“…Brutalism, per se, was clearly not an end in itself.  But the aesthetic borne of a starkly honest approach to elementary building materials and methods was to enjoy a sustained currency for some years yet as a legitimate and compelling means by which to produce a relevant contemporary architecture for India. In the context of the resurgent socialist agenda of the national government in the early 1970s, however, it was the ethic of building and planning realistically and independently, albeit inventively, within the developing nation’s means that was to be championed by professional and political leaders alike.  Whilst a decade earlier, the aspiring young avant-garde and their elite patrons had seized Nehru’s invitation to pursue radical aesthetics in architecture that might wake the new nation into its modernity, many of the same were now arriving at a new sense of their professional maturity, and the broader ethical and social responsibilities as environmental designers and problem-solvers that they were both obliged and now motivated to embrace…

© Mahendra Raj Archive (HELLANS Industrial & Pictorial Photographers, New Delhi)

“…Increasingly engaged, as Indian architects were, in a conscious struggle to build the physical infrastructure of a modern society with limited technical means, it was the opposite paradigm-saving tendencies of ‘late-modernism’ manifested internationally in the techno-rationalist architecture of the 1970s that were more directly and emphatically influential in India. This was most clearly perceivable in the conspicuous structural exhibitionism1  that characterised2 the work of several of the leading Indian modernists in this period. 

  • 1. “…the engineering prowess of Mahendra Raj was the common denominator behind many of these structurally precocious buildings realised on the Bombay-Ahmedabad-Delhi axis in this period”
  • 2. “….Rewal’s particularly muscular brand of brutalism that was to make some of the most conspicuous and defining marks on the architecture of the national capital beginning in this period, largely through his success in winning a series of design competitions for major public buildings and urban complexes associated with the swelling ambitions and bureaucracy of the central government and its growing portfolio of new state-owned corporations…”
Halls of Nations and Industries under construction
Halls of Nations and Industries under construction © Madan Mahatta
Halls of Nations and Industries under construction
Halls of Nations and Industries under construction © Mahendra Raj Archive (HELLANS Industrial & Pictorial Photographers, New Delhi)