Monday, 14 December 2020

British Architect Lutyens and his cityscape of colonial capital city Delhi

Portrait of Sir Edwin Lutyens. © Commonwealth War Graves Commission 

.The Parliament House, New Delhi. thestatesman.com

The Parliament House in New Delhi designed by none other than the famous Sir Edwin Lutyens and his associate  Sir Herbert Baker was opened ceremoniously on 18 January 1927 by the then Gov. General Lord Irwin. On February 12, 1921  the Duke of Connaught laid the foundation in a simple ceremony. The cost of construction was about rs. 83 lakhs and it took 6 years to comple the work. 

Sir Edwin Lutyens,(Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens,; born March 29, 1869, London, England—died January 1, 1944, London),  was an accomplished  English architect, particularly noted for his innate ability to design  buildings depending on the  terrain and requirement and  his range of inventive  designs fall within the limits of   traditional lines, a distinctive versatility that had stood him in good stead but also marked  him apart from other contemporary workers. Various buildings including the Connaught house, the Victory's House  and the Indian Parliament, New Delhi  carry his stamp and his associates.   He was knighted in 1918 by the British govt. 

Rastrapathi Bhavan, New Delhi. forefront: Jaipur column.en.wikipedia.org

 Lutyens, diligently handled various architectural styles, including  English, medieval  designs and those of the Arts and Crafts Movement in designing buildings, including bungalows. . The influence of  Greek and Roman architecture on him is reflected in his designs  as in the Cenotaph, London. A firm believer in the flexibility of architectural styles,  promotion and incorporation of native designs, construction materials and labor, he was much impressed by the  Rajputana, Malwa, Bundeli, Vidharbha  architecture of India. When  designing  buildings in New Delhi one can notice  the dominancy of symmetry in Royal structures, temple architecture and mosque. The Viceroy Building, North Block, South Block  carry his unique design, a fusion of various elements.   The Parliament building design it is said based on the model of  Morena near Dholpur while  he was travelling around  for selection of stone from Agra and Dholpur..

New Delhi, The south Block  en.wikipedia.org

.Viceroy's House (Rashtrapathi Bhavan), Delhi. architectural-review.com

Lutyens' Delhi is an area in New Delhi, India, named after  Sir Edwin Lutyens and he   was  behind  for much of the architectural landscape  of Delhi during the period of  the British Raj, when  Delhi became the capital of the Raj in 1911(its previous capital was Calcutta (Kolkata) in the early part of the 20th century. From the 1920s through 1940s  .his work dominated the  capital city including the Lutyens Bungalow Zone (LBZ). The railway station near Ajmiri gate came up in 1926, as part of expansion of the Indian railways.
New Delhi, North Block  en.wikipedia.org

New Delhi. ,India Gate, en.wikipedia.org

When the work on the administrative buildings was entrusted with Lutyens, he formed a group of  talented architects who were in charge of laying  out the central administrative area of the city. Surprisingly, it is mentioned, they retained a large part of the area as green space.  The main center of attraction is Viceroy's House, now called  Rashtrapati Bhawan where the Indian President lives. The Rajpath stretching roughly 3 km,  also known as King's Way, connects India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhawan,  On the other hand, Janpath,  crosses it at a right angle and  connects South End Road (renamed as Rajesh Pilot Marg) with Connaught Place.  Lutyens' close associate Herbert Baker designed the Secretariat Building  that has  various ministries of the Government of India including the Prime Minister's Office. They are all close to the Rastrapathi Bhavan.  Baker also designed   the Parliament House, on the Sansad Marg, running parallel with the Rajpath.  Close to the administrative area  are the  two   famous cathedrals the Anglican Cathedral Church of the Redemption and Catholic Sacred Heart Cathedral  - both were were designed by Henry Medd ( September 21, 1892 - October 26, 1977), a British architect and an associate of  Edwin Lutyens and Baker) 

LBS is often referred to as  the Lutyens Bungalow Zone that covers a huge area - about 26  square kilometer  belonging to the Central Government.  Almost all buildings related to the government fall within the zone; the exception being 254.5 acres (103.0 ha)  of area owned by  private hands. Considered   the most expensive zone in New Delhi, believe it or not, there are  about 1000 bungalows in the LBZ. Among them, private ownership forms 10% 

Edwin Lutyens,  and his group  designed 4 bungalows in the Rashtrapati Bhavan Estate, (Viceroy House Estate); now, they are on the Mother Teresa Crescent (previously known as  Willingdon Crescent). Lutyens' group was mainly in charge of town planning.  Central vista, a line of by-sectorial division of new Delhi is a unique one; one is south and another is north placed on hexagonal planning. Lutyens   developed New Delhi as  the center of   Southern Hemisphere House of Southern countries. This area was meant for  British nationals, viceroy (now to President of India)  hence never built for  second VIP other than Viceroy. The design of  the Indira Gandhi Art and cultural canter (IGNAC)  of  India and other additions in the central area  on Rajpath, conceived by the architect .Ralph Lauren of the USA never failed to part with the like chosen by Lutyens. 

Sir Herbert Baker, designed  the Secretariat Buildings (North and South Block),  and  bungalows on the then King George's Avenue (south of the Secretariats) - meant for for high-ranking officials.  Robert Russell, other member of the group  built the Connaught Place, the Eastern and Western Courts on Janpath,   It is on the 2002 World Monuments Watch list of 100 Most Endangered Sites made by World Monuments Fund, a heritage organization based in New York.[4]


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