Builder’s Blocks

Architect Raj Rewal believes that buildings aren’t made of brick and mortar alone,they also need emotion.

Written by Parul | Published: April 5, 2012 12:44 am

Architect Raj Rewal believes that buildings aren’t made of brick and mortar alone,they also need emotion.

Do walls have feelings? Ask eminent architect Raj Rewal and he answers in the affirmative. “Light,space and structure are the core values of any building. But what makes a building more than just functionally good is what goes beyond these values. Any structure has to be a work of art,convey feelings,emotions and flavour and have an essence and spirit. That’s how I create,” he says,adding that rasa (flavour or sentiment according to Indian aesthetics) is an integral part of his works. The eminent architect is visiting Chandigarh for an exhibition of models and panels of his works,as well as for a screening of three films that throw light on his designing process.

Rewal has created a vocabulary that straddles tradition with modernity,and his projects are exhibited in museums across the world. The exhibition in Chandigarh,curated by Seema Bhalla,is a chance for viewers to study his works. Rewal’s designs evoke a variety of emotions — the Nehru Pavilion in Delhi is serene,while the Indian National Science Academy,also in the Capital,throbs with dynamic energy. The Asian Olympic Village in Delhi astounds with its marriage of the old and new elements of design,and the Ismaili Centre,Lisbon,is a melange of symbols from Portugal’s culture. The Visual Arts Campus at Rohtak,designed by him,is probably the only building in the world which has 100 per cent photovoltaic panels.

“Why should we discard tradition when its approach is for wisdom. It has to be carried forward so I use space in a way that there is harmony with the environment and the buildings fulfill both external and internal functional requirements. They have a character,be it imposing,powerful,exuberant or serene,” says Rewal,adding that the Parliament Library in Delhi,with its geometric planning of temple architecture,has been his toughest project yet.

“In the name of global architecture we don’t needs bad copies of Western architecture. What we need to learn from them is the impeccable care and respect they give to their buildings,” he adds. His rasa is evident even in a stage design for avant garde theatre productions in London,where he used minimal props. He adds that his work is far from over and his designs change consistently as he attempts a fresh emotion with every structure.

The exhibition is on at Government Museum and Art Gallery till April 17.

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