The Northern Chapter of the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) Wednesday called for clarity and transparency on the redevelopment plan for the Central Vista and Parliament building.
With the IIA Haryana Chapter and the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) Alumni Association, New Delhi, the architects elaborated on four aspects of the multi-crore project — need for public debate, an elaborate design brief, the fault in keeping to the lowest tender bid, and the unrealistic deadline of two years to complete a project of this magnitude.
The meeting was held on the eve of a site visit, organised by the CPWD, for select architectural firms to the Parliament and Central Vista areas. The plan is to call for a bid by September 30, the architects informed, which gives barely a week of preparation time.
“This is public money that is going to be spent for the project, which people don’t know anything about. The narrative of the Minister (Hardeep Singh Puri, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs) has been changing ever since they advertised early this month,” said Balbir Verma, former President, IIA.
The architects called for a structural and functional audit of the buildings that the tender document called earthquake unsafe. “We recommend that an advisory team be drawn up from eminent professionals, including architects, urban designers, art historians and landscape architects, so that a formal roadmap is laid out for development of the area. With such a comprehensive urban development plan in the first stage, the second stage should include a detailed plan of buildings that need re-purposing,” said architect Anuj Srivastava.
“Good design doesn’t come from lowest tenders and number of staff, it comes from good ideas. Why should we not have the best ideas for our most important place in the Capital?” said Shamit Manchanda, chairman, Northern Chapter, IIA. The need for an open design competition has been their recommendation since September 12, when the pre-bid meeting was called.
“There are numerous layers to our city building. This project appears to dissolve all that in the name of building a ‘new India’. Somebody should define what it means…,” said Nikhil Segel, who represented the SPA Alumni Association.