 feet. The two buildings were linked at mezzanine levels by a series of circulation ramps which . Sanitary services were then housed under the ramps. close up •Exterior detail in the Hall of Nations: Solids and voids thermally protect interiors •Interior of the Hall of Nations . The Hall of Industries consisted of four space frame structures. while minimizing glare.

from top: •The form of the tenement block enhances the courtyard and roof terraces. creating community spaces. . Clockwise. the design opts for a different kind of settlement pattern. •Interconnected spaces and entries to upper floors •Use of jali and red sandstone is a characteristic feature in Rewal‘s design.CIDCO HOUSING. These are cohesively arranged on the sloping side of a hillock and strung together with pedestrian pathways. BOMBAY TYPOLOGY: MASS HOUSING. Envisaged as an answer to the rampant burgeoning of slums in the area.‖ The scheme faces the challenge of providing low cost housing for about 1000 units in Bombay. YEAR: 1993 ―The challenge of mass housing can be approached as one long story or as a series of interconnected episodes. Rather than creating parallel monolithic blocks ‗of grim dimension‘. the design is fragmented into smaller clusters enclosing a variety of spaces (a Rewal characteristic).

Can architectural forms reawaken a sense of community? .

semi-public space and private space – important features in our climate and in our culture – is what is prototypical. and with them. or terrace housing. one has a closer relationship. Whenever one designs mass housing one has to have some sort of prototype like this in mind . but the system we designed to create public space. Each category of relationship has its corresponding category of social space. One category of acquaintance is greeted on the street.Raj Rewal. one will again end up with the block and slab invented by the West and repeated throughout the world. Another category belongs to the mohalla. but not taken into the privacy of the home. on his housing solutions: “The prototype is regard as the cluster system. These different spaces correspond to different relationships among people. and not the project itself.Otherwise. We incorporated more than 16 types of individual flats and house designs within the scheme.” .

that was the main thing. We used monochromes of yellow. on the colour in his housing schemes: (In the Asian Games Village).” . brown. The colours will never change. orange and natural stone of the buildings themselves to avoid all-gray housing – one of the terrors I have seen elsewhere.Raj Rewal. Warm colours give variety. “we used a finish of stone pebbles or grit which is permanent.

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