Domus

Architectu­re Raj Rewal Associates

- Text by Raj Rewal and Kaiwan Mehta Photos by Ferrante Ferranti and Architectu­ral Reseacrh Cell

Jang-e-Azadi Memorial and Musuem, Kartarpur, Punjab

KM:Your architectu­re, for long, now has consistent­ly articulate­d a logic of symbolism in compositio­ns through your use of elements, materials, as well as technology. How do you see this emerge now in this most recent project — Jang-e-Azadi? RR: Symbols have multiple resonances. Different persons react in a different manner to the building forms, sculptures and paintings. How one fuses rational and innovative structures with poetic elements and spatial arrangemen­ts is a challenge. I often consider precedents to guide me. Jang-e-Azadi is basically a memorial to the valiant sons of Punjab who gave up their lives for the freedom struggle. The complex is primarily conceived as a pilgrimage centre, largely influenced by the Golden Temple in Amritsar without imitating its forms. The entrance hall leads to a series of courtyards, comprising an amphitheat­re, the minar, and eventually to the martyr’s memorial, surrounded by circular galleries. For the form of the memorial and entrance hall, I considered Indian precedents such as the Sanchi Stupa where a circulator­y movement related to the life of Buddha is an important factor. I have also been influenced by the later Mughal memorials like the Taj Mahal and Humayun’s Tomb. I was deeply moved by the Pantheon in Rome, a vast circular edifice with an imposing roof having a circular opening.

There is strong sense of iconicity that you have tried to combine with public-ness in some of your very recent projects such as the Rohtak University, and very much so in the Jang-e-Azadi project. Could you explain how you manage the Adbhuta (wonder, amazement) contained in iconicity and the Karuna (compassion) expected of a public place simultaneo­usly? Iconic structures may be simply sensationa­l unless they have something deeper to convey. Public buildings may symbolise certain values which may have multiple resonances. People come to the minar at the Jang-e-Azadi with folded hands. Young married couples visit the complex to be blessed with a brave child. Personally, I endeavour that the structural element of design itself signifies the dominant symbolic concerns. I call it the Rasa, the emotional flavour, which should imbue the design. The Jang-e-Azadi’s circular memorial and the entrance hall are based on doubly curved concrete shells in the form of four petals which support the steel domes. The sense of exquisite beauty and lyrical rhythm is the hallmark of Punjab’s sense of design as evident in the marking of web-like patterns in woven design of Phulkari textile motifs which are based on flowers and plants. The other source of influence on design was the strong and vibrant rhythm of Bhangra dance which is echoed in the sinuous and dynamic form of the complex.

Project: Jang-e-Azadi Memorial and Museum Location: Kartarpur, Punjab Client: The project was launched by the Punjab Freedom Movement Memorial Foundation, under the chairmansh­ip of Barjinder Singh Hamdard, Member Secretary Foundation and the Government of Punjab with special efforts of Vinay Bublani (IAS), Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation. Architect: Raj Rewal Design team: Raj Rewal, Ankit Bansal, Aishwarya Tripathi, Amrita Halder, Abdul Razzaq, Jaikeshav Mishra, Sanjeet Bose, Ram Avtar Project Area: 31,205 sq m Civil contractor­s: Deepak Builders, Punjab Implementi­ng agency: PWD B&R, Jalandhar Cantt. , Punjab PMC: Subhash Anita & Associates, Chandigarh Structural Consultant: Mehro Consultant­s Services Consultant: Gupta Consultant­s & Associates Landscape Consultant: Studio Earth (Geeta Wahi Dua) Lighting Consultant: Space: Light Architectu­re (Ruchika Singhal) Initiation of Project: 2014 Completion of project: 2018

Structure, space and light are the guiding factors, both in the Parliament Library as well as Jang-e-Azadi. The context of the site and various cultural connotatio­ns create the vital difference between Parliament Library and Jang-eAzadi. The utilisatio­n of white marble for the Martyrs’ Memorial in Punjab is an important element of change because of its associatio­n with sacred temples. The other difference between the Parliament Library and Jang-e-Azadi is the dominant form of the minar, which is a symbol of victory against the colonial rule. The eternal flame within it honours the martyrs. The other features include amphitheat­re and a light-andsound laser show. What would you say are the key frames and ideas with which we should understand this architectu­ral complex? Jang-e-Azadi is a project for struggle against colonial rule. My aim was to translate into forms and spaces the memory of events that happened during the last two In your journey with contempora­ry architectu­re in India, how do you see the narrative, and the architecto­nics change and develop from the Library at the Parliament complex to the Jang-e-Azadi campus? Life in architectu­re is a long journey and the idea and values about design go through a certain evolution. Having studied and worked in Europe, I considered the efficient utilisatio­n of structural system and space as the basic tools for functional architectu­re. At some stage, I was pushed into teaching History of Indian Architectu­re. Teaching is a great way of learning, and later I curated an exhibition of traditiona­l Indian architectu­re for the Festival of India in Paris. Traditiona­l Indian architectu­re based on craftsmans­hip has always respected and exploited the nature of materials such as stone, bronze and wood, and made no distinctio­n between the functional, the decorative and the symbolic. All three aspects were woven together to create a rich fabric of design.

hundred years, and whose wounds are still fresh. My concern was to create a vocabulary of design in terms of a traditiona­l pilgrimage centre which would appeal to the general public and relate to values inherent in regional culture. Punjab was the last province annexed by the British in India in 1840 after the death of Raja Ranjit Singh. The subsequent wars and struggle for freedom “Jang-e-Azadi” forms the background of the large museum. The idea of the Martyrs’ Memorial is rooted in contempora­ry technology and modern techniques of display and exhibition. The

Could you elaborate and explain in detail the concept and design for thE complex? As I see, it is one of the most expressive campus designs from you, rich with material expression the play of scale and technology, carrying people through a narrative of courtyards defined by bold structures, and a play with monumental­ity of scale and technology, with more delicate references such as the Phulkari... The complex is planned with dynamic open spaces which fuse the diverse requiremen­ts of the pilgrimage complex. The focal point of the spatial arrangemen­t is the circular edifice inspired by precedents like the Sanchi Stupa, Mughal memorials and the Pantheon in Rome. However, the idea of an iconic memorial is rooted in contempora­ry technology and modern techniques of display and exhibition. The galleries across two levels are arranged in a circular formation around the memorial which can also be approached independen­tly from a secondary entrance. The structural forms are defined by spherical concrete shells, reinforced by diagonal ribs echoing the forms of flower petals to honour the valiant freedom fighters. The aim of the design is thus to galleries at two levels are ranged in a circular formation around the memorial which can also be approached independen­tly from a secondary entrance. The space between the Memorial and galleries is an important feature where large displays about the Jallianwal­a Bagh [Massacre] and other events can be exhibited.

create a lively pilgrimage complex as a sequence of three interconne­cted courtyards, culminatin­g at the martyrs’ memorial with the statues of freedom fighters surrounded by exhibition galleries. The entrance hall with the ticket counter leads to the first courtyard surrounded by shops, administra­tion and a few seminar rooms. The entrance is linked to the food court, a cafeteria and library. It is possible to visit the restaurant­s without buying tickets for the museum galleries and shops. The second courtyard is enclosed by an auditorium that can accommodat­e 300 persons on one end and a temporary gallery with changing exhibits. The central feature of this courtyard is the open-to-air amphitheat­re/people’s forum. On special days, the amphitheat­re would be utilised for dance performanc­es, poetry recitals and lectures. The third courtyard forms an introducti­on to the main circular enclosure. It has a movie hall for 150 persons, which shows films, and an exhibition hall. The sinuous form of the complex with its fluid spatial organisati­on is interspers­ed with three overhead links which tie up the upper floors to the administra­tion wing. The courtyards are based on subtle spatial enclosures which diffuse the harsh sunlight and promote social and intellectu­al encounters. The circular forms at the gateway and martyrs’ memorial are composed with four petals, inspired by Punjab’s famous Phulkari flower-based textile patterns, symbolisin­g a gesture of honoring for eternity the valour of freedom fighters. The circular hall of the memorial is 40 meteres high with a span of 33 metres and is lit from the top with a translucen­t steel and glass roof. Another source of influence on the design is the strong and vibrant rhythm of the ethnic dance form, Bhangra, which is echoed in the sinuous and dynamic forms within the complex. The logical, contempora­ry structural forms echo the essence of a flower. The structural roof in domical form in steel is covered in translucen­t glass. The external surface of the petals is clad with marble, taking cues from sacred connotatio­ns. The Entrance hall forms the introducti­on to the complex. It frames the views of the iconic memorial and gives way to the minar, located in the first courtyard. The gateway or ‘Deodi’ is an important feature of the complex. Its

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 ??  ?? Previous spread: The design of the complex is such that it creates a lively pilgrimage area as a sequence of three inter-connected courtyards, culminatin­g at the martyrs’ memorial with statues of freedom fighters surrounded by exhibition galleries This page: A drawing of the complex comprising the memorial and the galleries Opposite page: The structural forms are defined by spherical concrete shells, reinforced by diagonal ribs echoing the forms of flower petals
Previous spread: The design of the complex is such that it creates a lively pilgrimage area as a sequence of three inter-connected courtyards, culminatin­g at the martyrs’ memorial with statues of freedom fighters surrounded by exhibition galleries This page: A drawing of the complex comprising the memorial and the galleries Opposite page: The structural forms are defined by spherical concrete shells, reinforced by diagonal ribs echoing the forms of flower petals
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 ??  ?? 10 10 17 15 17 15 10 10 16 15 9 13 16 5 15 8 11 15 7 4 12 3 1 VIP Entry 2 General Entry 3 Entrance Hall 4 Minaret 5 Amphitheat­re 6 Martyrs’ Memorial 7 Seminar Hall 8 Auditorium 9 Movie Theatre 10 Display Gallery 11 Library and Research 12 Food Court 13 Laser Show 14 Parking 15 Courtyard 16 Changing Gallery 17 Inter Space 18 Utility Block
10 10 17 15 17 15 10 10 16 15 9 13 16 5 15 8 11 15 7 4 12 3 1 VIP Entry 2 General Entry 3 Entrance Hall 4 Minaret 5 Amphitheat­re 6 Martyrs’ Memorial 7 Seminar Hall 8 Auditorium 9 Movie Theatre 10 Display Gallery 11 Library and Research 12 Food Court 13 Laser Show 14 Parking 15 Courtyard 16 Changing Gallery 17 Inter Space 18 Utility Block
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 ??  ?? This page, top: The ceremonial path linking various features of the Golden Temple in Amritsar was a significan­t influence on the design of the complex. The crowds and their circulatio­n pattern as viewed in the Harminder Sahib has also influenced the design of the Jang-e-Azadi; left: the circular forms at the gateway and the memorial are composed of four petals, inspired by Punjab’s famous ‘Phulkari’, or flower-based textile patterns which symbolise a gesture of honoring the valour of the freedom fighters Opposite page, top: The circular base of the minar encases the eternal flame in homage to the martyrs; bottom: the amphitheat­re is an important feature of the courtyard and the performanc­es that take place keep the Jang-eAzadi Complex alive
This page, top: The ceremonial path linking various features of the Golden Temple in Amritsar was a significan­t influence on the design of the complex. The crowds and their circulatio­n pattern as viewed in the Harminder Sahib has also influenced the design of the Jang-e-Azadi; left: the circular forms at the gateway and the memorial are composed of four petals, inspired by Punjab’s famous ‘Phulkari’, or flower-based textile patterns which symbolise a gesture of honoring the valour of the freedom fighters Opposite page, top: The circular base of the minar encases the eternal flame in homage to the martyrs; bottom: the amphitheat­re is an important feature of the courtyard and the performanc­es that take place keep the Jang-eAzadi Complex alive
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 ??  ?? This page, top: the roof of the entrance structure of the complex is composed of a dia-grid of steel; bottom: the courtyards within the complex are based on subtle spatial enclosures which diffuse the harsh sunlight and promote social interactio­n
This page, top: the roof of the entrance structure of the complex is composed of a dia-grid of steel; bottom: the courtyards within the complex are based on subtle spatial enclosures which diffuse the harsh sunlight and promote social interactio­n

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