BRUTALIST DELHI

India Today - - INSIDE - —Varun Shiv Ka­pur

The de­mo­li­tions of the Hall of Na­tions in Delhi’s Pra­gati Maidan ear­lier this month, and Chanakya cin­ema hall back in 2008, have high­lighted the dire need to pre­serve our rich her­itage of Modernist ar­chi­tec­ture. Modernism is not a sin­gle mono­lithic ar­chi­tec­tural style, but rather an over­ar­ch­ing term given to many con­nected move­ments and it­er­a­tions over the past many decades.

In the 1950s-80s, one of the prom­i­nent move­ments in modernism was known as Bru­tal­ism. This move­ment took the modernist idea of un­em­bel­lished and un­adorned ar­chi­tec­ture still fur­ther, by re­ject­ing ex­ter­nal dec­o­ra­tive cladding and even paint and plas­ter, keep­ing the build­ing’s con­crete struc­ture ex­posed as the fin­ished fa­cade. The aim was to rep­re­sent bru­tal hon­esty in ar­chi­tec­tural form. In In­dia, Bru­tal­ism gained pop­u­lar­ity af­ter the French ar­chi­tect Le Cor­bus­ier de­signed some of the world’s sem­i­nal Brutalist build­ings in Chandi­garh and Ahmed­abad in the early 1950s.

MADAN MAHATTA

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