Presenting the latest iteration of the Central Vista redevelopment project over a webinar organised by the Maharashtra Association of Schools of Architecture (MASA), Ahmedabad-based architect and president of the CEPT University Bimal Patel laid out the plan for retrofitting the existing circular Parliament building with the new proposed triangular building for Parliament, so as to have the two buildings as an “ensemble” and indicated it would factor in earthquake safety, given the frequent earthquakes witnessed in the national capital.
At this presentation on Saturday which he said was the “fifth or sixth” since he got the project, Patel said that since the first sketch was developed last October, “the master plan has evolved much….the masterplan will continue to evolve as we consult more people, discover new facts and see previously unforeseen opportunities or problems…I don’t expect huge changes will come in the months to come but there will definitely be small changes,” said Patel. The project is estimated to cost around Rs 25,000 crore.
With modernising Parliament’s facilities as one of the primary objectives of this project, Patel said, “One of the main requirement of the client was that the Lok Sabha is likely to be expanded in the coming years..in the future, we are likely to have up to 800 or up to 900 members in the Lok Sabha…Nobody can certify today whether this building (the current Parliament House) is earthquake safe or not and in the past years, Delhi’s earthquake risk has ratcheted up. After all the study, the conclusion was very inevitable and clear. It was that the Parliament house is a very important structure for India’s democracy. However, if one wants to expand the seating in the two halls or modernise the infrastructure or address the structural safety concerns, a new facility will have to be built to house the Parliament. Once this is built, the present building can be appropriately retrofitted and the the two buildings can be used in conjunction with each other so that the two together become an ensemble of the Parliament.”
The new proposed Parliament building will have a Lok Sabha hall, a Rajya Sabha hall, a Constitution hall, a courtyard with a lounge around it and a library. Patel emphasised that the building will have a “rigorous geometry underpinning the building”.
For extending the Vista and expanding public space, Patel’s latest plan now shows an extension from the ridge to Yamuna river, east of which will be called the New India Garden, while as his earlier plans already included an arboretum on the west. “In future, the public area will be expanded and 75 acres more will be added to the public space.”
Responding to questions on environmental and heritage-related concerns, Patel said, “It completely respects the heritage of the area and in fact, in my view, it strengthens it. With regard to environmental issue,….this project has been vetted thoroughly for environmental permissions…there are lots of very very strict requirements that have to be followed, both during the phase and construction, and finally.”
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